Taylor perplexed with form after winning World opener

DARTS: Defending champion Phil Taylor made an unconvincing winning start in his bid for a 16th World Championship at Alexandra Palace, London.

The defending champion was too good for American Gary Mawson, who earlier beat Juanito Gionson of the Philippines 4-1.

'The Power' dropped one leg in winning the first set and Mawson was made to regret missing three shots at a double in the second leg of the second set, which began a notable drop in quality.

Taylor edged the second set 3-2 and won the third by the same margin, nailing double top to wrap up the success.

However, the 50-year-old from Stoke was clearly out of form as he averaged just 88.49pc and hit just 26pc of his doubles.

He admitted afterwards: "Both of us were off. No idea why, I don't know if it was too late at night.

"I don't do averages like that normally."

Elsewhere, Paul Nicholson made a bright start as he flushed out debutant Steve Farmer in straight sets (3-0, 3-1, 3-2).

Former BDO world champion Steve Beaton made a surprising first-round exit as he lost 3-2 to world number 90 Mark Hylton.

Welshman Mark Webster also trounced Steve Maish 3-0.