ADRIAN LEWIS claimed the final play-off spot in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts at the Metro Radio Arena – as Phil Taylor topped the league for a fourth straight season.

Lewis came out victorious in a three-way shoot-out with Wayne Mardle and Peter Manley, with a draw against Mardle enough to put him into the semi-finals after Manley lost 8-1 to Phil Taylor.

Lewis will now face his former mentor and Stoke rival Taylor in the semi-finals at the CIA in Cardiff on May 26 on his first appearance in the Premier League’s play-offs.

The other semi will see James Wade take on Raymond van Barneveld, after both finished the league campaign with impressive victories at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena.

Wade condemned World Champion John Part to finishing bottom of the table with a classy 8-5 win, while van Barneveld picked up his biggest win of the Premier League campaign by seeing off Terry Jenkins 8-1.

The drama, though, was reserved for the night’s final two games, with Lewis and Mardle fighting out a thriller which left the Stoke youngster narrowly in fourth place, ending ahead of Mardle on leg difference after they shared the spoils.

Lewis knew a draw for Manley in the last clash would put ‘One Dart’ through – but Taylor avenged his 8-3 defeat earlier this year with a clinical super-show, which included a 167 finish and an average of 107 in an 8-1 triumph.

“I thought a draw would be good enough for me and I relaxed when I went 7-5 up against Wayne,” said Lewis. “Phil was a different class against Peter and he’s done me a favour, but I know what I’ve got to do against him in the semi-finals now.”

Manley admitted: “I missed some doubles early against Phil and that was crucial, but he was too good.

“It’s disappointing to miss the play-offs but I was close and it wasn’t this result which cost me, I had some draws earlier in the year when I could have won, and I missed six darts to beat James Wade before losing 8-6 so I can look at those matches.”

Mardle said: “I needed to win and a draw wasn’t good enough, but Adrian was better than me on the night. I didn’t score well enough and overall this year I wasn’t good enough.

“I started badly, but had a great middle period and in the end I’ve missed out on leg difference and losing 8-0 and 8-1 to Phil Taylor has cost me.”

Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts
Night 14, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
James Wade 8-5 John Part
Raymond van Barneveld 8-1 Terry Jenkins
Wayne Mardle 7-7 Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor 8-1 Peter Manley

Play-Offs
Monday May 26, CIA, Cardiff (6pm)
Semi-Finals
James Wade v Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
Best of 21 legs
Final
Best of 31 legs

Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts
JAMES WADE 8-5 JOHN PART

JAMES WADE reaffirmed his Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts title credentials with a classy 8-5 victory over John Part in Newcastle.

Wade finished the league campaign with a flourish to condemn World Champion Part to bottom place after 14 matches around the UK since January.

The world number three pulled clear to win the final three legs of the contest and move into the play-offs later this month in encouraging form.

“I needed to win that match badly,” said Wade. “I need to buck my ideas up, I’ve not been playing at my best.

“I want that £100,000 winner’s cheque so I need to find my ‘A Game’ again, but they say the mark of a good football team is grinding out wins when they are not playing well and that’s what has been happening to me.”

Wade kicked off the match with an 11-darter and moved 2-0 up before Part defied 180s from the youngster to take the next two and level.

The next six legs were shared, including a 98 finish from Part, to leave the scores tied at five-all.

Wade crucially took the next, hitting double top with Part sat on 24, and a missed double 16 in the next cost the Canadian dear when Wade repeated the feat on tops to move 7-5 up.

Part missed two darts at double top to stay in the game, and Wade sealed the win on double 18.

“It’s very disappointing but that was a high quality match,” said Part. “James played really well and I enjoyed it, and it was good to play in.

“My league position probably doesn’t reflect my performances, I had a lot of people play very well against me and I’ve learned a few things.”

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 8-1 TERRY JENKINS

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD made it three straight wins to end the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts campaign, following an 8-1 rout of Terry Jenkins in Newcastle.

The Dutchman gained his biggest win of the year with a commanding display against last year’s runner-up, who finishes second bottom this time around.

Van Barneveld landed four maximums in the game, kicking off the contest with a 13-darter and never looking back after taking a 3-0 lead.

