Robert Thornton produced a string of strong showings to reach his first Grand Slam of Darts final but was denied a second PDC major as world number one Phil Taylor clinched another title on Sunday evening.

Former UK Open winner Thornton continued the good form that saw him win a Players Championship event in Killarney at the end of October, winning five matches over nine days in Wolverhampton before succumbing to ‘The Power’ in the decider.

‘The Thorn’ kicked off with a 5-0 whitewash over Mark Walsh and went on to top his group by adding a further win against Justin Pipe before a narrow defeat at the hands of Andy Hamilton.

The world number eleven then triumphed against Mervyn King before seeing off Tony O’Shea to reach the semi-finals.

There, he claimed an impressive 16-9 success against reigning BDO World Champion Scott Waites to set up a final date with Taylor.

But the 16-time World Champion was in typically arduous form as he took a fifth Grand Slam title with a 16-6 win.

“Obviously I am dissapointed to lose in the final but it has been a great week for me,” said Thornton.

“It means I’ve qualified to play in the tournament again next year so I’m happy with that too.

“I missed a few doubles early on in and Phil doesn’t let you off for that. I never recovered but I’m over the moon to have reached the final and it all bodes well for my form.”

Thornton will now turn his attentions to going one step further in the two remaining major tournaments of the season – the Players Championship Finals and World Championship.

By Chris Murphy