Team Unicorn star Kyle Anderson banged in a brilliant 9-darter at the European Championship.
But he suffered heartbreak losing his semi-final 11-10 to Michael van Gerwen after the Australian missed two match darts to win in the deciding leg!
Van Gerwen went on to win a fourth consecutive European Championship title as he beat Rob Cross 11-7 in the final. Cross matched Van Gerwen dart for dart for 10 legs before the Dutch ace pulled away to win with an average of 109!
But in one of the most dramatic matches in the 10-year history of the tournament, Kyle Anderson played one of the best games of his career but just came up short.
His second televised 9-darter earns him a £25,000 bonus to add to £20,000 in prize money, but missing out a place in the final will hurt Kyle. It would also have clinched him a spot at the Grand Slam of Darts.
"I loved every minute of it," he said. "I gave it my all. I had my opportunity and I had my shot and I didn't take it. Of course I'm disappointed but I can't let it get me down. I move on with confidence and belief."
It really was a case of delight to disappointment for the Unicorn ace.....so close but yet so far against the World No.1
Anderson led 2-0 before Van Gerwen got going to win six out of the next seven legs. But Kyle was superb as he kept hitting back. The magical 9-darter came in the 11th leg....180, 180 and 141 to add to the perfect leg that he hit at the World Championship.
He managed to keep his focus too. After Van Gerwen missed three darts to lead 9-5, Kyle stepped in to take his 180 tally to 11 and win four straight legs for a 9-8 advantage.
However, he missed two darts at D12 to allow the Dutchman to level and Van Gerwen then nailed a 121 finish to move 10-9 up. Anderson bravely stepped in to take out 61 to break back and force that nail-biting deciding leg.
It was agony though for the Aussie as he blew two match darts at D10 and D5 and Van Gerwen took out 76 with two darts to pinch a thriller.
Michael Smith's European Championship ended in bitter disappointment as he was beaten 10-4 by Rob Cross. He looked flat throughout the quarter-final and never really threatened his opponent. From 3-3, Cross won four straight legs, including finishes of 130 and 116 and that was that.
Smith did manage a first maximum as he stopped the rot, but Cross was too good with five 180s, 10/18 on the doubles and a 101 average. The Unicorn man will feel this is another missed opportunity.
But this was Van Gerwen's day in Hasselt again.
European Championship results - Q/Finals:
Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Simon Whitlock
Kyle Anderson 10-7 Mensur Suljovic
Daryl Gurney 10-5 Peter Wright
Rob Cross 10-4 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Kyle Anderson
Rob Cross 11-3 Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen 11-7 Rob Cross
From STUART PYKE in Belgium
Photo courtesy PDC