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Nic Ladds 5th Mar 2010 - 10:46

Super Taylor hits back against Barney

PHIL TAYLOR maintained his 100 percent start to the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts season with an 8-2 rout of Raymond van Barneveld at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter.

The 15-time World Champion came from 2-0 down to win eight successive legs against the Dutchman, who was condemned to defeat for a third successive game writes Lawrence Lustig of the PDC.

Taylor sealed victory with a 116 checkout to ensure that he remains two points clear of Mervyn King ahead of their meeting at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester next week.

"I'm pleased to get the win but I felt the pressure a little bit and started slowly," said Taylor. I expected Raymond to click into gear but when I went in front his head dropped and he wasn't the same player.

"When you see a weakness you have to exploit your opponent and hit them hard, and that's what people are doing to Raymond at the moment."

King picked up his third win of the season with an impressive 8-5 win over Terry Jenkins, winning four of the game's final five legs to pull clear for victory.

Ronnie Baxter won his second successive match, seeing off Simon Whitlock 8-6 in a thriller.

Baxter led 4-1 and 7-4 but missed ten match darts as Whitlock hit back to force a deciding leg, only for the Blackpool-based star to land double ten for the win.

The night's other game at Exeter's Westpoint Arena saw reigning champion James Wade pick up his first point of the season with a draw against Adrian Lewis.

Wade made an electric start with finishes of 148 and 104 in assuming a 3-0 lead, and after Lewis hit back to level the left-hander produced a classy 132 checkout of bull, bull and double 16 in leading 7-4 - only for the Stoke star to win the final three legs and claim a point.

Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts
Week Four - Westpoint Arena, Exeter
James Wade 7-7 Adrian Lewis
Ronnie Baxter 8-6 Simon Whitlock
Mervyn King 8-5 Terry Jenkins
Raymond van Barneveld 2-8 Phil Taylor


JAMES WADE was denied his first win of the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts season as Adrian Lewis snatched a point from a thriller in Exeter.

Reigning champion Wade hit three ton-plus finishes in taking a 7-4 cushion against Lewis, but failed to close out victory as the Stoke youngster grabbed a draw.

Wade shook of his below-par form of the opening three weeks with a blistering start to the contest at the Westpoint Arena, bringing the 4,000-strong crowd to its feet in the opening two legs with checkouts of 148 and 104.

He then hit a 180 to set up a double 12 finish for a 13-darter in the third leg as he took a 3-0 lead, only for Lewis to hit back in style.

Lewis landed his first 180 of the game in taking the fourth leg, and punished two missed doubles from Wade in taking out a 13-dart finish of his own to pull back to 3-2.

Lewis then levelled the game by taking the sixth leg, and returned from the break to open the next leg with a maximum - which was matched by Wade before the left-hander landed double ten to regain the lead.

Lewis took out a brilliant 134 checkout to take leg eight, only for double six to edge Wade back in front before the world number three produced a brilliant 132 checkout of bull, bull and double 16 in moving 6-4 up.

A missed bullseye from Lewis, for a 161 finish, was then punished in leg 11 as Wade followed up a 171 score with double 18 to ensure his first point of the season.

Lewis fired in a fifth 180 of the game in taking the next leg, and a 14-darter against the throw ensured the game would go to a decider.

Wade kicked off with a maximum, but Lewis hit a 180 of his own to take him to the finish first, and he returned from a missed bullseye to land double four and secure a draw.

"I gave myself enough opportunities to win the game but 18 months ago I would have killed the game off and I'm not doing that at the moment," said Wade.

"It's my own fault because I didn't play well enough to finish the game off, but hopefully this was a glimmer of the James Wade that is there.

"Perhaps this is a building block for me, and I'm not as negative as I have been for the past three weeks and I know if I turn up and play I can beat anybody on my day."

Lewis said: "I knew James would be determined to get his first win tonight but I went out there and dealt with it.

"Other players have been hitting big finishes against me recently and he did a few against me - the 132 finish was fantastic - and when I went 7-4 down I hit the scores and put the pressure on.

"If I'd been 7-4 up and in James' shoes, I'd have been so relaxed that I'd have won but he hadn't got a point on the board and it's different for him."


RONNIE BAXTER claimed his second victory of the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts with an 8-6 win in a dramatic clash with Simon Whitlock at the Westpoint Arena.

Baxter took leads of 4-1 and 7-4 against the Australian, but almost allowed Whitlock to grab a draw when he missed ten match darts before finally nailing double ten for the win.

He made an explosive start to kick off the match with a 180, and won the opening leg in 11 darts before double ten for a 13-darter put him two legs up.

