Team Unicorn star Phil Taylor tasted defeat for the first time in the 2012 Premier League, as he was beaten by Adrian Lewis in Bournemouth.
On another huge night of darts, Gary Anderson’s reign as Premier League Champion is all but over – as Kevin Painter got back to winning ways, James Wade and Andy Hamilton couldn’t be separated, but Raymond van Barneveld failed to fire.
But after 11 weeks, Taylor finally lost and he will be disappointed after building a 4-1 lead against the World Champion, but then lost his way.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter that much, although it will be a blow to Taylor’s pride.....the pair may yet meet in either the semi-finals or final next month at the O2!
Lewis won six legs out of seven to win it.
After ‘The Power’ took control early on, the turning point of the match came in the 6th leg....Taylor missed one dart at D18 to move 5-1 ahead with another break of throw, only for Lewis to hit D6 to stay in touch.
And it was a different story after the break.
Taylor missed two more darts at doubles and Lewis took out ‘tops’ for 4-3 and his first 180 then helped him to level the match....the next two legs were shared, before Lewis found something extra.
A 5th maximum from Taylor appeared to put him in control of the 11th leg, but the World Champion struck tungsten gold with a terrific 160 finish to move ahead for the first time.
A two dart 72 finish made it 7-5 and after Taylor missed three darts at D16 to stay in the contest, Lewis hit D18 at the first attempt to cross the finishing line an 8-5 winner and move into the top four.
But Gary Anderson’s nightmare PL campaign continued as he lost to Kevin Painter and it is now SEVEN games without a win for Anderson, who hasn’t tasted victory since beating Lewis 8-1 in Exeter nearly two months ago.
For Painter – an impressive double over Anderson – but more importantly, it stopped the rot after five straight defeats and also keeps him in him contention for those play-offs.
“Despite the defeats, I haven’t been playing badly, so I will still give it a go for the next three weeks and if I win my three matches, I may get through. Whatever happens, I have had a great time and tried to enjoy every minute,” said Painter.
Anderson missed three darts at double to win the opening leg on his own throw and that set the pattern for yet another poor night at the office.
To be fair, he is a class act who is desperately low on confidence and we all hope the magic returns very soon for Anderson.
Painter took full advantage as he raced into a 5-1 lead at the break....the turning point came in the fifth leg when Anderson has left himself 24 to break back for 2-3, only for Painter to take out 101 – his 12th ton plus finish of the PL season!
The only highlight for Anderson came in leg seven when from nowhere, he produced a 140 finish, but that was only a brief respite....more missed doubles cost Anderson again and D1 was the winning dart for Painter.
Anderson is now bottom of the Premier League table.
And it was also a bitterly disappointing night for Barney!
Hugely frustrating after his brilliant double tournament win at the weekend, as he slumped to defeat against Simon Whitlock, and the Dutchman knows he now has to win two out of his last three matches to qualify for the play-offs.
Quite simply, he didn’t turn up on the South coast.
After winning the opening leg, he then watched on as the Australian won five on the spin, including a 116 finish, followed by a brilliant 155 check-out to secure a double break.....Barney pulled a leg back in 13 darts, but then missed darts to break.
At 6-2 in Whitlock’s favour, the Unicorn man did manage to pull a couple of legs back, but when he missed darts to make it 5-6, that was that and the Aussie claimed his 8-4 win....a victory which puts him onto 14 points and almost certainly clinches a semi-final spot.
In a disappointing game, Barney averaged just 88.77 with Whitlock not much better on 89.75
James Wade and Andy Hamilton shared the spoils in another terrific all Unicorn PL clash, although ‘The Machine’ will feel he missed a great chance to claim a crucial win.
It was Wade’s first draw and Hamilton yet again showed all his battling qualities to snatch the point.
Just two breaks of throw early on in the piece, but from 2-2, ten consecutive legs won with throw! Wade hit a couple of 11 darters and took out 86, 116 and 124, while ‘The Hammer’ nailed a 123 finish.
The big moment in the match came in the 11th leg.....Wade was leading 6-5, Hamilton missed the bull for a 164 finish, then crucially Wade blew two darts at D10 to break......so the spoils were shared!
But good performances from both with Hamilton averaging 100.41 and Wade 99.30
Week 11 results:
Raymond van Barneveld 4-8 Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson 4-8 Kevin Painter
James Wade 7-7 Andy Hamilton
Phil Taylor 5-8 Adrian Lewis
Premier League table:
1 – Phil Taylor – 19pts
2 – Simon Whitlock – 14pts
3 – James Wade – 11pts
4 – Adrian Lewis – 11pts
5 – Raymond van Barneveld – 10pts
6 – Kevin Painter – 8pts
7 – Andy Hamilton – 8pts
8 - Gary Anderson – 7pts
Week 12 Liverpool:
James Wade v Kevin Painter
Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock
Andy Hamilton v Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
By STUART PYKE
Photos courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC