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Taylor revival continues as Barney shines in Steel city

ESPN staff
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Phil Taylor moved into the Premier League top four for the first time this season © PA Photos
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Phil Taylor continued his Premier League resurgence with what could turn out to be a crucial victory in the race for a play-off place after he defeated rival Adrian Lewis 7-4 in Sheffield.

Taylor, looking to regain the crown from Michael van Gerwen, suffered a horrific start to his Premier League campaign but rallied in the last few weeks to put himself well within contention of a place in the final four.

The Power's revival continued to blossom following a superb performance in another high-quality game with former protégé Lewis, his opponent in arguably the greatest ever televised match at the Grand Slam of Darts last year.

A classy 102 finish saw Taylor level at 4-4 with a break of throw, but it was the brilliant 144 checkout from the Stoke ace which really knocked the stuffing out of Jackpot to make it 6-4. Despite Lewis posting his fifth 180 of the night, Taylor finished tops for two points and a place in the top four for the first time this season.

Michael van Gerwen remains top of the pile and looks great value to retain his title after a hard-fought 7-5 victory against Robert Thornton.

Thornton missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the ninth leg, but returned to sink double six and move back to 5-4. The Scot soon levelled for 5-5 but, after narrowly missing the bull for a 124, Van Gerwen returned to secure at least a share of the spoils.

Not one to be upstaged, Van Gerwen opened the 12th leg with back-to-back 180s but fell short when aiming for the treble-19 on 141. Nevertheless, the Green Machine returned and comfortably finished proceedings to consolidate his lead at the top.

Raymond van Barneveld now sits second, albeit after playing a game more, following a double success in the Steel city.

Van Barneveld edged Dave Chisnall in the opening match of the night which included 116 and 110 finishes from Barney and a brilliant 164-out from debutant Chisnall.

The Dutchman then beat Peter Wright 7-5 in the night's closing match to secure four points out of four. Wright, meanwhile, lost out 7-4 to an impressive Gary Anderson in his opening match. The Flying Scotsman moved within a point of a top-four place, alongside Lewis, while Wright remains third on 13 points from 11 matches.

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