Sport | Phil 'The Power' Taylor – "The best I've ever played"

In a week when Vettel builds his domination in Formula 1, and McCoy’s 18-year career is crowned by a 4,000th career win, neither man can claim a supremacy quite like Phil Taylor has held over darts. 23 years since winning his first world title against his future mentor, Eric Bristow, Taylor secured a fifth Grand Slam of Darts title, during its seventh year of existence.

The comprehensive 16-6 victory over Robert Thornton, however, was not the highlight of a sensational Sunday at the Wolverhampton Civil.

Certainly, the final was almost totally eclipsed by a battle of the Titans – a thrilling 16-9 victory over Adrian Lewis in the semi-finals.

The result does not reflect the tension and dynamism displayed by both players during this match, as demonstrated by Taylor’s comments after the match.

He said, “I think the game against Adrian was the best I’ve ever played – and I think Adrian would say the same.”

Indeed, Lewis scored one point more than Taylor on average, the world number three taking 110 points per three darts.

But it was the doubles that secured the match for ‘The Power’, as it has been so many times before. This encounter has been dubbed one of the most epic in televised history, courtesy of 32 180s, a 167 check-out, and the fierce camaraderie displayed between the two friends, who recognised that they were in the midst of something special.

The final was almost over before it began, as the sixteen time World Champion stormed to a 5-0 lead.

In similar vein to Dave Chisnall’s 6-0 defeat in the Grand Prix last month, Robert Thornton found himself outclassed on stage, with Taylor hardly having to take a breath between arrows.

With a three-dart average of just 98, he will have felt off-form following his encounter earlier in the day. The Scot fought hard but the spectacle had been decided early on, and all momentum was on the side of Taylor.

The shadow over the final never phased Taylor – the sign of a true champion who only continues to dominate into his later years.

Jamie Kirby

Image courtesy of The Guardian

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