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Article: Players Championship - Thursday Round-Up Players Championship - Thursday Round-Up

PHIL TAYLOR began the defence of his Players Championship title with victory over Peter Manley as the £250,000 event began on Thursday night.

Taylor returned to the Circus Tavern in Purfleet, Essex - the scene of 11 of his 15 World Championship triumphs - to see off old adversary Manley 6-2.

Taylor kicked off the match with a 180 and led 4-0 before Manley threatened a comeback by taking back-to-back legs, before the world number one closed out victory.

"I^ll have to improve throughout the tournament but I^m through and that^s all that mattered," said Taylor. "At 4-0 I could feel Peter coming back at me but I dug in and ground out the win."

Taylor will now face Terry Jenkins in Saturday^s second round, after the world number four came from 5-3 down to defeat Vincent van der Voort 6-5 in their first round clash, hitting a ten-dart finish on his way to a narrow victory.

Adrian Lewis and Andy Hamilton set up an all-Stoke second round game with their victories on the event^s opening night in Essex.

Lewis held off a superb comeback from Northern Ireland^s Brendan Dolan, who hit back from 3-1 down to force a deciding leg, while Hamilton produced some fine finishing in a 6-4 win over St Helens^ Alan Tabern.

Chelmsford^s Colin Lloyd edged past Denis Ovens in a deciding leg and now takes on Essex-born Kevin Painter in the last 16.

Painter produced a strong performance in a 6-3 win over Robert Thornton, the Scot who was runner-up in last year^s event.

Dennis Priestley, the PDC^s first World Champion at the Circus Tavern back in 1994, enjoyed a less successful return to Purfleet, going down 6-2 to Paul Nicholson, who will meet Steve Beaton in round two.

Beaton, another former World Champion, opened his challenge with a 6-2 defeat of Hartlepool^s Tony Eccles.

The first round concludes on Friday with the remaining eight games, including the meeting of the players ranked third and fifth in the world, James Wade and Mervyn King. Players Championship

First Round (Thursday)

Colin Lloyd 6-5 Denis Ovens

Steve Beaton 6-2 Tony Eccles

Paul Nicholson 6-2 Dennis Priestley

Andy Hamilton 6-4 Alan Tabern

Terry Jenkins 6-5 Vincent van der Voort

Phil Taylor 6-2 Peter Manley

Kevin Painter 6-3 Robert Thornton

Adrian Lewis 6-5 Brendan Dolan

Friday (7pm start)

Wayne Jones v Andy Smith

Wes Newton v Peter Wright

Colin Osborne v Co Stompe

Mark Walsh v Steve Hine

Gary Anderson v Jelle Klaasen

James Wade v Mervyn King

Ronnie Baxter v Mark Dudbridge

Jamie Caven v Michael van Gerwen


COLIN LLOYD edged a tight contest to defeat Denis Ovens in the opening match of the 2010 Players Championship at the Circus Tavern.

The match mirrored the game played out by the duo at last month^s World Championship, which also fell in favour of the Chelmsford-based thrower.

Both players made an impressive start to the match - Lloyd winning the opening leg in 14 darts before Ovens won the second with a 12-dart-finish.

Lloyd won the third leg by hitting double nine before Ovens squared the game at two each with a 13-dart-finish, only for the Essex man hit a 13 darter of his own to move ahead in the match for the third time.

Ovens kept the game finely poised by winning the sixth leg, and then secured a break of throw in the next by hitting double eight after his opponent missed two chances at doubles.

But the Hertordshire man failed to make that advantage count as he missed four chances for a 5-3 lead, and Lloyd stepped in by converting a 61 finish to win the leg.

Lloyd moved one leg away from victory at 5-4 up courtesy of a 13-dart-finish before Ovens held his throw to win the tenth and force a deciding leg.

Lloyd had the darts in the decider, and he made that count by getting to a finish first before hitting double 16 to book a place in the second round.

"I got to 3-2 at the break but Denis came back at me and could have been 5-3 up," said Lloyd. "He missed those darts at 32 and I stepped in, and I sneaked the win, but it was a hard battle."

Ovens admitted: "I lost the toss in a sense when Colin won the bull to throw first, but I was doing okay and got in front, but those three darts at 32 cost me."


STEVE BEATON secured a last 16 spot in the 2010 Players Championship with a 6-2 win over Tony Eccles.

Beaton made a superb start to the match winning the first five legs of the contest, with Eccles managing a brief revival before the former World Champion killed off the game.

Beaton, seeded fifth for this event after some superb performances on the 2009 PDC Pro Tour, won the opening leg against the darts before increasing his lead to 2-0 by hitting double eight.

