taylor-ladbrokes-09PHIL TAYLOR whitewashed qualifier Steve Grubb to make a strong start to his Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship challenge.

Taylor failed to drop a single leg against the pub landlord from Somerset, ruthlessly powering to victory without his opponent reaching a double at Alexandra Palace.

“It’s a relief to get the win,” admitted Taylor. “It was a different game to what I’m used to because Steve was struggling and I felt for him.

“Normally against a player, what they do motivates you but I had to try and motivate myself – you react to what they do.”

Taylor will meet Michael van Gerwen next Saturday in the second round, a year after the Dutch youngster pushed him all the way at Alexandra Palace.

Van Gerwen showed newfound maturity to come from a set down to defeat America’s Darin Young in their first round game.

“Darin’s a slow player and I’m very quick so it was very difficult to play him,” said van Gerwen. “About two years ago I joined the PDC and I’m proud that I’ve learned to play against different types of players.”

Youngster Kevin McDine made an assured debut in the World Championship with a 3-1 defeat of Alex Roy, meaning he will now take on Dennis Smith – the conqueror of number five seed Terry Jenkins – after Christmas.

Emerging star Alan Tabern was another impressive winner on Saturday evening, defeating Steve Beaton in straight sets, while American David Fatum earned a clash with Wayne Mardle thanks to a 6-4 preliminary round defeat of Ireland’s Shane O’Connor.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship – Saturday
First Round (Preliminary Round games denoted by (P))
Afternoon Session
Dennis Smith (ENG) 3-1 Terry Jenkins (ENG)
Shi Yongsheng (CHI) 6-4 Hannes Schnier (AUT) (P)
Kevin Painter (ENG) 3-2 Matt Clark (ENG)
Dennis Priestley (ENG) 3-0 Warren French (NZ)
Barrie Bates (WAL) 3-0 Felix McBrearty (N.IRE)

Evening Session
Alan Tabern (ENG) 3-0 Steve Beaton (ENG)
David Fatum (USA) 6-4 Shane O’Connor (IRE) (P)
Michael van Gerwen (NED) 3-1 Darin Young (USA)
Phil Taylor (ENG) 3-0 Steve Grubb (ENG)
Kevin McDine (ENG) 3-1 Alex Roy (ENG)

Sunday December 21
1.10pm – Mark Walsh v Jamie Caven
2.15pm – Charles Losper v Sudesh Fitzgerald (P)
3.00pm – Mark Dudbridge v Nick Fullwell
4.00pm – Wes Newton v Per Laursen
5.00pm – Denis Ovens v Steve Maish

7.10pm – Andy Hamilton v Michael Barnard
8.15pm – Remco van Eijden v Anastasia Dobromyslova (P)
9.00pm – Wayne Mardle v David Fatum
10.00pm – Raymond van Barneveld v Mark Stephenson
11.00pm – Peter Manley v Mensur Suljovic

ALAN TABERN 3-0 STEVE BEATON
(3-0, 3-1, 3-2)
ALAN TABERN produced an impressive display to see off Steve Beaton in straight sets in the first round of the 2009 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

The St Helens man has reached four major quarter-finals during 2008 and only dropped three legs in seeing off the former World Champion at Alexandra Palace.

He started with a 91 finish on the bullseye to take the opening leg, and took the first set without reply with a 13 darter that included a maximum.

Tabern opened up a 2-0 lead in the second set, which included another 13-darter, before Beaton got off the mark by landing double nine.

But Tabern took out double six in the next leg to take the set and leave Beaton with an uphill battle.

Tabern built-up a 2-1 lead in the third set and had two darts for victory in the fourth leg, but was punished as Beaton landed double one to keep his slim hopes alive.

A maximum from Beaton was not enough in the set’s deciding leg, as Tabern stepped up to land double eight and book a last 32 clash against Dutchman Co Stompe.

“I didn’t think I played too well but Steve let me off,” said Tabern. “He’s a lot better than he showed but I got through it.

