In-form Smith sunk by Anderson comeback
DENNIS Smith found his late charge for the World Matchplay halted by the stunning comeback of Scottish star Gary Anderson in the Netherlands.
The Swindon ace was competing in the second Players Championship of the weekend at Nuland and reeled off a superb string of wins against Roland Scholten (6-3), Andy Hutchings (6-5), Colin Lloyd (6-5) and John Part (6-4) on his way to the quarter-finals.
Those results meant that a victory over Anderson would sneak Smith into a berth for the World Matchplay, by virtue of being in the top 16 players in the Players Championship Order of Merit that had not already made it to Blackpool by being in the top 16 in the PDC Order of Merit.
And he got off to the dream start against the reigning Premier League champion as he romped into a 5-1 lead, taking him within a leg of victory.
But Anderson, nicknamed ‘The Flying Scotsman’, aptly came back like a steam train as he reeled off five straight legs, landing a trio of 12-dart finishes in the process and leaving the Swindon man shell-shocked.
In the final game the Eyemouth ace hit terrific scores of 140, 140 and 177 before checking out on 44 with Smith on 96, potentially two darts away from victory.
“I'm pleased with how I played, especially after such a bad day on Saturday,” revealed Smith.
“But I'm devastated to miss out on qualifying for Blackpool after coming so close."
Anderson then went on to beat Simon Whitlock and Andy Smith to secure his second Players Championship of the weekend, having beaten Wes Newton in the final the previous day.
Smith and fellow Swindon thrower Chris Aubrey both lost in the opening round on Saturday, the former to his UK Open nemesis Nick Fullwell 6-4, and the latter to Peter Wright by the same scoreline. Aubrey also lost in the first round on Sunday, 6-3 to Rocco Maes.