Phil Taylor boosts Premier League title hopes with win over Adrian Lewis
PHIL Taylor's odds of winning a seventh McCoy's Premier League Darts title were slashed last night after his 7-3 triumph over Potteries rival Adrian Lewis in Aberdeen.
Although the world champion never hit top form against Lewis, he was always in control after overcoming an early 2-1 deficit.
Victory saw Taylor's odds cut from 2/1 to 15/8 by Coral, the tournament's official bookmaker, while Lewis drifted out to 14/1 1 to take the £150,000 first prize.
Taylor had drawn with Michael van Gerwen in their opening game of the season a week ago, but after sharing the opening six legs against Lewis pulled clear by taking four in a row for the spoils.
Taylor had partnered Lewis to victory in the World Cup of Darts pairs event only a fortnight ago, and admitted: "It was hard to get the killer instinct going against him, so I'm glad to get the win.
"I started a bit slowly and we gave each other a lot of respect, and having played pairs together recently and practised a lot together it was hard to play against him.
"It's good to get a win and every point will be vital because of the relegation after nine weeks. It eases the pressure and I can hopefully start to pick my form up now."
The win put Taylor joint second in the Premier League table on three points with Robert Thornton. They trail Raymond van Barneveld by a point after the Dutch ace maintained his 100 per cent record this season with a 7-2 trouncing of Wes Newton last night.
Dresden's Andy Hamilton got his Premier League campaign underway with a 7-4 victory over 2009 champion James Wade.
Hamilton took the game's first five legs to assume command, and although Wade hit back to cut the gap to 6-4, Hamilton landed double 16 to pick up his first win of the season.
"The two points is great because it gets me off the mark and I can kick on from here now," said Hamilton, who finished 64 per cent of his chances at a double in the game.
"I finished well early on and you have to take advantage when someone isn't playing well, which I did. These players have the ability to come back and the game's not over until the final double's hit.
"Getting the two points is the only thing that matters but it's a relief to get some points. You don't want to keep going each week because you end up trying too hard, so I can relax a little bit now."
Victory puts Hamilton fifth in the Premier League table on two points.
The Premier League continues next Thursday at the BIC in Bournemouth. Highlights include Taylor's meeting with Aussie ace Simon Whitlock in a repeat of the 2012 final, and the all-Dutch clash between van Barneveld and rising star Michael van Gerwen.
Adrian Lewis v Phil Taylor
0-1 - Taylor wins the opening leg on double three to break throw.
1-1 - Lewis hits a 180 and gets off the mark by taking out 72 on the bull.
2-1 - Lewis lands double 14 to move ahead.
2-2 - Taylor levels by finishing 70 on tops.
2-3 - Taylor lands tops again, this time to take out 64, as he breaks throw to regain the lead.
3-3 - Taylor misses tops to take out 110, and Lewis finishes double ten to level.
3-4 - Taylor opens with a 180 and finishes 103 to regain the lead.
3-5 - Double 12 for Taylor puts him two legs clear for the first time.
3-6 - Taylor kicks off the leg with a 180, and lands tops to ensure at least a draw.
3-7 - Lewis lands his second 180, but Taylor hits a 177 and seals the win on double eight.
Andy Hamilton v James Wade
1-0 - Hamilton takes out 58 on tops to win the game's opening leg with the throw.
2-0 - Hamilton finishes 120 to double his lead.
3-0 - Wade lands a 180, but Hamilton takes out 98 to move three legs up.
4-0 - Hamilton finishes 68 on double 16 to break throw for a second time.
5-0 - Hamilton wins a fifth straight leg to move close to his first point of the season.
5-1 - The players trade 180s and Wade finishes 65 to win his opening leg.
6-1 - Hamilton finishes tops to secure a minimum of a draw from the game.
6-2 - Wade lands a third 180 and hits tops to keep his hopes alive.
6-3 - Wade breaks for the first time by hitting double ten.
6-4 - The 2009 champion continues to fight back, opening with 180 and 140 before landing tops to win a fourth leg.
7-4 - Hamilton secures the triumph by landing double 16.
McCoy's Premier League, Night Two results:
Wes Newton 2, Raymond van Barneveld 7;
Andy Hamilton 7, James Wade 4;
Gary Anderson 7, Simon Whitlock 5;
Adrian Lewis 3, Phil Taylor 7;
Robert Thornton 6, Michael van Gerwen 6.