PHIL TAYLOR got back to winning ways in the McCoy’s Premier League Darts with a 7-2 victory over Wes Newton in Cardiff on Thursday night, as Adrian Lewis blew the relegation battle wide open with a superb win against Robert Thornton.
AYLOR ENDS LOSING RUN AS LEWIS PICKS UP KEY McCOY’S PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS WIN IN CARDIFF
Reigning Premier League champion Taylor had suffered defeats in his last two games as he slipped out of the top four – and knew that a further loss at the Motorpoint Arena would see him suffer an unwanted treble for the first time since the event began in 2005.
However, he dropped only two legs in sweeping aside Newton, hitting finishes of 126 and 115 as he sent the Fleetwood ace to the foot of the table with only two weeks to go before the bottom two players are relegated.
“There was a lot of pressure on me tonight,” admitted Taylor, who averaged 101 in the win. “It’s the toughest Premier League there’s ever been and I’ve been worried that I might not even qualify for the top eight in a couple of weeks.
“But Wes let me off a little bit and he didn’t play as well as he can, and he’s a lot better than he showed tonight.”
Newton now sits two points adrift at the foot of the table, with Adrian Lewis having moved above Gary Anderson and onto five points as he edged out Robert Thornton 7-5.
Thornton landed a 161 checkout as he sent the game into a decider, but Lewis followed an earlier 155 finish by landing a key double five to earn both points in front of a capacity 4,000 crowd at the Motorpoint Arena.
The triumph takes the world number two off the bottom of the table for the first time this season as he extended his unbeaten run to three games, as Anderson suffered a heavy 7-1 loss to Michael van Gerwen.
“I knew I had to win tonight and I’m delighted I did that,” said Lewis. “The 155 was massive as I went 5-4 up but I let Robert back in and nearly let him get a draw, so I was relieved to get the win in the end.
“When I’m under pressure and my back’s against the wall, I fight back and that’s what I’ve done in the last three weeks.”
Van Gerwen produced superb checkouts of 164, 121 and 120 as he swept to his fourth win of the season, averaging a superb 107.22 in the process as he kept up his brilliant debut campaign.
“I played really well and I’m very happy with this,” said van Gerwen. “My finishing at the beginning of the game was very good with those three ton-plus finishes but I was playing so well that I didn’t give Gary any chances.
“I’m very confident at the moment and I feel like I could play every day! I can’t be relegated any more and I want to keep my place at the top of the table.”
Andy Hamilton defeated Simon Whitlock 7-4 with a typically gritty display as he moved onto eight points in the league table and left the Australian only a point above Lewis and Anderson.
“It was always going to be a crucial game but I love a battle,” said Hamilton, who defeated Taylor a week ago in Manchester.
“We’re all fighting for places and we don’t want to be in the bottom two in a couple of weeks time, so the main thing is that I got another two points and I can relax and enjoy the next couple of games.
“Last week has given me so much confidence and but this game wasn’t going to be about averages. I always had control of the game and even though let it slip a couple of times, I’m delighted I came out on top.”
The night’s other game saw league leader Raymond van Barneveld grab a draw with 2009 champion James Wade to leave the Dutchman tied at the top of the table with van Gerwen following seven weeks.
Van Barneveld led 3-1 early on before Wade hit back to move ahead, and though it was the left-hander who took a 6-5 lead to secure a point, the five-time World Champion hit double eight to share the spoils.
“I’m happy with a draw and it’s another point gained,” said van Barneveld. “I didn’t play my best game and didn’t feel comfortable and sharp on stage but after 3-1 up I probably should have lost.
“I dug in and got a point in the end, and I’m happy to have ten points after seven weeks and be at the top with Michael. I’ve got Phil Taylor in Glasgow next week and I have to sharpen myself up for that game because if I don’t he’ll hammer me.”
Wade admitted: “In my opinion it’s a point lost, but Raymond missed a few doubles during the match too.
“It was important this week to pick up a point and I’ll take that because it could be crucial later in the season.”
The McCoy’s Premier League Darts continues next Thursday with the eighth league night being held in front of a sold-out 6,000 crowd at Glasgow’s SECC, in the penultimate night before the bottom two players are relegated.
After rising to the top of the table, van Gerwen is now the 2/1 joint favourite to win the title alongside Phil Taylor with McCoy’s Premier League Darts official betting sponsors Coral.
Van Barneveld is the 5/1 second favourite, with Wade rated at 9/1, Hamilton 16/1 and Lewis 18/1 to lift the trophy in May, while Whitlock is 20/1, Thornton rated 22/1, Anderson 33/1 and Newton the 250/1 outsider. For full odds, visit www.coral.co.uk.
McCoy’s Premier League Darts
March 21 – Motorpont Arena, Cardiff
Andy Hamilton 7-4 Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson 1-7 Michael van Gerwen
Robert Thornton 5-7 Adrian Lewis
Wes Newton 2-7 Phil Taylor
James Wade 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Latest League Table
P W D L +/- Pts
Michael van Gerwen 7 4 2 1 +15 10
Raymond van Barneveld 7 4 2 1 +10 10
Phil Taylor 7 3 2 2 +8 8
James Wade 7 3 2 2 +6 8
Andy Hamilton 7 4 0 3 +3 8
Robert Thornton 7 2 3 2 -1 7
Simon Whitlock 7 3 0 4 -5 6
Adrian Lewis 7 2 1 4 -10 5
Gary Anderson 7 2 1 4 -12 ! 5
Wes Newton 7 1 1 5 -14 3
Andy Hamilton v Simon Whitlock
0-0 – Andy Hamilton will throw first
1-0 – Hamilton hits tops to win the opening leg.