Double eight for a break of throw got Whitlock off the mark, but Baxter produced back-to-back 15-dart finishes on double ten in moving three legs clear.

Whitlock produced finishes of 74 and 76 in taking the next two to pull back to 4-3, but was denied a chance to level as Baxter fired in a 177 and double top to lead 5-3.

The Australian missed the bullseye to take the ninth leg as double 16 gave Baxter a three-leg cushion, although Whitlock hit the same bed to win the next.

The pair traded 180s in leg 11, with Baxter taking out double five with his third dart to secure a 7-4 cushion and ensure he would avoid defeat.

Whitlock battled back with a 180 in the next, and stepped in after Baxter missed two darts at double 16 for victory to land double five and stay in the game.

Baxter then missed seven match darts in leg 13, as double top from Whitlock ensured a decider - but it was the Englishman who prevailed with a 14-darter against the throw to seal victory.

"I started well and went into the break, and managed to hold that," said Baxter. "I didn't falter except a few doubles, but it's such a relief to get the win again because it would have hurt if I'd not got that winning leg!"

Whitlock admitted: "I felt good but I didn't settle down on stage and I'm disappointed. He started fantastically and it was hard to come back from that."


MERVYN KING inflicted a first defeat of the 2010 Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts season on Terry Jenkins with an 8-5 victory at Exeter's Westpoint Arena.

Jenkins had taken a win and two draws from the tournament's opening three weeks, but was edged out by a fine King performance.

King won the game's opening two legs, hitting double six for a 72 finish and double 16 in the second, before being punished as Jenkins landed a 14-darter to get off the mark.

A fine 116 checkout for a 12-dart leg saw Jenkins level, and the pair traded the next four legs to leave the scores poised at four-all.

Two missed darts at double eight gave Jenkins his chance to edge ahead, but crucially he was off-target on tops as King returned to take his opportunity.

The duo swapped maximums in the tenth leg before King moved two clear at 6-4, but he saw a dart at tops for a 160 finish in the next land on the wrong side of the wire as Jenkins hit the same bed to halve the arrears.

However, he missed his chance to level again in leg 12, as double 16 gave King his seventh leg before he powered over the winning line, hitting two 180s in a 12-dart finish to wrap up the victory.

"It's always nice to beat Terry because he's such a battler," said King. "Usually when you give him a sniff he takes it, but luckily he missed a couple of chances and it's nice to come out on the right end of the result."

Jenkins admitted: "I kept with Mervyn but when he made a mistake I didn't punish him, and you can't afford to do that against him.

"I knew I had to break him at four-all and I think that was my big chance, but my dart at double top was just the wrong side of the wire. Overall, my performances are a bit patchy at the moment and I need to be more consistent."


PHIL TAYLOR won eight successive legs to defeat Raymond van Barneveld 8-2 in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts at Exeter's Westpoint Arena.

Dutch star van Barneveld took the game's opening two legs in making an ideal start to his search for a first win over the 15-time World Champion in over 18 months.

But he failed to maintain the pressure as Taylor levelled and then punished two missed darts from van Barneveld in the fifth before pulling away to claim a fourth successive victory in this year's Premier League.

"I'm pleased to get the win but I felt the pressure a little bit and started slowly," said Taylor. I expected Raymond to click into gear but when I went in front his head dropped and he wasn't the same player.

"I seemed to settle down a bit but it wasn't my best performance."

Taylor certainly began below-par, hitting only one ton in the opening leg as van Barneveld capitalised on double four before then taking out double 19 to win the second leg.

The Dutchman missed a dart at the bullseye for a 128 finish in the third, with Taylor checking out double 16 to get off the mark before squaring the game with a fine 12-dart finish, featuring three ton-plus scores and a 96 finish.

Taylor kicked off the fifth leg with his first maximum of the night, and a brace of missed darts at double top from van Barneveld allowed him to hit the same bed and take the lead.

World number one Taylor added another 180 in the sixth leg, which he took on double 16, before a second 12-dart finish saw him move 5-2 up.

Van Barneveld was punished for another missed double in leg eight - this time at double 16 for 110 finish - as Taylor took out 77 in two darts to lead by four legs.

A 13-darter against the throw, where Taylor hit three scores of 96 before a 177 set up double 18, saw the Stoke great move to the brink of victory, which was sealed in style with a 116 checkout.

"When you see a weakness you have to exploit your opponent and hit them hard, and that's what people are doing to Raymond at the moment," added Taylor.

"I think he needs to be a bit more competitive and he's missing out on some major tournaments. It's like playing football and having two or three weeks off, you're not going to be match fit and I think he's got to start thinking about playing in more tournaments now."

Lawrence Lustig of the PDC.


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