ROBERT THORNTON 10 – 8 Wez Newton
Robert Thornton continued his brilliant run of form in the Speedy Services UK Open, with a 10-8 triumph over Wez Newton in the quarter-finals at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium.
‘The Thorn’, who hit four 180’s in the match, added Newton to his list of high profile scalps, after knocking out Mark Webster and Gary Anderson in earlier rounds.
“I’m happy to be through,” said Thornton, who last reached a major semi-final in 2009.
“He kept breaking me and I knew I had to break straight back. The final leg was massive for me. I’d been on four nine-darters in the last few weeks and lost the leg every time so I was delighted to get the job done.”
Thornton hit his first maximum in the opening leg, but missed darts at his double allowed Newton in for an early break of throw.
The Scotsman broke straight back, before Newton did the same to edge back in front.
‘The Thorn’ was the width of the wire away from making it four consecutive legs won against the throw, but Newton hit double top to end that trend and go 3-1 ahead.
The former World Master hit double top to reduce the deficit, and then pulled level by taking out 56 after setting it up with a 140 when it looked like the leg might be beyond him.
Thornton hit double ten to take the lead for the first time in the match, before kicking off the next leg with his second 180 followed by a 140.
Newton managed to hold though, hitting double seven to restore parity, before taking out a classy 82 finish to edge back ahead.
Thornton then took out 61 for another break of throw, putting himself 6-4 in front.
Newton broke back but the resilient Thornton did the same to restore his two leg advantage.
‘The Thorn’ hit double five to make it 8-5, before Newton hit double top to effectively keep himself in the match.
‘The Warrior’ grabbed what looked to be a crucial break of throw when he followed up his second 180 with a 121 checkout.
‘The Thorn’ though refused to let his opponent back in, hitting double 18 to break again and leave himself throwing for the match.
Both players kicked off a tense 17th leg with 140’s, before Newton took out another 121 finish to keep himself in the match once more.
Thornton bounced back again, hitting six perfect darts against the throw, before eventually hitting double top to book his place in the last four.
‘The Thorn’ will play Dave Chisnall tonight’s semi-final.
“I’m just happy to be here,” added Thornton, who goes back into the top 32 in the order of merit.
“I’m just going to go and chill and prepare in the same way as I have been all weekend.”
By Chris Murphy