PHIL TAYLOR returned to top gear with a 13-7 defeat of Wayne Jones as he cruised into the quarter-finals of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay, setting up a clash with home favourite Wes Newton on Friday night.

Reigning champion Taylor, the 11-time World Matchplay winner, improved on Monday’s 10-8 victory over Mark Hylton with a more comfortable defeat of Wolverhampton’s Jones at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Although Jones hit back from 5-1 down to trail only 5-4, Taylor pulled clear with a fine run of legs before sealing victory with a 124 finish and an 11-darter.

“It was a good night at the office,” said Taylor, who meets Wes Newton in the last eight on Friday night. “It was brilliant for me to win so well because I’d not played like that for a couple of months.

“I’m trying to improve because I love this tournament and I want to win it. Every round’s a great game and it will be a cracker on Friday. I’m not feeling under pressure, I’m just going out to enjoy myself and do my best.”

Fleetwood favourite Wes Newton booked a spot in his first World Matchplay quarter-final with a 13-8 victory over Justin Pipe, which included checkouts of 170 and 126 in an impressive display.

“It’s as big a game as they come on Friday,” said Newton. “Phil’s the best player that there has ever been and I’ve got massive respect for him.

“I’ll approach it like it’s the toughest game of my life, which it is, but I’m confident that I can play well and give him a game.”

Simon Whitlock and Andy Hamilton had earlier set up a last eight clash with contrasting victories against Denis Ovens and John Henderson respectively.

Whitlock stormed to a 13-1 defeat of Ovens, who took out a 132 finish to win the game’s second leg but had no answer to a superb display of doubling from the Australian.

Hamilton, meanwhile, edged out Henderson 13-11, after the Scottish ace hit back from 10-7 down to level at 11-all before Derby-based Hamilton took the final two legs without reply.

The quarter-finals will also feature two other mouth-watering clashes, with World Champion Adrian Lewis taking on Welshman Mark Webster and 2007 World Matchplay winner James Wade facing last year’s runner-up Raymond van Barneveld.

Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay
Thursday July 21
Second Round

Simon Whitlock 13-1 Denis Ovens
Andy Hamilton 13-11 John Henderson
Phil Taylor 13-7 Wayne Jones
Wes Newton 13-8 Justin Pipe

Friday July 22
Quarter-Finals

Afternoon Session (1pm)
Simon Whitlock v Andy Hamilton
Adrian Lewis v Mark Webster
Evening Session (7pm)
Raymond van Barneveld v James Wade
Phil Taylor v Wes Newton
All games are the best of 31 legs. Matches must be won by two clear legs.

SIMON WHITLOCK 13-1 DENIS OVENS
SIMON WHITLOCK romped into the quarter-finals of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay, dropping only one leg in a superb victory over Denis Ovens on Thursday.

The Australian picked up the most comprehensive win of the second round with a clinical display, hitting over 50 percent of his attempts at a double and winning 12 successive legs in sweeping to victory.

The win keeps Whitlock on course for a second successive semi-final in Blackpool in as many years of competing in the World Matchplay, as he moves on to play in the last eight on Friday against Andy Hamilton.

He made an ideal start to the match with a 180 in his first visit to the board, and although Ovens replied with a maximum of his own it was the Australian who drew first blood with double ten for a 14-darter.

Whitlock also hit a 180 in the second leg, but Ovens levelled with a classy 132 checkout of outer bull, treble 19 and a tricky bullseye, which he hit after having to move left along the oche.

That, though, would be the brightest moment of the game for Ovens, who could offer little as Whitlock took the next three legs in assuming control of the contest.

The first came with a 13-darter, before double four broke Ovens’ throw and a 63 finish moved him 4-1 up at the first break.

Whitlock also hit a 180 in the sixth leg, and although he missed two darts at double top, Ovens would miss three darts at double 16 to hit back to allow him back in to break again.

Whitlock then followed a 64 checkout with a sensational 154 finish, before landing double ten in successive legs to move into a 9-1 lead.

