Robert Thornton and Raymond van Barneveld both made it through to the quarter-finals of the Speedy Services UK Open after winning incredible matches at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday evening.
Thornton won eight consecutive legs to complete a remarkable comeback against Dennis Priestley in Bolton, while van Barneveld won a tense last leg decider against Peter Wright.
‘The Thorn’ stormed back from 5-1 down to beat ‘The Menace’ 9-5, setting up a quarter-final clash with Wez Newton.
“At 5-1 down I just thought ‘what am I doing?’,” said Thornton, who reached the last eight for the second consecutive year.
“I managed to calm myself down, relax and start playing darts again. I’d worked so hard to get to this match and I didn’t want to throw that away.
“I love this tournament. The atmosphere is brilliant and I can’t wait to be back tomorrow.”
‘Barney’ had to win the last three legs to pip Wright, who suffered the unfortunate fate of busting 138 when he was throwing for the match.
“I was lucky in the end but I am pleased to be through,” said van Barneveld. “I feel sorry for Peter because he played a brilliant game but I dug in and got the result.
“I was tired after watching Holland lose in the football, so I need to rest and prepare for tomorrow but I’m glad to go back to the hotel smiling and still in the tournament.”
‘Barney’ will face Dave Chisnall in the last eight on Sunday.
Earlier in the evening Michael van Gerwen bowed out at the hands of Terry Jenkins, while Australian pair Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson also exited the tournament.
Sunday afternoon sees the remaining eight players go head to head over the best of 19 legs, with the semi-finals and final taking place on Sunday night.
By Chris Murphy
Speedy Services UK Open
Quarter-Final draw (involving MODUS players)
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD v Dave Chisnall
ROBERT THORNTON v Wez Newton
(Winners meet in semi-final)