Updated: Saturday, 21 Dec 2013 09:37 | Comments
An off-colour Phil Taylor crashed out of the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace to end his hopes of a 17th world title.
Taylor produced an error-strewn display as he was beaten by Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith in the second round.
The 16-time world champion was well below his best as he slumped to a 4-3 defeat against the world youth champion.
The 23-year-old finished Taylor off in style, producing 11 and 13-dart legs in the decider before clinching the set 4-2 on the bull.
Taylor sought to stamp his authority on the match from the start and produced a 156 checkout to win the opening leg of against the throw, rattling through the first set without missing a double.
The second leg was a different story, though, as Taylor’s accuracy on the doubles deserted him.
Both players went down to double one in the second leg, with Smith ending the agony on the way to levelling the match.
Taylor started the third set slowly, but fought back to edge into a 2-1 lead, only for Smith to punish more inconsistency from the world number one to make it 2-2.
Taylor lurched into a 3-2 lead after Smith threw away six darts to take the set, but the young challenger was throwing the more fluent darts and made it 3-3.
An 11-dart leg put Smith within one leg of the biggest win of his career and a 13-dart leg did so again at 3-2.
And this time he closed out the victory, punching the air in celebration.
“I can’t speak, my heart’s pounding, I don’t know,” Smith said on Sky Sports 1 afterwards.
Elsewhere, Raymond van Barneveld survived a major scare against Jamie Caven before clinching a 4-3 victory.
The five-time world champion fought back from a set down to take a 2-1 lead, a 12-dart leg against the throw looking set to prove a turning point in the match.
But Caven battled back, missing a dart at double 12 for a nine-dart finish on his way to making it 2-2 and then moved 3-2 ahead.
But he lacked the killer touch to finish the Dutchman off and Van Barneveld fought back again to take a topsy-turvey contest.
“What a player,” Van Barneveld said of Caven. “He was never ever missing doubles tonight. That’s why he kept me under pressure.”
Peter Wright was also a second-round winner as he saw off Per Laursen 4-2.