PHIL TAYLOR saw his unbeaten record shattered on the opening night of the 2008 Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts by debutant James Wade in Glasgow.

Taylor had gone through the first three years of the tournament without suffering defeat, but went down 8-6 to the world number three.

The 13-time World Champion recovered from going 5-3 down to lead 6-5, but Wade won the final three legs to make a perfect start to his first Premier League campaign.

“Phil didn’t play his best game but he is a phenomenon,” said Wade. “All he has done is lost one game of darts, and it was going to happen eventually; I hit two more doubles than him and that’s it.”

Taylor used a new set of precision-crafted darts for the first time in competition in the game, and was left with plenty of positives despite the defeat.

“I’m very pleased with the way I played,” he said. “I missed a few doubles but that can be put right and I’ll work hard on that ahead of next week.

“But I’m really excited. I’ve got new darts and am pleased with how I played on TV with them for the first time, though I could have played a lot better.”

The first of 14 league nights in this year’s tournament also saw Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis gain wins in front of a sold-out SECC crowd in Glasgow.

Van Barneveld took five of the final six legs to win 8-4 in his game against Wayne Mardle, while Lewis held off a Terry Jenkins fightback to win 8-5.

Lewis led 7-0 and looked on course for only the second ever Premier League whitewash, only for Jenkins to take five legs in a row before the Stoke youngster sealed victory.

The night’s other game saw World Champion John Part snatch a 7-7 draw with Peter Manley, who led 3-0 early in their contest.

The tournament continues on Thursday 7 February at the Plymouth Pavilions, with the night’s four matches including the clash of the current and former PDC World Champions Part and van Barneveld.

2008 Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts
Night One, SECC, Glasgow
Raymond van Barneveld 8-4 Wayne Mardle
Adrian Lewis 8-5 Terry Jenkins
Peter Manley 7-7 John Part
James Wade 8-6 Phil Taylor

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 8-4 WAYNE MARDLE

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD kicked off the 2008 Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts with an 8-4 win over returning hero Wayne Mardle at the SECC in Glasgow.

The Dutchman – a semi-finalist in his two previous appearances in the event – produced a fine second half of the contest to win five of the final six legs.

He made Mardle pay for missed doubles in front of a sell-out Glasgow crowd, who roared van Barneveld to victory.

Mardle, whose Hawaii Five-O walk-on brought the SECC to its feet, had chances in five of the first six legs, but found himself only level at the first break.

He lost the first leg after initially missing double top, landing in double five instead, before hitting double two and double eight to lead 2-1.

Van Barneveld broke back immediately to level on double 15, only for two misses at the same bed to let Mardle in to take leg five on his favoured double 18.

Mardle missed double top for a 105 finish which would have sent him into the break 4-2 up, with van Barneveld levelling on double nine and returning from the break with a confidence-boosting 180 on his way to taking the lead for the first time in the match at 4-3.

He also took the next three legs to move to the brink of victory, before Mardle rallied with his second 180 of the game to pull back to 7-4.

But his revival was ended swiftly by van Barneveld, who took out double 18 to complete the win.

“I’m delighted to be back on form,” said the Dutchman. “It was a hard match, neither of us was on our ‘A Game’ but winning is everything.

“I want to keep this going not, the Premier League is a great format and I’m enjoying myself again – and the atmosphere here was like nothing else in sport.”

Mardle admitted: “My doubles cost me. I scored pretty well but he hit his doubles and deserved to win in the end.

“I had chances to go 3-1 up and 4-2 but chances come and go and it’s something to improve on for next week.”

ADRIAN LEWIS 8-5 TERRY JENKINS

ADRIAN LEWIS held off a rousing fightback from Terry Jenkins before opening his Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts challenge with an 8-5 win.

In an incredible game of two halves, Lewis roared into a 7-0 lead and looked on course to condemn Jenkins to only the second whitewash in Premier League history.

But Jenkins, roared on by the Scottish crowd, hit back with five legs in a row to stay in the game before Lewis took out a second ton-plus checkout to finally seal the win.

Lewis kicked off in superb form, taking the first leg with a two-dart 72 finish with Jenkins sat on double top, and doubling his lead with a 140 checkout.