A 76 finish gave Beaton the third leg before he kicked off the next with a maximum. That leg was won in 13 darts before an 88 checkout put Beaton one leg away from victory at the break.

Eccles fought back to win the next two legs with a brace of double 16 finishes.

But, in the eighth leg, the Hartlepool man missed a chance at that same double to reduce the deficit to 5-3 and Beaton cashed in by hitting a two-dart 74 finish to win the match.

"I^m happy with the win," said Beaton. "I hit my doubles when I had the chances and that was important, and I can look forward to the second round now."

Eccles said: "Steve^s finishing was superb. I was on the back foot throughout the game and Steve didn^t give me many chances."


PAUL NICHOLSON enjoyed an excellent debut victory in the 2010 Players Championship with a 6-2 triumph over two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley.

Priestley reached the quarter-finals of last year^s inaugural event, which included a remarkable comeback victory against John Part, but Nicholson proved too strong for the Yorkshireman and he will now take on Steve Beaton on Saturday afternoon for a place in the quarter-finals.

The 2009 Australian Open winner made a confident start to the match, winning the opening leg with the aid of a 180.

Nicholson doubled his lead by landing double five and then won the third leg after both players struggled to find the winning double.

That lead was increased to 4-0 when Nicholson converted a two-dart 97 finish to take command of the game.

Both players hit maximums in the fifth leg, but it was Priestley who managed to open his account by hitting double 18.

Nicholson hit double top to move 5-1 ahead but Priestley managed to keep his hopes alive by nailing the same bed with his last dart.

The eighth leg saw Nicholson miss the bullseye for a 170 checkout, but Priestley was unable to capitalise as he missed a dart at double top which allowed his opponent to return to the oche and hit double four to seal victory.

"It^s a privilege to be here at the Circus Tavern and also to beat Dennis, because he^s my idol," said Nicholson. "I think I played very well and I^m happy with my performance.

"I^ve put in a lot of hard work since the World Championship and it paid off."

Priestley conceded: "I wasn^t really at the races. I may be getting too long in the tooth now but it didn^t seem to go for me.

"I put in some silly throws - I^d have three good throws and then put in a 41 or a 45 - and that cost me in the early legs."


ANDY HAMILTON came out on top against Alan Tabern in a tight contest to advance to the second round of the 2010 Players Championship.

Hamilton led the game 4-2 only for Tabern to hit back and level the game at four each - but the Stoke ace managed to put together two winning legs to send the St Helens man packing.

Hamilton won the first leg of the game with an impressive 13-dart-finish before Tabern levelled by holding throw with an accurate attempt at double top.

The Stoke star, who lost a dramatic third round encounter to James Wade at last month^s World Championship, regained the lead by recording a 62 finish.

Tabern managed to hit a 96 checkout to win the fourth leg but missed two darts at double 12 in the next leg to lead the match and Hamilton landed double top at the first time of asking to maintain his flawless record of finishing.

Hamilton secured the first break of throw in the match to move 4-2 up after his opponent missed six chances to hold throw.

But the man from St Helens put that disappointment behind him in the next leg by hitting the first maximum of the game, followed by a 130 checkout.

Tabern then won the eighth leg by hitting double 16 with his last dart, but Hamilton moved 5-4 ahead with an excellent 13-dart-finish, which included a maximum.

Tabern hit a 180 of his own in the tenth leg, but missed three crucial attempts at doubles which allowed Hamilton to step in and hit double ten with his last dart to edge victory.

"Alan missed some doubles but I took my chances," said Hamilton. "I came out on top in the end and I^ve got to be happy with that."

Tabern added: "I feel like I gave the game to Andy, he hit his doubles and I didn^t."


TERRY JENKINS came back from the brink of defeat to end Vincent van der Voort^s hopes at the 2010 Players Championship at the Circus Tavern, Purfleet.

Jenkins had fallen 5-3 behind but he put together three excellent legs at a vital time to set up a second round clash against Phil Taylor on Saturday.

Van der Voort capitalised on an under-par start by his opponent to win the opening two legs of the match in comfortable fashion.

Jenkins won the third leg after missing six previous attempts at doubles, but the Dutchman managed to restore his two leg advantage by winning the fourth.

Jenkins took the fifth leg with a clinical two-dart 65 finish but van der Voort maintained his lead by hitting an 86 finish, despite a maximum from the Herefordshire man.

Jenkins hit a 120 checkout to reduce the deficit to 4-3 but Van der Voort won the eighth leg with an accurate dart at double 16 to move one leg away from the match.

Jenkins then hit fantastic ten-dart-finish to win the ninth leg and took the match to a deciding leg by winning the tenth in 15 darts.

