Darts: Smith fights off Spiolek and lines up Taylor

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Dennis Smith lined up a meeting with odds-on favourite Phil Taylor for a quarter-final place in the World Championship at Purfleet yesterday. The Swindon man rallied from a set down to beat Kevin Spiolek 3-1 and faces the top-seeded Taylor, winner for the last three years, in the Group A decider tomorrow evening. Spiolek resisted briefly when he won the first two legs of the fourth set, but Smith moved up a gear to win the next three.

John Lowe, the former world champion, was the first big name to be eliminated when he was beaten 3-0 by the Canadian Gary Mawson. Lowe was also beaten 3-0 by Peter Manley in his opening group match.

The American, Steve Brown, had the highest check-out so far, with 161 in his first set against Harry Robinson, but he only struggled home 3- 2 after winning the first two sets.