Paul Nicholson powered past Phil Taylor in a final leg thriller against the throw, despite at one stage being 4 legs clear of the 15 times World Champion (and reigning UK Open Champ). Entering the break at 3-7 in arrears Taylor came back to square the match at 8-8, however in the tense final leg it was The Asset who held his nerve as Taylor failed twice to exceed a score of 50 with his three darts.

In his first televised tournament since having laser eye surgery, Nicholson had earlier staged a comeback of his own as he knocked out the newly crowned Premier League Champion Gary Anderson, in another last leg shootout. With a quarter final meeting with James Wade, should The Asset go on to win the title, nobody could argue about the quality of his opposition en-route.

James Wade seemingly enjoying his darts for a change, edged out the Prince of Wales, Richie Burnett 9-7. Burnett the 1995 Embassy World Champion seems to have found some form of late and hopefully we will be seeing a lot more of him as he continues his resurgence. Wes Newton demolished Raymond van Barneveld 9-1, in a confident performance that those in the know have always been convinced he is capable of. A 100 average for the man from Fleetwood on the big stage facilitates a quarter final clash with Dave Chisnall.

Chisnall’s journey to the quarter finals saw him meet John Bowles, the former rugby league playing Kenny Daglish lookalike Rileys qualifier. After taking out the big names of Manley and Beaton, Bowles couldn’t tackle Chisnall eventually losing out 9-4 to the Chizzy Rascal.

Robert Thornton overcame The Wizard Colin Osborne by a 9 legs to 7 scoreline to setup a quarter final meeting with Mark Webster who knocked out the other Rileys qualifier Andy Boulton with some impressive ton plus finishes including 164, 147 and 146 in a comfortable 9-4 win.

Denis Ovens heated up the pie (man) Andy Smith and emerged a 9-6 victor making him the eldest competitor remaining. Many are speculating a sea change in 2011 where the old guard are toppled by an ever improving wave of youth. However 53 year old veteran Ovens will be keen to bring his solid floor game to the main stage and book a semi final place, his opponent though Mark Hylton will have other ideas after seeing off Lowestoft’s Peter Wright 9 legs to 6.

TAYLOR’S REEBOK REIGN ENDED BY NICHOLSON AS NEWTON SOARS PAST BARNEY

PAUL NICHOLSON sensationally knocked reigning champion Phil Taylor out of the Speedy Hire UK Open on Saturday night with a 9-8 triumph at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium, as Wes Newton sent two-time winner Raymond van Barneveld packing.

Nicholson followed up his deciding-leg win over Gary Anderson in Saturday afternoon’s Fourth Round with another thrilling performance, edging out the 15-time World Champion to reach Sunday’s final stages.

The Newcastle-born ace opened up leads of 5-2 and 7-3 before Taylor hit back to within a leg, but a 100 finish saw him move to the brink of victory at 8-6.

A missed bullseye for the match in the next saw Taylor hit back before the defending champion levelled on double 12 – but crucially he was unable to reach a double in the decider as Nicholson posted a 180 and finished double eight for an amazing triumph.

Nicholson had defeated Taylor on his way to winning last year’s Players Championship Finals in Purfleet, and he must now face James Wade in the first of three games he will need to play on Sunday if he is to win a second major title.

“I’m so tired after those two matches and I’ve put everything into them, but I’m thrilled with my mental attitude,” said Nicholson.

“I’ll be going straight to bed after this because I’ve got a job to do on Sunday – beating Phil won’t mean anything if I don’t win the tournament tomorrow.”

He added: “Phil Taylor is such an icon and a wonderful dart player but I’ve looked a lot at how John Part plays against him with no fear.

“When it went to eight-all there was no doubt in my mind because I’ve been there before against Phil. I just wanted a chance, and I took it.”

Wade, the 2008 UK Open, continued his challenge in the event with a fine 9-7 win over resurgent Richie Burnett, who pushed the left-hander all the way but was punished for missing three darts at double top to force a deciding leg.

Fleetwood’s ever-improving Wes Newton continued his run of form with a brilliant 9-1 win over two-time winner Raymond van Barneveld, averaging 100 as he swept into the quarter-finals.

“This weekend is now different to how I’ve been playing on the PDC ProTour events and I wanted to take that form into this tournament,” said Newton, who has moved up to eighth in the PDC Order of Merit this year.

“I’ve put in more effort over the last two years and I’ve got more belief in myself, and it’s paying off because if I can take my floor game onto the stage I’m a danger to anyone.

“I’m in the quarter-finals and I’m due to become a father in a fortnight. Everything’s going well in my life and I’m happy, and I can look forward to the quarter-finals.”

Newton will take on St Helens’ Dave Chisnall in the last eight, after the PDC newcomer continued an impressive Bolton debut with wins over Ronnie Baxter and Widnes amateur John Bowles on Saturday.

Bowles had won four matches to reach the last 16, including wins over Peter Manley and Steve Beaton, but lost out 9-4 to Chisnall.

Mark Webster knocked out the other remaining Rileys Amateur Qualifier, Andy Boulton, in with a fine 9-4 victory which included checkouts of 164, 147 and 146 in a superb display, and now takes on stable-mate Robert Thornton.

The Scot’s return to top form continued in Bolton as he defeated 2009 runner-up Colin Osborne 9-7 to reach the quarter-finals.

The other last eight clash sees Denis Ovens, a semi-finalist last year, take on Mark Hylton, the left-hander from Rugeley who bettered his last 16 finish in the World Championship by defeating colourful Peter Wright 9-7 to reach the quarter-finals of a major for the first time.

Stevenage veteran Ovens won his place in the quarters with a 9-6 defeat of Andy Smith in the night’s other Fifth Round clash, leaving him as the elder statesman in the last eight aged 53, with five of the players aged 33 or under.

Sunday’s decisive final day in the £200,000 event will see the afternoon’s Quarter-Finals followed by the Semi-Finals and Final in the evening session at the Reebok Stadium, with the winner pocketing £40,000 prize money.

A limited number of tickets remain on sale for each of Sunday’s session, and can be purchased in person from the Reebok Stadium.

Speedy Hire UK Open
Saturday June 4
Fifth Round

James Wade 9-7 Richie Burnett
Robert Thornton 9-7 Colin Osborne
Paul Nicholson 9-8 Phil Taylor
Wes Newton 9-1 Raymond van Barneveld
Mark Hylton 9-7 Peter Wright
Mark Webster 9-4 Andy Boulton
Denis Ovens 9-6 Andy Smith
Dave Chisnall 9-4 John Bowles

Sunday June 5 (1pm)
Quarter-Finals

Denis Ovens v Mark Hylton
Robert Thornton v Mark Webster
Dave Chisnall v Wes Newton
James Wade v Paul Nicholson
Best of 19 legs

7pm Start
Semi-Finals – Best of 19 legs
Final – Best of 21 legs

Source – PDC

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