REIGNING CHAMPION James Wade moved into the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts play-off places for the first time this season with victory over Raymond van Barneveld at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Thursday.

Wade lost his opening three matches this season, but gave his hopes of retaining the title a further boost with a high-quality display against the Dutchman.

He averaged over 100 and won five successive legs in the second half of the match to pull clear from three-all and condemn van Barneveld to a fifth successive defeat.

“I feel like I’m starting to show my true colours now and my finishing was good tonight but I know I’ve got more in the tank,” said Wade.

“All the games now are massive for me and it’s a really interesting Premier League this season because seven players are in with a shout, and it’s all about who’s got the most bottle now.”

An 8-4 win for Terry Jenkins over Ronnie Baxter ensures he retains an outside hope of claiming a play-off spot, as he left van Barneveld adrift at the foot of the table.

Jenkins is now just three points away from the play-off places with three matches remaining, after winning a second successive game.

“I’m getting my confidence back and I’m still in with a chance,” said Jenkins. “A lot depends on the other results now and I’ve got a tough finish against James, Raymond and Phil Taylor but I’m still fighting.”

Mervyn King strengthened his challenge by pulling clear of three players tied on 11 points thanks to his 8-3 win over Adrian Lewis.

King won seven successive legs to lead 7-1 against the youngster, punishing an under-par display from Lewis which leaves him two points adrift of the top four.

The night’s final game saw Phil Taylor delight the 7,500 Echo Arena crowd with an 8-5 win over Simon Whitlock, who played his part in a thriller by matching the 15-time World Champion blow for blow.

Whitlock led 3-2 early on and was level after ten legs, only for Taylor to find an extra gear to win the next three, sealing victory with a 125 finish of bullseye, 25 and bullseye which brought the crowd to its feet.

Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts
Week 11 – Liverpool Echo Arena
Terry Jenkins 8-4 Ronnie Baxter
James Wade 8-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis 3-8 Mervyn King
Phil Taylor 8-5 Simon Whitlock

Latest League Table

P

W

D

L

+/-

LWAT

Pts

Phil Taylor

11

9

2

0

+41

36

20

Mervyn King

11

5

3

3

+13

30

13

Ronnie Baxter

11

4

3

4

0

30

11

James Wade

11

4

3

4

0

21

11

Simon Whitlock

11

5

1

5

-1

28

11

Adrian Lewis

11

4

1

6

-9

24

9

Terry Jenkins

11

3

2

6

-18

22

8

R v Barneveld

11

2

1

8

-26

19

5

LWAT = Legs Won Against Throw

TERRY JENKINS 8-4 RONNIE BAXTER
TERRY JENKINS won a second successive match to further improve his play-off hopes in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts with an 8-4 defeat of Ronnie Baxter in Liverpool.

Jenkins ended a six-game losing run by seeing off Adrian Lewis last week, and produced his best display of the season to sweep Baxter aside.

He now sits just three points behind the play-off places with three matches remaining, and faces the league’s cellar-dweller Raymond van Barneveld in Aberdeen next week.

Jenkins took the final’s opening leg on double top, but misses in the next two allowed Baxter to post double 18 and then a 13-darter to edge in front.

A 103 finish from Jenkins, the 2007 Premier League finalist, saw him level before a brace of double top finishes and then double ten gave him a 5-2 cushion.

Baxter ended Jenkins’ run of winning legs by posting a last-ditch double top in the eighth, but paid the price for a missed bullseye in the next, as his opponent landed double top for a 6-3 cushion.

Baxter defied a 180 from his opponent to take the tenth on double 16, but Jenkins landed a 76 finish to move 7-4 up and then took out 80 to seal the win.

“I’m getting my confidence back and I’m still in with a chance,” said Jenkins. “A lot depends on the other results now and I’ve got a tough finish against James, Raymond and Phil Taylor but I’m still fighting.

“My darts went well tonight and it was my best performance of the season.”

JAMES WADE 8-3 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
JAMES WADE turned on the style to end Raymond van Barneveld’s Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts hopes with an 8-3 victory at the Liverpool Echo Arena.

