Phil Taylor suffered a first-round exit at the World Senior Darts Championship

16-time world champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor suffered a first-round exit at the World Senior Darts Championship; Taylor was beaten 3-2 by Manfred Bilderl at the Circus Tavern, the venue for many of his career highlights

 

Phil Taylor suffered a first-round exit at the World Senior Darts Championship

 

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor suffered an early exit in his final World Senior Darts Championship appearance after being beaten 3-2 by Germany’s Manfred Bilderl at the Circus Tavern.

 

The 16-time world champion, who announced that 2024 will be his final year on the seniors circuit, fired three maximums and posted a 83.02 average but struggled with his finishing during a disappointing farewell tournament at the iconic venue.

 

 

 

 

Taylor battled back from two sets down to win the next two and take the contest to a decider, where Bilderl prevailed to book a second-round meeting against Chris Mason.

 

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It was a disappointing end to Taylor’s legacy at Circus Tavern, where reached the final in all 14 of the PDC World Darts Championship finals held there and won 11 of them, with the 63-year-old converting just eight of his 33 attempts at double during his first-round exit.

 

Taylor missed five doubles in the opening leg to allow Bilderl to break and watched on as his opponent started with four perfect darts to hold throw in the next, with the 63-year-old the broken again to lose the first set in straight legs.

 

He pinned the D16 to break Bilderl early in the second and finally get a leg on the board, only for the debutant to rattle through the next three legs and move into a two-set advantage.

 

Taylor responded by breaking Bilderl in the fourth leg of the third to halve the deficit, then took out 86 in a two-dart combination to seal the fourth set and seemingly grab the momentum.

 

 

 

 

Bilderl took advantage of Taylor missing D16 to move within a leg of victory to take out a 66 finish and break, then pinned D10 in the next leg to complete the most high-profile win of his career.

 

 

 

Mason reached the second round by beating Daryl Fitton 3-1 and Richie Burnett beat former world champion Keith Deller by the same score, with Martin Adams and Kevin Painter also getting through their opening matches.

 

Reigning champion Robert Thornton opened his title defence with a 3-1 victory over Martyn Turner and Richie Howson nailed a 155 finish to seal a straight-sets victory over John Part., while Glen Durrant was beaten by Mark Dudbridge in a final-set decider and Lisa Ashton defeated Michael Huntley by the same score.

 

The second round takes place on Saturday and the quarter-finals are held on Sunday afternoon, ahead of the semi-finals and final later that evening.

 

 

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Gideon Canice

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