PHIL TAYLOR and Robert Thornton picked up double victories in the McCoy’s Premier League Darts at The NIA on Thursday, as Adrian Lewis’ hopes of reaching the semi-finals were ended in Birmingham.

Reigning champion Taylor defeated both Lewis and Simon Whitlock in Birmingham to move up to second in the league table and take a huge step towards securing his Play-Off place in three weeks’ time.

He averaged 105.24 and hit finishes of 129 and 108 in a comprehensive 7-2 win in his Stoke derby against Lewis, who found himself 5-0 down in the blink of an eye.

Taylor returned to the stage to produce an equally impressive display against Australian ace Whitlock later in the night, picking up a 7-4 win which saw him throw more than 15 darts just once in the 11 legs.

“It was two crucial wins from a tough night,” admitted Taylor, who averaged 105 and 103 in the two games. “To beat Adrian first was hard, and Simon really hung in well in our game so I’m delighted to have come out on top.

“I’ve been working hard on my game, doing everything I should be doing and I’m trying to peak at the right time.

“You can’t win this Premier League over five or six weeks, you’ve got to do it over five months and you can’t be brilliant every week. My averages are creeping up now and it’s proving to be a fantastic Premier League.

“Just to get into the top four will be an achievement and everyone’s looking at that now.”

Whitlock had earlier picked up a 7-5 win over Michael van Gerwen, who led 5-3 at one stage before seeing the Australian take the final four legs to claim a key victory which keeps alive his top-four hopes.

Van Gerwen, who was celebrating his 24th birthday in Birmingham, remains three points clear at the head of the league table but must wait at least one more week before mathematically securing his Play-Off place.

Scottish ace Thornton, meanwhile, followed up a 7-4 win over Andy Hamilton with a 7-5 defeat of Lewis to move a point adrift fourth-placed Wade as he reignited his Play-Off challenge.

The Scot ended a two-game losing run as he landed three 180s in seeing off Hamilton, before hitting checkouts of 120, 152 and 145 as he came from 4-3 down against Lewis to claim a narrow 7-5 win.

“Both wins were a bit scrappy, but you’re going to have weeks like that and I’m quite happy that they went my way,” said the UK Open champion.

“I’d lost in the past couple of weeks and though I wasn’t playing that badly, I missed a lot of doubles, but Adrian and Andy gave me second chances at doubles and I took them.

“Over the next two weeks I’ve got Phil Taylor in Liverpool and then Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen in Newcastle, so it’s going to be very interesting. I’ll give it my best and hopefully I can get a few more points and make the top four.”

Lewis’ hopes of reaching the Play-Offs were ended by his double defeat in Birmingham as he remained three points adrift at the foot of the table below Hamilton, whose chances of a top-four finish are hanging by a thread after three successive losses.

“I’m just trying too hard to win and I shouldn’t do that, I should relax and play the game,” admitted Hamilton.

“It’s going to be hard to turn it around but I’ll keep giving it 100 percent and I’m looking forward to next week – I’m not finished yet.”

The night’s other game saw Raymond van Barneveld produce a sublime performance to defeat James Wade 7-2, leapfrogging the 2009 champion in the table in the process as he moved third, level on 17 points with Taylor.

Van Barneveld admitted afterwards that Wade’s pre-match prediction that he “won’t lose” the game had fired the Dutchman up, as he hit five 180s, finishes of 116 and 101 and ended the contest with an average of 104.

“At the end of the game, James shook my hand and said I played a fantastic game,” said van Barneveld. “I don’t know why he said what he did before the game, but I have to thank him for it because it sharpened me up!

“For the first time this season, I felt so confident. The darts went in magnificently and I’m so happy with that, my doubles were very good.

“I’m really pleased with my game and proud tonight. I’ve got three matches left, and I really believe that I’m going to make that top four.”

