Defiant Dave Chisnall (pictured) failed to dethrone Phil Taylor in the final of the Grand Slam of Darts at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Sunday night but took the 16-times world champion right down to the wire.
Trailing 5-0 and then 7-3 and 9-5, the son of St Helens battled back to level the scores at 10-10 going into a crucial break.
But Taylor, seeking his sixth title in the event, kept his nerve in a tension-charged finale to run out a 16-13 winner, picking up a first prize of £100,000 and leaving Chisnall a handsome consolation worth £50,000.
It was the biggest match of Chisnall’s career to date and despite defeat his army of fans will be hoping he can build on his achievements when the world championships get under way next month.
Taylor is fully aware of the threat Chisnall poses to the rest of the darting world.
After his victory, the Potteries ace said: “Dave never gave up and is an incredible player. It was extremely tough for me out there’’.
Chisnall admitted a slow start had cost him the chance to win a first major title in the PDC.
“I’m happy with my performance over the last week but the final got away from me at the beginning,” said the 34-year-old.
He added: “You can’t give Phil Taylor a 5-0 lead, and even though I’ve been further behind this week, Phil was too good in the end.”
In the semi-final, Taylor also had overcome Chisnall’s fellow St Helens-born player Michael Smith, cruising to a 16-3 victory over an out-of-sorts opponent. A third St Helens player, Stephen Bunting, reached the quarter final stages where he lost to Mervyn King.