Hands up for Priestley, the check-out king at the centre of attention

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The Independent Online
Dennis Priestley raises his arm in triumph after beating Ritchie Gardner 3-1 in his closing group match of the World Darts Championship at Purfleet, Essex, yesterday. But the 46-year-old Yorkshireman was rarely at his best, despite producing the highest check-out possible of 170 in the opening set to share a pounds 1,000 prize with Steve Raw who had performed this feat earlier in the week. More impressive was the defending champion, Phil Taylor, who also progressed to the quarter-finals yesterday. Taylor, 36, from Stoke, beat Gerald Verrier in three straight sets in his final group match. He lost only one leg, had three 180s and check-outs of 136 and 125 on his way to victory. Taylor beat Priestley 6-4 in the final last year and is attempting to win the title for the third successive year

Photograph: Robert Hallam