Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor Wins His 16th Matchplay Title In Final Blackpool Performance

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor Wins His 16th Matchplay Title In Final Blackpool Performance

Phil Taylor Blackpool Match Play

One more for the road for Phil Taylor as he made his glorious bow before impending retirement.

It was the fairy tale ending we were all hoping it would be in Blackpool last Sunday as the greatest darts player of all time marked his final ever appearance in the great ballroom with a championship win. Matching his World Championship tally, victory landed The Power with his 16th Darts Matchplay win.

It was always the win favoured by romantics, but with Michael van Gerwen the current best in the world and in almost unbeatable form for the past two years, most never truly believed it would happen. In fact, Taylor began his campaign last Sunday as a 20/1 outsider, but this being the Winter Gardens, his favourite stage, there was a certain air of inevitability about how things might turn out.

Taylor grabs the momentum

The big change in momentum came in Wednesday night’s quarter final when the big two met, with MVG being cast aside by The Power in surprising and thrilling display which saw Taylor win 16-6. Mighty Mike has barely put a foot wrong in professional darts over the past two seasons, winning just about everything on the table. Here though, he was clearly overwhelmed by such a fanatical crowd as they cheered their English hero. Van Gerwen, who Taylor had branded “stupid” for using a mobile phone during his game with Simon Whitlock, refused to speak to the media afterwards. No matter.

Stoke legend Taylor has been utterly ruthless and dominant in this North-Western venue over the years, as one of only three competitors who have won the event, first held back in 1994. The other two are Dutch pair MVG and Raymond van Barneveld, and it was the latter who became the second victim of Taylor’s run to the final. Famous old foe Barney, went down 11-3 in a somewhat surprisingly comfortable victory.

Fellow Potter, Adrian Lewis was another to fall at the hands of The Power, losing by 17 legs to 9 in the semi-finals, while Gerwyn Price was shot down 10-5 in Taylor’s opening match a week last Sunday.

A legend cements his legacy

All this eventually led to Sunday night’s dream climax as The Power, walking out for the 107th time at this event, met Snakebite in a battle with Peter Wright that went 18-8 in the Englishman’s favour. Wright, hoping to claim his second career TV title, was all that was standing between him and yet another darts record. He was not up to the challenge.

Taylor, in his Matchplay 17th final, averaged 104.24 as he raced to a speedy two leg lead before winning two of the next four while Snakebite foundered. Just a few legs later, the lead, though trimmed, was still massively in The Power’s favour at 8-6. Taylor went on to win the next four legs to move 12-6 up, before Wright landed himself a brilliant but futile 13-darter. By now, 56-year-old Taylor was just four legs away from his record breaking title.

Wright then started to misfire double upon double, and before long, Taylor had landed his seventh 180 to move within touching distance, before victory was secured and history made courtesy of a double 16 in the last leg to seal his 16th title.

The Power himself summed things up, “It’s lovely, it really is and I’ve loved every minute of it. To win a major at my age is fantastic, and I’ve had a tough week when you look at the draw. I’ll miss this place tremendously. I’ve loved it here since the first time I walked through the door. It’s great to win again and it will go down in history, and I’m delighted for everyone who’s supported me.”

A respectfully upset Snakebite added, “Phil is still the best in the world and he’s showed that this week. I’ve watched Phil demolish other players in finals and I was on the other end of that big stick that he normally bashes everyone with but it was a privilege in his last game here.”

Of course, the ultimate dream would be to sign off at the Ally Pally in January with what would be hi 17th World Championship win. Currently. Taylor’s 9/1 with Sky Bet to do exactly that.

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Van Gerwen Victorious in Vegas

Van Gerwen Victorious in Vegas

He came, he saw, he conquered – as expected, Michael van Gerwen took down his second World Series of Darts title inside a week after beating Daryl Gurney 8-6 in the final of the inaugural US Darts Masters in Las Vegas.

It was another imperious display for Mighty Mike, putting on a show in Sin City, dropping only the one leg as he dismissed Chris White, Dave Richardson and Gerwyn Price before moving onto Gurney.