The tournament continues next Thursday with the penultimate league night, which will be held at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Tickets are still available by calling 0844 8000 400 or visiting

McCoy’s Premier League Darts
Week 12
April 25 – NIA, Birmingham

Phil Taylor 7-2 Adrian Lewis
Simon Whitlock 7-5 Michael van Gerwen
Robert Thornton 7-4 Andy Hamilton
Raymond van Barneveld 7-2 James Wade
Phil Taylor 7-4 Simon Whitlock
Adrian Lewis 5-7 Robert Thornton

Latest League Table

  P W D L +/- Pts
Michael van Gerwen 14 9 2 3 +25 20
Phil Taylor 14 7 3 4 +17 17
Raymond van Barneveld 13 7 3 3 +15 17
James Wade 13 7 2 4 +14 16
Robert Thornton 13 6 3 4 +7 15
Simon Whitlock 13 6 0 7 -9 12
Andy Hamilton 13 5 0 8 -11 10
Adrian Lewis 13 3 1 9 -26 7
Wes Newton 92 1 6 -14 5
Gary Anderson 9 2 1 6 -18 5

Match Information
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
0-0 – Phil Taylor will throw first
1-0 – Taylor makes a confident start to the all-Stoke clash by hitting double 17 to complete a 13-darter.
2-0 – Taylor doubles his lead with a 12-darter to break throw, opening with a 180 and finishing 77 on tops.
3-0 – Lewis hits a 180 and, when Taylor misses double 11, he gets a shot at 114 but misses tops, allowing the reigning champion in on double eight for a 14-dart finish,
4-0 – Taylor opens with another maximum and finishes 129 on double 12 for a 12-dart finish.
5-0 – Taylor’s amazing run continues as he takes out 108 to win a fifth successive leg.
5-1 – Taylor, for only the second time in the game, misses with a double attempt as he missed two darts at tops, and Lewis hits double ten to get off the mark.
5-2 – The pair trade 180s, and when Taylor misses three darts at double 16 and eight, Lewis steps in to land double ten again.
6-2 – Taylor’s double trouble continues as he misses one dart at tops, but Lewis’ four missed darts at double 18 give him the chance to return and hit double ten to ensure at least a draw.
7-2 – Taylor posts double 16 with his third dart to seal the victory, further denting Lewis’ Play-Off hopes and ending the game with an average of 105.24.

Simon Whitlock v Michael van Gerwen
0-0 – Simon Whitlock will throw first
0-1 – van Gerwen makes a brilliant start, finishing 106 on tops to break throw in the opening leg.
1-1 – Both players open with 180s and then add 140s in a superb opening to the leg, but van Gerwen is punished for missing the bull and two darts at double eight as Whitlock returns to land double 18 to break back.
1-2 – van Gerwen breaks throw again, hitting tops to finish 58.
1-3 – The Dutch ace moves two legs up by hitting double ten.
2-3 – The Australian hits back by finishing 65 on tops.
2-4 – Whitlock opens with five treble 20s as he scores 180 and 139, but van Gerwen hits three 140s and then takes out 81 for an 11-darter to regain his cushion.
3-4 – Double top sees Whitlock win his third leg of the game.
3-5 – Whitlock misses double 16, and van Gerwen takes out 100 with two double tops to edge away with a showpiece finish.
4-5 – van Gerwen opens with a 180, but Whitlock finishes double four with his third dart to take the ninth leg.
5-5 – Whitlock breaks throw to level in a key leg, with van Gerwen missing four darts – at double 12, six, three and one – to ensure the point which would seal his Play-Off spot, allowing the 2012 runner-up in on double four.
6-5 – Whitlock hits the front for the first time as he holds his nerve to finish 69 on tops, with van Gerwen waiting on 60.
7-5 – van Gerwen misses double top for a 114 finish, and Wihtlock lands double four to grab a thrilling comeback win – meaning that the Dutch ace has to wait to be mathematically certain of a Play-Off place.

