TAYLOR AVOIDS UPSET AS ANDERSON IS SHOCKED BY BURNETT

PHIL TAYLOR overcame a huge scare against Peter Wright in the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix on Tuesday night as Gary Anderson and Dave Chisnall were knocked out by thrilling comebacks at the New Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin.

Nine-time World Grand Prix winner Taylor has been defeated three times previously in the quick-fire first round in the double-start event, and when Wright took the opening set of their clash and led 1-0 in the second, a fourth early exit began to seem a possibility.

But Taylor hit back superbly to take the set 3-1 before finding top gear in winning the final set by the same scoreline, completing victory with a showpiece 164 checkout.

“Peter’s set me up for the tournament because he really made me work hard there,” said Taylor. “He hit the 180s at the right time and was fantastic, but when I was a set down and a leg down I thought I was going out again, but I really dug in.

“The first round’s a nightmare because it’s a big leveller, and the standard is so high now that anyone is capable of a shock – but I’m glad I wasn’t the victim!”

Taylor will now take on Paul Nicholson in an eagerly-awaited second round game on Thursday night, as the Chorley-based ace seeks his third televised victory over the world number one.

Nicholson booked his second round spot with a confident 2-0 win over Ronnie Baxter on a night of high drama at the Citywest Hotel, as Premier League Darts champion Gary Anderson crashed out of the event.

Anderson was defeated 2-1 by Richie Burnett, the resurgent Welshman who had won his first ranking title for a decade in a Players Championship recently to earn his first World Grand Prix appearance since 2004.

The Scot took the opening set in brilliant fashion, but paid the price for two missed match darts in the second before Burnett won the decider 3-1 for an almighty shock.

“It’s a massive win for me,” said Burnett. “Gary made a brilliant start and I was up against it straight away.

“I know I’m getting back to my best. The first round is the hardest game and the format’s longer and I want to go on from here.”

There was even greater drama in the battle of the St Helens aces Alan Tabern and Dave Chisnall, who hit eight 180s but missed 13 match darts to defeat the left-hander.

Chisnall took five of the first seven legs to move to the brink of a straight sets win, but wasted seven match darts in the second set as Tabern levelled before seeing six further darts go astray in the deciding leg of the third.

“He threw probably the best darts out of any player so far in the tournament until he needed the winning double,” said Tabern. “He kept missing and I took my chances.

“I feel a bit sorry for him because I’ve had it happen to me too, but when people win tournaments they often win through games like that and I’ve got to take the positives from it. I’ve got nothing to lose now.”

Tabern will now take on another left-hander in round two in Welshman Mark Webster, who enjoyed his World Grand Prix debut with a three-set comeback win over Andy Hamilton.

Rugeley left-hander Mark Hylton also took victory in his maiden World Grand Prix appearance, against Mark Walsh, and will now meet Simon Whitlock in the last 16 after the Australian saw off two-time finalist Terry Jenkins 2-1.

The night’s other winner was UK Open semi-finalist Denis Ovens, who defeated Jamie Caven in straight sets and now takes on Burnett in Thursday’s second round.

The second round begins on Wednesday with four matches, as reigning champion James Wade plays Vincent van der Voort, Raymond van Barneveld meets Andy Smith, John Part faces Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan and Wes Newton takes on John Henderson.

Tickets are still available for the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix, either by calling 00353 1401 0505 or visiting the Citywest Hotel Box Office on the night.

PartyPoker.com World Grand prix
First Round
Tuesday
Jamie Caven 0-2 Denis Ovens
Mark Hylton 2-1 Mark Walsh
Dave Chisnall 1-2 Alan Tabern
Mark Webster 2-1 Andy Hamilton
Gary Anderson 1-2 Richie Burnett
Phil Taylor 2-1 Peter Wright
Simon Whitlock 2-1 Terry Jenkins
Ronnie Baxter 0-2 Paul Nicholson

Second Round
Wednesday October 5 (7pm)
Wes Newton v John Henderson
James Wade v Vincent van der Voort
Raymond van Barneveld v Andy Smith
John Part v Brendan Dolan

Thursday October 6 (7pm)
Mark Webster v Alan Tabern
Simon Whitlock v Mark Hylton
Phil Taylor v Paul Nicholson
Richie Burnett v Denis Ovens
Best of five sets

DENIS OVENS 2-0 JAMIE CAVEN
(3-1, 3-2)
DENIS OVENS won his first game in the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix since 2003 with a straight sets first round defeat of Jamie Caven at the New Citywest Convention Centre on Tuesday.