Van Barneveld slumped to the bottom of the table a week ago, and an eighth defeat of the campaign means he cannot qualify for next month’s play-offs, having been a semi-final loser in each of the last four seasons of the tournament.

The Dutchman shared the opening six legs, but Wade won the next five legs to storm to victory with a 100 average.

Van Barneveld began well, hitting double eight to break throw in the opening leg, but a missed double top allowed Wade to level on the same bed with a 13-darter, before the left-hander posted double ten to edge 2-1 up.

The five-time World Champion landed back-to-back 180s in the fourth, hitting an 11-darter to level, and after Wade posted a 120 finish to take the fifth he then landed another maximum and double 16 to level at the break.

Wade, though, found another gear after the restart, hitting an 87 finish for a 12-darter and then a 13-dart finish against the throw to move clear at 5-3.

Double 18 saw him pull three legs clear before he posted another 13-darter, featuring his third maximum of the game, and then sealed the win on double top.

“I feel like I’m starting to show my true colours now and my finishing was good tonight but I know I’ve got more in the tank,” said Wade.

“All the games now are massive for me and it’s a really interesting Premier League this season because seven players are in with a shout, and it’s all about who’s got the most bottle now.”

MERVYN KING 8-3 ADRIAN LEWIS
MERVYN KING picked up an important 8-3 victory over Adrian Lewis to improve his Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts play-off hopes in pulling clear in second place.

King moved two points clear of the chasing pack with a solid display to pick up his first win in three matches.

The defeat also dents Lewis’ top-four hopes, as he was punished for a below-par performance as King won seven successive legs from being 1-0 down to take command of the game.

Lewis took the game’s opening leg with a 64 finish, but King bettered that with a 68 checkout and punished two missed doubles from the youngster to take the third by posting 80.

Eight misses from Lewis gave King a chance to steal in and take the fourth for a 3-1 lead, and a 90 finish was followed by legs of 14 and 12 darts as King pulled 7-1 ahead.

Lewis posted 180s in the next two, as finishes of double seven and double 13 kept him in the game.

But King posted four ton-plus scores in the next leg, and landed double ten to complete the victory.

“I’m sitting pretty at the moment in second but it’s not over yet,” said King. “I’m only two points clear and there’s three games to go, so I’ve still got some work to do to make sure I’m in the top four.”

PHIL TAYLOR 8-5 SIMON WHITLOCK
PHIL TAYLOR repeated his Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship victory over Simon Whitlock with an 8-5 Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts triumph in Liverpool.

The four-time Premier League winner continued his charge towards the play-offs with a stylish win, his ninth of an unbeaten campaign, which was sealed with a 125 finish of bull-25-bull.

Whitlock held his own for the opening ten legs, but was frustratingly left waiting on a finish as Taylor took the final three to claim the points.

Taylor posted a 180 and double 16 to take the opening leg, and repeated the finish in the third after an 83 checkout had got Whitlock off the mark.

An 11-darter from the Australian, featuring two 180s, levelled before he hit another maximum and double top to break Taylor’s throw and lead 3-2.

Taylor kicked off the sixth with two 180s and hit a seventh treble 20, and although a missed treble 19 denied him a shot at a nine-darter he took the leg in 12 to square the match.

Double ten for a 13-darter edged him back in front, before Whitlock levelled on tops and produced a sensational 94 finish in the tenth, hitting a tricky bullseye from the right of the oche, to level at five-all.

Taylor, though, took out 96 to regain the lead, a key double 16 to break in 13 darts before the brilliant 125 checkout completed a memorable win.

“That was a really enjoyable game and I’m delighted to get the win,” said Taylor. “Simon’s a fantastic player and he’s someone who will get better and better.

“He’s one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen, and his 94 was brilliant because he blocked the bed – but perhaps my 125 was better!

“I’m pleased with my performance and I’m getting back to my best now, which is important because we’re getting down towards the play-offs and the time of year where there’s a lot of money to be won.”

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