ROBERT Thornton stunned Phil Taylor to win the Speedy Services UK Open in Bolton last night, having defeated Fleetwood’s Wes Newton in the quarter-finals.
World no.1 Taylor 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 yesterday, but after taking a 2-0 lead in the final he had no answer as the the Scot won nine of the next ten legs.
The Stoke great hit back but was unable to prevent Thornton from sealing an 11-5 victory as he followed up his 2007 World Masters win by taking the £40,000 first prize.
The triumph followed wins over Mark Webster, Gary Anderson, Dennis Priestley, Newton and Dave Chisnall in the semis. It will kick-start Thornton’s career, after he spent two months of last year sidelined by pneumonia, and also returns him to the world’s top 32 after he had slipped down the PDC Order of Merit.
Newton, last year’s runner-up, was beaten 10-8 despite taking a 3-1 lead over Newton in their last-eight clash.
Thornton levelled and punished Newton for missed doubles as he allowed a potential ten-dart finish to slip away in leg nine.
The Scot never relinquished the lead from that point, and although Newton hit two 121 finishes to stay in the hunt, Thornton sealed victory with a 13-darter to reach his first major semi-final for over three years.
Thornton said: “Wes is always a tough opponent but he missed a few doubles and I’m glad I got past him.
Taylor had defeated Blackpool’s Ronnie Baxter 9-4 at the last-16 stage, in which Newton pipped Kim Huybrechts 9-8.