FLAWLESS TAYLOR PROGRESSES AS UNIBET CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OF DARTS COMMENCES
 

PHIL TAYLOR qualified for the Unibet Champions League of Darts semi-finals and ended Michael van Gerwen's winning streak with a sensational win over the world number one on Saturday, as Gary Anderson picked up two victories on the opening day in Cardiff.

The eight-player, £250,000 tournament began at the Motorpoint Arena as the stars completed their first two of three group matches on Saturday as the PDC's first BBC-televised tournament began in style.

Taylor was the day's outstanding performer, as he firstly averaged almost 103 and hit three ton-plus finishes in a 10-5 defeat of Peter Wright before bettering that as he overcame van Gerwen 10-4.

Van Gerwen had won six successive tournaments heading to Cardiff and extended his unbeaten run to 36 matches with a 10-5 win over Robert Thornton in their opener, but paid the price for missed doubles when he took on a clinical and ruthless Taylor.

Taylor showed his intent with a superb 167 checkout in the game's third leg, and after van Gerwen took out 122 in reply, further finishes of 101, 138 and 120 helped the 16-time World Champion to book his semi-final spot.

Taylor said: "I'm over the moon with how it's gone today. In my mind I'm not seeing it that I'm through, and I'll just concentrate on playing Robert and trying to win.

"I've had a break and my finishing is a bit better, my scoring is a little bit better and that's a combination for winning tournaments, so I'm happy.

"Michael let me off a couple of times but I kept putting him under pressure and you've got to do that against him. It's lovely to be a part of this event. The crowd are wonderful and it's lovely to see them enjoying themselves."


Van Gerwen now faces a showdown with Peter Wright on Sunday afternoon to decide the other player to progress from Group A, after the world number five bounced back from his loss to Taylor with a 10-6 defeat of Robert Thornton.

Pre-tournament favourite van Gerwen uncharacteristically failed to hold throw in seven attempts against Taylor, and said: "Fair play to Phil because he had some good finishing but I didn't really turn up.

"I didn't play well, I missed doubles and wasn't focused enough and it wasn't my day, but tomorrow we have another day. I'm still in the tournament and it's in my own hands - tomorrow is a knockout."


Wright said: "I'm pleased to have got past Robert because he didn't hit his doubles and I punished him. Every day's different and it should be a good game against Michael, he brings out the best in everybody."

World Champion Gary Anderson put one foot into the last four by winning both of his Group B clashes, overcoming Michael Smith 10-5 before seeing off James Wade 10-7.

Anderson had enjoyed a three-week break ahead of the Cardiff event, and said: "To win both matches is a good start to the event because I've been a bit rusty.

"I made a mess of a few legs in both games and I could have wrapped up the win against James a bit sooner, but I got the job done. My scoring is coming and the finishing was good, so I've got no worries going into Sunday."


Wade had earlier opened the day by reeling off seven successive legs in a 10-3 win over Adrian Lewis, who later edged out Smith 10-8 in their evening contest.

"I wasn't good enough against Gary and I'm disappointed, but I've got to put it behind me," said Wade. "I know I'm good enough but talk is cheap, and hopefully the right James Wade can come out tomorrow."

The results now mean that Lewis needs to defeat Anderson in their repeat of the World Championship final to progress to the last four, while both Wade and Smith could still secure semi-final places.

Lewis, though, was happy to have bounced back from his opening defeat as he saw off Smith, and said: "I went away and dusted myself off and I've given myself a lifeline now.

"I struggled to get over the line against Michael but in patches it was good. Gary beat me in the World Championship final and I'll be aiming for revenge!"


The Unibet Champions League of Darts concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session's final group games followed in the evening session with the semi-finals and final.

A limited number of tickets are still available from the Motorpoint Arena Box Office, either in person or by calling 02920 22 44 88 .

International TV coverage is available through:
BBC Two - UK & Ireland
RTL7 - Netherlands
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Fox Sports - Australia
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Perform - Japan
www.LIVEPDC.TV - International Pass Subscribers worldwide (Outside of UK, Ireland & Netherlands)

Unibet Champions League of Darts
Saturday September 24
Afternoon Session

First Group Matches
Gary Anderson 10-5 Michael Smith (B)
Adrian Lewis 3-10 James Wade (B)
Phil Taylor 10-5 Peter Wright (A)
Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Robert Thornton (A)
Live on BBC1 from 1.15pm (BBC2 from 4.30pm)