“It’s totally in your mind. You know how good you are but when you go up on stage form goes out of the window and it’s a level playing field.

“I’ve got the game to go all the way and win this tournament, but you have got to produce that on stage and hopefully I will in the rest of the competition.”

DAVID FATUM 6-4 SHANE O’CONNOR
DAVID FATUM edged out Shane O’Connor with a 6-4 victory to earn a first round clash with number eight seed Wayne Mardle at the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

The American led the match 4-2 but was pegged back to four apiece before coming through against the Irish newcomer.

O’Connor, who secured his place in this event by winning the Irish Matchplay, led 2-1 landing double top to take the lead in the third leg.

But the American, a semi-finalist in the PDC US Open back in May, put in a burst to take three legs on the spin and go one leg away from victory.

Fatum, though, then missed a total of seven match darts in the next two legs and O’Connor hit a two-dart 90 finish to level the match at four-all.

In the ninth leg Fatum missed more doubles, but his opponent unable to capitalise and the American regained the lead by landing double two.

And he made no mistake in the next and landed double top to end the challenge of the plucky Irishman.

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN 3-1 DARIN YOUNG
(2-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0)
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN came from a set down to end the American challenge of Darin Young in the first round of the 2009 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

Victory for van Gerwen has set up a potential second round clash against Phil Taylor, which would be a repeat of their classic first round encounter last year.

The first set proved to be tight affair as both players held their throw, with Young winning it by landing double eight in the deciding leg for a 1-0 lead.

The American started the second set well by breaking van Gerwen’s throw, but the Dutchman took the next two legs, hitting a 104 checkout for 2-1 lead.

He hit a maximum in the next and had two darts to take the set, but wasted those opportunities and Young capitalised on his opponent’s mistake to level the set.

The Dutch teenager missed four more darts doubles in the deciding leg, but had the breathing space to do so before levelling the match.

Perhaps feeling a wave of confidence, van Gerwen proved the dominant player from then on, winning six of the next seven legs to power through to the win.

He hit maximums in the second and third legs of set three to up a 2-1 advantage, and then converted a 64 finish to take lead for the first time in the match.

In the fourth set, van Gerwen took advantage of missed doubles by the American, who missed two darts at double ten to level at 1-1, allowing the youngster to lead on double four.

Young then missed three more darts at doubles in the next and van Gerwen hit double top to move into the last 32.

PHIL TAYLOR 3-0 STEVE GRUBB
(3-0, 3-0, 3-0)
PHIL TAYLOR whitewashed qualifier Steve Grubb to make a strong start to his Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship challenge.

Taylor failed to drop a single leg against the pub landlord from Somerset, ruthlessly powering to victory without his opponent reaching a double at Alexandra Palace.

The 13-time World Champion was dominant from the office, taking the opening leg on double 16, the second in 14 darts and the third once more on double 16 for the opening set.

Double top put the Stoke legend ahead in set two before another 14-darter gave him a 2-0 lead, which was extended once again on double 16 as he doubled the advantage.

An 11-darter saw Taylor lead in the third set, and though Grubb began to find his range he was unable to pressure the world number one.

He moved 2-0 up before landing a third maximum of the contest in the next as victory was secured.

“It’s a relief to get the win,” admitted Taylor. “It was a different game to what I’m used to because Steve was struggling and I felt for him.

“He was hitting too high in the 20 bed and it affected my game as well. Normally against a player, what they do motivates you but I had to try and motivate myself – you react to what they do.

“It was bright on stage and very warm too, so I had to get used to that. But I’ve got a week until I play Michael van Gerwen now I’ll go away and work hard in practice.

“I’ve probably been at about 75 percent so far and now I’ll push it to 90-95 percent. There will be plenty of practice and plenty of rest over Christmas – but practice every day!”

Grubb was making his debut in a televised tournament after winning through the PDPA Qualifiers a fortnight ago, and said: “I didn’t perform like I know I can.

