TAYLOR TAKES GROUP TWO WIN AS REIGNING CHAMP WADE CRASHES OUT
PHIL TAYLOR booked his place in the Championship League Darts Winners Group next month with a 6-5 victory over Simon Whitlock in Wednesday^s Group Two final at Crondon Park GC in Essex.
Taylor bounced back from his semi-final defeat to Wes Newton in Group One by powering through the eight-player field on the second of nine days in the internet-streamed event.
The world number one took six victories from his seven league games during the day to total £2,000 prize money in finishing top of the league table for the second successive day.
After defeating Paul Nicholson 6-3 in the semi-finals - coming from 3-2 down to take four successive legs - he edged out Whitlock in a tense final.
Taylor led 3-1 and 5-2 only for the Australian to win three successive legs and force a decider, and the Stoke great looked to have blown his chance when he missed the bull for a 124 finish in the final leg.
Whitlock, though, was off-target on tops for a 120 checkout, and Taylor returned to post double eight and take victory, ending the day with £3,200 prize money and a place in the big-money Winners Group on October 20.
"I^m really pleased to have won that but I rode my luck in the final," said Taylor. "It was another hard day and the standard was great, all the players pushed each other.
"I can relax now and look forward to coming back for the Winners Group, and hopefully I can do better than last year when I lost in the final to James Wade, because I^m determined to win back this trophy."
Taylor will begin his challenge for a tenth World Grand Prix title on Tuesday against Peter Wright at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, and added: "This has been a great preparation for the World Grand Prix.
"To have had two hard days of match play like this will stand me in good stead in Ireland next week, and I^m looking forward to the event."
Whitlock will now return to compete in Thursday^s Group Three, having bettered Tuesday^s semi-final appearance with a run to the decider 24 hours later.
He had been joined by Nicholson and Mervyn King with five wins in the league phase before winning his semi-final against the latter 6-5, finishing a 12-darter on the bull in the deciding leg with King sat on 16 after nine darts, where he had scored 134, 180 and 171.
King and Nicholson both enjoyed top-four finishes on their first day of involvement in this year^s event, while another newcomer, Andy Hamilton, joined Group One runner-up Wes Newton in progressing to compete in Group Three.
However, reigning champion James Wade and fellow left-hander Mark Webster both exited the tournament after winning only one of their seven league games apiece in a disappointing day.
Thursday^s Group Three will see the five Group Two survivors joined by Wayne Jones, Mark Walsh and Colin Lloyd as they battle for another place in the Winners Group.
Championship League Darts is screened solely on the internet through LIVEPDC.TV and a series of 30 bookmakers^ websites worldwide, and offers a potential total prize fund of over £200,000, plus places in the Grand Slam of Darts for the eventual finalists.
Played over nine days from September 27-29, October 11-13 and October 18-20, the event offers £50 per leg won prize money in the league phase and £100 per leg won in each group^s Play-Offs, with prize money doubled in the Winners Group.
CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE DARTS
GROUP TWO RESULTS
|Board One||Board Two|
|Phil Taylor 6-1 James Wade||Andy Hamilton 2-6 Mervyn King|
|Mark Webster 3-6 Paul Nicholson||Simon Whitlock 6-5 Wes Newton|
|Mervyn King 4-6 Phil Taylor||James Wade 2-6 Andy Hamilton|
|Wes Newton 6-0 Mark Webster||Paul Nicholson 6-5 Simon Whitlock|
|Mervyn King 6-4 Simon Whitlock||Phil Taylor 6-0 Paul Nicholson|
|Wes Newton 6-2 Andy Hamilton||James Wade 5-6 Mark Webster|
|Simon Whitlock 6-4 Phil Taylor||Mervyn King 4-6 Paul Nicholson|
|James Wade 6-5 Wes Newton||Andy Hamilton 4-6 Mark Webster|
|Andy Hamilton 4-6 Simon Whitlock||Mark Webster 3-6 Phil Taylor|
|Paul Nicholson 6-3 James Wade||Wes Newton 2-6 Mervyn King|
|Mark Webster 4-6 Me! rvyn King||James Wade 4-6 Simon Whitlock|
|Paul Nicholson 6-2 Andy Hamilton||Phil Taylor 6-4 Wes Newton|
|Wes Newton 6-5 Paul Nicholson||Simon Whitlock 6-4 Mark Webster|
|Andy Hamilton 1-6 Phil Taylor||Mervyn King 6-2 James Wade|
|Phil Taylor 6-3 Paul Nicholson||Mervyn King 5-6 Simon Whitlock|
|Phil Taylor 6-5 Simon Whitlock|
GROUP TWO FINAL LEAGUE TABLE & TOTAL PRIZE MONEY
|Pl||W||L||Won||Lost||Leg +/-||£Won||Pts||Total £|