Kevin Painter stormed through to the semi-finals of the World Seniors Championship with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over 16-time world champion Phil Taylor at the Circus Tavern on Saturday evening.
Painter’s only previous triumph against Taylor came at the 2001 World Grand Prix, but ‘The Power’ won the pair’s next 31 meetings, including their epic 2004 World Championship showpiece at this venue.
Painter produced an eye-catching display to demolish 2020 BDO world champion Wayne Warren on Friday evening, and he will have taken encouragement from Taylor’s stuttering display against Peter Manley, with the Stoke-on-Trent veteran averaging a modest 81.29.
Despite his abject record against the 61-year-old, ‘The Artist’ brushed Taylor aside, averaging 88.88 to claim nine of the 12 legs played, defying a late rally from the pre-tournament favourite to advance in emphatic style.
The pair exchanged holds in a tentative start to proceedings, but Painter soon found his range, following up a 15-dart hold with a classy 106 finish on double 18 to clinch the first set.
Taylor was struggling to fashion any consistency in the scoring department and Painter maintained his charge, registering a third consecutive 15-darter to draw first blood in the second, before producing an outrageous 82 checkout on the bullseye to continue the procession.
Taylor’s task became even tougher when the former Players Champion doubled his advantage moments later, landing a first maximum and executing a 13-dart break to leave ‘The Power’ floundering.
‘The Artist’ secured a sixth straight leg courtesy of his fourth 15-dart leg to open up set three, before Taylor served a reminder of his class, posting successive visits of 180 and 140 in a bid to stop the rot.
However, the 16-time world champion was found wanting on the outer ring, spurning five darts at double to level the set, and Painter capitalised to move to within a leg of his first triumph over Taylor in two decades.
The Stoke-on-Trent icon threatened a stirring fightback late on; Painter squandered two match darts at tops and Taylor converted a clinical 119 finish via the same target to force a third-set decider, yet it simply delayed the inevitable, as Painter sank double eight to complete a straight-sets success.
Ruthless Thornton continues his march
The 54-year-old will now play two-time PDC major winner Robert Thornton for a place in Sunday night’s showpiece, with the Scot yet to relinquish a set in this year’s event.
‘The Thorn’ breezed into the last eight with whitewash wins over Bob Anderson and Trina Gulliver MBE, and he produced a merciless display to dispatch qualifier Dave Prins, who performed magnificently in his encounter against John Lowe MBE earlier in the day.
‘Old Stoneface’ received a hero’s welcome on his Circus Tavern return, but ‘The Badger’ was in blistering form, averaging 98 for large periods, before completing the job against his darting idol.
Despite this, Prins was unable to land a definitive blow against the Scot, who averaged 112.73 to claim set two with legs of 14, 14 and 12 darts, and after Prins converted a 110 skin-saver in the third, Thornton replied by wrapping up victory with a superb 124 combination.
‘Wolfie’ battles through to the final four
Martin Adams is the only former world champion left standing at this year’s inaugural event, after coming from behind to defeat 1994 World Matchplay champion Larry Butler in an attritional tussle.
‘Wolfie’ landed five sensational ton-plus finishes in his opener against Richie Howson last night, yet he wasn’t able to muster those heroics against Butler, who accounted for 1983 world champion Keith Deller in a five-set marathon earlier in the afternoon.
‘The Bald Eagle’ displayed no signs of fatigue in the early stages, averaging 94 to secure the opener without reply, only for Adams to restore parity at one apiece, producing legs of 15 and 14 darts at a crucial juncture.
The three-time world champion tightened his grip on proceedings by making it six legs without reply, and while Butler halted his slide to level the fourth, Adams responded with a tidy 100 finish, before firing in two 180s to seal his progression with a majestic 12-darter.
Jenkins’ dream of televised glory still alive
Elsewhere, nine-time major finalist Terry Jenkins was the first man through to the last four, defeating Lisa Ashton and John Walton to reach his first televised semi-final in eight years.
‘The Bull’ was imperious in the early stages of his clash with four-time women’s world champion Ashton, winning the opening six legs without reply, featuring a classy 120 checkout to wrap up the second set.
‘The Lancashire Rose’ rallied after the interval, landing three 180s en route to halving the deficit, but she was unable to sustain the fightback and Jenkins closed out a scrappy fourth set to complete a 3-1 victory.
His opponent in the last eight was 2001 BDO world champion John Walton, who overcame some finishing-line fever to dump out three-time world champion John Part in the afternoon’s curtain-raiser.
Walton was guilty of profligacy in his clash against the legendary ‘Darth Maple’, and the Yorkshireman frittered away multiple opportunities to claim sets three and four against Jenkins, who scraped to a hard-fought 3-1 victory, aided by a sparkling 135 finish in the latter stages.
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