DARTS
Picture: Lawrence Lustig

Phil Taylor opened up a three-point lead at the top of the Betway Premier League after beating both Gary Anderson and James Wade in Sheffield.

The Power stretched his unbeaten run in the Premier League to 10 games, as he made the most of playing twice by picking up four points to create a gap over the rest of the field.

Taylor won five legs in a row as he came from 3-2 down to beat Anderson 7-3 in his first game of the night, before edging past Wade 7-4 to bring the action to a close.

The clash with Anderson saw the opening five legs all go with throw, before the Flying Scotsman had an opportunity to break the Taylor throw in leg six.

But the reigning world champion missed tops for a 64 checkout, with the Power finishing off 76 to level before running out a 7-3 winner.

A 121 checkout on the bull helped the 16-time world champion on his way to a 5-1 lead against Wade, before the Machine took out 101 to break throw and pull a leg back.

The next four legs all went with throw though, as the Power wrapped up the win with double 12, but only after Wade narrowly missed a 140 checkout.

“I’m over the moon and it’s another four points and a step closer to getting into the play-offs,” Taylor said. “I think another one or two wins will put me through and that’s what I’m after.”

Michael van Gerwen got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a hard-fought 7-5 win over Robert Thornton.

The world number one finished with an impressive average of 117.95, but still could have ended up sharing the points for a fourth week running, as Thornton came back from 6-2 down to force a 12th leg with the Dutchman.

The Thorn finished with a 100+ average and kept his hopes alive with an 11 darter in leg nine, before capitalising on missed match darts to reduce the deficit to 6-5.

Van Gerwen then produced an 11 dart leg of his own to seal the win and the third highest individual televised average in history.

Peter Wright missed five match darts to let Adrian Lewis snatch a point.

Snakebite looked on course to claim back-to-back wins in the Premier League when he gained a crucial break in leg 11.

The match had gone with throw in the first 10 legs as neither player could shake the other one off, in what was a surprisingly below-par contest at the Sheffield Arena.

Lewis missed two darts at double 12 to break the Wright throw in the eighth leg, before Snakebite wired the bullseye for a 167 checkout in the next leg to try and go in front.

A timely 180 in leg 11 handed Wright a break opportunity, which he took on double four, with Lewis salvaging a point in the final leg.

Raymond van Barneveld’s play-off hopes in this year’s Premier League are slim after losing 7-4 to Wade.

The 2014 winner is now six points behind Anderson, who occupies the final play-off spot in fourth place.

The opening game of the night was finely poised at 4-4, with all eight legs having gone with throw.

But Wade then produced a three leg burst to win 7-4 and boost his own chances of finishing in the top four at the end of the season.

The Machine, who was unbeaten in his last four Premier League games before taking on Barney, began with a confident 12 dart leg.

Wade missed a dart at tops for an early break and then held throw with a 101 checkout on double 12 to go 2-1 in front.

The pair continued to trade legs as the match reached 3-3, where van Barneveld then missed the bull for a 122 finish to break.

Double 16 ensured the 2009 Premier League winner held onto his throw, before Barney hit double five with his last dart to level up again at 4-4.

Then came the late surge from Wade, as after taking out 62 to go 5-4 up, the Machine pounced on three missed doubles from the Dutchman and finished off a 13 dart leg to go 6-4 in front.

Wade secured the two points with double 10 in the final leg to edge closer to the top four.

“It’s a very important win,” he said. “I couldn’t believe some of the shots Ray gave me.”

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