GARY ANDERSON admitted he’s going “bonkers” despite winning the battle of the Master v Apprentice clash to book his place in the Betfred World Matchplay final.
The Flying Scotsman produced a display oozing with experience to grind out an 18-16 tie-break semi-final win over Michael Smith at the Marshall Arena last night.However Ando, 49, revealed it’s getting to him that his form dips in and out so much during the big matches.
“It was going great up to a point and it went all Pete Tong again. They were starting to drop low,
I can’t throw my darts right. It’s driving me bonkers to be honest.“
If I’d lost that game that would have been me. It’s happening too much now, I can’t throw a dart. I plodded on and pinched it at the end. Michael will be gutted the way he played.“
I’m chilled out but I’m just expecting to walk back and do what I was doing five years ago. It isn’t happening.
“It’s starting to get to me now. It’s alright when the darts are going high but I’m dropping an inch below that treble every time.
“I thought he would have walked it the way he has been playing.
He’ll get there one day and look out.”
It was an edgy start with Anderson taking the opening session which went with throw 3-2 but suddenly the Scot took control with double four in the next leg, the first break of the match to put some daylight between him and Smith.He backed that up with a vital hold of throw and although Bully Boy took out a slick Shanghai 120 a double 14 finish and another break with tops, put Ando 7-3 up and in real early control.
Smith then took three legs in succession with a break thanks to two crisp double 10 finishes to trail 8-6 and back in the hunt.Both players were nowhere near their very best, as can be the case when two good pals go head-to-head in a crucial clash.With Anderson well off the boil in the third session, Smith took out a double two kill to break again and narrow the gap to 8-7 and back on throw.
But it didn’t last for long, immediately after the break Anderson banged in a marvellous 127 with bull to break straight back. The contest was warming up nicely and Smith stormed back to level it up at 9-9 but a wonderful 128 finish gave Ando another break and 11-9 lead.That seemed to break Smith’s resolve and belief as the Scot swiftly added three more legs to go into a commanding 14-9 lead.
However credit to Smith, showing such maturity and strength of mind, he came back to narrow deficit to 14-13, as it was Anderson’s turn to lose his rhythm and range. Then a double 14 and remarkably Smith levelled it up once again with five successive legs. A really messy next leg and Smith took out madness as both players missed a hatful of doubles and Bully Boy was 15-14 ahead but a cool 116 finish from Ando stopped the rot to level up this tense encounter.
Anderson then turned up the heat with a cool 68 finish in two darts and was one away from the final but two sensational 180s and 12-darter from Smith kept the scorers level and into a nail-biting tie-break.
But two solid legs and a double 18 finish saw Anderson prevail and through to the Matchplay final once again.
Images: Taylor Lanning