TAYLOR BRILLIANCE ENDS NEWTON’S HOPES AS WADE BEATS BARNEY IN BLACKPOOL

PHIL TAYLOR and James Wade moved into the semi-finals of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay on Friday night, defeating Wes Newton and Raymond van Barneveld in thrilling quarter-finals at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Reigning champion Taylor produced one of his finest performances on the Winter Gardens stage with a 16-5 victory over Newton, a win which was made more remarkable as he had to come from 4-1 down.

Fleetwood’s world number eight Newton took the early advantage in an inspired opening, but Taylor followed a 150 checkout with a brace of 128 finishes in taking the lead, and eventually won nine straight legs in storming to victory.

Taylor averaged over 108 – his highest of the event this year – in taking the victory, and will now play Stoke-born Andy Hamilton in an all-Potteries semi-final on Saturday.

“I’m delighted with that,” said Taylor. “I’m not starting brilliantly but it’s going well after that, and I’m playing maybe as well as I can.

“Wes is setting a good standard at the moment and he’s getting better and better. He doesn’t miss and you have to play well to beat him.

He hit everything early on but the 150 and 128 were massive shots and you could see his head drop a little bit.

“I’m loving this event and with the way the players are playing, you have to be completely on your game.

“I want to hit a 110 average against Andy and to keep improving too because I want to leave here on Sunday with the trophy again.

With World Champion Adrian Lewis having won through to the last four earlier in the day, seeing off Mark Webster, James Wade secured a spot in the semis against the Stoke ace with a 16-11 defeat of Raymond van Barneveld.

The Dutchman shared the opening 14 legs against Wade, who pulled clear in the final stages with some clinical finishing, notably on his favoured double top.

“I’m not in top gear but I’m winning and I need five more percent in my game before I’m at my best,” said Wade.

“This is the best tournament in the world, for me it’s bigger than the World Championship and I get a feeling from this tournament that I don’t get from any other.”

Hamilton, the world number 17 who had claimed the last of 16 Players Championship qualifying places just to get into the World Matchplay before defeating Scottish pair Gary Anderson and John Henderson, had won through to the semis in dramatic fashion earlier on Friday.

He looked set to crash out to Simon Whitlock when the Australian ace led 15-8, but he incredibly won nine successive legs in arguably the greatest comeback in the 18-year history of the World Matchplay.

Coverage of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay semi-finals will be shown live on Sky Sports HD1 on Saturday evening, as well as in 3D on the Sky 3D channel.

Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay
Quarter-Finals

Simon Whitlock 15-17 Andy Hamilton
Adrian Lewis 16-12 Mark Webster
Raymond van Barneveld 11-16 James Wade
Phil Taylor 16-5 Wes Newton

Saturday July 23
Semi-Finals (7pm)

Phil Taylor v Andy Hamilton
Adrian Lewis v James Wade
Best of 33 legs. Matches must be won by two clear legs.

JAMES WADE 16-11 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
JAMES WADE secured his place in the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay quarter-finals with a 16-11 defeat of Raymond van Barneveld at the Winter Gardens on Friday night.

Dutch star van Barneveld had defeated Wade during his run to the World Matchplay final in Blackpool last year, and had performed superbly against Steve Brown and Paul Nicholson to book his last eight spot this week.

However, he was punished for missed doubles at key times as Wade, the 2007 World Matchplay champion, took out four ton-plus finishes to set up a tantalising semi-final with World Champion Adrian Lewis.

Van Barneveld made a bright start, hitting double top to win the opening two legs without reply before Wade landed a second 180 of the game and double ten to get off the mark in the third.

When he hit tops to take the next three legs and a 4-2 lead, Wade’s early double troubles seemed to have been put behind him, only for the left-hander to then miss three darts to win the seventh as van BArneveld hit back.

Wade hit a 180 in the eighth, but double six drew van Barneveld level – and the tables were turned in the next when the Dutchman landed a maximum only to see his opponent finish 121.

The next two were shared before van Barneveld finished 126 on the bullseye to square the match at six-all, and the pair traded the next two legs as the match remained finely poised.

Wade, through, produced two fine finishes to take the next two legs, taking out 95 and 96 to lead 9-7, assuming an advantage he would never lose.

Van Barneveld landed a 174 and double eight to take the next, but when he missed his chance to level in leg 18 Wade hit double ten to break and a 100 finish for a 14-darter to move 11-8 up.

Finishes of double eight and double six pulled the five-time World Champion back into the game, but again a chance to level slipped away as he missed the bull for another 126 finish, with Wade taking out 116.

Three further missed doubles from van Barneveld gave Wade the chance to hit double ten for a 13-10 lead, and when he took out 127 on double eight the winning line loomed into sight.

