PHIL TAYLOR'S Betway Premier League Darts revival continued with a season's-best 7-1 win over Wes Newton in Leeds on Thursday, as Michael van Gerwen joined Peter Wright at the top of the league table in front of a record 11,000 crowd at the First Direct Arena.
Taylor had lost his first three games of the season in his worst start in the ten years of the tournament, but moved out of the relegation zone for the first time in 2014 with a 106.91 average in a clinical demolition of Newton.
The 16-time World Champion hit a 180 as he broke in the game's opening leg and doubled his lead before Newton finished 108 to hit back - but that would be as good as it got for the Fleetwood ace as Taylor pulled clear.
The Stoke great took the next five legs without reply, hitting a total of four 180s and finishing half of his 14 attempts at a double in his best display of the campaign so far.
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen picked up his fifth victory of the season as he moved to the top of the table on leg difference ahead of Peter Wright with a 7-5 win over Gary Anderson.
A high-quality game saw the pair trade 11-dart finishes early on as Anderson established a 5-4 lead, but van Gerwen took out a superb 121 on the bull to level, broke throw with a 70 finish before claiming the win with another 11-dart leg.
Wright remains unbeaten after he picked up a third draw of his debut Premier League Darts season to accompany four wins - although he needed a sensational 161 finish in the deciding leg of his clash with Raymond van Barneveld to earn a share of the spoils.
Van Barneveld had taken out 116, 108 and 156 as he moved from 3-2 down to lead 6-4, but the World Championship finalist showed his clash by hitting back for a point with his brilliant finale.
The result means van Barneveld drew for a third successive week, but the Dutchman said: "It's a good point for me but it was a fantastic finish from Peter in the last leg.
That run for van Barneveld is bettered by Robert Thornton, who drew his fourth successive game by sharing the spoils with Adrian Lewis, who hit back from 4-0 down to claim a point which keeps him in fourth place.
At the foot of the table, Simon Whitlock remains two points adrift after his draw with Dave Chisnall - although the Australian had been staring defeat in the face when his opponent moved 6-4 up.
Chisnall, though, was unable to close out victory and crucially burst his score when needing 80 in the deciding leg, allowing Whitlock to snatch a point on tops.
The Betway Premier League Darts continues next Thursday at The O2 in Dublin, with Newton set to play twice on the night as he faces Whitlock - in a game which had been postponed when the Fleetwood ace missed the recent league night in Exeter through tonsillitis - and Anderson.
Van Gerwen will meet Wright in a repeat of January's World Championship final, while Lewis plays Chisnall and Taylor takes on great rival van Barneveld, with Thornton sitting out the visit to Dublin.
Betway Premier League Darts
First Direct Arena, Leeds
Dave Chisnall 6-6 Simon Whitlock
Robert Thornton 6-6 Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson 5-7 Michael van Gerwen
Wes Newton 1-7 Phil Taylor
Peter Wright 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld
|After Week Seven|
|Michael van Gerwen|
|Raymond van Barneveld|
Dave Chisnall v Simon Whitlock
1-0 - Chisnall lands a 180 to bring the 11,000 fans to their feet, before completing a 14-darter to win the opening leg.
2-0 - Whitlock misses double 16 to level, and Chisnall finishes double nine to break.
3-0 - A 108 finish from Chisnall sees him win a third successive leg.
3-1 - Chisnall misses double top, and Whitlock hits the same bed to get off the mark.
3-2 - The duo trade 180s before Chisnall misses three darts at doubles to allow Whitlock to break back on double top.
4-2 - Chisnall lands another maximum, before missing six darts at double 18 and nine to allow Whitlock in - but the Australian sees his chances to level go begging on the same doubles before his opponent lands double four with his eighth dart to claim the leg.
5-2 - Tops sees Chisnall move closer to a crucial point.
5-3 - Whitlock initially misses double 16, but returns to pin double four to hit back.
5-4 - The pair trade 180s, with Chisnall missing the bull for an 81 finish to allow Whitlock in to take out 100 on double 19 with an improvised combination after hitting a single five with his opening dart.
6-4 - The pair both leave two-dart finishes after nine darts by again trading 180s, and when Whitlock misses the bull this time to take out 81, Chisnall claims a point by hitting double ten for a 46 checkout and a 12-darter.
6-5 - Whitlock misses double five for a 90 finish, but Chisnall is unable to take out 79 for the match to allow the Australian back in on double five.
6-6 - Whitlock is unable to take out 100 to claim a point, but Chisnall amazingly bursts his score on 80, and the Australian pins tops to claim a potentially crucial point.
|Dave Chisnall||6-6||Simon Whitlock|
|3||Breaks of Throw||3|
|6/20 - 30%||Checkout %||6/15 - 40%|
Robert Thornton v Adrian Lewis
1-0 - Lewis hits two 180s in the opening leg, but misses his chance to break as Thornton finishes double ten.