Jenkins won the fourth on double top with a 14-darter, but that was as good as it got for the world number five.

Van Barneveld took the next, and legs of 15, 14 and 15 darts too him to the brink of victory.

Jenkins had his chances in the next, but missed doubles cost him dear and van Barneveld sealed the win on double eight.

“I’m really pleased with how I’ve finished the league and I’ve got my belief and confidence back,” said van Barneveld.

“That wasn’t the real Terry Jenkins, and it has surprised me he hasn’t played as well in the last few weeks.

“But it’s up to me now to concentrate on the semi-finals. I’ve lost the semi-final in the last two years and it’s a big goal to get into the final and win this now.”

Jenkins admitted: “I’ve struggled in the last five or six weeks but nothing’s gone right for me.

“I started okay but I had the stuffing knocked out of me in a few games and it affected me.

“I’ll get back to the practice board now and hopefully I can get my form back for the major events coming up.”

WAYNE MARDLE 7-7 ADRIAN LEWIS

ADRIAN LEWIS won a place in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts play-offs, with a draw against Wayne Mardle in Newcastle seeing the youngster claim the last semi-final spot.

Lewis produced a superb display, landing a string of maximums and crucially pulling away from 4-4 to 6-4 to put daylight between the duo for claiming the point he needed to eventually seal his top four finish.

Lewis watched as Phil Taylor defeated Peter Manley in the final league match of the campaign, meaning the 23-year-old from Stoke earns a place in Cardiff at the end of the month.

He will face former mentor Taylor in the semi-finals, and has his sights on the £100,000 first prize.

“I thought a draw would be good enough for me and it proved that way,” said Lewis. “Phil was a different class against Peter and I know what I’ve got to do to beat him in the semis.

“I’ve beaten him three times in competition but never on TV, and I’m looking forward to playing him in Cardiff.”

Lewis and Mardle could not be separated for the first eight legs of an enthralling contest, with Mardle landing a showpiece 100 finish of 20, double top, double top in keeping pace with the high-scoring youngster.

Lewis, though, crucially stepped up a gear to take a 6-4 lead with back-to-back legs of 15 and 12 darts to edge clear.

It proved crucial and he landed two 180s in winning the 12th leg to ensure at least a draw at 7-5.

Perhaps knowing it was enough to end Mardle’s play-off hopes, he took his foot off the gas as the Essex man landed double top in the next two to salvage a point and pride from the evening – and after a nervous wait celebrated his first Premier League semi-final place.

Mardle admitted: “Adrian probably deserved the win and was better than me tonight.

“I was hanging in all the time, I didn’t score well and took a few chances, but I wasn’t good enough overall.

“A draw wasn’t good enough today but I’ve been up and down over the 14 weeks and maybe I was trying too hard in the final game. Adrian was more relaxed and it showed.”

PHIL TAYLOR 8-1 PETER MANLEY

PHIL TAYLOR crushed Peter Manley’s Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts play-off hopes and secured top spot in the league table for a fourth straight year with an 8-1 romp in Newcastle.

Manley needed just a draw to claim the final place in the semi-finals going into the final league game, but was overpowered by the three-time Premier League champion.

Taylor avenged his 8-3 loss to Manley in style with a superb display at the Metro Radio Arena, and will now face Adrian Lewis in Cardiff on May 26.

“My main objective was to finish top of the league and it important to perform well against Peter,” said Taylor.

“Peter had a lot to play for and he hit some big shots that put a lot of pressure on me, but he missed some doubles and I wasn’t going to waste my chances!”

Taylor began with a bang, punishing two missed doubles from Manley to take the first leg and then finishing 65 in two darts to move 2-0 up.

A 121 finish further extended his lead and an 11-darter was followed by two legs of 14 darts as the defending champion stormed 6-0 up.

Manley returned from the break to punish uncharacteristic misses from Taylor – who burst on double one twice to allow his opponent to get off the mark.

But Taylor responded swiftly to wrap up the win, earning a £1,000 bonus for the night’s highest finish with a 167 checkout before sealing the win in 13 darts on double ten after landing a fifth maximum of the contest.

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