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Premier League Darts – Thornton can breeze past Taylor into play-offs

| 25.04.2013

Week 12 of the Premier League Darts rates a particularly important one for Phil Taylor and Robert Thornton, the men currently positioned either side of the play-off zone divider, with both darters battling out doubler headers under the lights at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena. After scrabbling for form recently, Taylor put in a much improved showing in week 11, but week 12 looks set up for “The Thorn” to leapfrog him into the upper echelons.

Expectations about Taylor’s week 12 fortunes must be mixed if his recent records against his Thursday night foes are anything to go by. The Stoke ace opens proceedings against Adrian Lewis – a man who has defeated him in four of their last five meetings – before returning to the oche in search of seventh successive victory over Simon “the Wizard” Whitlock.

Lewis hasn’t been in great nick in Premier League outings of late, losing his last three outings so this might represent an ideal juncture for Taylor to touch-up their pair’s head-to-head ledger with a victory. However a 7/5 defeat against Michael Van Gerwen last time out was a vastly improved effort and at 9/2 it could worth risking “Jackpot” for another win over “the Power”.

Lewis – himself languishing in last place – will continue his role as arbiter of play-off chaser points when he takes on Robert Thornton in the final face-off of another evening of champagne darts.

At 41.96 per cent Thornton has the second best checkout-attempt to conversion ratio in the competition behind James Wade and with Lewis’ three-dart average some nine below the scot’s, it’s likely Phil Taylor’s play-off pursuer can register at least one win as he aims to make the most of a game in hand – Thornton is 11/8 to secure victory over Lewis.

Combined with a much improved showing when taking three points from two matches at Dublin last week, Taylor’s record against Simon Whitlock suggests he should be able to justify 4/9 favouritism. Last year’s runner-up has yet to win a Premier League match against Taylor in six attempts.

Robert Thornton’s other match-up of the evening offers an excellent chance for him to get off to winning start. After a tit-for-tat early history with Andy Hamilton “The Thorn”  has wedged himself firmly in “The Hammer’s” side and can be backed to register his fifth win in six outings against him on Thursday at 11/10 with Coral.