Mark Webster’s brilliant Grand Slam of Darts charge was halted by Raymond van Barneveld in a thrilling quarter-final tussle in Wolverhampton on Friday evening.
Webster, who had seen off world number two Gary Anderson in the previous round, was denied by four fabulous finishes of over 120 from the five-time World Champion.
Welsh star Webster, who reached the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix last month, hit ten 180s and averaged 97 in the match but van Barneveld’s superior finishing got the Dutchman over the line.“I’m not too disheartened,” said Webster, who has also qualified for next weekend’s World Series of Darts finals.
“I’ve had great runs in the last two TV tournaments and I’m enjoying my darts again. Full credit to Raymond, it took four brilliant finishes for him to beat me – they proved to be the difference in the end and I can leave this tournament with my head held high and look confidently towards the future.”
The first two legs were shared before Barney took out 121 for an early break of throw. Webster responded spectacularly though, hitting back to back 180s to threaten a nine-darter before eventually going out in twelve.
Webster’s fourth maximum proved to be in vain as he missed two darts to take the lead, allowing van Barneveld to break again, sparking a run of four straight legs for the Dutchman – with ‘Spider’ missing darts at double in each of them.
Webster then took out 64 to reduce the deficit to 6-3 before grabbing a vital break of throw on tops to move within two legs of his opponent.
van Barneveld again won four legs in row, this time with the help of a brilliant 161 finish, before the Welshman’s seventh 180 helped him stop the rot.
He then took out 110 to break and pegged double three only to see Barney win the next two legs with the aid of 146 finish.
Webster fired in his tenth maximum and pinned double ten to break and cut the 2012 Grand Slam winner’s lead to 12-8.
Barney took the next leg before checkouts of 107, 96 and 52 helped Webster take four on the spin and move within a leg of parity.
van Barneveld made it 14-12 and then a fourth ton-plus finish from the Dutch ace, this time 124 with Webster waiting on 20 provided the killer blow as he went on to complete a 16-12 success.