TAYLOR SETS UP WEBSTER TIE AS BARNEY POWERS ON

PHIL TAYLOR’S bid to win a 16th World Championship title will continue into the New Year after he set up a quarter-final with Mark Webster at the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

Reigning champion Taylor overcame colourful qualifier Peter Wright 4-1 to progress through the third round of the tournament at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night.

Lowestoft’s Wright – nicknamed ‘Snake Bite’ had defeated Co Stompe and Paul Nicholson to reach the last 16, and after losing the first eight legs hit back to win the third set against the 15-time World Champion.

However, he missed three darts to lead in the fourth and Taylor punished him with a 13-darter to take the set before sealing the victory in set five.

“I’m improving and I’m feeling good,” said Taylor. “Peter played well and pushed me, and he took out some good finishes so I was relieved to get the winning double in the end.

“I’ve got two days off before the quarter-finals and I’ll have a good preparation. I’ve not played like a World Champion yet but it’s time to step it up.”

Taylor will now face Welsh left-hander Webster on New Year’s Day in a repeat of their semi-final a year ago, when the Stoke legend took a 6-0 victory.

Webster, though, continued to show his improvement since then with a fine performance to see off Mark Hylton 4-1, hitting finishes of 156, 128, 125 and 118 in another high-quality performance.

“It was a massive round to get through in terms of the competition and I felt under pressure, but I got the job done,” said Webster.

“That average won’t win me a World Championship but I’m still in the tournament and I’ll be better in the next round. I played Phil last year and it didn’t go well for me but I’ve learned from that and I think I’ve got a great chance.”

Wednesday evening’s other game saw the second round completed as Raymond van Barneveld hit ten 180s in a brilliant 4-1 win over Kevin McDine, who held his own for much of the game and hit six maximums.

Van Barneveld now faces 2009 UK Open finalist Colin Osborne on Thursday in one of the remaining six third round games to be played across two sessions.

“I’m very pleased with my game against Kevin, because I had a 98-odd average and hit my doubles,” said van Barneveld.

“I’m looking forward to playing in a good game against Colin. He’s a world class player but there are no easy games and I’m treating every game as if it’s a final.”

Thursday also sees 2010 World Championship runner-up Simon Whitlock taking on Holland’s Vincent van der Voort, while Wes Newton takes on giant-killer Mensur Suljovic, who knocked out world number two James Wade on Tuesday.

Adrian Lewis opens the afternoon session against Robert Thornton, Andy Smith plays Gary Anderson and Terry Jenkins plays Mark Walsh.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 29
Second Round
Afternoon Session
Colin Osborne 4-0 Jamie Caven
Gary Anderson 4-2 Dennis Priestley
Mervyn King 3-4 Andy Smith

Evening Session
Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 Kevin McDine
Third Round
Mark Webster 4-1 Mark Hylton
Phil Taylor 4-1 Peter Wright

Thursday December 30
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Adrian Lewis v Robert Thornton
Andy Smith v Gary Anderson
Terry Jenkins v Mark Walsh

Evening Session (7pm)
Simon Whitlock v Vincent van der Voort
Raymond van Barneveld v Colin Osborne
Mensur Suljovic v Wes Newton

SECOND ROUND
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 4-1 KEVIN McDINE
(3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 3-2, 3-0)
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD booked a place in the third round of the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a classy 4-1 victory over Kevin McDine.

With the match balanced at a set apiece the Dutchman won the next three in a performance that included ten maximums to set up a last 16 clash against Colin Osborne on Thursday night.

Van Barneveld, who came from a set down to beat Steve Hine in the first round, started confidently, hitting double eight to win the first leg and began the second with a 180.

The five-time world champion hit another maximum two visits later but missed five darts at doubles to win the leg.

McDine was unable to capitalise as he missed two chances of his own and van Barneveld hit double five to secure a 2-0 lead, and then won the third with a 71 finish to win the set and gain an early advantage.

