Taylor and van Barneveld through

Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld kicked off their Blue Square UK Open challenges with impressive victories in Bolton tonight.

Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld kicked off their Blue Square UK Open challenges with impressive victories in Bolton tonight.

Taylor produced a 104 average in his 9-3 win over John Ferrell but admitted he was distracted by a night of upsets on the other seven stages at the Reebok Stadium.

While title-holder van Barneveld was a 9-0 victor against Tony Ayres, two-time world champ Dennis Priestley, 2004 UK Open winner Roland Scholten and former world number one Colin Lloyd crashed out.

“It was a good start for me, but I’ll get better as the tournament progresses,” said Taylor.

“I was looking round at what was happening in the other games, so I have to concentrate more.”

Van Barneveld looked back to his best and said: “I played well, and my doubles were brilliant. I love this tournament – but I’m still only in the last 32.”

His fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort took eight successive legs in coming from 4-1 down to knock out Lloyd – while Stoke qualifier Nigel Birch beat Priestley 9-8.

Wayne Mardle paid for missing match darts in two legs as Adrian Lewis came from 8-7 down to win a thrilling contest in a deciding leg, with the Stoke youngster hitting eight 180s in edging out the fans’ favourite.

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