Look back on how an incredible World Matchplay final between Gary Anderson and Mensur Suljovic unfolded at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
By Chris Hammer
The Flying Scotsman triumphed in one of the greatest ever televised finals which saw him join Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen in the history books as the only players to complete the Triple Crown, which also comprises of the world title and Premier League.
Our World Matchplay blog below includes all the reaction, statistics, video clips of the best moments and how the match unfolded leg-by-leg.
Reaction: Gary Anderson thrilled and relieved
Let's round off this blog with reaction from the magnificent champion himself, Gary Anderson, after lifting the newly-named Phil Taylor Trophy.
"I'm delighted to win this magnificent tournament. It was a struggle to win as it always is against Mensur and I think I rode my luck a bit tonight.
"When the bullseye to win it bounced out it was frustrating but I managed to regain my composure to win it. It's been nice to see Phil back in Blackpool this week and the crowd have been fantastic.
"This is a special place for me now and I'll look forward to coming back here next year to defend my title."
Reaction: Suljovic proud of efforts
"It was a brilliant feeling to play in this final - it was such a good game," said Suljovic. "Thank you to everybody for the support, I loved playing here. Gary played brilliant, he was the best player in the tournament so it is OK to lose to him - he is a champion and I respect him."
Anderson 21-19 Suljovic: Final Stats
If you've got your breath back you might want to take in these final statistics which really don't look how you'd have predicted, with Suljovic scoring more powerfully throughout the match. He boasted a higher average, hit a PB of 14 180s, while he also managed a slightly higher checkout percentage than the champion. The Austrian also made the highest checkout of 121.
- Anderson: 101.41
- Suljovic: 104.43
- Anderson: 14
- Suljovic: 14
- Anderson: 30
- Suljovic: 42
- Anderson: 47
- Suljovic: 53
- Anderson: 35.71% (21/58)
- Suljovic: 37.25% (19/51)
- Anderson 105
- Suljovic 121 & 100
Anderson 21-19 Suljovic: Leg-by-leg report
GARY ANDERSON WINS THE WORLD MATCHPLAY FOR THE FIRST TIME AND COMPLETES THE TRIPLE CROWN OF DARTS!
He's done it! Gary Anderson has won the most incredible of World Matchplay finals against a terrific Mensur Suljovic to complete the Triple Crown of Darts! He finishes the job with a 15-darter on double 10 to round off a match - and tournament - of high drama.
The crowd a silent between darts such is the tension of the occasion but they erupt when Anderson pins double eight after Suljovic blows two attempts from 40.
Anderson 20-19 Suljovic
Anderson's dart at bull to win the World Matchplay...hits the wire! Unbelievable! Suljovic then responds by taking out 46 for an 11-darter, which was helped along by his 14th maximum.
Anderson 19-19 Suljovic
Anderson levels the 180 count at 13 apiece either side of visits of 140 and 135 before taking out 46 for a 12-darter.
Anderson 19-18 Suljovic
Anderson halts Suljovic's momentum as a pair of visits of 134 help set up tops for a 13-darter. This is one of the great finals in World Matchplay history!
Anderson 18-18 Suljovic
Where has Suljovic conjured up these magic darts from?! An incredible visit of 170 leaves him 31, which he takes out in two darts to take the lead! He's won five legs in a row!
Anderson 17-18 Suljovic
Suljovic completes his stunning comeback in sensational fashion by landing a 121 checkout on the bullseye for a 12-darter! Both players must now win the final by two clear legs!
Anderson 17-17 Suljovic
It's another leg on the spin for a resurgent Suljovic, who did miss three darts at a double before taking out double four. One more leg required to level the scores.
Anderson 17-16 Suljovic
A messy leg from Anderson allows Suljovic, who is still averaging 104 compared to his opponent's 100, to claw another back with a 13-darter. He needs two more to send this clash into overtime.
Anderson 17-15 Suljovic
Suljovic keeps his hopes alive with an 81 checkout on the bull to complete a fine 12-darter but is it too little too late?
Anderson 17-14 Suljovic
Anderson suffers a double bounce out at a really bad time but after Suljovic misses tops to take out 72, he comes back to move one away from glory by finishing from 77.
