WAYNE MARDLE powered his way into the quarter-finals of the Stan James World Matchplay with a superb comeback against Michael van Gerwen at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

The 2003 runner-up produced one of the finest fightbacks of his career in overturning an 8-6 deficit against the teenage wonderkid.

Mardle won seven of the game’s final eight legs to book his place in Thursday’s quarter-finals, where he meets Raymond van Barneveld or Tony Eccles.

“I’m not known as a grinder but I must be maturing after that performance,” admitted Mardle. “Michael didn’t play well but I knew if if got tight I’d win.”

Emerging talent Alan Tabern reached a third successive quarter-final in a major tournament with a superb 13-7 defeat of World Champion John Part.

The St Helens-based star opened up a 6-0 lead against Part with a sensational start before setting up a quarter-final against veteran Dennis Priestley.

Priestley, who has bounced back from a prostate cancer operation this year, overcame Terry Jenkins 13-11 to remain on course for a fourth World Matchplay final.

Wednesday’s evening session includes world number two Raymond van Barneveld’s clash with Tony Eccles and the meeting of defending champion James Wade against local hero Ronnie Baxter.

Wednesday 23 July
Afternoon Session
Terry Jenkins 11-13 Dennis Priestley
John Part 7-13 Alan Tabern
Michael van Gerwen 9-13 Wayne Mardle
Evening Session
Matt Clark v Peter Manley
Raymond van Barneveld v Tony Eccles
James Wade v Ronnie Baxter

DENNIS PRIESTLEY 13-11 TERRY JENKINS

DENNIS PRIESTLEY reached his second quarter-final in three years at the Stan James World Matchplay with a tight 13-11 win over Terry Jenkins.

The 58-year-old Yorkshireman produced a typically gritty display to edge out last year’s runner-up and remain on course for a fourth Winter Gardens final.

There was never more than two legs between the pair throughout the game, with the lead changing hands four times before Priestley took the win.

A 94 finish from Priestley saw him take the opening leg, before Jenkins took the next two to lead.

A 155 checkout saw Priestley level and, though Jenkins took leg five, he then took three in a row to move 5-3 up, including a fine 13-darter.

Jenkins replied in 12 darts and took advantage of a miscount from Priestley to level at six-all, only for missed a double top to allow the Yorkshireman to go back in front and lead 8-6.

Three straight legs from last year’s runner-up, including another 12-darter, saw Jenkins move back ahead at 9-8, with Priestley levelling in 13 darts and stepping in on double top to move 10-9 up.

Jenkins levelled on double top but a miss at the same bed allowed Priestley to edge back in front.

A 116 finish put him a leg away from the win, although Jenkins took out 96 in two darts to stay in the contest as Priestley waited on 32.

But a poor start to the next leg from the Ledbury man allowed Priestley to pull clear, before taking out double ten for a quarter-final place.

“I didn’t make it easy for myself,” admitted Priestley. “Getting over the winning line was tough and I took my time to do it, but it was exciting for the fans!”

Priestley has undergone prostate cancer surgery this year, and although he tired against Jenkins is confident he can last the pace in the best-of-31 leg quarter-finals.

“I’ll be resting now before the quarter-finals but as long as I keep focused I can keep playing decent darts,” he said. “This game proved I can go 24 legs and and should stand me in good stead.”

ALAN TABERN 13-7 JOHN PART

ALAN TABERN reached the quarter-finals of a third successive televised tournament with a thrilling 13-7 win over John Part at the Winter Gardens.

The emerging star from St Helens has been in superb form this summer, reaching the last eight at the Blue Square UK Open and PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic before heading to Blackpool.

Having come through round one for the first time on Tuesday with a win over Vincent van der Voort, he claimed the scalp of the current World Champion John Part to progress to Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Tabern was aided by a brilliant start, taking the first six legs without reply, landing three 180s and averaging 109 at times to leave Part trailing.

Tabern also had a chance to lead 7-0, but a missed bullseye allowed Part to get off the mark on double two, and he also took the next three legs – including a 12-darter – to pull back to 6-4.

Tabern included a 112 finish in taking the next two, but a brilliant 11-darter from Part cut the gap to 8-5.

Missed doubles in the next two legs from the Canadian allowed Tabern to restore a five-leg lead, and double top put him 11-5 up.

He also started the next leg with seven perfect darts, but a failure to land the nine-darter gave Part a chance to step in and take out 100.

The next two were shared to leave Tabern a leg away from victory, and misses from Part gave him a chance to seal the win on double four.

“I knew if I started against John like I finished against Vincent in the first round I could give myself a lead going into the later sessions and luckily I did,” said Tabern.

“I took advantage of a lot of slips from John and I couldn’t believe some of the chances I got, but taking them needed good darts.

“When I was 6-4 up it could have been 8-2 and to be honest I was pleased with that scoreline, and I managed to push on from that.”

Tabern now meets two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley in the quarter-finals on Thursday afternoon.

“I’m delighted confidence-wise that I’m using a new set of darts and they’re working for me,” he added. “And I’m starting now to believe I belong where I am in the top 16 of the world.

“No player wouldn’t be happy to reach a quarter-final of any major and I’ve done it in three in a row now, so it’s great for me.

“Dennis is a legend and in a way I can’t lose. If he beats me, I’ve lost to a legend and if I win I’m in the semi-finals.

“It won’t be a shock to people if Dennis gets to the semi-finals of the World Matchplay, but it would be a little shock for the public if I got to the semi-final.”

WAYNE MARDLE 13-9 MICHAEL VAN GERWEN

WAYNE MARDLE bounced into the quarter-finals of the Stan James World Matchplay with a 13-9 win over Michael van Gerwen in a thriller at the Winter Gardens.

The 2003 runner-up produced a mature to come from 8-6 down to win seven of the final eight legs and move into the last eight.

Mardle trailed 2-0 and 5-2 early on as van Gerwen took advantage of missed doubles to edge clear, hitting two 180s and a 112 finish.

Three missed doubles cost him in leg eight as Mardle hit back, and an 86 finish pulled the number ten seed back to 5-4 before five misses at a double allowed the teenage star to land double 15.

Mardle landed a second maximum of the game on his way to the 11th leg, but a 12-darter and a double top finish saw van Gerwen take two of the next three to move 8-6 up.

A two-dart 94 finish sparked Mardle’s challenge, and he added a 13-darter to break throw before a 125 finish saw him win five successive legs in a surge that took him 11-8 up.

A second 112 checkout of the game from van Gerwen saw him stop the run, but a 13-darter took Mardle to the brink of the win and five more misses from the Dutchman allowed him to seal the win on double five.

“I’m not known as a grinder but I must be maturing after that performance,” admitted Mardle. “I’m a natural player and if I can get on with my game I’m fine, so playing Michael suited me.

“He didn’t play well but I knew if if got tight I’d win.”

Van Gerwen admitted: “It’s very disappointing but I missed too many doubles.”

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