PHIL TAYLOR produced one of the most remarkable comebacks of his career to stun Raymond van Barneveld and maintain his unbeaten record in the Holsten Premier League Darts. Taylor looked on course for a first ever defeat in the tournament when he went 5-1 down against the Dutchman in front of a PDC record crowd of over 5,200 at the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield.

However, Taylor – who had lost his last two games against van Barneveld, including the Ladbrokes.com World Championship final – fought back with four straight legs to level matters before taking three successive legs for a stunning victory. “I really dug in and had to jump on him when I had a chance,” said Taylor. “He’s normally the one coming from behind but I knew I had to do it tonight. “Ray’s a great player and an inspiration for me, and it’s a great challenge I have at the moment with him.”

Van Barneveld said: “I’m very happy for Phil. After I beat him in the World Championship final he worked really hard to come back.” Taylor remains a point behind Dennis Priestley, whose unbeaten start continued with an 8-5 win over Colin Lloyd. The 56-year-old, who lives just ten miles from the Hallam FM Arena in Mexborough, landed three crucial ton-plus finishes in seeing off the former World Matchplay champion.

Roland Scholten climbed off the bottom of the table with a narrow 8-6 win over Adrian Lewis, while Terry Jenkins took out a 10-darter in his 8-5 win over Peter Manley to move into fourth place.

Holsten Premier League Darts – Night Five, Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield

Adrian Lewis 6-8 Roland Scholten
Dennis Priestley 8-5 Colin Lloyd
Terry Jenkins 8-5 Peter Manley
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor

ROLAND SCHOLTEN 8-6 ADRIAN LEWIS

ROLAND SCHOLTEN claimed his first win of the 2007 Holsten Premier League Darts, edging out Adrian Lewis at the Hallam FM Arena. The Dutchman had lost his last three games since a draw with Phil Taylor on the opening day, but was back to his heavy-scoring best against the young star. He opened up an early 4-1 lead, punishing missed doubles from Lewis to storm ahead.

The 22-year-old regained his touch and hit back to level matters, landing five maximums in three legs and a 12-darter before brilliantly finishing 142 to go 5-4 up. Scholten struck back to square matters by winning leg ten, and opened the 11th with seven perfect darts at treble 20 to set up a possible nine-darter, only to see his eighth dart at double 15 go astray. Lewis did have a chance to snatch the leg, but his missed bullseye allowed Scholten to hit double four and regain the lead.

He landed double top in the next to ensure at least a draw, before Lewis kept himself in the match with double two to send the clash into a decider. A telling maximum from Scholten gave him the edge, and the Dutchman took out double 16 to secure his first win of the campaign. “I’ve been struggling for a couple of weeks but hopefully I can kick on and get better from here,” said Scholten. “It’s been a very busy time and has been a hard slog, but I’m through it now and it’s good to get the win.”

DENNIS PRIESTLEY 8-5 COLIN LLOYD

DENNIS PRIESTLEY maintained his unbeaten start to the Holsten Premier League with an 8-5 win over Colin Lloyd. The 56-year-old Yorkshireman went into his “home” appearance in front of over 5,000 fans at the Hallam FM Arena a point clear at the top of the table, and ensured he would stay there with a quality display. Buoyed by the vocal support, Priestley – who had a mere ten-mile journey from his Mexborough home to the venue – opened up an early 2-0 lead to leave Lloyd behind.

The former World Matchplay champion hit back with legs of 14 and 16 darts to square matters, before Priestley took out a quality 117 to edge back in front. Though Lloyd levelled the game going into the break, it was Priestley who returned in better form to move 5-3 up without his opponent having a shot at the double. Legs of 13 and 11 darts kept Lloyd in the game at 6-5, but Priestley’s clinical finishing allowed him to take out 120 and 113 to take a fourth win of the campaign – as well as leave Lloyd at the foot of the table.

“I’m a very proud Yorkshireman to see this crowd, but a very relieved Yorkshireman too after that!” said Priestley. “To perform in front of this crowd was difficult for me so it must have been extremely hard for Colin. I’ve every sympathy for him. “He probably outscored me but I took some high finishes out and got the result.”Priestley admitted he was overwhelmed by the reception his local crowd gave him, and added: “I was nearly in tears when I got on stage, it was absolutely fantastic.”

TERRY JENKINS 8-5 PETER MANLEY

TERRY JENKINS produced a sensational finish to grab his second win of the 2007 Holsten Premier League Darts with an 8-5 defeat of Peter Manley. Jenkins produced his best display in the tournament last week to draw with Raymond van Barneveld, and backed that up in style against Manley. The former Las Vegas Desert Classic champion gave as good as he got during an exciting contest, matching Jenkins blow for blow for ten legs.

However, the Ledbury star took three in a row at the end of the tournament to surge into the top four of the event. “I’m very pleased,” said Jenkins. “When Adrian Lewis lost I knew it was my chance to get into the top four, and I’m working my way up the table. “I think I’ve settled into the Premier League pretty steadily really and I’m very happy with the way I’m playing.”

The first ten legs went with the throw, including a brilliant ten-darter from Jenkins in the third and a 118 finish from Manley to respond in leg four. Manley also had six perfect darts in leg eight, and the pair were locked at five-all soon afterwards to leave the huge Sheffield crowd captivated. Jenkins held his throw under pressure in the 11th leg, and finally broke Manley with three ton-plus scores and a pressure double top in the next.

A stunning 11-darter, comprising 100 and two 180s before a two-dart 41 finish, gave the SkyBet World Grand Prix finalist the victory and fourth place in the table. “I finished on the legs I needed to and concentrated on my legs with the darts,” he added. “I made them count and that was important. “I’m pleased to put such a good last leg in to finish him off.”

PHIL TAYLOR 8-6 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD

PHIL TAYLOR produced a remarkable comeback to stun Raymond van Barneveld and maintain his unbeaten record in the Holsten Premier League Darts. Taylor looked on course for a first ever defeat in the tournament when he went 5-1 down against the Dutchman. However, he fought back to level matters before taking three successive legs for a stunning victory. “I really dug in and had to jump on him when I had a chance,” said Taylor. “He’s normally the one coming from behind but I knew I had to do it tonight.

“Ray’s a great player and an inspiration for me, and it’s a great challenge I have at the moment with him.” Van Barneveld had followed up his Ladbrokes.com World Championship final win over Taylor with a victory in the Masters of Darts event last month in Holland, and looked on course for a hat-trick when he took command early on. After Taylor won the first leg against the throw, the Dutchman piled in a 12-darter to level and then four legs in a row with some heavy scoring and clean finishing.

The break perhaps came at the right time for Taylor, who regathered his thoughts, and responded with a first maximum of the night in the seventh leg to break his opponent’s throw. A 13-darter and back-to-back legs of 14 darts hauled him level with the Dutchman and brought the 5,200 crowd inside the Sheffield venue to its feet. A 116 finish, with Taylor sat on double top, gave van Barneveld the 11th leg, but a quality 12-darter in return saw the scores squared once more.

Taylor secured a crucial break of throw in the 13th leg, landing double eight with his last dart to go 7-6 up and earn at least a point. He then opened the deciding leg with another maximum, and took out double 16 to clinch a superb comeback. “I’m very happy for Phil,” praised van Barneveld. “After I beat him in the World Championship final he worked really hard to come back. “He’s a true sportsman and I congratulate him on this.”

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