Ovens won only his third game in 11 appearances in the double-start event with a confident triumph to condemn Caven to a first round loss for the third straight year.

Ovens kicked off the match with a break of throw on double eight, and when Caven missed eight darts to open the second leg he moved 2-0 up on double top.

Caven hit a 180 and double eight to get off the mark in leg three, but Ovens pulled clear in the fourth before hitting double five for the set.

The Derby ace came to life at the start of the second set by hitting a brilliant 170 finish to take the first leg, and he opened the next with a 152 score.

Ovens, though, replied superbly with scores of 180 and 177 to set up a double 16 finish to break back and level.

Caven then added a 115 checkout to lead 2-1, and a maximum edged him ahead in the fourth leg, but he missed four doubles to punish slopping finishing from Ovens as the Stevenage ace returned to post double four.

Ovens then edged clear in the set’s deciding leg, and hit double top to end his run of seven successive Citywest defeats.

“I started well but I was in a commanding position and nearly gave it back to Jamie,” said Ovens. “I enjoyed it and the leg where I hit 180 and 177 was nice.

“I’ve been here so many times that I probably deserved a win here! I’ve come up against some great performances in the last few years and it’s heartbreaking to lose seven years in a row, but it’s great to win here again.”

MARK HYLTON 2-1 MARK WALSH
(0-3, 3-2, 3-0)
MARK HYLTON came from a set down to win through to the second round of the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix with a 2-1 defeat of Mark Walsh.

Walsh looked set to condemn the left-hander to a debut defeat in Dublin when he took the first set without reply and led in the second, only for Hylton to win six of the next seven legs to snatch victory.

Walsh began well, hitting a 180 and double top to win the opening leg in confident fashion and taking out 100 to win the second after Hylton missed tops for a 114 checkout.

Hylton missed a further dart at double top in the third, for a 101 finish, and Walsh capitalised to secure the set on double six.

He also landed double 12 to win the second set’s opener, but Hylton levelled with a fine 106 finish and hit double ten to lead 2-1.

Walsh levelled with a superb 121 checkout, finishing on double 14, but double ten gave Hylton the set to send the match into a decider.

The left-hander took advantage of misses by Walsh to win the set’s opening two legs, and when his opponent missed three more darts to hit back Hylton closed out the win on double ten.

“It’s a format we don’t play too often but I dug in,” said Hylton. “I’m a fighter and never give in, and I came from behind with the pressure on.

“I used to play double-start in a local league and I was quite looking forward to playing in this format, and it didn’t quite work out like that. I had a couple of chances early on and although I had a few good double tops later in the game I was pretty poor on it tonight.

“I feel sorry for Mark, he’s a fantastic player, but I’m through and roll on Thursday now!

“I’ll be getting a lot more practice in the next couple of days and I’m just getting over a bit of ‘flu, so hopefully the fans will see the proper “Mile High” on Thursday.”

ALAN TABERN 2-1 DAVE CHISNALL
(1-3, 3-2, 3-2)
BATTLING Alan Tabern hit back from the brink of defeat to claim a dramatic victory over Dave Chisnall in the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix.

Chisnall looked set to storm to a debut victory on the Citywest Hotel stage when he won the opening set and led 2-1 in the second.

But he missed seven match darts for a straight sets victory as Tabern hit back, and even though he lifted his total of 180s to eight for the match he was unable to close out six further chances for the win in the game’s deciding leg.

Chisnall landed the first of those maximums in winning the game’s opening leg, and opened the second with a fine 160 score before taking the second with a 13-darter.

Tabern hit double ten to win the third, but his St Helens rival again opened with a 160 before double 18 gave him the first set.

