Blue Square UK Open
WORLD number 80 Mark Lawrence will take on two-time Blue Square UK Open champion Phil Taylor in the quarter-finals of this year^s event at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.
Lawrence, a lorry driver from South Elmsall, had never gone beyond the last 32 of a televised tournament during his career, but defeated Mark Dudbridge and Colin Lloyd to set up a high-profile clash in Bolton.
The 44-year-old will take on Taylor in the quarter-finals of "The FA Cup of Darts" on Sunday, having produced the performance of his life to knock out former world number one Colin Lloyd 9-3 in the last 16.
"It^s been an amazing weekend," said Lawrence, who also defeated Steve Brown earlier in the event. "I^m on cloud nine and hopefully I can continue my form on Sunday."
While Lawrence was brilliant in defeating Lloyd, he will need to improve further if he is to prevent Taylor^s bid for a third UK Open title.
The 14-time World Champion set a new tournament record average of 115.51 in a fourth round win over Ken Mather, and then defeated Andy Smith 9-2 to power into the last eight.
"I^m delighted with how things have gone so far and I^m desperate to win this title again," said Taylor.
"I^ve known Mark for a few years and he^s a good player who has done well so far, and I^m looking forward to playing him."
Taylor is the only former UK Open champion left in the event, following James Wade^s loss on Friday, a fourth round exit for Roland Scholten and Raymond van Barneveld^s 9-4 defeat to Colin Osborne on Saturday night.
Osborne produced arguably his finest ever televised performance to reach the quarter-finals, with a mid-game run of five successive legs helping see off the Dutchman.
Osborne will take on Jamie Caven in the quarters, after he reached the last eight for the first time in a major tournament with a 9-3 win over Alex Roy.
Kevin Painter^s victory by the same scoreline over Dennis Priestley put him into the quarters for the first time since 2004, where he will meet Alan Tabern.
The left-hander from St Helens provided the fifth round^s most dramatic moment, taking out 156 in a deciding leg against Wes Newton after earlier finishes of 161 and 170 pulled him back from 7-5 down.
The other quarter-final will feature two players bidding for their first major title, Ronnie Baxter and Terry Jenkins.
Baxter continued an impressive challenge with a 9-4 win over in-form Mark Walsh, while Jenkins was a 9-7 victor against Welshman Mark Webster.
Fifth Round Results
Ronnie Baxter (ENG) 9-4 Mark Walsh (ENG)
Kevin Painter (ENG) 9-3 Dennis Priestley (ENG)
Colin Osborne (ENG) 9-4 Raymond van Barneveld (NED)
Phil Taylor (ENG) 9-2 Andy Smith (ENG)
Mark Lawrence (ENG) 9-3 Colin Lloyd (ENG)
Jamie Caven (ENG) 9-3 Alex Roy (ENG)
Terry Jenkins (ENG) 9-7 Mark Webster (WAL)
Alan Tabern (ENG) 9-8 Wes Newton (ENG)
Kevin Painter v Alan Tabern
Colin Osborne v Jamie Caven
Ronnie Baxter v Terry Jenkins
Mark Lawrence v Phil Taylor
Fifth Round Reports
First Set of Games
RONNIE BAXTER^S superb run of form continued at the UK Open with a 9-4 win over Mark Walsh.
Walsh failed to repeat the form of his wins over Wayne Mardle and Adrian Lewis as Baxter progressed to the quarter-finals in style.
He included a brilliant 157 checkout in taking a 3-0 lead, before a 14-dart finish got Walsh off the mark.
Baxter took out 100 to lead 5-1 before Walsh took two of the next three to pull back to 6-3.
The next two legs were shared before Baxter edged a scrappy 12th to move a leg away from victory.
He posted another 180 during the next leg, and double 18 ensured a quarter-final place.
"To win my games 9-1 and 9-4 is a very good day^s work," said Baxter, who defeated Gary Welding in round four. "The 157 gave me a boost and kicked Mark as well. I^ll settle down, relax and wait for the draw now."
MARK LAWRENCE reached his first ever televised quarter-final with a superb 9-3 demolition of Colin Lloyd at the Reebok Stadium.
Lloyd edged the early stages as the first four legs went with throw before Lawrence broke in the fifth and then took out 164 to lead 4-2.
Another three legs without reply put him 7-2 up, but Lloyd returned from the break to threaten a fightback by taking leg ten.
Yorkshireman Lawrence - a practice and travel partner of Dennis Priestley - took the 11th, and punished a missed double from Lloyd to wrap up victory on double five.
"It^s amazing," said Lawrence. "I^m on cloud nine.
"I^d love to play Dennis in the quarter-finals - he^s my mate - but I^d play anyone and hopefully I can continue my form."
Second Set of Games
JAMIE CAVEN reached his first major quarter-final with a brilliant 9-3 UK Open victory against Alex Roy.