Northern Irishman Gurney, making his first appearance in a World Series event, had overcome two out of the world’s top three in both Peter Wright and Gary Anderson to make it to the final. Once there, he fared little better than the others paired with MVG, immediately going 2 legs to zero down, the first of which was closed out by the Dutchman with a 124 checkout. Gurney rallied though, just as he had against world number two Gary Anderson in the semis, and took five of the next six legs to move into the lead.

By the tenth leg, however, MVG was back in charge courtesy of a 112 finish and a 13-darter, after which the Dutch star won four straight legs on the bounce to put him 7-5 ahead, before a closing and definitive leg was taken by van Gerwen by way of a 98 average and 12-darter finish to treat the Nevada crowd and help himself to back-to-back World Series triumphs.

2017 Darts World Matchplay Betting Tips

This Saturday at the Winter Gardens Blackpool, the biggest darting event of the summer gets underway as the 2017 Darts World Matchplay takes place from July 22-30, live on the Sky Sports Action HD. This year the tournament boats a new record £500,000 prize money, £115,000 of which will be awarded to the champion, with a £10,000 bonus on offer for a nine-dart finish.

As for the match action, it’s another ex-champion, James Wade, along with top stars Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, who will go in the tournament’s first session on Saturday. In all, 32 players will be competing with the first-round split across the opening three days with a double session on Sunday. It’s the second of these sessions that legendary 15-time Matchplay champion Phil Taylor gets his final ever Blackpool challenge underway before retirement, when he takes on UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price.

The same session also sees Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld launch their campaigns before Monday night when Michael van Gerwen, the 4/6 favourite with Bet365, begins his quest for a third successive World Matchplay win, and, as ever, it’s hard to disagree with the rampant Dutch giant.

The second round is split across Tuesday and Wednesday with the ever-thinning field progressing to the quarter-finals which are then split across Thursday and Friday, with the semi-finals on Saturday before Sunday’s final.

Scottish star Gary Anderson has seen his Betway odds cut to 5/1 following a kind draw, with Wright the third favourite at 6/1 with Bet365. Taylor on the other hand can be picked up for 22/1, also at Bet365, as he seeks a golden goodbye in Blackpool. Be warned though, that neither Taylor, who could face Raymond van Barneveld in round two, or MVG who will likely meet Kyle Anderson or Simon Whitlock on Wednesday, have been given the easiest of routes to the final.

Traditionally, there have been early eliminations for seeded players in round one here so be on the lookout for potential upsets again this year. Can Steve Beaton rewind back the clock and overcome Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis? It’s worth 9/4 with Skybet. Also, do any one of Sunday night’s fixtures have the potential to cause causalities to the big names? That said, Skybet are offering 5/2 on either Peter Wright or Gary Anderson facing off against MVG in next Sunday’s final in separate forecast bets that are worth looking at. Likewise, you can get 33/1 on either of the Scottish pair meeting up with Phil Taylor.

Now 24 years old, the Matchplay has still only ever been won by seven different players in its lifetime. Larry Butler, Colin Lloyd, Peter Evison and James Wade have one title each, while Rod Harrington has another two. The other seventeen tournaments have been split 15-2 between Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen. If you fancy this record to be broken then pay attention to Skybet’s ‘new winner’ special worth 5/4 should anyone but those two win the tournament.

It’s also worthy of mention that the same sportsbook is offering nationality bets on the winner, 5/4 Dutch, 6/4 Scottish, 3/1 English and 16/1 other.

First Round

Saturday July 22 (7pm)

  • Michael Smith v Steve West
  • James Wade v Darren Webster
  • Gary Anderson v Christian Kist
  • Peter Wright v James Wilson

Sunday July 23

Afternoon Session (1pm)

  • Jelle Klaasen v Justin Pipe
  • Robert Thornton v Cristo Reyes
  • Benito van de Pas v Daryl Gurney
  • Mensur Suljovic v John Henderson

Evening Session (7.30pm)

  • Dave Chisnall v Mervyn King
  • Phil Taylor v Gerwyn Price
  • Raymond van Barneveld v Joe Cullen
  • Kim Huybrechts v Alan Norris