Evening Session
Second Group Matches
Adrian Lewis 10-8 Michael Smith (B)
Gary Anderson 10-7 James Wade (B)
Michael van Gerwen 4-10 Phil Taylor (A)
Peter Wright 10-6 Robert Thornton (A)
Afternoon session's Winners play each other, and Losers play each other.
Live on BBC2 from 6.30pm

League Tables
Group A

 

P

W

L

+/-

Pts

Phil Taylor (Q)

2

2

0

+11

4

Peter Wright

2

1

1

-1

2

Michael van Gerwen

2

1

1

-1

2

Robert Thornton (E)

2

0

2

-1

0


Group B

 

P

W

L

+/-

Pts

Gary Anderson

2

2

0

+8

4

James Wade

2

1

1

+4

2

Adrian Lewis

2

1

1

-5

2

Michael Smith

2

0

2

-7

0


Sunday September 25
Afternoon Session

Final Group Matches
James Wade v Michael Smith (B)
Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis (B)
Phil Taylor v Robert Thornton (A)
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright (A)
Live on BBC2 from 1pm

Evening Session
Semi-Finals
Winner Group A v Runner-Up Group B
Winner Group B v Runner-Up Group A
Final
Order of Games TBC
Live on BBC2 from 6.30pm

Format
Group Matches - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals & Final - Best of 21 legs

MATCH INFORMATION
AFTERNOON SESSION

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN survived a scare against Robert Thornton to open the Unibet Champions League of Darts with a 10-5 win, as Phil Taylor, James Wade and Gary Anderson also began their challenges in Cardiff with victories.

World number one van Gerwen travelled to the Motorpoint Arena as the pre-tournament favourite with sponsors Unibet, having won six successive tournaments recently.

However, World Grand Prix champion Thornton took the game to van Gerwen in their Group A opener, winning the opening leg and also taking out 113 as he shared the opening ten legs.

Van Gerwen, though, found an extra gear to reel off the next five legs, completing the victory with an 11-darter.

"I won 10-5 but I want to do better than this," said van Gerwen. "I expect more from myself and I was a bit sloppy.

"Robert played better than he has in the last few tournaments, but I played a bit better at the end and got a bit more confidence. I just want to win my games and look to my own performances and prepare for tonight against Phil."

Taylor impressed with an average of almost 103 as he swept past Peter Wright 10-5, hitting checkouts of 154, 125 and 122 on his way to the win.

After Wright took the opener, legs of 12, 11 and 13 darts saw Taylor take command at 3-1, and held the advantage throughout to take the opening win and set up a Saturday night showdown with van Gerwen.

James Wade excelled with a superb display of finishing as he romped to a 10-3 win over Adrian Lewis, who hit legs of 12 and 14 darts as he shared the opening six before the left-hander pulled clear.

A 13-darter from Wade had given him leg seven to regain the lead, and he took out a 161 finish for a 12-darter amongst a run of six sub-15 dart legs to power to victory with ten doubles from 18 attempts and an average of over 103.

Wade now meets World Champion Gary Anderson, who also pulled clear from three-all before defeating Michael Smith 10-5 in their Group B opener.

Gary Anderson v Michael Smith (B)
1-0 - An early break for Anderson as he takes out 58 on tops.
2-0 - Smith misses D20 to break back allowing Anderson to pin double one for a 2-0 lead.
2-1 - 5 on double two for Smith as he gets his first leg on the board.
3-1 - Anderson hits tops again to regain a two leg lead.
3-2 - 40 on double five for Smith.
3-3 - Smith breaks back on tops.
4-3 - Another break of throw as Anderson hits tops for a third time.
5-3 - Tops yet again for Anderson as he takes out 103.
5-4 - Smith his 119 to leave himself two, which he takes out at the second opportunity.
6-4 - Anderson hits D20 for the fifth time to extend his lead.
7-4 - Smith misses three at a double allowing Anderson to take out 51 on tops for a second break.
8-4 - 82 on D11 for Anderson who opens up a four leg lead.
8-5 - 87 on double 18 for Smith.
9-5 - A 174 to leave 32 for Anderson, who takes it out in one.
10-5 - 25 on double 12 for Anderson to seal the win with a 95.56 average.

