Darts: Manley falls as Anderson reproduces vintage form

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The Independent Online

The darts legend Bob Anderson produced a vintage display to book his place in the semi-finals of the World Championship with a sensational win over Peter Manley here at the Circus Tavern yesterday.

It has been 16 years since Anderson was top of the darting world, but the 56-year-old proved he is still a major threat as he beat Manley by five sets to two. He next plays Kevin Painter. Mark Dudbridge, the promising performer who put paid to Taylor's conqueror from last year's final, John Part, could not maintain that form, falling 5-1 to Painter.

Wayne Mardle showed no signs of discomfort as he booked his place in the last four. One of the most colourful characters on the PDC circuit, he had said after his enthralling 4-3 win over Colin Lloyd that he felt light-headed and sick throughout the contest. But he looked much more comfortable at the oche last night as he demolished Simon Whatley 5-1.

Anderson has gone quietly about his business this week, while Manley has been involved in a war of words with the 10-times champion, Phil Taylor, who breezed through with a 5-1 victory over Alan Warriner.

Anderson clinched the first two sets against Manley by three legs to two and opened the third with a superb 161 checkout. However, Manley reeled off the next three legs to reduce the deficit. The Cumbria-based player had started to find his range and he nailed double top twice before taking out double 10. The momentum was now with Manley, but Anderson edged a tight fifth set and an 11-dart finish helped him also to take the next. Manley looked shell-shocked as Anderson levelled up at 2-2 in the seventh, and he could only watch as his opponent checked out on 80 to progress.

"I've always had a belief in my own ability," Anderson said. "I dipped in form two or three years ago and dropped down to No 32 in the rankings. I then made a decision to fight and show the young players that I can still play. It has worked out and my game has improved over the last couple of years. I've not won anything yet but people know I'm back."

He next plays Painter, who dropped just three legs as he won his opening two sets. Dudbridge won the first leg of the third, but Painter reeled off the next three to open up a sizeable lead.

Painter was on top of his game as he nailed a 130 outshot followed by a 116 finish to close in on victory. He started to feel the tension in the fifth set and he squandered several chances, leaving the way open for Dudbridge to snatch it 3-2. But he regained his composure and took out double eight to set up the semi-final with Anderson.

Painter, who lost to Part 12 months ago, said: "I missed some doubles but I'm taking the positives out of it, like I was four sets up at the time." On his game with the 1988 world champion Anderson, he added: "Bob's thrown some great darts this week and is enjoying himself. I'm sure it will be a tough game."

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