Roy was never in the hunt after two early breaks of throw and an 11-darter helped Caven into a 4-0 lead.
A 158 checkout got Roy off the mark and he also took leg six to halve the deficit, but Caven won the next two to edge clear.
Although Roy picked up a third leg, missed doubles cost him dear before Caven wrapped up a comprehensive win.
"I started well and Alex didn^t so I rode my luck and it^s excellent," said Caven. "I^m over the moon to be through."
KEVIN PAINTER ensured his first UK Open quarter-final since 2004 with a 9-3 victory against Dennis Priestley.
Priestley held his throw in the opening exchanges to lead 2-1 before Painter took out a treble of double 18 finishes, with a 110 checkout levelling, 96 breaking the Yorkshireman for the first time and another leg putting him 4-2 up.
Painter also won the seventh, after missed doubles from Priestley, to go three legs clear before a two-dart 76 reduced the gap to 6-3.
Two double eight finishes and a tricky double 17 saw Painter move to the brink of victory, and double five pushed him into Sunday^s last eight.
"That^s the best I^ve played in the tournament so far," said Painter. "I^ve changed my stems in my darts and things are going well so far."
Third Set of Games
TERRY JENKINS won through to the quarter-finals with a 9-7 defeat of Mark Webster.
The pair enjoyed a tight battle, with the lead changing hands three times.
Webster took the opener before Jenkins led 2-1, but the Welshman - in his first UK Open campaign - pushed 5-4 up.
He also led 6-5 before Jenkins took the next two to edge back in front.
Webster squared the match in leg 14, but Jenkins moved 8-7 up and then sealed the win on double top.
"I threw a couple of legs but Mark scored well and put me under pressure," said Jenkins.
COLIN OSBORNE claimed arguably the best victory of his career to defeat Raymond van Barneveld 9-4 and reach the quarter-finals of the Blue Square UK Open.
The Derby-based star erased the memory of defeats to Vincent van der Voort in Bolton in the past two years with a brilliant display against another Dutchman.
Although victorious against Ken Dobson and Andy Hamilton in the previous two rounds, van Barneveld never hit top gear and was again punished by Osborne.
The opening four legs were shared before Osborne took the fifth on double 16 and two breaks of throw in a superb five-leg burst that took him 7-2 up, punishing missed doubles in two legs and taking out 106 in another.
Double two from van Barneveld stopped the charge, and a 145 checkout saw the Dutchman reduce the arrears to 8-4, but a missed bullseye in the next allowed Osborne to seal victory, with a 140 setting up a double top finish.
"I^ve been playing well for six months and I believe in myself," said Osborne. "If I play as well as I can I do this, but the dream is still on!
"My self-belief is incredible, it doesn^t matter who I draw because I^m taking each game at a time and enjoying my weekend."
Fourth Set of Games
ALAN TABERN produced a sensational 156 checkout to break Wes Newton^s heart and win a quarter-final spot in the Blue Square UK Open.
The Lancashire pair played out a thrilling contest which went all the way to a deciding leg - with Newton leaving double 16 for victory only to be denied a dart at a double by Tabern^s stunning finale.
Tabern took an early 3-0 lead and also held a 5-4 cushion before Newton took three successive legs to lead for the first time.
Finishes of 161 and 170 superbly levelled the game for Tabern, and he also won leg 15 to go 8-7 up.
A missed double 12 for victory allowed Newton to send the game into a decider, and he was the stronger in the scoring before Tabern^s amazing checkout.
"I knew I was going to hit it!" said Tabern. "I^d hit a 170 and 161 and the 156 made it a dream win - it went in when I wanted it!"
Tabern drew Kevin Painter in the quarter-finals, and added: "Kevin is a very good player and I^ve loads of respect for him.
"He^s a great stage player and I^m still learning to play on the big stage, but I^m looking forward to it."
PHIL TAYLOR powered past Andy Smith 9-2 to remain on course for a third UK Open title, setting up a quarter-final with Mark Lawrence in Bolton.
Taylor followed up a tournament-record 115 average against Ken Mather earlier in the day with a superb display of finishing to see off Smith.
Taylor averaged 103.71 but had a 67 percent finishing statistic until the final leg, where he missed three darts at a double before hitting double two for victory.
He had begun the game with a 106 checkout to break throw, and double top put him 2-0 up.
Smith won two of the next three to cut the gap to one leg, but Taylor eased away with checkouts of 128 and 136 and three successive double top finishes, which put him 8-2 up.
Taylor kicked off the next with scores of 140 and 180, and had enough breathing space to miss double seven for a 122 checkout and three further doubles before hitting double two for victory.
"It was a strange game," said Taylor. "There^s a lot of distance between the games and you have to pace yourself.
"I was delighted with my finishing and I^m desperate to win this title again.
"To get through to the last eight is the next step. I^ve known Mark for a few years and he^s a good player who has done well so far."