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Thornton Stuns Taylor To Clinch UK Open Title

A delighted Robert Thornton pictured with the trophy (credit: Lawrence Lustig/ PDC)
Robert Thornton produced one of the biggest upsets in UK Open history to stun Phil Taylor and win the Speedy Services UK Open title on Sunday night, defeating the world number one 11-5 at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.

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Taylor had appeared on course to win a fifth title in 'The FA Cup of Darts' when he powered past Terry Jenkins and Denis Ovens in the latter stages on Sunday, but a resurgent Scot had other ideas and produces a master class in the final to deny The Power glory.

Taylor appeared fresh after a break following his semi-final victory over Denis Ovens and took an early 2-0 lead in the final.

The 15-time World Champion was not ready for a sudden barrage from The Thorn however, with the former World Master firing in six 180s en route to winning nine of the next ten legs for a 9-3 lead.

Uncharacteristically, Taylor missed a staggering 23 darts at doubles in falling behind as Thornton capitalised and continued the rampant form that had carried him to only his second PDC major final.

A stunned Taylor hit back to 10-5, but was unable to prevent Thornton from sealing victory as the man from Ayrshire secured the title in style with a 121 finish on the bullseye.

In defeating Taylor, Thornton avenged his loss to the Stoke great in his only other previous PDC final at the Players Championship three years ago.

The victory was fully deserved after he had fended off an array of top class opponents en route to the final, including Mark Webster, Gary Anderson, Dennis Priestley, Wes Newton and Dave Chisnall.

The 44-year-old's surge came as a huge shock to many after a miserable 18-months had seen him tumble to 34th in the world rankings, but the £40,000 first prize will re-ignite his career, with the Scot having spent two months side-lined last year as he recovered from a bout of pneumonia.

"It hasn't sunk in what I've done yet," said a delighted Thornton. "When I won the World Masters in 2007 it was a great achievement but to beat Phil Taylor in a televised final is a very special moment in my career.

"Phil did miss quite a few doubles in the middle of the game and I managed to take the chances that were on offer to me."

Taylor's defeat was only his sixth in a major televised final during his incredible career and his first in a decider since losing to another Scot, Gary Anderson, in the 2007 World Darts Trophy.

"Robert deserved to win," said Taylor. "I missed a lot of doubles but Robert was the better player.

"He's come through an incredibly tough draw and beaten the likes of Mark Webster, Gary Anderson and Wes Newton along the way to the final, so that shows he deserves this title."

Thornton's win sees him move from 34th in the PDC Order of Merit back to 23rd, and he admits that the win is a huge boost following the bout of pneumonia as well as a broken hand which affected him in the second half of last year.

"The pneumonia knocked me back a fair bit," added Thornton, who turns 45 next month. "I was out for a couple of months, but with the support of my kids and my grandkids I got back on my feet and playing again.

"They lifted me and they didn't give up on me, and I wasn't going to give up. I hope this is the start of good things again for me now.

Thornton went under the radar for the large part of the tournament, plying his trade on the outer boards with a series of superb all-round performances, but came good on the big stage when it mattered and proved wrong the bookmakers who dismissed him as a 250/1 outsider for the title before a dart was thrown. 

World Cup star Thornton enjoyed a fine semi-final win over Dave Chisnall, who improved on last year's run to the quarter-finals by reaching the last four this time around, but he was unable to replicate the heavy scoring which had helped him see off Raymond van Barneveld earlier on Sunday.

Wes Newton, Jamie Caven and Terry Jenkins were the other three players to fall at the quarter-final hurdle despite a gallant effort.

Focus now turns to the start of the World Matchplay in mid-July, with the world's top 16 players joined by 16 qualifiers from the ProTour order of merit in the summer showpiece event at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Speedy Services UK Open Results

Semi-Finals
Phil Taylor 10-2 Denis Ovens
Robert Thornton 10-4 Dave Chisnall
Losers £10,000

Final
Robert Thornton 11-5 Phil Taylor
Winner £40,000
Runner-Up £20,000

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Thornton Stuns Taylor To Clinch UK Open Title

Robert Thornton produced one of the biggest upsets in UK Open history to stun Phil Taylor and win the Speedy Services UK Open title on Sunday night, defeating the world number one 11-5 at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.

Read more »