Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Premier League Darts Week Two: Taylor looks for Revenge against Webster

Phil Taylor is an incredible talent, no sooner had he lost his world crown to his protégé Adrian Lewis he was being pronounced the winner of the prestigious Players Championship just at the Doncaster Dome a few weeks later. While Taylor was winning the tournament for the second time in the three years since its inception, Lewis floundered, knocked out in the first round by former BDO World Champion, Steve Beaton in his first competitive match since being crowned world champion in January. Taylor defeated world final runner up, Gary Anderson 13-12 in an epic final, the Scot proving that he has lost none of his form since losing to Lewis in the World Final at the ‘Ally Pally’ six weeks ago.

The scene was set therefore for the two to meet on opening night in the hugely popular Premier League of Darts at O2 Arena in London last week, a title that Taylor has won five times from the six years it has been played and who went totally unbeaten last year, winning twelve and drawing two of his fourteen league matches. On Play-Off night he dispatched Mervyn King 8-1 in the semi finals and then won the final 10-8 against James Wade, scoring two nine dart finishes in the process. With such a record it was surely too much for even the new world champion to cope with.

However, 26 year old Lewis appeared to cast aside reputations, clearly not letting Taylor’s pedigree in the tournament faze him in any way and proceeded to do a demolition job on Taylor running out an 8-2 winner, inflicting the heaviest defeat on Taylor in this competition that he has ever known. Lewis’s victory immediately raised question marks concerning Taylor’s fallibility particular from those with short memories who had already forgotten Taylor’s Players Championship win.

Taylor like any true champion, took the defeat like the champion that he is admitting that he played second string to Lewis who clearly had rekindled the form he showed to win the World Crown and had, very professionally forgotten his poor display in Doncaster.

After one round then the Premier Darts League looks strange reading with Phi Taylor’s name at the bottom for the first time ever. He will not be there for long however, that is for certain. That said he next faces the man who dumped him out of the world championship, Mark Webster, who comes into the match, having beaten James Wade 8-3 in his first ever Premier League match last week. This week’s matches take place at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham. Should Webster win, particularly if wins in the same emphatic style as Lewis achieved last week, then it would certainly ‘put the cat amongst the pigeons’ and possibly persuade the Bookmakers to remove Taylor from the top of the Premier Darts League betting.

In the other three matches Simon Whitlock takes on Raymond Van Barneveld, who both last week, Whitlock 5-8 to Anderson and ‘Barny’ 6-8 to outsider, Terry Jenkins. Lewis will take on 2009 Premier League champion and runner up last year, Wade, while Anderson is the favourite, as short as 4/9 with Victor Chandler to win against Jenkins.

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