Anderson 17-13 Suljovic
Suljovic has now hit 13 180s which is the most he's ever landed in a single match. However, it's not enough to help him take the leg as Anderson produces his first 100+ checkout of the match to go three legs ahead. He did it in style too, going bull, 15, double tops for a 105.
Anderson 16-13 Suljovic
It's not over yet by any stretch of the imagination! Anderson spurs two darts from 16 after hitting treble 20, and Suljovic comes back to make him pay with a single shot at tops for a 13-darter.
Anderson 15-13 Suljovic
The Flying Scotsman was ready and waiting to take out tops for a five-leg lead but Suljovic made his 130 count from his previous visit with a 71 checkout on the bullseye.
Anderson 15-12 Suljovic
Anderson closing in on history as a two-dart checkout from 68 completes a 14-darter with Suljovic way back on 145. He's three away from glory!
Anderson 15-11 Suljovic
Everyone said it would be Gary Anderson scoring the heavier and if he didn't, he'd struggle. What's actually happened is Suljovic is scoring better with an average of 105 but his wasteful finishing has been punished by the slightly more clinical Flying Scotsman! Anderson is now 1/10 with Sky Bet after moving ahead 14-11 while Mensur Suljovic can be backed at 6/1.
- Anderson: 101
- Suljovic: 105
- Anderson: 10
- Suljovic: 12
- Anderson: 31.11%
- Suljovic: 29.73%
- Anderson 84
- Suljovic 118
Suljovic hits his 12th 180 and follows it up with visits of 100, 100 and 81 before taking out tops for a 13-darter.
Anderson 14-11 Suljovic
The pair trade 180s at the start of the leg but Anderson follows his up with visits of 100, 100 and 97 en route to a 13-darter on double 12.
Anderson 14-10 Suljovic
Anderson is rattling in the 180s now as his ninth of the match helps set up a 13-darter as he moves 13-10 ahead, with Suljovic waiting on 46.
Anderson 13-10 Suljovic
Anderson nails his eighth 180 either side of two 140s to leave 41 and although he spurns two darts at a double, he comes back to pin double 10 for an impressive 13-darter.
Anderson 12-10 Suljovic
Suljovic stops the rot as he makes his 10th 180 of the match count by taking out 41 for an 11-darter to move to within one leg.
Anderson 11-10 Suljovic
- Anderson: 99
- Suljovic: 103
- Anderson: 7
- Suljovic: 9
- Anderson: 27.5%
- Suljovic: 25.71%
- Anderson 84
- Suljovic 118
Anderson narrowly misses double 14 for a 121 checkout but he's given another chance to take the leg when Suljovic fluffs his lines on the doubles twice more. And the Flying Scotsman duly makes him pay.
Anderson 11-9 Suljovic
Suljovic misses two more darts at double - this time at tops and double 10 - which allows Anderson to poach a third successive leg in 15 to edge ahead. Amazing to think the Austrian is still averaging almost 104 despite missing 24 darts at doubles.
Anderson 10-9 Suljovic
Back-to-back 180s and a seventh T20 sets Suljovic up for a nine-darter but his eighth dart lands in treble 10! He comes back after Anderson just misses a dart to steal the leg but then blows three attempts from 32! Anderson punishes him by completing his 14-darter and now we're all square.
Anderson 9-9 Suljovic
Anderson follows up his sixth 180 with an agonisingly close attempt to take out a 170 checkout on the bull. He misses two darts at a double in his next visit but he was let off because those were sandwiched between Suljovic missing six of his own!
Anderson 8-9 Suljovic
Suljovic opens up a two-leg lead for the first time in the match as he tajes out 59 in two darts after watching Anderson miss tops for a 114.
Anderson 7-9 Suljovic
- Anderson: 100
- Suljovic: 104
- Anderson: 4
- Suljovic: 5
- Anderson: 26.92%
- Suljovic: 34.78%
- Anderson 84
- Suljovic 118
Suljovic goes ahead for the sixth time in the match with the first 100+ checkout as he finishes off a 118 checkout on double 19 for a 15-darter. Could this one be going the distance?
