PHIL TAYLOR kept alive his incredible unbeaten record in the Holsten Premier League Darts to complete a double over Raymond van Barneveld with an 8-5 triumph. The 13-time World Champion has now completed three league seasons of the Premier League without a defeat, and remains on course for a treble of title wins going into the play-offs on 28 May.

He will meet Dennis Priestley in the semi-finals in Brighton, but gained a vital psychological edge over van Barneveld should they meet in the final. “It’s been another great night and it was a fantastic game,” said Taylor. “I got into the lead but Raymond kept plugging away. Sometimes he’s best when his back is against the wall and I’m sure he’ll be back. It’s always a pleasure playing him.”

On his semi-final against Priestley, Taylor added: “It will be another tough game. He’s a grinder and the format gets longer now so I’ll prepare for that. “I’ve got three weeks to think about it, but we’ve got the IDL in Holland and the US Open in Connecticut too so it’s going to be busy.” Van Barneveld admitted: “The first leg was very important. I missed double 19 for a 155 and if I’d hit that I would have gone ahead.

“Against Phil you have to hit at least 15-darters and if you don’t he punishes you.” The Dutchman will meet Terry Jenkins in the other semi-final, and he said: “The first time we played I had a 107 average and we drew, but the second time he missed a lot of doubles. “He always seems to play well against me and we have great games, so hopefully that will continue in Brighton.”

Jenkins ended his league phase by snatching a draw in an entertaining contest with Peter Manley, while Priestley suffered an 8-6 loss to Colin Lloyd. Lloyd never looked back after taking an early 5-2 lead, and finishes just a point behind Priestley in the final league table – paying the price for a poor start to the campaign.

Holsten Premier League Darts – Night 14, Birmingham NIA

Adrian Lewis 8-4 Roland Scholten
Colin Lloyd 8-6 Dennis Priestley
Peter Manley 7-7 Terry Jenkins
Phil Taylor 8-5 Raymond van Barneveld

ADRIAN LEWIS 8-4 ROLAND SCHOLTEN

ADRIAN LEWIS condemned Roland Scholten to the Holsten Premier League Darts’ wooden spoon with an 8-4 win at Birmingham’s NIA. Both players went into the final game unable to qualify for the play-offs but with pride – and the honour of moving off the bottom of the table – up for grabs. Lewis produced arguably his best display of the campaign to leave Scholten at the foot of the table following 14 league nights.

Scholten started brightly, winning the first leg with a 116 finish, but was quickly overshadowed by Lewis’ power scoring. The 22-year-old landed seven 180s during the match, opening four legs with a maximum. Lewis won the second and third legs to hit the front, and only five missed darts at the double allowed Scholten to level at 2-2.

He won the next four either side of the interval to take a commanding 6-2 advantage, with two double top finishes accompanied by a pressure double 18 with Scholten sat on tops, and a tidy two-dart 92 checkout. Scholten took two of the next three legs to stay in the game, with Lewis again off-target with his doubles, but the youngster won the match in a brilliant final leg.

Both players opened with maximums before Lewis hit scores of 134 and 137 to leave 50, with another 180 from Scholten leaving him on 82. However, the Dutchman was denied a return to the oche as Lewis checked out in 12 darts on double top for the match. “I didn’t want to finish at the bottom in my first year,” said Lewis. “In patches I probably played like I deserved to, but I’ve finished well.

“I missed a few doubles tonight and maybe my average could have been higher but I’m delighted with the win. “At the moment, my scoring at times is untouchable but my doubles let me down and that’s costing me. I’ve hit 50 180s in the 14 weeks and I’m happy with that. “I believe in my game and I honestly think that in the next few months I can win a few tournaments and one of them might be a TV tournament. We’ve got the IDL in Holland next week and I’ll go there and try to cause a few shocks.”

COLIN LLOYD 8-6 DENNIS PRIESTLEY

COLIN LLOYD finished his Holsten Premier League Darts campaign with a narrow 8-6 win over Dennis Priestley. Lloyd entered the final night unable to overhaul fourth-placed Priestley, who will now face Phil Taylor in the semi-finals on 28 May in Brighton. The Yorkshireman had harboured hopes of jumping above Terry Jenkins into third placed, but never recovered after going 5-2 down.

Lloyd’s win means he finishes the league phase just a point behind Priestley, paying the price for a poor start to the campaign. He certainly started well against Priestley, opening up an early 4-1 lead including back-to-back 13-darters. Priestley hit back with a 72 checkout to win the sixth leg, but Lloyd returned from the break with a 104 finish.

Priestley took the next two legs, hitting three 180s and an 11-darter in the ninth to cut the deficit to 5-4. But Lloyd again pulled clear with a 108 finish followed by a 14-darter to put one foot over the finishing line at 7-4. He paid for missing darts to win the game in the next two as Priestley stayed in the contest and took the game into a decider. Priestley also gave himself a chance to snatch a draw in the final leg, but missed doubles again cost him before Lloyd hit double 16 for the win.

PETER MANLEY 7-7 TERRY JENKINS

PETER MANLEY and Terry Jenkins battled out an entertaining seven-all draw in front of over 4,500 fans at Birmingham’s NIA. Jenkins entered the game knowing that third place in the table was assured, and with Manley unable to reach the play-offs the pair enjoyed an exhibition-style contest. Manley included two double-double top 80 finishes in the contest, while Jenkins gave as good as he got with some fine finishes in the game.

Manley led 3-1 early on before checkouts of 60 and 97 saw Jenkins level. The next five legs all went with the throw, including a 120 finish from Manley, a 12-darter from Jenkins and checkouts of 89 and 84. Manley then broke the throw on his favoured double top to move 7-5 up and ensure he would finish the campaign with at least one point. Jenkins, though, finished with a flourish to win the next two legs without Manley reaching the double to grab a third draw of the year.

PHIL TAYLOR 8-5 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD

PHIL TAYLOR kept alive his incredible unbeaten record in the Holsten Premier League Darts to complete a double over Raymond van Barneveld with an 8-5 triumph. The 13-time World Champion has now completed three league seasons of the Premier League without a defeat, and remains on course for a treble of title wins going into the play-offs on 28 May.

He will meet Dennis Priestley in the semi-finals in Brighton, but gained a vital psychological edge over van Barneveld should they meet in the final. Taylor took a 3-0 lead with some clinical early finishing, but van Barneveld hit back with four legs from the next five to level matters. Taylor again pulled clear to move 7-4 up, hitting an 11-darter and then a 114 finish to earn at least a draw and preserve his unbeaten record.

Van Barneveld landed double four in the 12th leg to stay in the contest, but a fine 13-darter from Taylor – including his fifth 180 of the game – gave him the triumph. “It’s been another great night and it was a fantastic game,” said Taylor. “I got into the lead but Raymond kept plugging away. “Sometimes he’s best when his back is against the wall and I’m sure he’ll be back. It’s always a pleasure playing him.”

On his semi-final against Priestley, Taylor added: “It will be another tough game. He’s a grinder and the format gets longer now so I’ll prepare for that. “I’ve got three weeks to think about it, but we’ve got the IDL in Holland and the US Open in Connecticut too so it’s going to be busy.”

Van Barneveld admitted: “The first leg was very important. I missed double 19 for a 155 and if I’d hit that I would have gone ahead. “Against Phil you have to hit at least 15-darters and if you don’t he punishes you.”

The Dutchman will meet Terry Jenkins in the other semi-final, and he said: “The first time we played I had a 107 average and we drew, but the second time he missed a lot of doubles. “He always seems to play well against me and we have great games, so hopefully that will continue in Brighton.”