Match Stats

Gary Anderson 10-5 Michael Smith
19 100+ 17
14 140+ 8
1 170+ 0
0 180 1
96.86 Average 87.65
103 High Finish 87
4 Breaks of Throw 1
1017 - 59% Checkout % 5/17 - 29%


Adrian Lewis v James Wade (B)
0-1 - Wade holds throw with 78 on tops.
1-1 - Level as Lewis pins double ten.
1-2 - Shanghai for Wade to hold again.
2-2 - D10 again for Lewis to level the score.
2-3 - Five on double two for Wade to regain the lead.
3-3 - 46 on tops for Lewis as he holds his throw again.
3-4 - Thirteen dart leg from Wade as he hits double 12.
3-5 - First break of the match as Wade hits double ten.
3-6 - 60 on tops for Wade as he opens up a three leg gap.
3-7 - 161 out from Wade to move four clear.
3-8 - 78 on tops for Wade, who is currently averaging 103.
3-9 - 40 on tops for Wade to move one leg away from the win.
3-10 - Seven legs in a row for Wade to round off a 10-3 win with a 103 average.

Match Stats

Adrian Lewis 3-10 James Wade
19 100+ 15
4 140+ 17
0 170+ 0
4 180 3
97.48 Average 103.49
46 High Finish 161
0 Breaks of Throw 3
3/10 - 30% Checkout % 10/18 - 56%


Phil Taylor v Peter Wright (A)
0-1 - Wright finishes double two to take the opening leg.
1-1 - Taylor lands a 180 and tops to level the contest.
2-1 - Taylor breaks with a superb 11-darter, scoring 177 and 180 before landing double 16.
3-1 - The pair open with 180s before Taylor is given a reprieve for two misses as Wright is unable to land the bull, allowing him back to hit double six.
3-2 - Wright finishes 76 on tops to hit back.
4-2 - Taylor takes out a sublime 154 finish to regain his cushion.
4-3 - Wright's 170 leaves 32, and when Taylor misses the bull he steps in to finish double eight.
5-3 - Wright fires in a 180, but Taylor's double 16 wins him his fifth leg.
6-3 - 122 on double seven for another break of throw for Taylor.
7-3 - A four leg lead for Taylor now as he hits D16. A 105 average for Taylor at the break.
7-4 - Wright hits D8 to stop the rot and close the gap to three.
8-4 - Taylor back to four legs ahead as he hits double 16.
8-5 - 96 on double 18 for Wright.
9-5 - Taylor one away from the win as he takes out 32 on D16.
10-5 - Double three for Taylor to seal an impressive victory.

Match Stats

Phil Taylor 10-5 Peter Wright
17 100+ 19
15 140+ 10
2 170+ 2
3 180 3
102.66 Average 97.70
154 High Finish 96
3 Breaks of Throw 0
10/21 - 48% Checkout % 5/14 - 36%


Michael van Gerwen v Robert Thornton (A)
0-1 - Thornton takes out 101 on tops to break in the opening leg.
1-1 - van Gerwen breaks back immediately by hitting double six.
2-1 - van Gerwen in to the lead for the first time as he holds throw by hitting D14.
2-2 - Double ten for Thornton as he levels the score.
3-2 - van Gerwen hits D16 at the sixth attempts to regain the lead.
4-2 - 90 on the bull for van Gerwen as he breaks for the first time.
4-3 - Thornton breaks back on D16.
4-4 - 113 on tops as Thornton levels the score.
5-4 - Thornton has chances to break but can't find the double. Van Gerwen moves in to pin double three.
5-5 - van Gerwen's turn to be punished for missed darts as Thornton hits D10 to level the score.
6-5 - 77 on tops for van Gerwain as he moves ahead again.
7-5 - Break of throw for van Gerwen as he takes out 50 on double 16.
8-5 - van Gerwen in control as he takes out 74 on tops.
9-5 - Break for van Gerwen as he moves one away from victory.
10-5 - 11-darter for Michael van Gerwen, who wins five legs in a row to seal the win.

Match Stats

Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Robert Thornton
19 100+ 14
5 140+ 8
1 170+ 0
6 180 7
97.30 Average 91.10
90 High Finish 113
4 Breaks of Throw 2
10/24 - 42% Checkout % 5/20 - 25%


EVENING SESSION
Adrian Lewis v Michael Smith (B)

1-0 - An 11 dart break of throw for Lewis as he hits D12.
2-0 - 122 on D16 for Lewis as he doubles his lead.
2-1 - Smith on the board as he pins double ten.
3-1 - Lewis moves two clear again.
3-2 - 44 on tops for Smith.
3-3 - 119 on tops for Smith after Lewis misses the bull.
4-3 - Lewis breaks again, this time on double one.
5-3 - Smith has three chances to break but can't take them. Lewis moves in to hit double eight and move two clear again.
6-3 - Lewis somehow finds space in the D2 after it looked as if he had blocked the bed with his first two.
6-4 - 56 on tops for Smith to close the gap.
6-5 - Double five for Smith and the deficit is one again.
7-5 - D16 for Lewis as he holds throw.
7-6 - It's double ten for Smith for an important hold.
8-6 - 81 on double 16 for Lewis.
9-6 - Double four means Lewis is no one leg away from the victory.
9-7 - Smith hits double one to keep the game alive.
9-8 - Smith hits the bull to close the gap to just one.
10-8 - 58 on tops for Lewis to see off Michael Smith.

