PHIL TAYLOR smashed apart the record books with TWO nine-dart finishes in claiming glory in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts, defeating James Wade 10-8 to reclaim the £125,000 title.

Taylor became the first player in darting history to hit two nine-dart finishes in one game with a scintillating performance in the final of the tournament, as he won back the Premier League trophy.

Having avenged last season’s semi-final loss to Mervyn King with a thumping 8-1 triumph, Taylor took to the stage in the final and hit his first Premier League nine-darter in the second leg against Wade.

He went on to achieve the feat again in the 15th leg of the final, halting Wade’s comeback in its tracks with his second nine-darter.

Taylor also hit seven perfect darts in the next leg, settling for a ten-darter which edged him to the brink of victory before eventually sealing a 10-8 triumph.

“I’m a very proud man,” said Taylor. “I’ve won every title in the PDC and I don’t think I can ever do better than this – it’s the proudest day of my life.

“Everything I’ve done for the last 30 years has all come together. It’s been my dream to do this.”

The night was a joyous one for Taylor, whose bid to reclaim the title had been delayed by 24 hours due to a power cut on Sunday in the north London area.

However, he showed few signs of that affecting him by producing the season’s highest average so far in seeing off King 8-1 in the semis.

King was restricted to only four darts at a double in the game, with Taylor’s accuracy on double top in the first five legs effectively ending any chance of a repeat of his victory at the same stage last year.

King did take the sixth leg of the game, but Taylor replied with a 164 finish and swept to victory with an average of 107.98.

That was bettered in the final, as Taylor overcame Wade’s brave challenge to retain the title in a thriller.

Wade won through to the final with an 8-6 defeat of Australian Simon Whitlock, and kicked off the final with a 180, taking the opening leg in 12 darts with a fine 136 checkout.

Taylor replied in style, opening leg two with a 174 score, which he followed up with a 180 and then a 147 finish of treble 20, treble 17 and double 18 to record the first nine-dart finish in a televised final.

A classy 110, of single 20, bullseye and double top, put him 2-1 up before Wade levelled on double top after the World Champion missed the bullseye for a 132 checkout.

Taylor found an extra gear to take the next three legs, taking out 86 for the fifth leg, an 11-darter which featured scores of 177 and 180 to break throw and then double top for a 5-2 cushion.

Wade left double top with a 171 score in hitting back, only for double 16 to give Taylor a sixth leg.

Wade hit a 180 and a 121 bullseye finish to take the tenth, only for Taylor to reply in kind with a maximum and an 82 checkout of bullseye and double 16 for a 7-4 lead.

Wade took a key 12th leg on double ten before edging a scrappy 13th as the tension rose, with Taylor missing the bull and two darts at double eight before Wade landed double two to cut the gap to one leg.

The pair then traded maximums in the next, with Wade first to a finish and posting double top to square the match at seven-all.

Taylor, rattled by Wade’s revival, kicked off the 15th leg with a 180, which he repeated on his second visit to the oche before landing a 141 finish to create history with his second nine-darter of the game – raising the Wembley Arena roof.

Taylor also set up a potential third nine-darter of the game when he opened the next with scores of 174 and 180, only to miss his eighth dart, at treble 17, with double eight for a ten-dart finish putting him into a 9-7 lead.

However, three missed darts at double top for the match in the next allowed Wade to finish 64 on double top.

Taylor, though, found a tenth 180 of the game to open the next leg and finished 88 on double 14 for a 12-darter in taking back the coveted trophy – presented by famous actor, comedian and TV presenter Stephen Fry.

“It’s absolutely incredible and possibly the greatest moment of my career,” said Taylor, who had claimed a 15th World Championship title in January and has dominated the sport for 20 years.

“I knew it was possible to hit two nine-darters in one game and I said to [former world number one and Sky Sports pundit] Rod Harrington in the break after six legs of the final that I thought there could be a second in our game.

“I was playing well enough and James was improving too. You put him under pressure and he hits you back hard to put pressure on you not to miss doubles.

“I was nice and relaxed going into the final and am delighted to do that for the fans who turned out after the postponement yesterday and with an England football game on next door at Wembley.”

Wade, who picks up £65,000 as runner-up, admitted: “It was an incredible game and in a way it’s a compliment that Phil hit two nine-darters to beat me.

“The score was 10-8 so those two legs were the difference and I don’t think that two nine-darters will ever be seen again in such a short format.

“Phil played better than me and that’s why he won. I’ve played better and know I can play better but I wasn’t good enough tonight and am not good enough to win tournaments against him at the moment.”

