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Taylor Takes Saturday’s Derby Players Championship

PHIL TAYLOR won his first tournament since the summer with defeat of Mark Walsh in a Players Championship in Derby on Saturday.

Since claiming the PartyPoker.net European Championship title on August 1, Taylor has missed out on victory in the Bodog.com World Grand Prix, Championship League Darts, a Players Championship in Killarney and at last week’s Daily Mirror Grand Slam of Darts.

However, he bounced back to winning ways at Derby’s Moorways Leisure Centre, taking the £6,000 first prize with a 6-3 win over Mark Walsh in the decider – avenging a loss to the Hertfordshire man at the same venue in April.

Taylor’s route to the final also included a victory over Steve Beaton, who knocked him out in the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts a week earlier, as well as wins against Jimmy Mann, Paul Nicholson, Mark Webster and Dennis Priestley.

In the final, Walsh led before Taylor took three in a row with finishes of 121, 97 and 96 – only to then miss seven doubles in the next as Walsh hit back, before taking out 96 himself to level.

Taylor, though, responded with a 13-dart finish to lead 4-3, edged a tense eighth leg after Walsh wasted four chances to level before sealing the win in 14 darts.

“I’m delighted,” said Taylor. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had this winning feeling but it’s great!

“Mark gave me a tough game in the final but when he missed the chance to level at four-all I knew I had to finish him off quickly, and I managed to do that.”

He added: “The Players Championships are fantastic events because they are great match practice, and I’m preparing for the World Cup of Darts next week in the north-east.

“I’ll be back again on Sunday and it would be brilliant preparation for the World Cup to win another Players Championship.”

Walsh won through to his sixth final of the year with a narrow 6-5 defeat of Justin Pipe in the semis, having to come from 3-1 down in the process.

Walsh also knocked out in-form Simon Whitlock in the quarter-finals as well as Vincent van der Voort, Steve Brown and Steve Evans.

Emerging star Pipe’s run to the semis ensured his place in the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship as a qualifier through the Players Championship Order of Merit, which will be finalised following Sunday’s event in Derby.

Two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley also battled through to the last four, with a 115 finish in the deciding leg of his clash with Steve Farmer in the quarters giving him another meeting against long-time rival Taylor.

Denis Ovens and Steve Beaton joined Whitlock and Farmer in the quarter-finals, while Dennis Smith, Andy Jenkins and Michael Smith all performed well in reaching the last 16.

Players Championship 36 (Derby, Saturday)
First Round
Simon Whitlock (1) Bye
Adrian Gray 6-2 Dave Ladley
Steve Hine (32) 6-5 Alex Roy
Michael Barnard 6-4 Kevin Harris
Kevin Painter (16) 6-3 Gary Eastwood
Mark Tiller 6-5 Bill Davis
Mark Dudbridge (17) 6-2 Chris White
Peter Wright 6-2 Mark Jones
Vincent van der Voort (8) Bye
Kirk Shepherd 6-3 Stephen Hardy
Jelle Klaasen (25) 6-4 Matt Clark
Darren Webster 6-3 Ian Jopling
Mark Walsh (9) Bye
Steve Evans 6-4 Brian Startin
Steve Brown (24) 6-3 Peter Hudson
Jamie Atkins 6-4 Gary Blades
Jamie Caven (5) Bye
Chris Thompson 6-5 Paul Williams
Justin Pipe (28) 6-1 Phillip Hazel
Par Riihonen 6-1 Norman Fletcher
Andy Hamilton (12) 6-1 Mark Lawrence
Mareno Michels 6-2 Steve Grubb
Terry Jenkins (21) 6-1 Steve Maish
John Part 6-0 Peter Manley
Wes Newton (4) Bye
Steven Pearson 6-3 Andy Fulton
Dennis Smith (29) 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Mark Frost 6-3 Joe Cullen
Denis Ovens (13) 6-3 Terry Temple
Ian White 6-3 William O’Connor
Barrie Bates (20) 6-2 Darren Weaver
Roland Scholten 6-4 Dean Allsopp
Gary Anderson (2) Bye
Ken MacNeil 6-1 Tom Martin
Brendan Dolan (31) 6-2 Aodhagan O’Neill
Louis Blundell 6-3 Nick Fullwell
Alan Tabern (15) 6-0 Stephen Perkins
Mark Hylton 6-0 Mike Roberts
Dennis Priestley (18) 6-3 Scott Burnett
Sam Allen 6-3 Mark Jodrill
Adrian Lewis (7) Bye
Michael Smith 6-5 Andy Pearce
Tony Eccles (26) 6-1 Jim Leighton
John MaGowan 6-1 Ryan Herrington
Ronnie Baxter (10) Bye
Arron Monk 6-3 James Barton
Steve Farmer (23) 6-5 Martyn Bevan
Geoff Whitworth 6-2 Nigel Birch
Phil Taylor (6) Bye
Jimmy Mann 6-2 Chris Iedema
Paul Nicholson (27) 6-0 Paul Rowley
Matt Padgett 6-3 Ken Dobson
Mark Webster (11) Bye
Darren Johnson 6-0 Colin Monk
Richie Burnett (22) 6-5 Tony Ayres
Kevin Dowling 6-4 Lionel Sams
Colin Lloyd (3) Bye
Kevin McDine 6-3 Dave Smith
Andy Jenkins 6-2 Robert Thornton (30)
Simon Burt 6-4 Jon Archer
Wayne Jones (14) 6-0 Andy Relf
Andy Pearson 6-1 Mick McGowan
Steve Beaton (19) 6-1 Anton Liscsey
Wayne Mardle 6-3 Martyn Turner