Monday July 24 (7pm)

  • Simon Whitlock v Kyle Anderson
  • Adrian Lewis v Steve Beaton
  • Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting
  • Ian White v Rob Cross

Second Round

Tuesday July 25 (7pm)

  • Suljovic/Henderson v Klaasen/Pipe
  • Wade/Webster v Smith/West
  • Anderson/Kist v Van de Pas/Gurney
  • Wright/Wilson v Thornton/Reyes

Wednesday July 26 (7pm)

  • Chisnall/King v Huybrechts/Norris
  • Lewis/Beaton v White/Cross
  • Taylor/Price v Van Barneveld/Cullen
  • Van Gerwen/Bunting v Whitlock/Anderson

Thursday July 27 (7pm)

  • 2x Quarter-Finals

Friday July 28 (7pm)

  • 2x Quarter-Finals

Saturday July 29 (7pm)

  • Semi-Finals

Sunday July 30 (7pm)

  • Final
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Michael Van Gerwen Wins Third European Tour Title Of 2017

Michael Van Gerwen Wins Third European Tour Title Of 2017

Sunday’s Austrian Darts Open final at the Multiversum in Schwechat went predictably the way of the invincible Dutchman Michael van Gerwen.

European Tour: Michael Van Gerwen vs Michael Smith

Michael Smith was the latest victim, seen off after a fine display in which Mighty Mike ran out the 6-5 winner.

For the Dutchman, this was his third European title of the season so far, having landed wins in both Jena and Hamburg already in 2017. This time, MVG took home £25,000 for his dismissal of former World Youth Champion Smith.

Merseyside resident Smith enjoyed success in Gibraltar last month when he won the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, his second win of the year, which moved him into the top 11 players in the world.

Here, though, the 26-year-old was no match for MVG despite initially opening up a 2-0 lead against the world’s best player – even scoring a 13-darter featuring a 180 as he broke his brilliant opponent early on.

It wasn’t to last, as van Gerwen hit back to level. Smith remained upbeat and defiant when many others would crumble before an imperious van Gerwen on a mission. The Englishman hit 86 on the bull to stretch his lead to 3-2 before landing a magnificent 170 checkout to move even further ahead.

Mighty Mike isn’t one to tolerate such uprisings, though, and before long had struck back once again, this time courtesy of a 14-darter. Crucially, Smith then missed an all-important shot at the top allowing MVG to land yet another 13-darter, before going one better with a 12-darter in the deciding set to secure his 17th career European Tour win.

European Darts Open betting tips

It’s back to Germany for this week’s European Darts Open event, specifically the Ostermann Arena in Leverkusen.

The matches run from Friday to Sunday and the betting for is shaping up as follows.

No money to be made with Mighty Mike

As ever, there is little-to-no value on Michael van Gerwen who is 4/7 at Bet365, just ahead of Peter Wright at 4/1 with the same sportsbook.

Snakebite the Wright bet?

Snakebite” has gone quiet of late following a decent first half of 2017.

An early exit in Vienna last week only compounded his humiliation from the Darts World Cup a fortnight earlier when Scotland, for whom he paired with world number two Gary Anderson, bowed out early following a defeat to Singapore.

If the popular mohawked Scotsman is your pick, then know this: he is a half point higher in Betway’s book than any other; you can find him at 9/2.

No hair-raising bets

Sadly, there is no book running on which hairstyle Wright will be sporting on Sunday but with America’s Independence Day just days away, there is a good chance he might be stars and stripy.

Other darts bets

For anyone that might be thinking Michael Smith might go one better this time around or, at the very least, equal his Austrian heroics of last week, Bet365 are listing him at 33/1, which is decent enough for an each-way punt.

The same almost applies for James “The Machine” Wade who is a sturdy 40/1, as is Kim Huybrechts. While the book runs longer, I wouldn’t look beyond these chuckers if I were you.

Inside of these prices, you’ll find Dave Chisnall, 18/1, Mensur Suljovic, 20/1 (both at Betway), and Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis who is currently available at 28/1 with both Bet365 and Betway.

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