Double top saw Wade edge to the brink of victory, and although van Barneveld landed double 16 to stay in the contest it proved only brief respite as the left-hander’s trusted double top secured the win.

“I’m not in top gear but I’m winning and I need five more percent in my game before I’m at my best,” said Wade. “The big finishes were good but they were rescue shots for me – I’m not scoring as well as I can.

“It’s not felt comfortable for the first two games and it didn’t quite click for me, and it’s testing my ability.

“This is the best tournament in the world, for me it’s bigger than the World Championship and I get a feeling from this tournament that I don’t get from any other.”

Wade defeated Lewis in last year’s World Grand Prix final and also in the 2007 World Matchplay semi-finals, but is expecting a huge test against the World Champion.

“He’s supposed to be the best player and roughly is, more times than not,” added Wade.

“He’s done very well to win the one title I want, the World Championship. He’s brilliant at darts, amazing, and there’s no other player who can string together two or three legs when you need them like he can.”

PHIL TAYLOR 16-5 WES NEWTON
PHIL TAYLOR stormed into the semi-finals of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay with an amazing fightback to hit back from 4-1 down and defeat Wes Newton 16-5 at the Winter Gardens.

Local star Fleetwood, the world number eight who was appearing in his first World Matchplay quarter-final, stunned the reigning champion by taking an early 4-1 lead.

But Taylor showed his quality in a relentless barrage as he won 15 of the next 16 legs, including nine in a row, to take a superb win, hitting a key 150 finish and a brace of 128 checkouts along the way.

Following his victories over Andy Smith and Justin Pipe earlier in the event, home favourite Newton made a great start by winning the opening leg on double 16 and hitting the same bed to double his lead with an immediate break of throw.

After hitting a 180 in the third, Newton missed the bullseye for an 84 finish in a bid to move further clear as Taylor opened his account with a 66 checkout.

The duo traded maximums in the fourth, and after Taylor missed the bull Newton finished double top for a fine 11-dart leg, and then took the fifth to move 4-1 up at the first break.

He also hit a 180 in the sixth leg, but was left waiting on 40 when Taylor took out 150 before the reigning champion piled in a 128 finish in the next and a 14-darter to draw level.

Taylor then hit another 128 finish to take the lead for the first time, despite a fourth 180 of the game from Newton, and landed a 180 and double ten to edge 6-4 up.

Newton hit back well in the 11th, with Taylor hitting a 174 to leave 32 but being denied a dart at the double as Newton finished 72 on double six to win his fifth leg.

However, Taylor asserted his dominance with a clinical 64 finish before breaking in a key 13th with a 71 checkout after trading 180s with Newton, and double 18 gave him a 9-5 cushion.

He added a 12-darter win his tenth leg, and also produced an 11-dart finish which featured a 180 and a 96 checkout, but it was his accuracy on double 16 – allied to his pounding of the treble 20 and treble 19 beds – which saw him power to victory.

Taylor hit the double 16 bed in five of the final six legs, with none being over 13 darts as he stormed into a a semi-final against Stoke-born Andy Hamilton.

“I’m delighted with that,” said Taylor. “I’m not starting brilliantly but it’s going well after that, and I’m playing maybe as well as I can.

“Wes is setting a good standard at the moment and he’s getting better and better. He doesn’t miss and you have to play well to beat him.

He hit everything early on but the 150 and 128 were massive shots and you could see his head drop a little bit.

“I’m loving this event and with the way the players are playing, you have to be completely on your game.

“I want to hit a 110 average against Andy and to keep improving too because I want to leave here on Sunday with the trophy again.

“Andy will battle for every dart and he wears his heart on his sleeve. He showed that against Simon Whitlock with the best performance I’ve seen all year.

“I can’t think of anyone who can take nine legs in a row against Simon, but Andy never legs his concentration slip. He works hard for what he’s got and he earns everything he gets.”

Taylor added: “It’s a great semi-final line-up and I’m glad I’m on first so that I can watch the other semi-final. Everyones a little bit in awe of Adrian because he’s World Champion and James is on a high at the minute, so that will be a cracking game.”

Newton said: “I’m obviously very disappointed but I gave it my all.

“It’s starting to get on my nerves a bit that Phil seems to play at his very best against me, but I’ve got to take the positives from that because perhaps he does it for a reason, and maybe I’m bringing the best out in him.

“I will keep plugging away and hopefully get the better of him one day. I’ll regroup now and get ready for the European Championship now.

“It’s been a good step forward for me. I’ve come into this tournament and won a couple of games in Blackpool at last.”

Source – PDC/Lawrence Lustig