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ROBERT THORNTON 11 – 5 Phil Taylor

Robert Thornton clinched his first PDC major title with a stunning 11 – 5 victory over 15-time World Champion Phil Taylor in the final of the Speedy Services UK Open on Sunday night.

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

‘The Thorn’, a 250-1 outsider for the title, completed a week of upsets by claiming the biggest scalp of them all, as he smashed in six 180’s to defeat ‘The Power’, exacting revenge for his defeat in the final of the Players Championship three years ago.

The Scotsman, who had encountered a difficult 24 months since his only other PDC major final appearance after suffering with pneumonia and then a broken hand, had beaten Dave Chisnall earlier in the evening.

He also knocked out Mark Webster, Gary Anderson, Dennis Priestley and Wez Newton in a sensational run to the final, where he stormed past Taylor to claim the £40,000 prize.

“I’m over the moon,” said Thornton, who leaps up to 23rd in the world. “Phil missed  a lot of doubles early on and I knew it was my chance. I knew that once I got ahead I had to stay there.

“I just prepared the same way as I did for all the games this week. No pressure, one game at a time and this is where it has got me.

“I’m hoping I can kick on from here now, although there may be a big target on my back.

“The crowd were tremendous and I feel on top of the world. I just wish I’d had a tenner on myself.”

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Thornton hit his first 180 of the match in the opening leg  but was unable to break ‘The Power’.

The Scotsman responded to Taylor’s first maximum with his second but the world number one grabbed an early break of throw.

‘The Thorn’ hit double one in a tense leg, in which both players missed doubles, breaking Taylor’s throw.

He levelled up with a neat 84 checkout, before starting the fifth leg with a 174. Taylor held, however, to go into the first break with a 3-2 lead.

Thornton kicked off leg six with back to back 140’s, before hitting his third 180, as he levelled the match.

The Scotsman then hit double top to grab a break of throw, before taking out a brilliant 106 finish to hold and move two legs clear.

He then punished ‘The Power’ for some uncharacteristic missed doubles, taking out 50 for another break of throw and a 6-3 lead.

The 2007 World Master followed that up by hitting  his fourth maximum, before taking out 48 to go four legs in front.

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

‘The Thorn’ took out 84 for another break of throw and a sixth consecutive leg.

He hammered home his fifth 180 of the match in the next leg, before taking out 60 to move into an unprecedented six leg lead over the fifteen-time World Champion.

Taylor stopped the rot despite ‘The Thorn’ rattling in another maximum, but Thornton hit double ten to move within a leg of victory.

‘The Power’ won the next leg to pull it back to 10-5, with Thornton throwing for the match in the 15th leg.

The Scotsman hit scores of 140,100 and 140 before clinching victory in style with a sensational 121 checkout on the bull.

By Chris Murphy

See four of the world’s top professional darts players go head to head in the Charlton Masters on Thursday 19 July.

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