PHIL TAYLOR claimed his third successive Holsten Premier League Darts title with a 16-6 win over Terry Jenkins at the Brighton Centre. The 13-time World Champion extended his incredible unbeaten record in the tournament to 44 matches over the three-year history of the Premier League on the South Coast. He first defeated Dennis Priestley 11-6 in the semi-finals before then dispatching Jenkins in the decider to claim the £75,000 title.

In a repeat of his semi-final performance, Taylor’s mid-game burst again proved too hard for his opponent to handle as he surged from 3-3 to 7-3 in the blink of an eye. He then stormed to the title with six unanswered legs to repeat his 2006 World Grand Prix win over Jenkins and pick up yet another trophy. “I’m over the moon,” said Taylor. “Winning a hat-trick of Premier League titles is a great achievement and I’m so happy to be unbeaten again.

“It’s getting harder all the time and Terry showed the quality of players here – he deserved to beat Ray in the semis and he did well in the final.” Jenkins overcame the odds to defeat current World Champion Raymond van Barneveld 11-10 in the other semi-final. Van Barneveld fought back from 10-6 down to send the tie into a deciding leg, but fell at the last four stage for a second successive year. Jenkins claimed £40,000 as the runner-up, the biggest payday of his career.

“It’s obviously disappointing to lose but I’ve loved being a part of the Premier League,” he said. “It’s been a great tournament and I’m delighted that I reached the final.” A 161 finish in the 11th leg of the final – beating his earlier 128 – also brought Jenkins the night’s highest checkout and a bonus of £1,000.

Holsten Premier League Darts

Semi-Finals

Raymond van Barneveld 10-11 Terry Jenkins
Phil Taylor 11-6 Dennis Priestley

Losers £30,000

Final

Phil Taylor 16-6 Terry Jenkins

Winner £75,000
Runner-Up £40,000

SEMI-FINAL REPORTS

TERRY JENKINS 11-10 RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD suffered semi-final heartbreak in the Holsten Premier League Darts for a second successive year with an 11-10 defeat to Terry Jenkins. The Dutchman was defeated by Roland Scholten in the last four of the 2006 competition, and again fell short of the final with a disappointing display in Brighton. Falling behind to an early 2-0 deficit set the tone for van Barneveld, who led 3-2 and 4-3 and levelled matters at ten-all to send the match into an unlikely decider after Jenkins missed nine darts for victory.

The World Championship put himself within touching distance of a remarkable comeback by setting up his favoured double 18 finish – but missed five darts at doubles before Jenkins finally landed double ten. “I’m very disappointed,” said the 40-year-old. “It was one of the worst games I’ve ever played, I don’t think there was an 11 or 12 darter in there. “I was practising really well but nothing went in when I got on stage. There was a lot of pressure at the end and I just couldn’t get the double, but I’ll be back.”

Jenkins punished a poor opening leg from van Barneveld to break the Dutchman’s throw immediately, before hitting a maximum on his way to a 2-0 cushion. World Champion van Barneveld won the next three legs to edge in front at the first break, including a superb 138 checkout in leg four. After moving 4-3 up, van Barneveld again dipped in form and Jenkins capitalised with four straight legs to punish his opponent’s misses.

Van Barneveld landed double 16 to win the 12th leg but paid for five missed darts in the 14th as Jenkins took a 9-5 lead. A third maximum from the Dutchman helped him win the 15th, but Jenkins returned from the break to take the next and move to within a leg of victory. Van Barneveld held his throw to win the 17th, and eventually hit double two in the next to stay alive after Jenkins missed five darts for victory.

A one-dart double 18 finish made the score 10-9 and the Dutchman scrambled the 20th leg after Jenkins was off-target on four more occasions to win – sending the match into a deciding leg. A 131 score left van Barneveld 36 to put him in the ascendancy and on the brink of triumph, only for him to waste darts double 18, double nine and double four before Jenkins – at the 11th time of asking – put himself into the final.

“I thought I’d thrown it away but I’m really chuffed to be in the final,” said Jenkins, who won a place in the Premier League by reaching the final of the World Grand Prix last October. “It’s definitely a big result but everyone expected Raymond to win and I felt I wasn’t just playing him. “I was probably trying too hard at the end – I had a couple of legs in the bag and the doubles wouldn’t go in.”

PHIL TAYLOR 11-6 DENNIS PRIESTLEY

PHIL TAYLOR overpowered Dennis Priestley 11-6 to remain on course for a third successive Holsten Premier League Darts title in Brighton. The 13-time World Champion produced a superb mid-game burst to see off his long-time sparring partner, with a run of four straight legs to open up a 7-3 lead proving too much for Priestley to overcome. He meets Terry Jenkins in the final in a repeat of the decider at the 2006 World Grand Prix, when Taylor eventually prevailed 6-4 in sets.

Priestley won the bullseye on stage as the pair faced off four times for the right to throw, but it was Taylor who took an immediate advantage. He broke Priestley’s throw in legs one and three as well as landing double eight in the second to open up a 3-0 lead early on. Priestley punished some missed doubles from his opponent to claw his way back level. Taylor, though, found another gear to hit five maximums in the next four legs to storm clear and put daylight between the pair.

He also had five perfect darts in leg 11 before allowing Priestley in to stop the rot and pull back to 7-4. The pair enjoyed a game of cat and mouse for the next four legs before double top put Taylor within a leg of victory at 10-5 with a third successive leg. An 83 finish on double eight kept Priestley in the hunt, but his misses at double six and double three in the next allowed Taylor to step in and seal his place in the final. “I wasn’t good enough tonight and Phil deserved the win,” said Priestley.

“If my average had been higher I’d have challenged him, but I missed some doubles at times when I could have put pressure on. “His scoring in the middle of the game was superb and I didn’t keep up with him then, but I gave it my all.” Priestley had made his first appearance in the Premier League this year, sitting in the top two of the league table for much of the campaign before finishing in fourth place. “I felt a bit jaded late on and luckily I’d already done enough to get into the semi-finals,” he added. “My aim now is to keep my place in the top six and be in the 2008 Premier League.”