King bounced back from his semi-final loss to claim victory in the third place play-off, and a £50,000 prize, with an 8-7 win over Whitlock.

Australian Whitlock had finished second in the league phase but was left with the £40,000 fourth place prize money after seeing King come from 7-5 down to take the win.

The trophy presentation by Stephen Fry capped a memorable night for the TV personality, who also commentated for Sky Sports alongside Sid Waddell and Rod Harrington for the Phil Taylor-Mervyn King semi-final.

Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts Play-Offs
May 24 – Wembley Arena, London
Semi-Finals

Simon Whitlock 6-8 James Wade
Phil Taylor 8-1 Mervyn King

Third Place Play-Off
Simon Whitlock 7-8 Mervyn King

Final
James Wade 8-10 Phil Taylor
* Phil Taylor hits two nine-dart finishes

SEMI-FINALS
JAMES WADE 8-6 SIMON WHITLOCK

JAMES WADE remains on course to retain the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts title following an 8-6 semi-final victory over Simon Whitlock at the Wembley Arena.

Reigning champion Wade jumped into the play-off places in the 14th and final weekly round, and continued his march by progressing to the final.

Whitlock had finished second in the league table in his debut Premier League season, but the deadly doubling which had seen him power through the eight-player field deserted him in the semi-finals.

He missed six darts at a double in the opening two legs as Wade opened up a 2-0 lead, although double eight in the third got the Australian off the mark after the pair traded maximum scores.

Wade broke back with a 180 and a two-dart 83 finish, before double ten gave the left-hander a 4-1 cushion.

Wade missed chances at the bullseye in the next two legs, as Whitlock hit back to cut the gap to one leg before trading 180s with the reigning champion in leg eight.

It was Whitlock who reached the double first, with double eight levelling the match, before he then hit the front by taking out 70 on double top to move 5-4 up.

He was also waiting on a finish in the next, but Wade landed a killer blow with a superb 107 finish to square the game.

A clinical 81 gave Wade the advantage once again, although Whitlock hit back to level.

Double eight, though, saw Wade edge a leg away from the win, and he defied a 180 from Whitlock to post double five in the next and move into the final.

“I’m delighted to be in the final,” said Wade. “I had a bad start to the season but hopefully I’m coming good now and I’ll give it everything in the final.

“It wasn’t my best performance but the 107 checkout was vital and I managed to finish the job.”

Whitlock admitted: “The 107 won him the game.

“Missing early doubles cost me and I was playing catch-up for a long time. It’s disappointing not to reach the final and I’m pretty gutted because I played badly.”

PHIL TAYLOR 8-1 MERVYN KING
PHIL TAYLOR dropped only one leg in marching into the final of the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts with a superb semi-final win over Mervyn King.

Taylor produced the year’s highest average at 107.98 to avenge last season’s loss to King at the same stage, restricting his opponent to only four darts at a double in the game.

Taylor opened the match with a 13-dart finish, hitting double top for the first of five successive legs where he arrowed clinically into the same bed.

A miss at the bed allowed King in to take the sixth leg on double two, but Taylor returned from the break to hit a sensational 164 checkout.

That moved him 6-1 up, and double 16 put him to the brink of victory, with a third 180 of the game and another double 16 checkout sealing progression to his fifth Premier League Darts final in six years.

“I’m over the moon that I’m back in the final,” said Taylor.

“Mervyn has been so consistent for the last four months and it’s a shame he didn’t play as well as that in the semi-finals. He’s very dedicated, a really good player and

“The average probably sends a message out to James but my finishing was good against Mervyn and it will need to be in the final too.”

THIRD PLACE PLAY-OFF
MERVYN KING 8-7 SIMON WHITLOCK

MERVYN KING won the final three legs without reply to take third place in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League with an 8-7 defeat of Simon Whitlock.

The duo returned to the Wembley Arena stage following their semi-final losses to battle in the first Premier League Darts third place play-off, with a £50,000 prize on offer to the winner and £40,000 to the losing player.

King took three of the game’s opening four legs to open up a 3-1 lead, only for Whitlock to hit a 180 in breaking throw in leg five, a 120 finish to level and 94 to move 4-3 up.

Whitlock levelled on double 16 before a 100 finish edged King back ahead – only for the Australian to punish missed doubles from his opponent in taking the next three legs.

At 7-5, Whitlock had one hand on the third-placed finish, but he failed to make King pay for bursting his score in the 13th leg – hitting double 11 instead of double eight – as the world number four returned to the oche to hit the double at the second time of asking.

King landed a 180 for the second successive leg to ensure a decider, which he won on double four to take the £50,000 third placed finish.