By Alex Moss
18 DECEMBER 2016 • 11:46PM
Phil Taylor continued his unbeaten record in the first round of World Championships with a 3-0 victory over David Platt in the William Hill World Darts Championship tonight.
The 16-time world champion, who equallled John Lowe’s record of playing in 28 consecutive World Championships with this win, averaged 101.68 and dropped just two legs on his way to beating the Oceanic Masters winner.
Taylor last won the tournament four years ago in 2013, but believes he has what it takes to claim a record-breaking 17th world title at Alexandra Palace on January 2.
“I’ve got a really good chance of winning it this year,” said the fourth seed, who in the second round will play Kevin Painter in a repeat of their classic 2004 World Championship final.
“I feel really confident for the first time in a long time. I’ve been doing things right and I’ve done a few things differently to prepare.
“A lot of people have been writing me off but I really think I’ve got a much better chance than people think.
“I played okay tonight and I’m looking forward to the rest of the tournament.”
Earlier tonight, last year’s quarter-finalist Alan Norris battled back from two sets down to edge past Greece’s John Michael 3-2 in the first round.
Michael, who qualified for the tournament as the Southern Europe Qualifier, took out 141 to win the first set 3-0 before punishing missed doubles from Norris to snatch the second set 3-2.
Norris then clinched the next two sets in deciding legs before winning the final set 3-1 to set up a second round clash with either Raymond van Barneveld or Robbie Green.
“That’s why you should never give up,” the 21st seed said. “In set play you have to hang in there because a run of three or four legs can change everything.
“I struggled early on but credit where it is due to John, he played well.
“I had a good year last year. I love it here but I thought I was going home so I’m really happy.”
Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney also booked his place in the second round after beating Jermaine Wattimena 3-1.
The 24th seed breezed through the opening two sets, dropping just one leg, before Wattimena hit back to take the third set 3-1.
The comeback looked on for the Dutchman as he claimed the first leg of the next set, but Gurney responded with three legs in a row to complete an impressive display on the Alexandra Palace stage.
“I’m very pleased with the average and performance,” said Gurney, who could face ninth seed Robert Thornton in the second round.
“I’m getting better year on year and I’m playing well.
“I’ve been practicing really hard and trying to get my head right for this and it’s a very good start.”
2017 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play
Preliminary Round and First Round
Sunday December 18
Evening Session (7pm)
John Bowles 0-2 David Platt (P)
Daryl Gurney (24) 3-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Alan Norris (21) 3-2 John Michael
Phil Taylor (4) 3-0 David Platt