Robert Thornton v Andy Hamilton
0-0 – Robert Thornton will throw first
0-1 – Hamilton breaks throw in the opening leg, initially missing double top and ten before punishing three misses at double 14 from his opponent by landing double ten.
1-1 – Thornton breaks back by landing tops.
2-1 – The Scot lands double ten to hit the front.
3-1 – Thornton misses double top and ten, but Hamilton fails to set up a double when needing 68 and the UK Open champion returns to hit double ten once again.
4-1 – Hamilton misses the bull to take out 167, and Thornton pins double two to win a fourth successive leg.
4-2 – Hamilton posts a 180, his first of the game, and takes out 98 to win his first leg in five.
5-2 – Thornton responds with a maximum before landing tops to regain his three-leg cushion.
6-2 – Thornton initially misses the single 17 to leave tops when needing 117, but three misses from Hamilton, at double 12 and six, allow him back to seal at least a draw.
6-3 – Hamilton takes the ninth leg against the throw to break throw and keep his hopes alive.
6-4 – Hamilton fires in a 180, and although he initially misses two darts at double 18, Thornton’s missed bullseye for the match allows him back to hit double 14.
7-4 – Thornton opens with his third maximum of the game, and this time manages to land the bullseye to complete an 83 combination as he seals the win.

Raymond van Barneveld v James Wade
0-0 – Raymond van Barneveld will throw first
1-0 – Both players hit 180s, with van Barneveld initially missing double seven to finish 86, but being allowed back by a miss at tops from Wade to hit the double seven at the third time of asking.
2-0 – Wade again misses tops, this time for a 120 finish, and the Dutchman breaks throw by hitting the same bed.
3-0 – van Barneveld hits double three to take a third successive leg.
4-0 – The Dutchman posts a maximum and double nine to break throw again.
4-1 – van Barneveld adds a third 180, but misses double 16 as Wade this time lands tops to get his challenge underway.
5-1 – Wade misses double top and ten to hit back, and van Barneveld finishes 101 on double 18 to restore his advantage.
6-1 – van Barneveld posts another maximum, and although he misses the bull to finish 124, he has the cushion to return and post double eight to seal at least a point from the game.
6-2 – Wade finishes a sensational 145 checkout to keep his hopes alive.
7-2 – The Dutch ace lands a fifth 180 of the game and takes out 116 on tops to seal a victory which moves him above Wade into second place in the table.

Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock
0-0 – Phil Taylor will throw first
0-1 – Whitlock finishes tops to win the game’s opening leg.
1-1 – Taylor levels by breaking back on double 16.
2-1 – Whitlock wires double ten to finish 100, and Taylor hits double six to edge ahead.
2-2 – Taylor misses double top and ten to break throw, and Whitlock this time takes out 100 to level.
3-2 – Taylor lands double 16 to edge back ahead.
4-2 – Taylor opens with a 180, his second of the game, and takes out double 14 to break throw.
4-3 – Whitlock opens with a 180, and when Taylor misses double 14 for a 107 finish, the Australian hits tops to break back.
5-3 – Whitlock opens with 140 and 180, but misses double 16 and double eight before then wiring three darts at double four to allow Taylor in on double top to move two legs clear again.
6-3 – Taylor hits tops to secure at least a draw, with the result also meaning that Adrian Lewis now cannot reach the Play-Offs.
6-4 – Whitlock keeps alive his hopes in the game by landing double eight.
7-4 – Taylor takes out 80 on double ten to secure victory and continue his push back up the league table.

Adrian Lewis v Robert Thornton
0-0 – Adrian Lewis will throw first
0-1 – Thornton breaks throw in the opening leg on double 12.
0-2 – The Scot doubles his lead on tops.
1-2 – Lewis gets off the mark by hitting the same bed.
1-3 – Thornton finishes 56 on tops to win a third leg.
2-3 – Thornton hits a maximum, but Lewis posts double 12 to hit back.
3-3 – Lewis opens with a 180 and hits double two to level the game.
4-3 – Lewis hits the front for the first time by winning a third successive leg, landing double 12.
4-4 – Thornton takes out 120 to level.
4-5 – Lewis is first to a finish, but misses four darts at double top to allow Thornton in to break by hitting the same bed.
4-6 – Thornton brilliantly seals a point with a magnificent 152 checkout.
5-6 – Lewis lands double ten to keep his hopes alive in the game by forcing a deciding leg.
5-7 – Thornton secures the victory with a brilliant 145 checkout.