THREE-TIME William Hill Grand Slam of Darts champion Phil Taylor will play Paul Nicholson in the quarter-finals of this year’s tournament on Saturday following their second round victories over Wes Newton & Steve Beaton in Wolverhampton.

Taylor and Nicholson both produced top-drawer performances to win through to the last eight at the Wolves Civic on Friday night, where they were joined by World Champions Adrian Lewis and Mark Webster.

Taylor defeated Wes Newton 10-3 in their clash, hitting the highest average in the history of the Grand Slam of Darts at 112.37 as he blew the UK Open finalist away.

Taylor hit two 11-dart finishes and a 116 finish in powering into the quarter-finals for the fifth successive year in Wolverhampton.

“It’s a brilliant win for me but I didn’t expect the score to be so comfortable,” said Taylor. “Wes usually starts really well against me and I thought this would be the same, and when I went 4-0 up I suddenly got really nervous.

“I calmed down again and am pleased with how I played. It will be a cracking quarter-final against Paul Nicholson, because he’s playing well and we’ll both be up for it.

“Paul’s a great character, I like him and he’s great for the game.”

Nicholson showed his class with a fine comeback against Steve Beaton, who led 6-3 before the Geordie hit back with six successive legs before sealing victory.

“I’m chuffed to be through,” said Nicholson. “It was a very hard game but it was what I expected because Steve’s a fine player and he brought the best out of me with his performance.

“I keep doing it the hard way but I showed that I’ve got a lot of fight in me and I love these games.”

Mark Webster was another player to battle from behind before winning his all-Welsh clash with Martin Phillips 10-8.

Phillips enjoyed leads of 3-0 and 8-5 before Webster found top gear to win five successive legs and win through to the quarters.

“I probably got out of jail there but I’m really glad to get through,” said Webster. “It was a battle and I was relieved to get the game over.

“If you want to win a tournament you have to win ugly sometimes and I did that. I missed too many doubles but they were on the wires and there’s not too much I need to change.”

Reigning PDC World Champion Adrian Lewis, meanwhile, held off John Part’s fightback to take a 10-8 win in their battle.

Lewis hit a 109 finish and two 13-darters in taking a 9-3 lead before the Canadian, a three-time World Champion, won five straight legs to threaten a miracle comeback, only for the Stoke ace to land double 12 for victory.

“I took my foot off the gas when I got to 9-3 and I got away with it in the end,” admitted Lewis.

“I’m still learning and to be honest at 9-3 I should have finished John off, but he showed why he is three-time World Champion. I knew I had one more good leg in me and fortunately it came out.”

Saturday’s afternoon session features the first two quarter-finals, as two-time World Champion Ted Hankey meets Mark Walsh and Gary Anderson takes on 2008 runner-up Terry Jenkins.

William Hill Grand Slam of Darts
Second Round

Friday November 18
Paul Nicholson 10-8 Steve Beaton
Mark Webster 10-8 Martin Phillips
Phil Taylor 10-3 Wes Newton
Adrian Lewis 10-8 John Part

Quarter-Finals
Saturday November 19
Afternoon Session (2pm)
Ted Hankey v Mark Walsh
Gary Anderson v Terry Jenkins

Evening Session (7pm)
Mark Webster v Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor v Paul Nicholson
Best of 31 legs

PAUL NICHOLSON 10-8 STEVE BEATON
PAUL NICHOLSON staged a superb fightback to win through to his first William Hill Grand Slam of Darts quarter-final with a 10-8 triumph over Steve Beaton.

The Geordie’s progression at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall continued with a gutsy display as he hit back from 2-0 and 6-3 down to see off Beaton.

The former World Champion dominated the first half of the contest, which included a brilliant 141 checkout, but could not stop a surge from Nicholson, who took six successive legs to set up the victory.

Beaton opened the game with a 14-dart finish and took out 80 to break in the second leg, after Nicholson had missed four darts to level.

Nicholson posted double eight to get off the mark in leg three, and squared the game on double ten before Beaton won the next on double five.

Nicholson finished 76 for the sixth leg before Beaton took the next three to pull clear, sparking the run with a 141 checkout of treble 17, bull and double top before he also finished 63 to break and double nine in moving 6-3 up.

The run was ended in the tenth leg as Nicholson finished a key 82 on tops with Beaton waiting on 40 as he cut the gap to 6-4, and when the 47-year-old missed two darts at double 11 in the next he pulled back further by finishing double four.

The duo traded 180s in the next before Nicholson took out 88 for a 12-darter to square the match, and double 16 for a fourth successive leg put him ahead for the first time in the contest.

Nicholson posted his second 180 of the game in the next to leave eight, and stepped in to hit double four after Beaton missed two darts at double 12, before a fine 121 checkout saw him pull away at 9-6.

Beaton kept the game alive by winning the next leg in 13 darts, setting up double top with a 165 score before hitting a 180 and double five to reduce the gap to one leg.

Nicholson, though, opened the 18th leg with his third maximum of the game, and took out double eight for a 14-darter to secure his last eight spot.

“I’m chuffed to be through,” said Nicholson. “It was a very hard game but it was what I expected because Steve’s a fine player and he brought the best out of me with his performance.

“The 82 I hit in the tenth leg was enormous, probably as big as my 144 against Magnus Caris in the group stage, because if he had gone 7-3 up I probably wouldn’t have been able to get back from that against a player of Steve’s class.

“I keep doing it the hard way but I showed that I’ve got a lot of fight in me and I love these games.”

