Taylor back with a bang

Phil Taylor returned to competitive action in sensational form to win Saturday's Players Championship in Lisse.

Phil Taylor returned to competitive action in sensational form to win Saturday's Players Championship in Lisse.

Taylor has not been in action since losing in the first round of the SkyBet World Grand Prix last month - but swept to the £5,000 title at the Golden Tulip Hotel.

His practice since has clearly paid off, and he bounced back from a scare against Mark Walsh in the last 32 to drop just one more set on the way to the win.

Walsh had a dart at double top to defeat Taylor in the deciding leg of their contest - but his miss allowed Taylor to step in and take the game.

He then defeated Andy Jenkins 3-1 and Wayne Mardle 3-0 before hitting six successive doubles at the first time of asking in the semi-finals to see off Ray Farrell in straight legs.

Mason kicked off the final with a maximum and took the opening leg, but it was the closest he would get as Taylor hit back to win the first set against the darts.

Taylor then won the second without reply thanks to double six and an 11-darter, before hitting a 12-darter to open set three and then take out 114 for the win.

The win was a statement of Taylor's intent ahead of the PartyBets.com Grand Slam of Darts, which begins at the Wolverhampton Civic next Saturday.

Mason's run saw him reach a second PDC Pro Tour final of the year in Holland, after he was runner-up to Roland Scholten in the Thialf Darts Trophy in June.

He dropped just one leg in a fine semi-final performance against Alan Tabern, and also defeated higher-ranked opponents Dennis Priestley, James Wade and Ronnie Baxter on the day.

Farrell produced his best display on the PDC Pro Tour to reach the last four, overcoming Sicco van Houten, Colin Osborne, Barrie Bates, Vincent van der Voort and John Part on the day.

Jelle Klaasen, the winner of last Sunday's John McEvoy Gold Dart Classic, continued his good form to defeat Raymond van Barneveld 3-2 and reach the last 16, where he lost in a decider to Tabern.

The final two places in the Grand Slam of Darts will be awarded to the top two non-qualified players in the PDC Order of Merit following Sunday's second Players Championship.

Ronnie Baxter is now assured of the first place, with Tabern's run to the semis cutting the gap between him and Kevin Painter - who currently holds second place - to £1,525.

The duo are scheduled to clash on Sunday, although Tabern would need to reach the final to stand a chance of overcoming Painter.

In the race for top 32 places for the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship, Walsh is needing a good run on Sunday to hold onto 32nd place, with Adrian Gray poised to seal an automatic place at Alexandra Palace.

Matt Clark's run to the last 16 saw him jump above Wayne Atwood into the eighth Players Championship position.

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