Andrew Gilding admits he shouldve never won UK Open after 300-mile drive

Andrew Gilding admitted he didn't know how he managed to win the UK Open after driving more than 300 miles just to take part in Minehead.

At 52, Gilding caused a major shock by beating Michael van Gerwen 11-10 in a thrilling finale, bagging himself £110,000 in the process. And that was despite 'MVG' being on the brink when at 9-9, he nailed a superb 170 checkout – only for Gilding to force a last-leg decider.

Even then the three-time world champion missed a shot at double 16 for the title, and Gilding pounced to nail a 13-dart leg to claim his first ever major darts title. The win came eight years after the Englishman last shone on the same stage, reaching the semi-finals in 2015 where he was beaten by Van Gerwen.

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And afterwards, a humble Gilding was asked what it was about the tournament that inspired him: "I have no idea," he confessed. "There's a 300 plus mile drive so it shouldn't be a good place for me. I should be tired when I get here. I don't know what it is."

As for avenging his final four defeat against darts icon MVG, he put his composed display down to increased exposure to the big events: "I just can't believe it. I've played Michael a few times and it was about time I beat him."

"Yeah that is something that has come with experience," he continued. "I didn't feel any nerves at all tonight really. It's just doing it more. I don't think you can actually practice for the stage and big games, you just got to go through it a few times and get used to it."

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The victory completed a remarkable career turnaround for Gilding, who lost his tour card in late 2018 and didn't regain it again for another three years: "I lost my tour card because I was getting a bit lazy," he admitted, before vowing to win big again.

"So I started to take it more seriously in the last couple of years and then got my card back, and decided to give it a real good go. I think darts is biased towards the older person. I don't know what it is but I'm happy about it. I'm gonna have to win another major, I don't know which one."

Indeed, Gilding wasn't the only veteran to impress. Welshman Richie Burnett rolled back the years to beat Peter Wright in the last 16, before losing against Dimitri Van den Bergh in the last eight.


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