Van Barneveld took the opening leg of the second set against the darts, despite a 180 from McDine, before winning the second with a maximum of his own.

The Dutchman hit his fifth 180 of the match in the third leg but McDine landed double ten with his last dart to win his first leg of the contest.

McDine then won the fourth leg when he converted an 88 finish, with his opponent waiting on double ten for the set, and then hit double 16 at the first time of asking to take a set that he seemed unlikely to win and level the match.

McDine then won his fourth leg in succession at the start of the third set when he capitalised on a missed attempt at the bullseye from the Dutchman by taking out a 95 finish.

The second leg saw McDine miss five chances to keep his run of legs going and van Barneveld hit double one for an immediate break back, before the five-time World Champion hit a maximum in taking the third.

However, he missed one dart at double four for the set in the next leg and McDine took out 70 in two darts to nick it.

Van Barneveld, though, made no mistake in the deciding leg as he hit back-to-back 140s followed by a clinical 121 checkout to win the set and regain the lead.

Both players hit maximums in the opening leg of set four, which McDine managed to win by landing double 12 with his final dart.

The second leg saw van Barneveld begin with back-to-back 180s to set up the chance of achieving a third nine-darter in this competition.

The attempt at a seventh successive treble 20 fell short of the target, denying him a chance of the £10,000 bonus, but the leg was won in 11 darts.

The next two legs were shared before van Barneveld hit consecutive 140s in the deciding leg to get to a finish first and hit double top to complete a 13-darter to win the set and establish a two-set lead.

Van Barneveld then continued the momentum by holding throw to win the first leg of the fifth set and broke with a 94 finish as he moved a leg away from the match, before double 18 to completed victory.

“I started well and looked like going two sets up, but Kevin played well in the middle of the game,” said van Barneveld. “I put big scores together at important times to get the win, and I am pleased with the 98 average.”

THIRD ROUND
MARK WEBSTER 4-1 MARK HYLTON
(3-1, 1-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-1)
MARK WEBSTER became the first player to reach the quarter-finals of the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a 4-2 victory over Mark Hylton.

The contest fell in favour of the Welshman when Hylton missed five darts to win the third set for a 2-1 lead, and from then Webster won six of the next eight legs to progress.

He will now take on Phil Taylor in the quarter-finals on New Year’s Day as he bids for revenge against the world number one for a 6-0 loss in last year’s semi-finals.

Webster, who defeated Ronnie Baxter in straight sets in the second round, started the match superbly with a 156 checkout to win the first leg and then won the second by hitting double top.

Hylton got off the mark by landing double ten and then hit a maximum in the fourth leg, but Webster took out tops to secure the first set.

Hylton, who defeated Steve Beaton and Colin Lloyd to reach this stage in his World Championship debut, won the opening leg of the second set against the darts and took the second with an 81 finish.

The third leg saw Webster miss five chances to hit back, but Hylton missed four doubles of his own and the Welshman returned to hit double five.

Hylton, though, made no mistake in the deciding leg by hitting his second maximum of the game in a 14-dart finish to win the set and level the match.

Hylton held throw at the start of the third set by hitting double ten with his third dart before Webster won the second with an excellent 125 checkout.

Hylton hit a 68 finish to win the third leg but missed two darts at double 19 to win the set in the fourth and Webster stepped in to level.

The deciding leg saw Hylton miss three more chances to win the set and Webster once again punished him, taking out a 118 checkout to steal a set he seemed unlikely to take.

Hylton won the first leg of the fourth set in 14-darts before Webster hit back to win the second with a 128 checkout.

Both players hit 180s in the third leg, which Webster won by hitting double five, and he then hit double ten to win the fourth leg and the set after Hylton missed two chances at double 16.

The former Lakeside Champion then broke throw at the start of set five and hit double top in the next to win his fifth successive leg, which put him within touching distance of victory.

Hylton stopped the rot by winning the third leg on double five but Webster hit double ten in the next to complete a 15-darter and win the match.

“It was a massive round to get through in terms of the competition and I felt under pressure, but I got the job done,” said Webster. “Everything’s been plain sailing so far, so when you get a challenge you have to meet it and I did that.

“That average won’t win me a World Championship but I’m still in the tournament and I’ll be better in the next round. I played Phil last year and it didn’t go well for me but I’ve learned from that and I think I’ve got a great chance.”

PHIL TAYLOR 4-1 PETER WRIGHT
(3-0, 3-0, 2-3, 3-1, 3-2)
PHIL TAYLOR booked a quarter-final clash against Mark Webster on New Year’s Day after a 4-1 victory over Peter Wright in the last 16 of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

Taylor appeared to be strolling to a comfortable victory after he won the opening eight legs of the match, but Wright produced a spirited performance to win a set against the 15-time World Champion and had chances to lead in the fifth.

However, three missed doubles cost him dearly as Taylor hit back to win the set and also took the next to secure the win.

“It was bit difficult to concentrate after getting so far ahead early on,” admitted Taylor. “Peter really picked up his game and I’m pleased he gave me a test like that as it should be a real help when I play Mark Webster in the next round.”

Taylor won the opening leg of the match against the darts by hitting double 16 after Wright missed a dart to hold throw.

Taylor then landed double eight to win the second, defying a 180 from Wright, and went to win the set without reply by hitting three straight 140s in the third leg, followed by double six for a 1-0 lead.

The world number one hit a maximum in the opening leg of the second set, which was won with a 14-darter, and then won a fifth consecutive leg after Wright missed three darts at tops.

Wright missed a dart at the bullseye for a 121 finish in the third leg and Taylor continued the charge to hit double eight with his final dart to double his lead.

Taylor, who defeated Gary Mawson and Per Laursen in straight sets in his first two matches, hit an 88 finish to win the first leg of set three, with Wright waiting on a double.

Taylor landed double eight to win the second leg but Wright took his first leg of the contest in the next with an impressive two-dart 98 finish.

Wright then hit his second 180 followed by a 116 checkout to win the fourth leg and then took the deciding leg with a 61 finish, completed on double top, to take the set and reduce the deficit.

Wright missed a dart at double top for a 120 finish which would have given him his fourth leg in a row at the start of the fourth set, as Taylor stepped in on double four.

Wright levelled on double ten but missed three darts at double 18 and nine to win the third and Taylor punished him.

Taylor then stepped up a gear by hitting back-to-back maximums to open the fourth and set up a possible nine-darter.

His attempt at a seventh successive treble 20 was just above the wire, but he went on to win the leg in 13 darts to restore his two-set advantage.

Wright started the fifth set in superb fashion by winning the first leg in ten darts before Taylor levelled by hitting double four.

Taylor then the third leg to put himself within touching distance of victory after Wright had missed three darts at doubles.

In the fourth, Taylor missed a dart at double top for a 117 finish and Wright managed to take out 75, hitting double 12 with his third dart, to keep the match alive.

The deciding leg proved to be dramatic as Taylor missed a dart at double 19 to win the match, but Wright was unable to take the two chances he had at double 18 and Taylor returned to complete the win with his third dart.

AFTERNOON – ANDERSON WINS CLASSIC AS OSBORNE & SMITH PROGRESS

GARY ANDERSON held off Dennis Priestley’s fightback to win an epic Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship clash at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday afternoon, as Andy Smith and Colin Osborne also moved into the last 16.

Anderson looked set to cruise into the third round of the £1 million event when he took the opening three sets with a 110 average in a scintillating display.

Veteran two-time World Champion Priestley, though, took the next two to mount a thrilling comeback, only to miss darts to win the sixth set and level before Anderson – who hit 13 180s in the game – sealed victory.