He also included a 93 finish and a 14-darter in moving 6-0 up at the first break, and a two-dart 88 checkout saw him go one leg away from the win.

Jenkins – who was the victim of the only other Premier League whitewash, against Colin Lloyd at Alexandra Palace last April – rallied and a pressure double three in leg eight saw him finally get off the mark.

His confidence suddenly returned, and he won the next three legs with his first dart at a double, twice punishing Lewis’ misses for the match to stay in the contest.

Jenkins also scrambled home double ten in leg 12 to stay in the game at 7-5, but Lewis hit his second 180 of the game in the next to open up a cushion, and he took out 124 for a 15-darter and victory.

“I was thinking at one stage about getting the 8-0 win and putting myself top of the league but Terry came back with some brilliant finishes,” said Lewis.

“People don’t realise the pressure when you have one dart to save the match, and he did it for four or five legs on the trot.

“He finished well at the end and if he’d started like that I’d have been in deep trouble. In the end, I’m just happy with the win!”

Jenkins admitted: “It was a struggle for me and I have been struggling a bit lately. I’m working hard in practice and it will come together soon.”

PETER MANLEY 7-7 JOHN PART

WORLD CHAMPION John Part came from 3-0 down to snatch a draw with Peter Manley at the SECC in Glasgow.

Part made a slow start on his return to the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts, before finding himself 6-5 up at one stage in an exciting contest.

Manley took the next two to earn a point, but Part snatched the draw on the bullseye in the deciding leg.

“At the end of the day I’m quite happy with the draw,” said Part. “I was behind for a long time and it was a pretty slow start, but I showed patches of my top form.”

Manley punished Part in the opening legs to win the first three without reply before Part hit back in the fourth.

Manley’s favoured double top put him 4-1 up before Part himself took three in a row to draw level, showing the class and finishing power which took him to World Championship glory at Alexandra Palace a month ago with a 157 to tie the game.

He also missed the bullseye for a 164 in the next leg as Manley edged back in front, only for Part to hit a maximum in the next and an 81 finish on double 16 to level again.

An 80 finish on double top put the Canadian in front for the first time, only for Manley to take out the same double in the next two to move 7-6 up and win a point.

But Part held the edge in the final leg, and took out the bullseye to grab himself a draw.

Manley admitted: “I was the underdog, playing against the World Champion and was 7-6 up. I didn’t have a good last leg, but I’ll take the draw.”

JAMES WADE 8-6 PHIL TAYLOR

PHIL TAYLOR saw his unbeaten record shattered on the opening night of the 2008 Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts by debutant James Wade in Glasgow.

Taylor had gone through the first three years of the tournament without suffering defeat, but went down 8-6 to the world number three.

The 13-time World Champion recovered from going 5-3 down to lead 6-5, but Wade won the final three legs to make a perfect start to his first Premier League campaign.

“Phil didn’t play his best game but he is a phenomenon,” said Wade.

“All he has done is lost one game of darts, and it was going to happen eventually; I hit two more doubles than him and that’s it.”

Taylor used a new set of precision-crafted darts for the first time in competition in the game, and was left with plenty of positives despite the defeat.

“I’m very pleased with the way I played,” he said. “I missed a few doubles but that can be put right and I’ll work hard on that ahead of next week.

“But I’m really excited. I’ve got new darts and am pleased with how I played on TV with them for the first time, though I could have played a lot better.”

The pair could not be separated over the first six legs, which all went with the throw before Wade took the first break of the match in returning from the break with a 73 finish on double top.

Wade also took leg eight, after Taylor missed two darts to level, to open up a 5-3 lead and boost expectations of a sensational win.

Taylor, galvanised by a 180 in the ninth, hit back to level and then move 6-5 up after Wade missed his doubles in the 11th leg.

Wade levelled and then went in front with back-to-back 14-darters, earning at least a point when he went 7-6 up.

Three ton-plus scores saw Taylor stay in the final leg, but a missed double 16 gave Wade his chance, and the youngest nailed double ten for an historic win.

Wade admitted: “It’s down to hard work – I looked at the two players who had more success than anyone else, Phil and Ray, and they work harder than anyone else.

“I’ve done that and the results are coming for me.”

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