“I missed so many darts at the start of a leg at treble 20, just above or a long way above. It felt like I couldn’t drop it in.

“I felt comfortable up there but I couldn’t hit enough big scores. Phil played really well and shut the door on me so many times, and I didn’t get the shots.”

He added: “The last two weeks have been absolutely mental, as regards what has happened in my life, and I will be back.

“This is a bad defeat for me because I can play better. People on the circuit have seen me play better and I will be back – starting with the events on the PDC Pro Tour in January.”

KEVIN McDINE 3-1 ALEX ROY
(3-2, 3-1, 0-3, 3-1)
KEVIN McDINE secured a debut victory in the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a 3-1 defeat of Alex Roy.

McDine, who has worked his way to the brink of the world’s top 32 inside two years as a professional, started the match in fine fashion to build up a 2-1 lead in the opening set.

Four missed doubles in leg four allowed Roy to cash in with a two-dart 56 finish, but the Irthlingborough-based thrower made no mistake in the deciding leg and hit double ten to take advantage.

Roy was struggling to find his rhythm and his throw was broken at the beginning of the second set, which was then compounded by a two-dart 100 checkout from his McDine.

The Watford man managed to hit a 103 finish in the third leg, but McDine wrapped up the set in the next, which included seven perfect darts before taking a 2-0 lead.

Roy started the third set well with a 116 checkout, and won it without reply, completing it with a 14 darter to reduce his arrears to 2-1.

But McDine regained his form of the opening two sets and quickly built up a 2-0 lead in the fourth to go one leg away from victory.

Roy won the next to keep his hopes alive but the 23-year-old won the match in superb style with a 108 finish to book a last 32 encounter against Dennis Smith, who upset fifth seed Terry Jenkins earlier in the day.

“I’m happy to get the win,” said McDine. “I’ve got that out of the way and can look to lift myself for the second round.

“I found it pretty good on stage at first but then I started to struggle. I’m feeling good overall though and that showed when I had the chance at a nine-darter.

“I felt my arm twitch a little bit on the treble 19s and it was a little bit disappointing, but the most important thing was winning and I did that.

“I’m going back home and I’ll have a proper Christmas dinner, which I will be cooking and I’ll have a practice on Christmas Day too.”

COMEBACK kid Dennis Smith dumped Terry Jenkins out of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship to condemn the world number five to further Alexandra Palace misery on Saturday afternoon.

Jenkins was defeated 8-0 on his first visit to Alexandra Palace, against Colin Lloyd in the 2007 Premier League, and went down to Kirk Shepherd in the first round of last year’s World Championship.

His horror show continued with a 3-1 loss to qualifier Smith, who has dropped out of the world’s top 32 in the past 18 months but kick-started his battle up the rankings with a strong display.

Smith led 2-0 before Jenkins, aided by finishes of 118 and 107, took the third set – but his comeback was short-live as the Swindon qualifier won the next without reply to book his second round place.

“Terry didn’t play his ‘A Game’ but I could only concentrate on myself and to beat him is great,” said Smith.

“I was over the moon just to win through the qualifiers but I’ve been practising hard on my finishing and it paid off.”

With defending champion John Part among four seeds who had gone out on the opening night, Jenkins’ defeat piled added pressure on Kevin Painter, the world number 16 who survived a sudden-death shoot-out with Matt Clark.

Painter – the runner-up in 2004 and a semi-finalist last year – held his nerve to edge out the Manchester-based qualifier, and said: “The pressure was incredible.

“It came down a lot to bottle at the end and I’m delighted to be through.”

Two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley had few problems in seeing off New Zealander Warren French in straight sets, while Barrie Bates was a 3-0 winner against Northern Ireland’s Felix McBrearty.

China’s Shi Yongsheng won through the preliminary round for a second successive year in the afternoon session’s other game, defeating Austrian Hannes Schnier 6-4 to set up a first round game with Mervyn King.