“I was cruising at 3-0 and then started to miss doubles,” said Anderson, who ended the game with a second successive 103 average. “It probably should have gone to three-all but I got lucky and pulled through.

“A 103 average is only average compared to what I do in practice, when I hit 116-125 averages and it would be great to do that on stage.”

Priestley, who turned 60 in July, admitted afterwards that the defeat could be his last World Championship appearance, should he slip out of the world’s top 32 over the next year, and also praised Anderson’s performance.

“He was absolutely awesome for the first three sets – as good as anything I’ve played against, including Phil Taylor,” said Priestley.

“I was wondering what I had to do to get back in the game. I rode the storm and got myself back into it by hitting the scores he had been doing and put the pressure on him, but I couldn’t get that double to make it three-all.

“If I keep playing decent darts I should be back next year but you never know what’s going to happen.”

Andy Smith picked up the biggest win of his career, hitting six ton-plus finishes in a 4-3 win over former semi-finalist Mervyn King to set up a clash with Anderson on Thursday.

“I’m so happy to be through but I’ll have to play a lot better than that to beat Gary,” said Smith. “I’m not happy with that performance and I know I can improve, but I stuck in there and did the job.”

Colin Osborne was the afternoon’s other winner, defeating Jamie Caven in straight sets in the ‘Derby derby’ to win a place in the third round, where he will play the winner of Wednesday night’s game between Raymond van Barneveld and Kevin McDine.

“I’m over the moon to win 4-0,” said Osborne. “In my first World Championship I made the quarter-finals but I’ve not had the best run in the last few years so I’m pleased to be in the third round.”

After van Barneveld’s clash with McDine completes the second round, the third round begins with in-form Mark Webster facing Mark Hylton and reigning champion Phil Taylor facing Peter Wright.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 29
Afternoon Session
Colin Osborne 4-0 Jamie Caven
Gary Anderson 4-2 Dennis Priestley
Mervyn King 3-4 Andy Smith

Evening Session (7pm)
Raymond van Barneveld v Kevin McDine
Third Round
Mark Webster v Mark Hylton
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright

COLIN OSBORNE 4-0 JAMIE CAVEN
(3-2, 3-1, 3-2, 3-1)
COLIN OSBORNE defeated Jamie Caven in the last 32 of the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a straight-sets victory in the ‘Derby derby’.

The 14th seed hit the vital finishes when they mattered to end hopes of his local rival, and will now face either Raymond van Barneveld or Kevin McDine in the next round.

Osborne, who defeated Chris Thompson in his first match, held throw to win the first leg of the match by hitting double top before Caven replied to win the second with a solid 108 finish.

Caven then capitalised on eight missed attempts at doubles by Osborne to win the third leg before the 2009 UK Open finalist hit straight back to win the fourth in 14 darts.

Osborne had advantage of throw in the deciding leg and made that count by getting to a finish first, and he hit double 16 to gain an early lead.

Caven hit a maximum in the process of winning the opening leg of the second set, but missed a dart at double 15 for a 90 finish in the next and Osborne took out 91 on the bullseye to level.

Osborne then won the third leg against the darts and despite missing four darts at doubles in the next leg he was able to return and hit double four to take the set.

Osborne also made a winning start to the third set by taking the first leg in 15 darts after Caven missed an opportunity to steal the leg when a dart at the bullseye for a 121 finish was off-target.

Caven made no mistake in the second and hit the bullseye for 121 to win it before Osborne hit his third maximum of the game at the start of the next leg.

Osborne went on to win that leg with a 13-dart finish by hitting double six, but Caven took the fourth by landing double 14.

Osborne was first throwing in the deciding leg and, although his scoring power deserted him and Caven was first to the double, six missed doubles allowed him back in to hit a 74 finish to steal the leg and win a third consecutive set.

Both players hit maximums in the first leg of the fourth leg but Osborne hit the winning double as he landed tops to break throw.