After 62 checkout gave Whitlock a tenth leg, he then traded 180s with Ovens in a 12-darter to extend his lead further before punishing two misses from the UK Open semi-finalist by hitting double eight to move 12-1 up, before sealing the win in the next on tops.

“It felt really good,” said Whitlock, who dedicated the win to his son Nicholas, who celebrated his birthday in Australia on Thursday by watching live coverage of the tournament.

“I started off fantastically by kicking off with a 180, and managed to keep up a good performance, although Denis didn’t play too well and never got into the match.

“I’ve been working hard for the last six-to-eight weeks and my game is back very close to its best.

“I always work on my doubles, it’s all I do in practice, but I’ve also changed the shafts on my darts since the end of the Premier League because they didn’t feel quite right, and they’re going great.

“I’m just plodding along, doing the business and I’m happy to be progressing quietly, which suits me. Last year I was a bit ill and I didn’t appreciate the event but I’m really enjoying it, the atmosphere is fantastic and the crowd have been great.”

ANDY HAMILTON 13-11 JOHN HENDERSON
ANDY HAMILTON completed a Scottish double at the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay with a 13-11 defeat of John Henderson as he booked a quarter-final place at the Winter Gardens.

Hamilton followed up Tuesday’s first round victory over Gary Anderson by knocking out the tournament’s other Scottish qualifier, PDC newcomer Henderson, with a gutsy performance.

Having led 4-1 early on, Hamilton also maintained that cushion to lead 10-7 before Henderson won four of the next five to level – but the Derby-based ace finished the stronger with back-to-back legs to kill off the game.

He had shown early signs of nerves with three missed doubles in the opening leg, as Henderson finished 60 to break in the opening leg.

Hamilton also missed three darts to win the second leg, but a brace of misses from the Huntly thrower allowed him back on double four to level.

Double two gave Hamilton the lead at 2-1, and he followed another break of throw with a 100 finish of two double tops to move 4-1 up.

Henderson won two of the next three, missing double top in between, as he pulled back to 5-3, and the next four were also shared before double 16 gave Hamilton an 8-5 cushion.

The pair then traded 180s in the 14th leg, but Hamilton missed double 11 for a 124 finish to steal the leg before double ten allowed Henderson to hit back.

Hamilton did manage a ton-plus checkout in the next, taking out 147 to lead 9-6 and moving 10-7 up as the pair hit 180s in sharing two more legs.

Henderson then took out double ten and a 120 finish to win back-to-back legs for the first time in the game as the deficit was cut to just one leg at 10-9.

He also missed a dart at the bull to level, allowing Hamilton in on double two to hit back and restore his cushion.

Henderson, though, hit a 180 and double ten to win the 21st leg, and then double top saw him draw level and threaten an amazing comeback.

Hamilton settled any nerves with a 180, and took out double eight for a 14-darter to move to the brink of victory at 12-11.

And although Henderson posted a maximum – his fifth of the match – in the next, Hamilton was already waiting on a finish and took out 113 to seal victory.

“I was too relaxed and I’m relieved to get the win in the end,” said Stoke-born Hamilton. “John has got a good record against me and I had to go up there and play good darts, which I didn’t do but I hit some good finishes when I needed to.

“I was in control of the game at one point and then I allowed him back in, and that 113 finish was nice to kill it off under a bit of pressure.

“I’ll be better prepared for the quarter-finals now. I’ll learn from that because I was too relaxed and I know I have to be more focused against Simon.”

PHIL TAYLOR 13-7 WAYNE JONES
PHIL TAYLOR returned to top gear with a 13-7 defeat of Wayne Jones as he cruised into the quarter-finals of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay.

Reigning champion Taylor, the 11-time World Matchplay winner, improved on Monday’s 10-8 victory over Mark Hylton with a more comfortable defeat of Wolverhampton’s Jones at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Although Jones hit back from 5-1 down to trail only 5-4, Taylor pulled clear with a fine run of legs before sealing victory with a 124 finish and an 11-darter.

