- Premier League
In-form Lewis piles misery on luckless Taylor
Phil Taylor narrowly avoided consecutive Premier League whitewashes as Adrian Lewis produced a superb display of darts for a 7-3 victory at the BIC in Bournemouth.
Fresh from hitting two nine-dart finishes in a UK Open qualifier - one of which was against Lewis - Taylor could not reproduce the same form with his new darts in the early exchanges of his week two clash with 'Jackpot' and now finds himself bottom of the ten-strong table.
These two produced the greatest-ever televised match at the Grand Slam of Darts last November and it looked to be more of the same as Lewis found his first 180 in the opening leg.
Lewis' early finishing was clinical as he saw out 67 to break thrown and move two legs to the good, before returning to hit double top and make it 3-0 after further heavy scoring.
With Taylor poised on 52, Lewis put the pressure on with a 180 and it clearly told as the 'Power' again missed doubles to get off the mark. Lewis, on the other hand, did not and moved into a 4-0 lead.
Four soon became five with another maximum and double nine finish, but Taylor refused to be bageled for the second week in a row and posted double 10 to make it 5-1. In the following leg both players left 140 and, in similar circumstances to the Grand Slam when the pair were aiming for a 160-out, Taylor watched Lewis miss the double before taking out the finish himself.
However, Lewis was not fazed as he finished an unorthodox 88 on double 7 to secure at least a point. Taylor intervened with one more leg but Lewis responded with another 180 and double 16 to continue his 100% record.
Another player to continue his unbeaten start was defending champion Michael van Gerwen, who had to work hard for a 7-5 win over Robert Thornton.
Thornton took the opening leg but wired 164 for an immediate break, before returning to hit a 13-darter to move ahead. Van Gerwen levelled once more and the pair became locked at 3-3. The Green Machine somehow managed to bust his score when needing 180 - by hitting three treble 20's - but a 78 helped him break again for a narrow lead. Van Gerwen then completed a 121-out to secure at least a draw, before high-scoring in the final leg saw him comfortably throw out the match.
Nothing could separate Premier League newcomers Dave Chisnall and Peter Wright as they played out an entertaining 6-6 draw. Wright led 5-1 but 'Chizzy' somehow produced a blinding spell of darts to deny his opponent a second consecutive victory in the event. Wright edged a scrappy opening leg on madhouse, but soon pulled ahead after careless darts from Chisnall.
However, the roles soon reversed when Wright found himself four legs clear of his opponent as Chisnall began to pound treble after treble. Back-to-back 180's saw Chisnall on a nine-dart finish, but the St Helens star had to settle for an 11-darter to move within one. Wright missed the bull in a 132 shortly before sealing double eight for at least a point, but Chisnall hit back with two heavy-scoring legs to remain unbeaten.
Gary Anderson condemned Simon Whitlock to a second consecutive loss as the 'Flying Scotsman' enjoyed a 7-2 triumph. Whitlock lead Anderson 2-1 but the Scot hit six straight legs to take victory, which included a 98-plus average and 126 out. Whitlock's highlight proved to be missing a grandstand 170 finish on the bull when 6-2 down, but by then it was all too late.
Elsewhere, Wes Newton scored his first victory of the four-month tournament with a 7-5 win over Raymond van Barneveld. 'The Warrior' came from 5-3 down to put his first two points on the board and also finished 149, as well as narrowly missing a 167-out on the bullseye.