2-0 - The Scot punishes another miss from Lewis by hitting tops to take out 76.
3-0 - The pair trade 180s before Thornton finishes 60 to win a third leg.
4-0 - Thornton's flying start continues as he finishes 101 to claim a fourth straight leg.
4-1 - Tops sees Lewis get off the mark.
4-2 - Double 16 from Lewis sees him halve the deficit.
5-2 - Lewis misses three darts to reduce the gap further, and Thornton finishes 60 on tops to edge away.
5-3 - Thornton misses four darts to secure a point, and Lewis lands double four to win his third leg.
6-3 - Thornton takes out 61 on double 18 to ensure a minimum of a draw.
6-4 - Lewis keeps his hopes alive by holding throw.
6-5 - Lewis lands a 180, and when Thornton misses tops for the game, he steps in on the same bed to force a decider.
6-6 - Lewis is unable to take out 136 to pick up a draw, but Thornton again misses tops for the game, and Lewis takes out 60 to snatch a point.
|Robert Thornton||6-6||Adrian Lewis|
|2||Breaks of Throw||2|
|6/17 - 35%||Checkout %||6/21 - 29%|
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
1-0 - Anderson hits a 180 before finishing double 16 to take the opener.
1-1 - van Gerwen levels on double 18.
2-1 - Anderson pins tops to take out 56 to move back ahead.
2-2 - van Gerwen finishes 100 for an 11-darter to square the game again.
2-3 - The World Champion takes out 112 to break throw.
3-3 - The pair trade 180s before Anderson breaks back in 11 darts by finishing 76.
4-3 - van Gerwen misses the bull for a 93 finish and two further darts at double eight, allowing Anderson back in to finish double two.
4-4 - van Gerwen finishes double 18 to level again.
5-4 - Anderson lands a 180 and takes out double ten to move back in front.
5-5 - The world number one takes out 121 on the bull to level and continue the battle.
5-6 - van Gerwen takes out 70 on double four to break throw and ensure a minimum of a draw from the game.
5-7 - The Dutchman claims victory in style with an 11-darter on double 18.
|Gary Anderson||5-7||M v Gerwen|
|1||Breaks of Throw||2|
|5/8 - 63%||Checkout %||7/16 - 44%|
Wes Newton v Phil Taylor
0-1 - Taylor breaks throw immediately, hitting a 180 and finishing 68 on double two.
0-2 - Taylor takes out 65 on tops to continue his strong start.
1-2 - Newton finishes 108 to hit back.
1-3 - Taylor lands tops to regain his two-leg cushion.
1-4 - Newton kicks off with a 180, with Taylor replying in kind and adding another maximum to set up a potential nine-darter, and when that possibility goes begging, Newton misses double 12 for a 144 finish to allow him back in to hit tops for another break.
1-5 - Taylor pins double 16 to continue his brilliant display of finishing, having missed only two darts at a double so far.
1-6 - Newton misses a dart at double top, and Taylor finishes double 14 to secure another point as his revival continues.
1-7 - Taylor hits his fourth 180 of the game, and though he initially misses four darts at double 12 for the win, a trio of misses from Newton allow him back in to claim victory with a 106.91 average.
|Wes Newton||1-7||Phil Taylor|
|0||Breaks of Throw||3|
|1/6 - 17%||Checkout %||7/14 - 50%|
Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld
0-1 - Wright opens with a 180 in front of the packed crowd, but van Barneveld replies with a maximum and takes out double eight to break immediately.
0-2 - van Barneveld finishes tops to double his lead.
1-2 - van Barneveld hits two 180s in the leg, but misses the bull to finish 81 and Wright takes out 65 on tops.
2-2 - The pair trade 180s, with van Barneveld missing the bull and two darts at double eight to allow Wright to level on double six.
3-2 - van Barneveld posts a 177 to leave 24, but misses three darts to win the leg as Wright steps in to move ahead on tops.
3-3 - The Dutchman puts his doubling disappointment behind him by landing double 16 to level.
3-4 - van Barneveld takes out 116 to break and move back ahead.
3-5 - The five-time World Champion takes out 108 on tops to move two legs clear.
4-5 - Wright hits back by taking out 78.
4-6 - The Dutchman secures at least a point by taking out a brilliant 156 finish.
5-6 - Wright lands double eight to keep alive his hopes of claiming a draw.
6-6 - van Barneveld opens with his fifth 180 of the game, but Wright snatches a draw with a sensational 161 checkout.
|Peter Wright||6-6||R v Barneveld|
|2||Breaks of Throw||2|
|6/12 - 50%||Checkout %||6/16 - 38%|