Osborne gave away the advantage in the second as he missed five darts at doubles, and Caven stepped in to hit double six.

But a fifth 180 followed by a two-dart 65 finish gave Osborne another break of throw, and a solid 15-dart-finish in the fourth leg secured Osborne a third round place.

“It really was a battle out there,” said Osborne. “The scoreline does not really reflect the game, but I dug in and got the job done.

“In our floor tournaments, Jamie is probably one of top five players in the game, but things are different on that big stage and it can be difficult to adjust.”

GARY ANDERSON 4-2 DENNIS PRIESTLEY
(3-1, 3-2, 3-1, 1-3, 2-3, 3-2)
GARY ANDERSON survived a spirited comeback by two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley with a 4-2 victory in an enthralling second round clash at the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

Anderson was on fire in the opening three sets and his three-dart average had reached the 111 mark at that stage of the contest as he blew the 60-year-old.

The Scot could have ended the contest in the fifth set, but Priestley showed typical grit and determination to fight back to 3-2 – only to miss chances to level as Anderson secured victory and a place in the last 16.

Anderson started the game in sparkling form, hitting a maximum in the opening leg and then winning it with a fantastic 144 checkout.

Two maximums were recorded by Priestley in the second but it was not enough as Anderson took out 140 to win the leg.

Anderson missed a dart at bullseye to win the set in the third leg and Priestley managed to get off the mark by hitting double four.

But Anderson hit his third 180 in the fourth leg and went on to hit double top to complete a 13-dart finish and claim the first set.

Priestley, who defeated Bernd Roith in the first round, hit a maximum at the start of the second set and went on to win the leg against the darts after Anderson missed chances to win it for himself.

The Scotsman was clinical in winning the second leg however, as a 100 finish was successfully completed in two darts, and the third was won in 13-darts as he moved ahead.

Anderson hit three consecutive 140s in the fourth leg to establish command, but four missed attempts at doubles allowed Priestley in to hit double top at the first time of asking.

In the deciding leg, Anderson made no mistake despite heavy pressure from Priestley as he hit double 12 to win the leg and double his advantage.

Anderson, who impressively defeated Japan’s Morihiro Hashimoto in his first match, kept up the pace at the start of the third set by breaking throw with a two-dart 72 finish to win the first leg.

Priestley continued to fight and produced a showpiece 100 checkout, which included two double tops, to win the leg.

However, Anderson secured another break of throw to win the third, with the aid of his fourth 180 of the game, and a two-dart 64 gave the Scotsman the set to leave Priestley with a mountain to climb.

Priestley made a winning start to the fourth set by hitting double top with his third dart after Anderson had missed one attempt at the same double.

Priestley hit a 13-darter to double his lead after both players had hit 180s before Anderson won the third in style with a 141 checkout.

But Priestley hit his seventh maximum of the contest and went on to win the next leg with a 14-darter and reduce the deficit.

The start of the fifth set was fast and furious as three maximums were recorded – two of which fell to Anderson – and he won the leg in 11 darts to gain an early lead.

Anderson hit two more maximums in the process of taking the second leg to go one leg away from victory, and when he hit his 11th 180 he seemed on course to win the match.

But missed darts at doubles allowed Priestley to step in and win the leg by hitting double top.

Priestley did the same again in the fourth leg after the 11th seed was off-target with another dart to the end the game.

In the decider Priestley won his third consecutive leg with some class by taking out 111 to win the set and give Anderson something to think about.

The opening leg of the next saw Anderson miss three attempts at doubles and Priestley made his opponent by landing double six with his final dart.

Priestley hit a 13-dart finish to win the second leg before Anderson won his first leg in six by hitting double top.

The fourth leg proved to be a dramatic affair and a costly one for Priestley as he missed six chances to win the set and force a decider and Anderson, who had missed chances of his own, hit double one.