Taylor’s tactic of winning the bullseye but allowing Jones to throw first in the opening leg, in a bid to break throw immediately, almost paid off when he hit three 140s, but the Wolverhampton man – who had hit a 180 – recovered from a missed bullseye to land double four to lead.

Taylor levelled on double 16 and secured his first break in the third leg on double top, before hitting a 13-dart leg to move 3-1 up.

Finishes of double 16 – after three missed doubles from Jones – and double top saw Taylor establish a 5-1 advantage, but that would be cut to just one leg as the 2010 European Championship finalist won the next three without reply.

Jones also landed a 180, his fifth of the game, in leg ten, but Taylor finished 62 to end that run, before hitting a 180 and double 16 to break and tops for a third straight leg of his own.

Jones finished 68 to pull back to 8-5, and the next two were shared before Taylor produced a timely pair of 14-dart finishes to move clear at 11-7 and edge towards victory.

Jones checked out 62 to win his seventh leg, but a 124 finish from Taylor dealt a hammer blow to his hopes of a comeback, which were ended swiftly in the next when Taylor posted scores of 180, 140 and 165 to set up an 11-darter.

“It was a good night at the office,” said Taylor. “It was brilliant for me to win so well because I’d not played like that for a couple of months.

“Wayne did well and changed a few things in his game and he’ll improve in the next few months.

“I’m trying to improve because I love this tournament and I want to win it. Every round’s a great game and it will be a cracker on Friday. I’m not feeling under pressure, I’m just going out to enjoy myself and do my best.”

WES NEWTON 13-8 JUSTIN PIPE
WES NEWTON won through to his first Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay quarter-final with a 13-8 defeat of Justin Pipe at the Winter Gardens on Thursday night.

The Fleetwood ace set up a tasty quarter-final with Phil Taylor on Friday night with another strong performance, averaging almost 100 and taking out a 170 finish in seeing off Pipe.

He made an ideal start, hitting a 180 and double top to win the opening leg in 13 darts, and landed double ten for the second and another maximum in a 12-dart leg to lead 3-0.

He also won the fourth in 14 darts before Pipe, aided by his first 180 of the contest, got off the mark on double top.

Pipe also landed a maximum and double eight to break Newton’s throw, and the next three legs also went against the darts as the UK Open finalist established a 6-3 cushion, which was extended in style with a show-stopping 170 checkout.

Pipe won two of the next three to edge closer, and traded 180s with Newton in the 19th leg before seeing his opponent fire in a 126 checkout for a 12-darter as he took a 9-5 cushion.

An 81 finish saw Pipe take the next, but finishes of double top and double 16 saw Newton move two legs away from victory at 11-6.

Newton also hit a 174 in the next leg, but missed three darts to extend his advantage as Pipe broke with a 76 finish and then hit double top to reduce the gap to three legs.

Pipe also landed a maximum in leg 20, but Newton hit a pressure double 16 at the third time of asking to lead 12-8 before sealing the victory in style with an 81 checkout.

“It was a really tough game,” said Newton. “Justin’s quite a slow player and that made it hard for me as a quicker player to get into a rhythm, but I prepared for it and played well.

“Justin never laid down and kept coming back at me, which made it a really tough game to the end.

“The 170 was nice. I’ve left it a few times this week so it’s good to hit it, and it gave the fans something to cheer and me a chance to celebrate on stage.”

Newton will meet reigning champion Phil Taylor on Friday night in the quarter-finals, and admitted: “It’s as big a game as they come.

“Phil’s the best player that there has ever been and I’ve got massive respect for him. I’ll approach it like it’s the toughest game of my life, which it is, but I’m confident that I can play well and give him a game.

“Phil’s not playing the darts that we know he can, but I watched him against Wayne Jones and he had a 108 average for most of the game, which is the Phil Taylor of old.

“The final at Bolton was the biggest night of my career up to now, but this is a real big game, it doesn’t get much better than this. I’ll try to forget the pressure and play darts like I have done for the last year-and-a-half.”