Taylor marks return with victory

Phil Taylor made a superb return to the PDC Pro Tour with victory in the Southern Players Championship at the Brentwood Centre on Saturday.

Phil Taylor made a superb return to the PDC Pro Tour with victory in the Southern Players Championship at the Brentwood Centre on Saturday.

Taylor was making his first appearance of the year on the circuit, having only competed so far in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts.

He bounced back to form in that competition with an 8-0 whitewash of Wayne Mardle on Thursday, and was in imperious form in Brentwood.

Taylor won four matches, including his semi-final against Stoke rival Adrian Lewis, without dropping a leg, and saw off Mardle once again at the quarter-final stage.

He then swept past world number three James Wade 3-0 in the final, dropping just one leg in taking the winner's cheque.

Wade had started the day with a near-miss at an attempted nine-darter in his opening win over Tony Littleton, missing double 12 for a perfect leg, and came from two sets down to defeat Andy Hamilton in a deciding leg in the semis.

Kevin Painter and World Champion John Part were both early casualties, losing in their first games to Pete Allen and Kevin McDine respectively, with the latter going on to reach the quarter-finals before losing to Hamilton.

Lewis went all the way in his wins over Adrian Gray and Andy Smith to reach the semis.

Van der Rassel's run to the last 16 was his best display since the Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Championship, while Martyn Turner knocked out Colin Lloyd on his way to the same stage.

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