Chisnall landed a 180 and double 16 to maintain his 100 percent finishing accuracy in opening the second set in style, and after Tabern took out 101 to level he posted another maximum and double four to move a leg away from the win.

Tabern got ahead in the fourth leg after Chisnall missed his first three starting doubles, but a 160 got the leader back into the match as the the tension mounted.

Tabern missed double top to save the game, but Chisnall wasted two match darts at tops and the pair both missed in two further visits before Tabern landed double five to keep the game alive – with his opponent having missed seven match darts.

The left-hander then finished 80 on tops to win the set and force a decider, before defying Chisnall’s 180 by hitting double 16 to lead in the third set.

Chisnall finished 90 on double 18 to level, but double 16 incredibly moved Tabern a leg away from an improbable win.

The pressure looked to have cracked Chisnall as he missed five opening doubles in the fourth leg, but he hit 36 and then back-to-back 180s before finishing 105 for a 15-darter to send the match into a sudden-death leg.

Chisnall added an eighth maximum of the game to push ahead, but again stumbled at the finishing line as he missed two darts at double 12, one at double six and three and double three before Tabern returned to complete a remarkable comeback on double ten.

“Dave played the darts to beat any player and I don’t know why or how he missed those match darts,” said Tabern. “Maybe it’s a little bit of experience and it worked in my favour, and I’ll take that.

“I wasn’t comfortable on my starting double at the start of the game but I switched to double 15 and it seemed to work and I put pressure on Dave.

“He threw probably the best darts out of any player so far in the tournament until he needed the winning double. He kept missing and I took my chances.

“I feel a bit sorry for him because I’ve had it happen to me too, but when people win tournaments they often win through games like that and I’ve got to take the positives from it. I’ve got nothing to lose now.”

MARK WEBSTER 2-1 ANDY HAMILTON
(2-3, 3-2, 3-0)
MARK WEBSTER came from a set down to defeat Andy Hamilton 2-1 on his PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix debut on Tuesday night.

The left-hander, who narrowly missed out on qualification for the double-start tournament a year ago, impressed in his first appearance on the Citywest Hotel stage with a battling performance.

Hamilton shaded a tight first set, with neither player able to break throw as Webster landed a 14-darter before the Stoke ace took the deciding leg on double eight after his opponent missed a dart at double top for a 112 finish.

The second set followed a similar pattern, with Webster following an earlier 177 score with his first 180 of the game in leg three, while Hamilton finished 74 and 48 to level at two-all.

Webster, though, produced the killer blow by winning the fifth leg with a brilliant 124 bullseye finish to send the game into a third set.

He broke for the first time in the game on double eight in the opener, and recovered from missing six opening doubles to win the second before sealing the set, and victory, on double ten in the third.

“It was a tough game,” said Webster. “Andy’s a great player and it was a brilliant game.

“I don’t think Andy did much wrong but I put a lot of pressure on him.
I enjoyed it and thought it was a good advert for the game.

“This time last year I was a bit bitter about not being in the tournament but that was my own fault and I’m determined to make up for it this year.

“I’ve got Alan Tabern next and he’s got a bit of a lease of life after his fightback because he thought he should have gone out to Dave Chisnall. I did something similar in the UK Open when I came back and went on to reach the semis and he’ll be thinking the same. I’m sure it will be a good game.”

RICHIE BURNETT 2-1 GARY ANDERSON
(0-3, 3-2, 3-1)
RICHIE BURNETT knocked Premier League Darts champion Gary Anderson out of the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix with a stunning fightback at the New Citywest Convention Centre on Tuesday.

Heavy-scoring Anderson looked set to power into the last 16 when he took the first set without reply, but after missing two match darts in the second set the Welshman made him pay.

Burnett had only won a place in the World Grand Prix by taking victory in the final Players Championship played before the field was confirmed, but reaffirmed a return to the form which saw him become World Champion 15 years ago by winning the deciding set.

Anderson made a lightning start to the contest, hitting double ten for the opening leg and seven perfect darts in the second as he looked to set up the event’s first nine-darter in the double-start format.