MARK WEBSTER 10-8 MARTIN PHILLIPS
MARK WEBSTER won five legs without reply to take a 10-8 victory over Martin Phillips in their all-Welsh second round clash at the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts.

The left-handers produced another exciting contest at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, with Phillips taking leads of 3-0 and 8-5 before Webster hit his straps late on to move into the quarter-finals.

Phillips capitalised when Webster started slowly, perhaps showing nerves against his former mentor on the Welsh scene from Webster’s early days in the sport.

Double top gave Phillips the opening leg before broke on double nine and took out 84 on the bull to lead 3-0.

Webster got off the mark in the third, hitting a 180 and finishing 81 for a 12-dart leg before posting tops to win a second leg and checking out 58 to level.

Phillips took out tops to win the seventh, and stole the eighth for a 5-3 lead when Webster hit two 180s but missed double 12 and his opponent finished 100 with two double tops.

Double 11 saw Webster break back, and he levelled on double five before being punished for misses as Phillips edged the next three legs to lead once more, moving 8-5 up.

Webster, though, stopped the rot in the 14th leg by hitting a 180 and double ten after Phillips missed the bull for a 161 finish, and when he landed double six in the next to reduce the gap to 8-7 the comeback was alive.

Webster hit his fifth maximum and double ten to level before landing the same bed to move 9-8 up and lead for the first time, before tops for a 15-darter saw him complete the triumph.

“I probably got out of jail there but I’m really glad to get through,” said Webster. “It was a battle and I was relieved to get the game over.

“If you want to win a tournament you have to win ugly sometimes and I did that. I missed too many doubles but they were on the wires and there’s not too much I need to change.

“I’m looking forward to the quarter-finals and it’s good to be in the last eight again, because I’m doing that consistently now in the majors.”

PHIL TAYLOR 10-3 WES NEWTON
PHIL TAYLOR stormed into the quarter-finals of the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts with a sensational display to defeat Wes Newton 10-3, averaging 112.37 in the process.

Taylor produced the best individual performance of the tournament so far, being matched for 180s by Newton as the pair shared eight but finishing 71 percent of his 14 chances at a double and ending the game with his highest ever Grand Slam match average.

The average also eclipsed James Wade’s 111.03 which he hit during the 2008 tournament against Denis Ovens as Taylor set up a tantalising clash with Paul Nicholson on Saturday night.

Taylor looked in top form from the start, hitting a 180 with his second throw and taking the opening leg with a 96 finish for an 11-darter.

He finished 65 on tops for the second leg and double ten to win the third against the throw in 12 darts before landing a 116 checkout to move four legs clear.

Taylor was also waiting on a finish in the fifth, but Newton posted a 180 and double top to get off the mark.

The pair traded 14-darters in the next two legs before Taylor finished double 12 for a 13-dart finish as he moved 6-2 up and edged towards the win.

Newton replied with a third maximum and double 16 to win his third leg of the game in the ninth, but Taylor restored his advantage with double 16 for another 13-darter to lead 7-3.

He finished 50 to win the next and an 11-darter – his second of the contest, despite a 180 from Newton – moved Taylor to the brink of victory which he sealed in 14 darts in the next leg.

“It’s a brilliant win for me but I didn’t expect the score to be so comfortable,” said Taylor. “Wes usually starts really well against me and I thought this would be the same, and when I went 4-0 up I suddenly got really nervous.

“I calmed down again and am pleased with how I played. It will be a cracking quarter-final against Paul Nicholson, because he’s playing well and we’ll both be up for it.

“Paul’s a great character, I like him and he’s great for the game.”

ADRIAN LEWIS 10-8 JOHN PART
ADRIAN LEWIS held off a thrilling fightback from John Part to win through to the quarter-finals of the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts for the first time with a 10-8 victory.

The reigning PDC World Champion looked set to cruise into the last eight when he took a 9-3 lead, only for the Canadian great to battle back with five successive legs in pulling back to within a leg.

Lewis will now take on former Lakeside Champion Mark Webster in the quarter-finals on Saturday evening, and admitted: “I took my foot off the gas when I got to 9-3 and I got away with it in the end.

“I’m still learning and to be honest at 9-3 I should have finished John off, but he showed why he is three-time World Champion. I knew I had one more good leg in me and fortunately it came out.”

Lewis made a fine start with a 13-dart finish and also broke in the second leg before posting double five for a 3-0 lead.

Part took out 104 in the fourth to win his first leg, but paid for missed doubles in the next as Lewis hit back to finish double ten with his third dart for a 4-1 advantage at the first break.

Lewis then finished 109 and 72 to win the next two legs – with the latter coming despite Part hitting two 180s – before the Canadian took the eighth to pull back to 6-2.

Lewis edged towards victory by winning three of the next four legs courtesy of two 14-darters and a 13-dart finish, with Part hitting a 180 and a 96 checkout in reply.

Double ten from Part saw him begin his fightback in pulling back to 9-4, and when he landed double 16 and tops Lewis began to show his nerves.

Part took out double 17 to pull back to 9-7, and when Lewis was unable to convert a chance at tops the Canadian reduced the gap to one leg courtesy of double seven.

Lewis, though, hit four scores of 100 or more to edge away in the 18th leg, and finished double 12 with his third dart to end a dramatic contest.

“It’s frustrating for me because I never got into my rhythm but I didn’t give up,” said Part. “I was determined to play like a World Champion and I fought all the way.

“It was almost a miracle story and I got close to Adrian – but not close enough.”

Source – PDC/Lawrence Lustig