Phil Taylor showed that Christmas Day practice sessions pay off with a mind boggling performance to put out the man many thought could cause a big upset. Mick McGowan averaged 101.9 and took a battering from the unstoppable machine that is Taylor. He averaged 109 and hit 50% of his double to blitz his way into the next round and send shockwaves through the field. Anybody thinking Taylor may be vulnerable this year had better think again after this – McGowan didn’t know what had hit him. He had the audacity to take the first set but that just fired Taylor up and from then on there was only one winner.
Alan Tabern continued his impressive form in taking out Dennis Ovens who missed double twelve for a 9-darter. It took a sudden death shoot out to split the two in a great game but The Saint rode his luck and hit his shots to go through. Andy Hamilton held off a great comeback from Mark Dudbridge to take the deciding set after looking comfortable early on. Both players hit twelve 180’s and produced fine averages but Hamilton held his nerve in the final set by upping his game when needed. For Dudbridge, 2006 hasn’t quite gone to plan but this may be the springboard he needs to go into 2007 in better form. Even in defeat.
The final match of the night saw a much needed win for Diamond Dave Askew against the conqueror of Mardle, Alan Caves. Askew is another player going the wrong way in the rankings and this will do him the world of good. He cruised into a 3-0 lead but Caves found a groove to make it 3-2 and put the wind up Askew. Caves was 2-1 up in the sixth set and looked set to level the game but Askew went up a gear and won two legs on the spin to take the match. Caves played his part hitting ten 180’s and will rue some missed doubles in this one.
Day Six Results – Second Round – Tuesday 26 December
Dennis Ovens 3-4 Alan Tabern
Mark Dudbridge 3-4 Andy Hamilton
Phil Taylor 4-1 Mick McGowan
Alan Caves 2-4 Dave Askew