He had opened with scores of 160 and 180, but after hitting a sixth treble 20 missed the treble 17 of a 161 finish, although he returned to mop up double 16 to lead 2-0 and tops to take the set without reply.

Burnett – whose last World Grand Prix appearance came in 2004 – returned from the break with a brilliant 13-darter, which he kicked off with scores of 160 and 140 and finished on tops.

Anderson hit back by landing a 180 and a 125 finish to level, but Burnett finished 101 to lead 2-0.

The Scot posted another maximum and finished 64 to level the set, but when he missed match darts at double 16 and eight in the decider Burnett, who had opened the leg with another 160, finished tops to square the game.

Anderson opened the third set by setting up another potential nine-darter with scores of 160 and 180, but opted for a different combination on the 161 finish, hitting a seventh perfect dart on treble 19 but narrowly missing treble 18.

He returned to win the leg in 13 darts, only to then miss six darts to open the second as Burnett levelled with an 80 finish.

Burnett then hit a 180 of his own in the third, hitting double top to move away from victory before punishing a missed bull from Anderson for a 161 finish in the next to hit double ten at the third time of asking to complete an amazing fightback.

“It’s a massive win for me,” said Burnett. “Gary made a brilliant start and I was up against it straight away, but I felt okay and knew I could get back into it.

“I was starting well on double top and when the next dart drops into the treble 20 the pressure is off you. Gary can out-score anybody in the world and, on my day, I can live with that and I came good towards the end.

“I love to watch Gary play. I don’t watch much darts on TV but when Gary’s on I do, along with Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis, but I like to be involved and I was happy to share a stage with such a special player.

“I know I’m getting back to my best. The first round is the hardest game and the format’s longer and I want to go on from here.”

PHIL TAYLOR 2-1 PETER WRIGHT
(1-3, 3-1, 3-1)
PHIL TAYLOR overcame a huge scare against Peter Wright before beginning his challenge for a tenth PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix title with a 2-1 victory at the New Citywest Convention Centre.

The world number one has been defeated three times previously in the quick-fire first round in the double-start event, and when Wright took the opening set and led 1-0 in the second, a fourth early exit began to seem a possibility.

But Taylor hit back superbly to take the set 3-1 before finding top gear in winning the final set by the same scoreline, completing victory with a showpiece 164 checkout.

Wright punished a slow start from Taylor, who missed five opening doubles in the first leg, by hitting a 180 only to then miss double six and three to lead as the world number one landed double 14 for the opening leg.

But Wright levelled with a superb 115 checkout, despite a 180 from Taylor, and then took out 101 to lead 2-1.

The pair traded maximums in the fourth, but when Taylor missed three darts at double eight Wright took out 76 on tops for the set.

He landed another 180 and double top to move 1-0 up in set two, with Taylor coming to life with an 11-darter which levelled the set.

Double ten edged him ahead, and he hit scores of 177 and 180 before a double 16 checkout saw him square the match at one set apiece.

Wright posted a maximum and double top to lead in the deciding set, but Taylor crucially levelled with a 64 finish and opened the third leg with a 160 score.

Wright replied with another 180, but tops gave Taylor a 2-1 advantage before he sealed victory in style by powering in a 164 checkout.

“Peter’s set me up for the tournament because he really made me work hard there,” said Taylor. “He went up on stage and played the game we know he can produce because he’s a dangerous player.

“He hit the 180s at the right time and was fantastic, but when I was a set down and a leg down I thought I was going out again, but I really dug in.

“The first round’s a nightmare because it’s a big leveller, and the standard is so high now that anyone is capable of a shock – but I’m glad I wasn’t the victim!”

Lowestoft’s Wright said: “I felt more comfortable than I ever have done before on stage, and I’m learning all the time. You never think you’ve beaten Phil until the last double goes in, and his 164 was fantastic.”

SIMON WHITLOCK 2-1 TERRY JENKINS
(3-1, 2-3, 3-0)
SIMON WHITLOCK held off the challenge of two-time finalist Terry Jenkins to win through to the second round of the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix with a 2-1 victory at the Citywest Hotel on Tuesday night.

