Dublin delight for Taylor

Phil Taylor won his first Players Championship of 2011 with a 6-3 defeat of Michael van Gerwen in today's PDC ProTour event at Dublin's New Citywest Convention Centre.

Phil Taylor won his first Players Championship of 2011 with a 6-3 defeat of Michael van Gerwen in today's PDC ProTour event at Dublin's New Citywest Convention Centre.

Taylor continued his build-up to the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix, which begins at the same venue on Monday, by following up Wednesday's Group Two win in Championship League Darts by taking the Players Championship title.

The world number one defeated youngster Adam Hunt, Andy Smith and Paul Nicholson to reach the quarter-finals, where he took on Justin Pipe.

Pipe led 5-3, but Taylor hit back to level before winning the decider in 13 darts.

After seeing off Coventry's emerging star Scott Rand 6-2, Taylor enjoyed a fine tussle with van Gerwen in the final.

The duo shared the first six legs, with van Gerwen hitting a pair of 14-dart finishes and Taylor taking out two legs in 15 darts.

Taylor made the key move in the seventh, with van Gerwen hitting three ton-plus scores to leave 93 after nine darts only to see his opponent follow scores of 140, 180 and 165 with double 16 for an 11-darter.

Taylor then bettered that with a superb ten-dart finish, courtesy of hitting scores of 140, 180 and 165 to leave double eight - although van Gerwen had missed the bull for a 132 finish for a 12-darter to hold throw.

The Dutch youngster hit a 180 in reply to kick off the ninth leg, but missed double top and ten to keep his hopes alive and Taylor punished him on double 16.

Van Gerwen's display on the day saw him reach his first final since August 2010 in Canada, and he picked up £3,000 for his efforts, which could prove crucial in winning him a place in December's Players Championship Finals and also nudges him back towards the world's top 32.

Mervyn King won through to his first semi-final for five months after overcoming an elbow problem, with wins over Andy Jenkins, Kevin Painter, Ronnie Baxter and Nigel Heydon helping him into the last four.

Rand reached his third semi-final of the year, picking up victories over Roland Scholten, Wes Newton, Steve Beaton and Vincent van der Voort before losing to Taylor.

Pipe came from 5-1 down against John Part to dramatically win a place in the quarter-finals, taking out a 157 finish in the deciding leg to see off the Canadian for his sixth run to the last eight of the year.

World Champion Adrian Lewis, reigning World Grand Prix champion James Wade and five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld were all defeated in the first round, but will return to compete in a second Players Championship on Sunday.

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