Anderson 7-8 Suljovic
The players exchange early 180s in this crazy leg which ends with eyebrow-raisingly bad finishing! Suljovic missed seven darts at a double and Anderson spurned nine before eventually pinning double two for a 21-darter! It all means the scores are level but those impressive averages have plummeted somewhat.
Anderson 7-7 Suljovic
A fifth 180 in this stunning display from Suljovic, not to mention another 140, paves the pay for a 13-darter which restores his slender lead in this compelling final.
Anderson 6-7 Suljovic
Suljovic spurns a chance to go 7-5 up when missing double 14, and Anderson responds by landing double one after hitting single 4 and 2 for an 18-darter.
Anderson 6-6 Suljovic
Wow, another 12-darter from Suljovic, with the aid of his fourth 180 and other visits of 137 and 140 means he's now averaging 108! And they said he'd struggle to live with Anderson's scoring!
Anderson 5-6 Suljovic
- Anderson: 105.7
- Suljovic: 106.16
- Anderson: 4
- Suljovic: 3
- Anderson: 33.33%
- Suljovic: 38.46%
- Anderson 84
- Suljovic 81
Suljovic isn't fazed by losing his throw as he breaks back immediately. He opens the leg with his third 180 of the match while further visits of 100, 140 and a checkout of 81 complete an 11-darter.
Anderson 5-5 Suljovic
Visits of 177, 140 and 100 set up a superb 12-darter for Anderson, who takes out 84 for his second break of the match. His average is a shade under 107 as he begins to find another gear.
Anderson 5-4 Suljovic
Steady play from from Anderson as he levels the scores once again by taking out 68 in three darts, finishing on tops. His average is now over 105.
Anderson 4-4 Suljovic
Both players are now averaging around 104 but share similar poor checkout percentages in the mid 20s. However, in this leg there's clinical finishing from Suljovic, as he nails double 14 with his third dart to checkout from 71. Anderson's fourth 180 of the match therefore ends up being in vain.
Anderson 3-4 Suljovic
Suljovic pins his favourite double 14 to break back with a 14-darter straight after the mini interval. He's scoring much heavier than in previous rounds, averaging over 102 - more than Anderson so far.
Anderson 3-3 Suljovic
The Flying Scotsman puts himself on course for his second nine-darter of the tournament after opening this leg with back-to-back 180s, but despite missing out this time, he's still able to come back with a 76 checkout to earn the first break of the match.
Anderson 3-2 Suljovic
Anderson overcomes two more missed darts at a double (he's now missed eight in these opening four legs) to level the scores and both players are now averaging around 100 despite that poor start.
Anderson 2-2 Suljovic
Anderson weighs in with his first 180 of the match but Suljovic nails his second en route to an impressive 12-darter which restores his early lead.
Anderson 1-2 Suljovic
An angry Anderson gets off the mark with a solid 15-darter but only after missing three more darts at a double. Interestingly it's Suljovic leading the 180s count at 1-0!
Anderson 1-1 Suljovic
LEG ONE, SULJOVIC TO THROW FIRST
Nervous finishing from both players in this first leg, with Anderson blowing chances to break by missing four doubles while Suljovic eventually holds with his fifth attempt, pinning double two.
Anderson 0-1 Suljovic
1918: Right, let battle commence!
1915: While the players make their way to the stage, here is a quick look at their routes to the final and their tournament stats
- First round: 10-7 v Stephen Bunting
(Ave: 96.66, 180s: 5, Doubles: 10/31)
- Second round: 11-9 v Raymond van Barneveld
(Ave: 104.17, 180s: 5, Doubles: 11/23)
- Quarter-finals: 19-17 v Joe Cullen
(Ave: 97.13, 180s: 12, Doubles: 19/57)
- Semi-finals: 17-12 v Jeffrey de Zwaan
(Ave: 106.06, 180s: 16, Doubles: 17/45)
- First round: 10-6 v Steve Beaton
(Ave: 93, 180s: 4, Doubles: 10/28)
- Second round: 11-8 v Ian White
(Ave: 97.21, 180s: 5, Doubles: 11/29)
- Quarter-finals: 16-10 v Darren Webster
(Ave: 98.03, 180s: 9, Doubles: 16/28)
- Semi-finals: 17-13 v Peter Wright
(Ave: 90.16, 180s: 3, Doubles: 17/44)
2018 WORLD MATCHPLAY STATS (Anderson first)
- Legs Won/Lost: 57/45 - 54/37
- 3-dart Average: 100.78 - 94.27
- 180s: 38 - 21
- 100+ checkouts: 6 - 7
- Highest checkout: 152 - 151
- Checkout %: 36.54% (57/156) - 41.86% (54/129)
1912: Much has been made of how Suljovic's style has made Anderson's life uncomfortable but he has won the last two matches, with one of them crucially being a longer format match.
HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD (Click on scorelines for report & stats)
- Overall: 4-4
- 2018 Meeting
Anderson 7-5 Suljovic - Premier League
- Other meetings
Anderson 16-12 Suljovic - Grand Slam of Darts QF, Nov '17
Anderson 9-11 Suljovic - Champions League Final, Sep '17
Anderson 3-10 Suljovic - Champions League Groups, Sep '17
Anderson 4-6 Suljovic - Players Championship, April '17
Anderson 6-5 Suljovic - Players Championship, March '17
Anderson 6-5 Suljovic - Players Championship, August '16
Anderson 9-13 Suljovic - World Matchplay, July '15
1910: He's almost won everything in darts, but how much does he want this World Matchplay title?
1908: Here's a few facts about both players ahead of tonight's showdown...
GARY ANDERSON FACTS
- Nickname: The Flying Scotsman
- Date of Birth: 22/12/1970
- Nationality: Scottish
- World Ranking: 4
- Walk-on music: Jump Around, House of Pain
- Career highlights: 2x World Champion (2015, 2016), 2x Premier League champion (2011, 2015), UK Open champion (2018), Players Championship Finals champion (2014), over 30 other PDC titles, runner-up in 10 other major finals including the World Championship, UK Open, World Grand Prix & Champions League of Darts
MENSUR SULJOVIC FACTS
- Nickname: The Gentle
- Date of Birth: 05/03/1972
- Nationality: Austrian
- World Ranking: 6
- Walk-on music: Simply The Best, Tina Turner
- Career highlights: Champions League of Darts champion (2017), winner of five non-televised PDC titles
1906: Here are my best bets for the action, for anyone wanting a punt (I got four out of six bets correct yesterday!)...
- Anderson to win, hit over 8.5 180s and a checkout of over 118.5 at 11/10
- Anderson to score over 12.5 180s at 3/1
- Under 28.5 total legs in the match at 2/1
- Over 18.5 180s in the match, under 29.5 legs and 4 or more 100+ checkouts in the match at 8/1
1905: In all honestly, the Flying Scotsman was far better during his victory over the giant-killing Jeffrey de Zwaan last night, averaging 106.06 and unleashing a barrage of 16 180s and three 100+ checkouts, including a stunner from 152, to thrill the Winter Gardens crowd. He did that in spite of missing 27 doubles!
He may struggle to score as highly if Mensur Suljovic slows his rhythm down so really he needs to improve on that finishing otherwise the Austrian could exploit his only slight Achilles heel.
It wouldn't be the first time either, with Suljovic defeating him twice in last year's Champions League of Darts, including the final.
1902: Before we get onto tonight's action, let's quickly remind ourselves of Gary Anderson's nine-dart finish in that stunning game against Joe Cullen on Thursday night! More of the same tonight?
1900: After eight thrilling days, 30 (mostly) cracking games and no shortage of drama, including a perfect leg, we've reached the climax at the Winter Gardens, where a first-time winner will lift the newly-named Phil Taylor Trophy.
Both Gary Anderson, who hit that special nine-darter against Joe Cullen (click here to watch), and Mensur Suljovic are playing in their first Blackpool final but the Flying Scotsman is the favourite to triumph.
Should he do so, the Flying Scotsman will become just the third player of all time behind Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen to complete the Triple Crown of Darts, which also consists of the World Championship and Premier League.
Although the 47-year-old had won those two prestigious titles twice each, he had never previously reached the final at the Winter Gardens in his nine previous visits to Blackpool – but now he has a chance to complete the set.