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Darts: Big Cliff bitten by rampant Bulldog

SHAYNE BURGESS, the 34-year-old from Hastings, produced almost flawless darts for all but one set to become the first semi-finalist at the PDC World Championship at Purfleet, Essex, last night.

Burgess beat "Big" Cliff Lazarenko 4-1 and had five maximum 180s and four check-outs of more than 100 during a one-sided match. The Hastings man, known as "Bulldog", might well have won in straight sets but he had one bad moment when he missed three successive doubles to take the second set and Lazarenko stepped in to level the match at one set all.

However, from that point it was virtually all Burgess, who won eight of the next 10 legs, ended the fourth set with successive check-outs of 120 and 121 and then finished in a blaze of glory with yet another check- out of 121, single 17, treble 18 and then the bull.

Peter Manley, the North Cheam newsagent, produced some deft finishing to beat Dennis Smith of Swindon in four straight sets to qualify for a semi-final tie with Burgess.

Manley, whose nickname is "One Dart" because he slots doubles so quickly, lived up to his reputation by hitting the double 12 times in only 18 attempts and gave Smith no chance to get into the match once he had won a tight opening set.

Second seed Alan Warriner became the third man to reach the semi-finals by beating John Ferrell 4-1 but it was hardly one of his best performances. Warriner missed seven doubles for the first set, which he lost, had two more legs where he missed five successive doubles and at times for a man nicknamed "The Ice Man" looked ruffled. But Ferrell scored so inconsistently that Warriner, who admitted that he played "terrible" in the first three sets, at last picked up some form and won the fifth set in three straight legs.

Phil Taylor, striving for his seventh world title, felled Bob Anderson, the former world champion from Swindon, in four straight sets despite slacking off in the closing stages. Taylor began brilliantly and, even despite a poor last set, he slotted 12 doubles in 22 attempts and averaged 32.28 per dart.

Yet Taylor, who now meets Warriner in today's semi-finals, said: "Bob didn't push me hard enough. It's when it's really close that you get your big averages."