Taylor claims fourth Premier League title

Phil Taylor claimed a fourth successive Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts title with a 16-8 win over James Wade in Cardiff tonight.

Taylor produced a Premier League record average of 112.68 in routing Adrian Lewis 11-1 in the semi-finals, before seeing off world number three James Wade in the decider to claim the £100,000 (€125,621) winner's cheque.

Wade had come from 6-3 down to defeat world number one Raymond van Barneveld 11-8 in his semi-final, but had no answer to Taylor's brilliance.

Wade was in touch at 3-2 before Taylor took six legs in a row to pull clear, with the 13-time World Champion matching power scoring with clinical finishing.

Six from eight legs saw Wade pull back to 11-8, but Taylor took five more in a row to claim the £100,000 (€125,621) first prize - the joint highest ever paid in the sport.

Taylor broke Wade in the opening leg, landing a maximum before taking out double 18 for a 13-darter, and doubled the advantage as both traded 180s in the second.

A 11-darter got Wade off the mark, but he paid in the next when suffering a bounce-out on a 120 finish, with Taylor taking out double 12 to move 3-1 up.

Wade pulled back to 3-2 at the first break - but paid in the next session as Taylor stormed clear.

He took six legs in a row without Wade reaching a double, landing two 13-darters and taking out a 93 finish on the bullseye in going 9-2 up.

Wade kick-started his challenge with a bull finish of his own in leg 12 for a 12-darter, and he pulled back to 10-5 and 11-8 with some fine darts, including two 13-darters and two 14-darters to make Taylor nervous.

Taylor, though, responded in typically outstanding fashion, starting the 20th leg with a 180 and taking out a 13-darter with Wade sat waiting on double top.

It was a killer blow, with a 130 checkout amongst three successive 12-darters to take Taylor to the brink of victory.

He sealed the win with an 11-darter to claim the title and a fourth straight Premier League crown.

"I'm absolutely over the moon," said Taylor whose chances had been written off after losing three of his opening four games.

"It's a massive tournament and you have to be at the top of your game for three or four months, so it means a great deal.

"I thought I was too far in front when I went 9-2 up but James came back and I had to concentrate, go back to doing what I do every day and hold on."

Wade, who claimed £50,000 (€62,816) as runner-up in his debut Premier League campaign, admitted: "Phil showed how good he really is tonight.

"In the last 10 to 15 legs I threw some very good darts but it wasn't enough and he showed his quality.

"I'll keep trying to improve and hopefully I can go one better next year and win this event. I can play better than this and I'll be working hard to do that."

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