Saturday’s evening session includes the start of Phil Taylor’s bid for a 14th World Championship, when he meets debutant Steve Grubb.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship
First Round (Preliminary Round games denoted by (P))
Afternoon Session
Dennis Smith (ENG) 3-1 Terry Jenkins (ENG)
Shi Yongsheng (CHI) 6-4 Hannes Schnier (AUT) (P)
Kevin Painter (ENG) 3-2 Matt Clark (ENG)
Dennis Priestley (ENG) 3-0 Warren French (NZ)
Barrie Bates (WAL) 3-0 Felix McBrearty (N.IRE)

Evening Session
Alan Tabern v Steve Beaton
David Fatum v Shane O’Connor (P)
Michael van Gerwen v Darin Young
Phil Taylor v Steve Grubb
Alex Roy v Kevin McDine

DENNIS SMITH 3-1 TERRY JENKINS
(3-1, 3-1, 0-3, 3-0)
DENNIS SMITH condemned Terry Jenkins to a second successive first round exit at the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship a 3-1 triumph.

Smith enjoyed a superb return to the World Championship, following up his win in the PDPA Qualifiers at the start of December to send the number five seed crashing.

Jenkins has never previously won at Alexandra Palace – losing 8-0 to Colin Lloyd in the 2007 Premier League and to Kirk Shepherd in the first round of last year’s World Championship – and allowing Smith into a two-set lead proved too big a hill to climb this time around.

Jenkins had opportunities to break throw at the start of the match, but was unable to take his chances – missing four darts at doubles as Smith took back-to-back legs from 1-1 to take the first set.

Smith continued his running run of legs by establishing a 2-0 advantage in the second set, breaking throw in the first leg by landing double ten and following that up with a 101 finish.

Jenkins stopped the rot briefly with a 60 checkout to win the third leg, but Smith held throw in the next to take the second set and gain command in the match.

Jenkins, who reached the final of Grand Slam in Wolverhampton last month, started to find his range in the third set.

He converted checkouts of 118 and 107 to take a 2-0 lead, and won the set in the next leg with a 13-dart finish on double top.

However, the Jenkins revival was short-lived as Smith hit an 84 finish to take the first leg of the fourth set.

Jenkins missed three darts at double eight in the second leg and six more opportunities went begging in the third as Smith capitalised by hitting bull for an 84 finish to complete an excellent win.

“I was over the moon just to win through the qualifiers because that’s so tough and there are so many good players outside the top 32,” said Smith.

“Terry’s a class player and I’ve known him a long time but I felt quite comfortable having drawn him.

“He didn’t play his ‘A Game’ but I could only concentrate on myself and to beat him is great. I’ve been practising hard on my finishing and it paid off.

“I’ve had some bad days this year – my father died in September and I felt he was on my shoulder in the qualifiers – but this makes up for everything.”

SHI YONGHSHENG 6-4 HANNES SCHNIER
SHI YONGSHENG defeated Hannes Schnier 6-4 in the preliminary round of the 2009 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship to set up a meeting with Mervyn King.

The Chinese number one led 2-0 but fell 4-3 behind before winning three legs in succession to come through to the last 64 for the second successive year.

Schnier, making his debut at the World Championship, had a nightmare start – missing twelve darts at doubles to allow his opponent to take the opening leg.

He took the second with a clinical 98 finish before Schnier landed double 16 to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

The Austrian lost the next leg to fall 3-1 behind but then won three in a row, including two 180s, to move ahead.

Yongsheng hit back, landing double ten two legs running to lead 5-4 and then took out a 65 finish to set up a clash with Mervyn King.

KEVIN PAINTER 3-2 MATT CLARK
(2-3, 3-1, 3-0, 1-3, 6-5)
KEVIN PAINTER came through a sudden-death thriller to defeat Matt Clark in a titanic struggle at the 2009 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

The world number 16 became the first seed to win their first round contest in the six that have taken place so far – but only by the skin of his teeth.

