Taylor begins Blue Square challenge

Phil Taylor will begin his challenge at the Blue Square UK Open on Saturday with a clash against world number four Peter Manley.

Phil Taylor will begin his challenge at the Blue Square UK Open on Saturday with a clash against world number four Peter Manley.

Taylor, twice the winner of the "FA Cup of Darts" in Bolton, landed the plum tie of round four when the draw was made on Friday evening.

World Champion Raymond van Barneveld begins the defence of his UK Open title in a repeat of last year's semi-final, after drawing veteran Northern Ireland player John MaGowan.

Other high-profile contests see in-form duo Roland Scholten and James Wade meet, as do top 16 rivals Barrie Bates and Adrian Lewis.

Dutch prodigy Michael van Gerwen will take on Tony Eccles, who is playing his first tournament since switching to the PDC circuit earlier this week.

Jelle Klaasen, the 2006 Lakeside Champion, meets another former Frimley Green winner Richie Burnett in their last 64 contest, and another new arrival in the PDC, Mervyn King, comes up against Chris Mason - his practice partner for two days ahead of the event.

Klaasen and van Gerwen were among 32 players who battled through the second and third rounds on Friday night.

Van Gerwen, who had begun the event on Thursday, overcame Northern Ireland's Andrew Coulter 8-0 before holding off a spirited fightback from Dave Ladley to move into the fourth round with an 8-5 win.

Klaasen ended the hopes of pub qualifier Scott Mitchell in the second round before knocking out close friend Tony Martin 8-2.

Veteran Bob Anderson, another former World Champion, was the victim of the night's biggest upset, losing 8-3 to Northern Ireland qualifier Brendan Dolan.

Mark Dudbridge overcame Ronnie Baxter, while Canadian John Part - the 2004 runner-up - was an 8-5 winner against Kevin Dowling.

Roger Carter's loss to Garrett Gray means that John Kuczynski is the only American left in the tournament, and he will meet Dutchman Vincent van der Voort in a tasty fourth round game.

Irish player Gray, who made his debut in a major event at the World Grand Prix last October, also knocked out 2005 UK Open finalist Mark Walsh and will now meet Part in round four.

Colin Monk produced the most remarkable comeback of the night, coming from 7-3 down to win 8-7 against York's Martyn Turner.

Three of the 32 Punch Taverns pub qualifiers remain in the event, with Nigel Birch drawing 2004 World Championship runner-up Kevin Painter, Sam Rooney now facing Gary Welding and Andy Roberts taking on Holsten Premier League Darts finalist Terry Jenkins.

Play resumes at 1pm on Saturday, with the fifth and sixth rounds to take place in the evening session from 7pm.

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