The Australian set up a second round date with Mark Hylton on Thursday night courtesy of the win, although he was made to work hard after Jenkins hit back to win the second set.

Jenkins had opened the game well by winning the opening leg, and he hit a 180 on his way to setting up 36 in the second, only for Whitlock to finish a brilliant 158 to get off the mark.

Double ten against the throw put Whitlock into the lead, and he hit a 180 of his own and double top to take the set.

He also led twice in the second to move a leg away from the win, only for Jenkins to hit a 180 in setting up a double 15 finish to level and force the set into a fifth leg.

Jenkins looked to have blown his chance to keep the game alive when he miscounted on 147 and missed double 16 instead of throwing for double 18 – but Whitlock missed three match darts and the English star hit the correct bed to level the contest.

Whitlock, though, opened the decider with a 14-dart leg, and when Jenkins missed four darts at double 18 he stepped in to finish 74 for a 2-0 lead and double eight to secure the victory.

“I’m happy to get the win but I think I can play better,” said Whitlock. “I missed a few starts and a few finishes, but it’s a tough format and, as the tournament progresses, the doubles will start to come.

“I felt like I was a bit rushed out there because Terry goes at 100 miles an hour and I got caught up in it and had to slow myself down. The 158 turned the game in my favour and slowed him down, although he got back level in the second set too.”

Whitlock now faces emerging left-hander Mark Hylton on Thursday, and added: “I’ve never played Mark before but he had a great comeback against Mark Walsh and has been playing some great darts this year.”

PAUL NICHOLSON 2-0 RONNIE BAXTER
(3-0, 3-2)
PAUL NICHOLSON swept past Ronnie Baxter in straight sets to claim his first-ever PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix victory in their first round contest.

Nicholson has been a first round casualty in his previous two appearances at the New Citywest Convention Centre, but made amends with a strong display to set up a mouth-watering second round clash with nine-time champion Phil Taylor on Thursday night.

Nicholson set the tone for the victory from the start, hitting two 140s and double nine in taking the game’s opening leg, before landing double six for a 2-0 lead.

Baxter pressed in the third, but Nicholson was first to the double and hit tops to secure the set.

Nicholson also landed his first 180 of the game in the opening leg of set two, which Baxter won with an 85 finish before his opponent levelled with the help of another maximum and a tricky double eight.

Baxter hit a 180 and double 14 for a 14-dart leg to take the third, but paid for missing the bull for the set in the next as Nicholson hit double ten to move a leg away from victory.

He then hit double ten once again in the next, with Baxter waiting on 24, to secure his last 16 spot and a tie against rival Phil Taylor.

“I’m relieved to have got through that,” said Nicholson. “I’d seen a lot of other first round matches where players had a great first set and then got caught, and I didn’t want to do that.

“Ronnie was coming for me and if I’d not killed him off when I did then he could have turned it around.

“It’s a big thing for me to win that game, because I saw how Vincent van der Voort celebrated after four first round losses here, and I didn’t want to be one of those players with a little bit of a monkey on their back in a certain event.

“I don’t want to see myself as a player who has continually struggled at a certain event, and I want to improve and I’ve changed my tactics this year by changing from double top and double 18 to start to double 16 and double 19, and it worked.”

Nicholson defeated Taylor in the 2010 Players Championship Finals and at the Speedy Hire UK Open in June, while the pair enjoyed an eagerly-awaited quarter-final in the summer’s European Championship which the Stoke great edged 10-8.

“It’s going to be fun and I think there will be a massive TV audience on Thursday,” added Nicholson. “This is what darts is all about.

“You’ve got the person who has thrown the best darts in history in Phil against the person who wants to throw the darts to upset him.

“All I want to do now is cement what I’ve done this year and take the confidence that I’ve gained over the last 12 months into this game and give him a real battle.

“It’s going to be hard, I know that, and I’ll have to work hard in the next 36 hours, but I’ll be ready for Phil.”

Source – PDC/Lawrence Lustig

 

About The Author