Darts: Taylor shows Wright stuff to progress

Phil TAYLOR was in impressive form as he beat Peter Wright 4-1 to book his place in the quarter-finals of the PDC World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace.

Taylor flew into a 2-0 lead and had a chance to take the third set 3-0 but, after failing to do so, Wright stunned the crowd favourite with three straight legs to close in to 2-1.

Wright had Taylor wobbling at that point but, the world No.1 steadied himself and eventually moved into the last eight.

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Raymond van Barneveld, arguably Taylor's biggest rival for a 16th world title, was impressive if not at his best as he beat Kevin McDine 4-1 in the first game of the evening session.

While he was not firing on all cylinders in the second-round clash, the Dutchman did land ten maximums and took one leg with an 11-darter, which had looked set to be a rare nine-dart finish.

He will now meet Colin Osborne in the next round and said afterwards: "I put big scores together at important times to get the win, and I am pleased with the 98 average."

Mark Webster was the first man through to the last eight in front of another packed house, beating former airline worker Mark Hylton 4-1.

Hylton had looked dangerous at 1-1 but, after failing to move ahead, fell away at the hands of the Welshman.

Earlier in the day, Dennis Priestley threatened to roll back the years as he pushed Scotland's Gary Anderson all the way in a thrilling contest.

Anderson was cruising at 3-0 up before Mexborough thrower Priestley pulled himself back to 3-2 to give himself a chance of a stunning comeback. A highlight of Priestley's charge was a 13-dart checkout but ultimately, Anderson had too much and picked up a 4-2 win.

"Dennis is a true legend of the game and a tough competitor," Anderson said afterwards.

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Osborne was in ominous form as he crushed Jamie Caven 4-0, while Andy "The Pieman" Smith saw off world No.?6 Mervyn King 4-3.

Ranked 22 places below King, Smith boasted a high-checkout of 140 in what was undoubtedly the biggest win of his career.

"Mervyn wasn't at his best but I stuck in and got the win," Smith said.