Darts legend Phil Taylor returned to Shetland and reclaimed his title as champion by defeating a world class field at Clickimin on Saturday in the SRT/Simpson & Ward Masters.
The 750-strong crowd were in good voice right from the beginning of the tournament and would stay that way throughout. Following the draw there was a premier of the supporters’ video offering local support to their favourite players. The draw which was seeded brought together some interesting match-ups in a tournament which any one of the eight on show could win. For a full selection of photographs, click here.
The now customary darts aerobic warm-up was led by MC and promoter Steve Mottershead before the crowd settled for the first quarter-final which pitched current UK open champion James Wade against Simon “The Wizard” Whitlock from Australia. In a tight game it was the unseeded Aussie who won 10-7 to move into the evening session.
Next up was 15 times world champion Phil “The Power” Taylor against crowd favourite Wayne Mardle, known as “Hawaii 501”. The colourful Mardle certainly brought energy to the hall and the crowd responded by giving him good vocal support and willing him on throughout the match. Taylor was steady, however, and built an early lead. Mardle responded and pushed last year’s winner all the way only to lose out 10-7.
Current world champion Adrian Lewis was greeted with some light-hearted boos from the crowd as he made his way to the stage to take on the BDO (British Darts Organisation) representative Tony O’Shea. Not many people would have given the “Silverback” O’Shea a hope but he set the early pace before being edged out again by a score of 10-7.
The crowd were by now in good voice and the anticipation of Scottish favourite and current premier league champion Gary Anderson entering was certainly the loudest point of the afternoon. The draw was cruel, however, as the Scot was drawn against another local favourite Terry “The Bull” Jenkins. Most people in the audience would have liked to have seen both players in the semi-finals but it was Anderson who went through 10-4.
Immediately after the fourth quarter-final the draw was made for the semi-finals with Lewis drawn against Whitlock and Taylor facing Anderson.
The first semi-final was a close affair as Whitlock looked to defeat the current world champion and claim another trophy in the north of Scotland following his success in Orkney recently. The wizard was unable to work his magic, however, as “Jackpot” Lewis marched on to the final by 11-8.
The much-anticipated second semi-final turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for followers of the “Flying Scotsman” Anderson. The Scot was struggling with illness and never reached his normal high standards throughout and at one point the game was halted to allow him time to recover. Taylor was as ever professional and finished off the local favourite to reach the final 11-4.
The final was interesting as Lewis has for a long time been known as Taylor’s prodigy, until he stepped out of his shadow to win the world championships in January. This has added a bit of spice to the darts world which Taylor has dominated for a number of years and he is now in search of the title once more.
The Power was in no mood to be known as the ex-Shetland Masters winner either as he surged in front and never looked back to take the title comfortably 13-3.
Clickimin manager Robert Geddes said the tournament had generated great interest over the last few months and certainly lived up to expectations with a great atmosphere witnessed in the hall throughout the day.
He said: “Although the averages of the players didn’t quite reach the level of last year there were many games which were close. It was an incredible feat to bring six of the top eight players in the world up to Shetland and the organisers are hoping to see them all in Lerwick another year.
“The tournament couldn’t have taken place without the generous support of the sponsors, workers and volunteers and it is hoped that the players repay their efforts with a nine dart finish or two.”
For a full selection of photographs of the contest, click here.