Second Round
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Adrian Gray
Steve Hine 6-2 Michael Barnard
Kevin Painter 6-3 Mark Tiller
Mark Dudbridge 6-3 Peter Wright
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Kirk Shepherd
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 Darren Webster
Mark Walsh 6-2 Steve Evans
Steve Brown 6-2 Jamie Atkins
Chris Thompson 6-3 Jamie Caven
Justin Pipe 6-1 Par Riihonen
Mareno Michels 6-3 Andy Hamilton
Terry Jenkins 6-5 John Part
Wes Newton 6-1 Steven Pearson
Dennis Smith 6-1 Mark Frost
Denis Ovens 6-5 Ian White
Roland Scholten 6-5 Barrie Bates
Gary Anderson 6-2 Ken MacNeil
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Louis Blundell
Alan Tabern 6-3 Mark Hylton
Dennis Priestley 6-4 Sam Allen
Michael Smith 6-3 Adrian Lewis
John MaGowan 6-5 Tony Eccles
Arron Monk 6-2 Ronnie Baxter
Steve Farmer 6-0 Geoff Whitworth
Phil Taylor 6-1 Jimmy Mann
Paul Nicholson 6-3 Matt Padgett
Mark Webster 6-4 Darren Johnson
Richie Burnett 6-3 Kevin Dowling
Kevin McDine 6-2 Colin Lloyd
Andy Jenkins 6-0 Simon Burt
Wayne Jones 6-1 Andy Pearson
Steve Beaton 6-0 Wayne Mardle
Losers £200

Third Round
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Steve Hine
Kevin Painter 6-4 Mark Dudbridge
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Mark Walsh 6-3 Steve Brown
Justin Pipe 6-0 Chris Thompson
Terry Jenkins 6-2 Mareno Michels
Dennis Smith 6-5 Wes Newton
Denis Ovens 6-5 Roland Scholten
Gary Anderson 6-0 Brendan Dolan
Dennis Priestley 6-2 Alan Tabern
Michael Smith 6-3 John MaGowan
Steve Farmer 6-5 Arron Monk
Phil Taylor 6-5 Paul Nicholson
Mark Webster 6-0 Richie Burnett
Andy Jenkins 6-3 Kevin McDine
Steve Beaton 6-3 Wayne Jones
Losers £300

Fourth Round
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Kevin Painter
Mark Walsh 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Justin Pipe 6-5 Terry Jenkins
Denis Ovens 6-5 Dennis Smith
Dennis Priestley 6-3 Gary Anderson
Steve Farmer 6-5 Michael Smith
Phil Taylor 6-1 Mark Webster
Steve Beaton 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Losers £500

Quarter-Finals
Mark Walsh 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Justin Pipe 6-0 Denis Ovens
Dennis Priestley 6-5 Steve Farmer
Phil Taylor 6-1 Steve Beaton
Losers £1,000

Semi-Finals
Mark Walsh 6-4 Justin Pipe
Phil Taylor 6-1 Dennis Priestley
Losers £1,500

Final
Phil Taylor 6-3 Mark Walsh
Winner £6,000
Runner-Up £3,000

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