Match Stats

Adrian Lewis 10-8 Michael Smith
23 100+ 15
13 140+ 18
0 170+ 0
5 180 3
95.85 Average 87.28
122 High Finish 119
4 Breaks of Throw 3
10/30 - 33% Checkout % 8/34 - 24%


Gary Anderson v James Wade (B)
1-0 - An early break for Anderson as he takes out 86 on D16.
2-0 - 56 on tops for Anderson.
2-1 - Wade on the board as he takes out 20.
2-2 - Wade breaks back on double 19.
3-2 - Anderson has the break of throw back as he hits tops for a 43 checkout.
4-2 - Double two for Anderson as he opens up a two leg lead.
5-2 - Another break for Anderson as he takes out 80 on tops.
6-2 - Anderson extends his lead to four as he takes out 32.
7-2 - Slack from Wade as he gives Anderson another opportunity, the Scot breaks again on tops.
7-3 - Wade stops the rot as he pins D20 for a break of throw.
7-4 - 164 for Wade after Anderson missed three at a double.
8-4 - Anderson takes out 98 on D19.
8-5 - Double twelve for Wade as he closes the gap.
9-5 - Anderson one away after hitting D10.
9-6 - Anderson misses three match darts before Wade keeps the game alive on double five.
9-7 - Anderson now misses six more match darts to allow Wade back in.
10-8 - Double seven confirms the win for Anderson.

Match Stats

Gary Anderson 10-8 James Wade
21 100+ 22
15 140+ 10
1 170+ 1
4 180 4
94.62 Average 90.66
98 High Finish 164
5 Breaks of Throw 3
10/36 - 28% Checkout % 7/16 - 44%


Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor (A)
0-1 - Double six gives Taylor the opening leg against the throw.
1-1 - van Gerwen crashes in his first maximum followed by D16 to break back.
1-2 - 167 from Taylor breaks the van Gerwen throw.
1-3 - 25 on double eight gives Taylor a two leg lead.
1-4 - Another break for Taylor as he pins double 16.
2-4 - 122 on the bull for van Gerwen as he gets a break back.
2-5 - Superb from Taylor as he takes out 101 on double 16.
3-5 - van Gerwen breaks back on tops.
3-6 - 90 on double 15 for Taylor to break yet again.
4-6 - Yet another break of throw
4-7 - Still no hold for van Gerwen as he misses three darts at a double allowing Taylor to take out 65 on tops.
4-8 - van Gerwen misses two more darts at a double and Taylor punishes him yet again.
4-9 - 138 on D9 for Taylor as he moves one away from a big win.
4-10 - 120 for a huge win with an average of 107.49.

Match Stats

Michael van Gerwen 4-10 Phil Taylor
13 100+ 19
7 140+ 12
2 170+ 0
5 180 5
104.13 Average 107.49
122 High Finish 167
4 Breaks of Throw 7
4/11 - 36% Checkout % 10/16 - 63%


Peter Wright v Robert Thornton (A)
1-0 - 40 on tops for Wright as he holds throw.
1-1 - 40 on double ten as Thornton levels up.
2-1 - Wright takes out 50 to move back ahead.
3-1 - Wright has the break as he takes out 68 on tops.
4-1 - Thornton misses the bull allowing Wright a shot at tops, which he takes.
5-1 - Double ten for Wright gives him another break and a four leg cushion.
6-1 - Five legs in a row for Wright who takes out 54 on tops.
6-2 - Thornton stops the rot by hitting double 14.
7-2 - 24 on double 12 for Wright.
7-3 - Double nine for Thornton as he goes in to the break four legs behind.
7-4 - 76 on tops for Thornton who closes the gap again.
7-5 - Thornton holds throw and is back within two legs of Wright.
8-5 - Wright hits D10 for a 15 dart hold of throw.
8-6 - Double two for Thornton as he moves within two again.
9-6 - An 11 darter from Wright who is one leg away from the win.
10-6 - Wright seals the win by hitting D8.

Match Stats

Peter Wright 10-6 Robert Thornton
15 100+ 21
15 140+ 9
0 170+ 0
4 180 2
94.30 Average 90.80
68 High Finish 76
3 Breaks of Throw 1
10/18 - 56% Checkout % 6/19 - 32%