Painter hit a maximum in the opening leg but missed three darts at double 16, and Clark stepped in with a 76 finish.

Painter won the next, two which included an 83 finish in the third, but Clark came back to win the fourth leg and with the aid of a maximum wrapped up the set for a 1-0 lead.

Painter seed hit 180s in each of the opening two legs to help open up a 2-0 advantage, but missed five darts for the set and Clark landed double 16 to keep the set going.

But the 2004 runner-up made no mistake in the next leg, converting a 46 finish to level the match.

Painter, who reached the semi-finals last year started the third set in fine style with a party-piece 100 finish, which included two double-tops.

He then hit a 126 finish in the second leg before securing the set by landing double top to lead for the first time in the contest.

Clark took the first leg of the fourth before taking the second after Painter missed five darts at doubles.

Painter took the next leg with a 14-dart finish, but Clark hit a 171 to leave 94 in the fourth, which he duly converted to send the match into a deciding set.

Both players managed to hold their own throws in the decider as the score reached five-all, and a sudden-death leg was required to decide the winner.

Clark had the advantage when he won the throw for the bull at the second attempt, but as tension rose that proved to be mean very little.

Painter hit the wire on double 16 to take the match before Clark was off-target on double 12 for a 104 finish, and Painter came back to squeeze his last dart into double eight and set up a second round clash against Carlos Rodriguez next Saturday.

“The pressure was incredible and it came a lot down to bottle at the end,” said Painter. “It was a great game and I’m delighted to be through.

“The first four sets were pretty average but the last set was a high standard and we both lifted our games.

“It’s a huge relief to win. Matt’s played pretty well this year and it’s a big boost to defeat him.

“I’ve not had too many good results in the major events this year and there was pressure on me but I tend to do well in the World Championship and will enjoy Christmas now!”

DENNIS PRIESTLEY 3-0 WARREN FRENCH
(3-1, 3-1, 3-1)
DENNIS PRIESTLEY moved into the last 32 of the 2009 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Warren French.

Priestley, who suffered a first-round defeat last year at the hands of Essex thrower Steve Maish, had no such problems against his New Zealand opponent.

French had won his preliminary round match against Japan’s Akihiro Nakagawa on Friday night and started well by taking the first leg.

But the Yorkshireman won the next three legs, which included the only maximum of the contest, to open up a 1-0 lead.

French broke his opponent’s throw at the start of the second set after Priestley was off-target on two occasions when trying to land double 18, but once again the former World Champion took three legs in succession to open up a 2-0 lead.

French took the lead in the third set but Priestley powered through to win the next three legs, hitting double top to complete the win.

“Warren was a lot better than in his preliminary round game and it was a matter of my doing the job,” said Priestley.

“He played some decent darts but I probably played the opponent rather than the game and need to be more professional in the second round.

“I’m happy with the win though.”

BARRIE BATES 3-0 FELIX McBREARTY
(3-2, 3-1, 3-0)
BARRIE BATES moved into the second round of the 2009 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a straight sets victory over Felix McBrearty.

Bates, who lost to Kirk Shepherd in the last 16 of last year’s event, fell 2-0 down in the opening set before winning the next three legs to steal the lead.

McBrearty, September’s Ireland Open Classic champion, hit a maximum in taking the first leg of the second set.

But the Welshman took a 2-1 lead with consecutive 60 finishes and then wrapped up the set by landing double 16 to establish firm control in the match.

Bates then stormed through the third set and his Northern Irish opponent had no answer, before a 101 finish gave the Welshman a place in the last 32 against Bill Davis.

“I watched the seeds going out and was petrified but I feel a lot better now!” said Bates.

“I enjoyed the game. I love it on stage and if you can’t perform up there you might as well not play darts.

“I’ve had a bad two years with the problems I’ve had with my feet. In 2006 I reached something like eight finals but I’ve been out in the wilderness recently.

“I want to climb back up the rankings and am determined to do that.”

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