Darts: Mardle displays serious intent as players get shirty

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The Independent Online

As the 12-times champion Phil Taylor and his protégé Adrian Lewis stayed on course for a meeting in the final on Monday, Mardle gave them a reminder of his abundant talent with one of the finest performances of his career.

The 32-year-old from Dagenham, nicknamed "Hawaii Five-O-One" because of the flamboyant shirt he wears on stage, has adopted a more serious approach in matches but still played to the crowd, especially after his Canadian opponent, known as "Darth Maple", walked on stage accompanied by a group of Star Wars characters. Mardle won the first set with a brilliant 126 check-out and wrapped it up with his favourite double 18 to oust the last remaining non-English player.

In the final eight today Mardle will meet Alan Warriner-Little, who hit a spectacular 138 check-out which completed a 4-2 win against Andy "Pie Man" Smith.

Taylor opened up with a bull's-eye finish in a 4-0 victory over Andrew " The Hammer" Hamilton, while Lewis, the world No 20, had to overcome flu and a 2-0 deficit to beat the fourth seed Roland Scholten 4-3.

Lewis will now face Peter Manley, who also recovered from 2-0 down to win 4-3 against Dennis Smith. Nothing went right for Manley in the early stages and after the second set he went backstage to change out of his red and black shirt into his lucky one with a pink flamingo pattern. Smith was visibly unsettled by the delay: the world No 21 could not sustain his fine form and the fifth seed hit back.

Manley insisted there had been no gamesmanship involved in his change of shirt. "I've put on a few pounds and the shirt I wore at the start was feeling a bit tight around the arms," he said. "I wouldn't have thought Dennis was too upset about [the delay]. He was practising on stage whereas I wasn't throwing a dart."

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