sport

Power hits nine-darter

Phil Taylor hit his 10th televised nine-darter as he powered into the quarter-finals of the BetVictor World Matchplay in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens – the very same venue where he first achieved the feat.

Michael Smith dumped Taylor out of the World Championship, but this time he was the unlucky man who was on the wrong end of a Power masterclass as he hit his nine-darter during an eight-leg blitz en route to a 13-6 victory.

The Power made darting history on the same stage 12 years ago when he hit a nine-darter against Chris mason on live TV, but many have thought his powers were on the slide given performances in recent times.

However, he loves it at the Winter Gardens as a 14-time champion who hasn't lost a match in Blackpool in seven years having lifted the last six titles in a row.

Smith actually won the first two legs, before Taylor won eight on the spin, including his nine-darter in the ninth leg, and three 125 checkouts as he went on to average 104 and really stamp his authority on the tournament.

\"I did forecast it by the way, there were a few people in the crowd who'd had a bet on it,\" said Taylor. \"I said before I thought there could be a nine-darter so I hope everyone had a bet on it.

\"There's nothing wrong with my form, everyone in the world kept telling me there's something wrong with you but it was all about the equipment, we've kept on experimenting and then something just clicked in.\"

Taylor now takes on local favourite Wes Newton in the last eight after he came from 5-0 down to beat Paul Nicholson 15-13 as the match went into extra legs.

After losing the first five legs, Newton only drew level with Nicholson at 10-10, and then needed a sparkling 160 checkout to stay in the match after Nicholson missed darts to settle the tie.

Again Nicholson missed match darts and Newton levelled for 12-12, before going ahead for the very first time in the match and then sealing the comeback by taking the next.

Gary Anderson does not usually perform well in Blackpool, but he produced his best display yet to make the last eight for the first time after a 13-8 win over BDO world champion Stephen Bunting.

Anderson also opened up a 5-0 lead early, but unlike Nicholson he was able to build on that as he averaged 104 and hit ten 180s to move into the last eight.

\"Blackpool stage I usually have a nightmare up there but that was a lot better,\" said Anderson. \"I've just got back to the old days when I stop caring about anything and just get up there and throw darts.

"Everyone worries about who you've got next but you've got to beat the best players to win anything in darts so we'll just see when I get back up there and just play darts.\"