JUSTIN Pipe is reaping the rewards of years of hard graft at the oche, according to the Premier League ace who has had a front row seat for much of his rise.
Fellow Somerset-based Professional Darts Corporation star Gary Anderson is a regular on the practice board with North Curry’s Pipe, travelling to competitions across Europe together.
The heavy hitting Scot has seen his 41-year-old friend rise from emerging talent to a world top ten contender, with appearances at semi-finals in both the World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals.
Anderson – ranked 17th globally – avenged December defeat at Minehead in the competition that sees the culmination of the year’s ProTour rounds by beating Pipe in the final of last month’s German Darts Championship.
However, he admitted sinking Pipe was tough to swallow as both players missed doubles to win, with Anderson’s opponents attributing a temporary loss of composure to a determination to dedicate victory to his late brother.
Anderson – who plays fellow countryman Robert Thornton in Thursday’s Betway Premier League – said: “Justin over the past couple of years has come on leaps and bounds. He’s put in the real hard work and it’s beginning to pay off – you can really see that.
“The final wasn’t the best of games, we play better in practice. I had two darts to win and missed, Justin had three and missed before I pipped him on D10.
“It was hard playing a mate and it was the last game in a long, long day. He was probably sick to lose it and I would have been the same. But it’s on to the next one.”
Anderson crashed out of the second European Tour event at the hands of Vincent van der Voort, the home ace winning the deciding 11th leg in the Dutch Darts Masters.
The 43-year-old former World Championship semi-finalist had triumphed 7-2 over Simon Whitlock in the Premier League just days before and is hopeful a flying start to 2014 will have banished what he believes to be unfair criticism of his finishing.
Asking if he had been bothered by references to his perceived double woes, Anderson said: “It has in the last couple of years because anything that was being I said I was listening to.
“It was always about my doubles, but if you step back and look at the games I have played in there are a lot of players who have been worse off with their doubles percentages. I’ve worked hard with the doubles and they have been fine.”
Watch Gary Anderson's video interview following Thursday's Betway Premier League win...