Anderson hit his 13th maximum of the game in the deciding leg and went on to hit a 70 finish to end Priestley hopes of an incredible comeback.

“I was hitting 140s and 180s with regularity in the opening three sets but things started to go wrong,” admitted Anderson.

“Dennis is a true legend of the game and a tough competitor. I had prepared myself for a deciding set but I managed to get the job done in the end.”

Priestley, who put up a gallant effort said, “I was never going to give when I was 3-0 down even with the superb standard that Gary was producing.

“I do regret missing those opportunities to take the match into a deciding set as you never know what could have happened.”

ANDY SMITH 4-3 MERVYN KING
(3-0, 1-3, 3-2, 3-1, 1-3, 2-3, 3-1)
ANDY SMITH claimed the biggest win of his career as he came out on top in an epic second round encounter with a 4-2 triumph to end Mervyn King’s hopes of claiming a first Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship title.

Smith had led the match 3-1 but saw King come to level at three apiece before winning the deciding set to confirm a place in the third round of this competition for the second time in his career.

“I took the chances when I had them in the early part of the match, and I had the match won, said Smith, who hit six ton-plus checkouts.

“But I let things get away from then on and gave Mervyn chances. He wasn’t at his best and I stuck in and got the win.”

Smith started the match in excellent fashion converting a 140 checkout to win the first leg and went on to take the second, defying a maximum from his opponent.

Smith, who had lost in the first round the last three years, hit a 180 of his own in the third leg and went on to hit double 12 to win the opening set without reply from King.

King got off the mark at the start of the second set by hitting double 16 at the first time of asking and then won the second, capitalising on a missed attempt at double top from Smith.

Smith won the third leg against the darts but King won the next leg by hitting an 84 finish, completed on double 11 to win the set and level the game.

King won his third leg in succession at the start of set three by taking out 61 but Smith hit a 14-dart finish to level.

The sixth seed hit a 14-darter of his own to win the third leg but Smith took the fourth by hitting double nine with King waiting on double four.

The deciding leg saw Smith hit his third maximum of the game to reach a finish first, but two darts at doubles to win the set were off-target – only for King to miss tops for a 120 checkout as he returned to hit double two to edge the set and lead again.

In the fourth set Smith, who defeated Australian Shane Tichowitsch in the first round, produced some superb finishing to lead the match 3-1, hitting a 136 checkout to win the first leg and a 114 finish to win the second after King had landed a maximum.

Both players hit 180s in the third leg before King managed to win it in 13 darts, but Smith won the fourth with a 121 checkout to seal the set in impressive fashion.

Smith held throw to win the opening leg of the fifth set, but King replied to win the second by hitting double two.

Both players hit maximums in the third, but King took it against the darts with a 121 finish and then won the fourth by taking out 72 in two darts to win the set.

King kept up the momentum to start the sixth set with his fifth maximum of the match and won the leg with a 62 finish.

Smith landed double top to win the second and level, but King hit a 14-dart finish to win third leg and regain the lead.

In the fourth, King had left himself on 62 to take the set but Smith hit a 120 checkout to go one leg away from winning the match.

Smith hit a 140 with his first three darts of the deciding leg but he couldn’t keep that consistency and King was first to a finish.

However, he missed a dart at double top allowing Smith a chance to win the match – only for his attempt at double top to fall agonisingly short and King returned to hit double ten and keep the match alive.

Smith managed to hit double top to make a winning start to the final set and then took the second after King was off-target with six darts at doubles to level.

That put Smith one leg away from winning the match, but he missed two more chances – this time at double eight – and King, who had missed three previous opportunities to win the leg, hit the double his opponent had missed.

The fourth leg saw Smith miss another chance to take the match, but King failed to land double top with four attempts and Smith stepped in to hit double eight and end a dramatic match.

“I’ll have to play a lot better than that to beat Gary but I’ve won all five games we have played before and I’ll be confident,” added Smith.

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