1-1 – Hamilton opens with a 180, but Whitlock replies with a maximum and punishes a miss from the Stoke ace at double 16 to return from three misses of his own to hit the bed.
2-1 – Hamilton kicks off with another maximum before hitting double six.
3-1 – The Stoke star breaks throw by hitting double five to move two legs clear.
4-1 – Hamilton wins a third successive leg, initially missing darts at double 16 and eight only to return and land double two after Whitlock missed three darts to break back.
4-2 – Whitlock hits double eight to reduce the arrears as he wins his first leg in four.
5-2 – Double four sees Hamilton win the seventh leg with his fourth dart at a double.
5-3 – Whitlock fires in two 180s as he takes the eighth leg.
5-4 – Whitlock breaks for the first time, finishing 70 in two darts on double eight.
6-4 – The Australian misses tops for a 114 finish, and Hamilton takes out 79 on the same bed to secure at least a point from the game, celebrating with his trademark roar.
7-4 – Hamilton misses double 19 for a 155 finish to seal the win along with two further match darts, but has enough cushion to return and land double two for a key victory.
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
0-0 – Gary Anderson will throw first
0-1 – van Gerwen secures an immediate break of throw by landing double 12 for a 13-darter, with Anderson waiting on 40.
0-2 – van Gerwen brilliantly takes out 121 for a 12-darter, hitting a bullseye, treble 13 and double 16 combination.
0-3 – Anderson misses the bull to finish 85, and van Gerwen takes out 120 for a 15-dart finish to continue his brilliant start.
0-4 – Both players open with 180s, and van Gerwen takes out 164 in stunning fashion for another 12-darter.
1-4 – The pair again trade 180s before van Gerwen this time misses double five to take out 85, and Anderson finishes tops – with only his second dart at a double – to win his opening leg.
1-5 – Anderson lands a third maximum of the game, but van Gerwen is first to a finish as he takes out 43 to win a fifth leg.
1-6 – van Gerwen opens with his own third 180, but initially misses two darts at double 16, only for three misses from Anderson – at double top and ten – to allow the Dutchman back in on double eight.
1-7 – van Gerwen is first to a finish and completes a whirlwind victory by landing double.
Robert Thornton v Adrian Lewis
0-0 – Robert Thornton will throw first
1-0 – Thornton takes out double 18 to win the opening leg.
1-1 – Lewis levels by landing tops.
2-1 – The Scot hits tops to edge back ahead.
2-2 – Lewis hits a 180 as he hits back to square the game.
3-2 – Double 18 from Thornton – after he missed double top in single one with his initial dart to win the leg – sees him win a third leg.
3-3 – Lewis hits a 180 and finishes 58 on tops to level matters.
3-4 – Thornton posts a maximum, but Lewis hits double top to break for the first time as he moves ahead.
4-4 – Thornton levels with a 13-darter, opening with a 180 and finishing double four.
4-5 – Thornton kicks off with a 180 but Lewis breaks again by taking out a sensational 155 finish.
4-6 – Lewis misses double 16 but returns to hit the bed to ensure at least a draw.
5-6 – Thornton keeps the game alive with a sensational 161 checkout.
5-7 – Thornton opens with a 180, but Lewis is first to a finish and hits double five to secure his second victory of the season.
Wes Newton v Phil Taylor
0-0 – Wes Newton will throw first
0-1 – Newton misses double five to take out 89 and Taylor posts double ten for an immediate break of throw.
0-2 – Taylor misses tops for a 160 finish, but returns to land double ten again as he moves two legs up.
1-2 – The players trade 180s before Newton hits tops to get off the mark.
1-3 – Taylor hits a 180 to leave 82 and finishes the combination on tops.
1-4 – Newton fires in a third 180, but is left waiting on tops as Taylor takes out 126 on double six.
1-5 – Newton misses double top, and Taylor hits the same bed to move four legs clear.
2-5 – Double 12 from Newton sees him win a second leg of the contest.
2-6 – Taylor finishes 115 on tops to end his losing run – avoiding the threat of a third successive defeat for the first time in Premier League history.
2-7 – Taylor ensures victory by finishing 61 on double eight for a 14-darter to end the contest with an average of 101.72.
James Wade v Raymond van Barneveld
0-0 – James Wade will throw first
1-0 – Wade takes out 118 on tops to win the game’s opening leg.
1-1 – Wade misses six darts at doubles across three visits as he allows a chance to break throw slip away, with van Barneveld finishing double ten to get off the mark.
1-2 – van Barneveld breaks throw to move in front for the first time.
1-3 – Double 16 sees the Dutch ace win a third successive leg.
2-3 – Wade posts a 180, and when van Barneveld misses the bull to finish 161 the left-hander hits back on tops.
3-3 – van Barneveld adds his third 180 of the game, but misses tops as Wade hits the same bed to break back and level.
4-3 – Wade lands a key third-dart tops to move back ahead.
4-4 – van Barneveld misses two darts at double 16, but Wade this time misses tops to allow the Dutchman back to level.
5-4 – Wade finishes 124 on tops to edge back ahead.
5-5 – van Barneveld opens with a 180 and finishes double five for a 13-darter.
6-5 – Wade opens with scores of 177 and 180, and although he misses out on a possible nine-darter, he lands double ten to earn at least a draw.
6-6 – van Barneveld secures a point by hitting double eight in the deciding leg.