The number 16 seed now had the momentum and he made that count by forging ahead in the final leg, and he went on to win it on double three to complete an excellent comeback victory.

"I took a while to get going, which was disappointing because I^d been practising really well building up to the tournament," said Jenkins. "I kept battling away and knew it would come in the end.

"I believed if I could break Vincent^s throw I could get level and I eventually did that, and I^m happy with the result in the end."


PHIL TAYLOR opened up the defence of his Players Championship with a 6-2 victory over old rival Peter Manley at the Circus Tavern.

Taylor, who won the inaugural title 12 months ago, will take on Terry Jenkins in the last 16 on Saturday evening following a steady, if not spectacular by his own standards, display.

Taylor started in imperious fashion, hitting a maximum with his first three darts. The first leg was won in 12 darts and the second soon fell in favour of the Stoke star, which included another maximum.

Taylor moved 3-0 ahead courtesy of a 13-dart-finish and he also won the fourth to move further clear after Manley missed three darts at doubles.

Manley continued to struggle on the doubles, after missing three at tops in the fifth leg, but Taylor was unable to capitalise and Manley hit double eight to get off the mark.

Manley hit his second 180 of the game at the start of the seventh leg, but Taylor wrestled back the advantage with a 174 before going on to win the leg by hitting double three.

Taylor missed a dart at double top for a 106 finish in the ninth leg which allowed Manley three chances at the same double to keep the game alive.

But those chances went begging and Taylor returned to the oche and land the winning double to end the contest.

"I^ll have to improve throughout the tournament but I^m through and that^s all that mattered," said Taylor. "At 4-0 I could feel Peter coming back at me and he sensed that.

"He played well and put me under pressure but I dug in and ground out the win."


KEVIN PAINTER ended the hopes of Scotland^s Robert Thornton with a 6-3 victory in the first round of the 2010 Players Championship.

Thornton, who reached the final of last year^s event, fell 5-0 down and despite a brief revival it was Painter who came through to set up a second round meeting against Colin Lloyd.

Painter missed the bullseye for a 167 in the opening leg but he returned to the oche to land double top as Thornton began slowly.

Painter secured a break of throw to win the second leg and he soon extended his lead to 3-0 after landing double ten.

A two-dart 60 finish gave Painter the fourth leg and an accurate attempt at double eight saw the Daventry-based thrower move one leg away from the match.

Thornton managed to win his first leg of the contest by hitting double top after the break, and showed some class by hitting an excellent 121 checkout, completed on the bullseye, after Painter had missed two chances to wrap up the match.

Painter missed another dart for victory in the eighth and Thornton kept his hopes alive by hitting a 77 finish.

But Painter ended Thornton^s comeback in the ninth by hitting his second maximum of the game, which was followed by a successful attempt at double eight to confirm the win.

"It was a very difficult game," said Painter. "At 5-0 up I took my foot off the gas and that often happens when you have a lead like that.

"Robert won three legs and the ninth leg was crucial because if it had gone 5-4 I^d have been in a mess, but I got the win.

"I^m quite happy with the performance and will look forward to playing Colin now. We^ve played each other on TV a few times before and he played quite well in the first round, so it will be a good game."


ADRIAN LEWIS came through a final-leg thriller to defeat Brendan Dolan in the opening round of the 2010 Players Championship.

Dolan put in a brave effort after going 3-1 down following a blistering start from Lewis, but it was not quite enough to defeat the Stoke star - who ended the match with a 100.49 three-dart average.

Lewis came out all guns blazing, hitting back-to-back maximums to set up the opportunity of a nine-dart-finish in the opening leg.

The seventh treble 20 was just off-target to end any hopes of the magical feat, but the leg was won in comfortable fashion to open up an early lead.

That form continued in the second leg with a fantastic 147 finish to double the Stoke youngster^s lead before Dolan managed to stem the tide with an 81 finish to win the third.

The 25-year-old won the fourth leg by converting a 67 finish but missed two darts at double 12 to go 4-1 ahead, and the Northern Irishman cashed in by hitting an excellent 122 checkout, finishing on the bullseye, to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

Dolan continued that form by winning the sixth leg to level the game at three each before Lewis regained the lead by breaking throw in the seventh, with an 81 finish.

Lewis moved closer to victory by hitting double ten to win the eighth and looked likely to secure the win in the next when he hit his fourth maximum.

But he missed two darts for the match and Dolan converted an excellent 80 finish by landing double top with his last dart.

Dolan then broke his opponent^s throw to force a decider, hitting his second 180 of the game and double top with his third dart.

The final leg proved to be a tense affair, but it was Lewis who got to a finish first and he held his nerve to hit double top to seal victory.

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