It was a masterful performance by the ‘grand master’ of darts, as Phil Taylor hit TWO magical 9-darters on his way to a 5th Premier League crown, in what will surely go down as one of THE greatest matches ever seen!
Taylor became the first man to hit two 9-darters in a match in over 40 years of televised darts and incredibly, he came close to a 9-dart hat-trick – hitting seven perfect darts in another leg in what turned out to be an astonishing final.
Take nothing away from James Wade, who produced his best darts in more than 18 months, in what turned into an epic all Unicorn final at Wembley….and in the end it took Taylor’s two perfect legs to clinch the win by 10 legs to 8.
“I am absolutely thrilled with what I have managed to achieve,” Taylor said. “I have to give a lot of praise to James for his brilliant display, because this has to go down as THE greatest final over this distance in darts history!”
But this was Taylor’s night…..an 8th and 9th televised nine darters and a winner’s cheque of £125,000
“It is very, very special for me,” said Taylor, who was presented with the trophy by TV star and darts fanatic Stephen Fry at Wembley.
“James was superb but I just felt that something extra special was going to happen,” Taylor added. “I really am totally gobsmacked by what has happened and to rewrite the darting history books means so much to me.”
“I just can’t quite believe what has happened. It is an incredible experience.”
Wade was magnanimous in defeat. “Obviously I am disappointed because I played really well. In the end, the two nine-darters were the difference but I can take a lot from the fact that Phil had to come up with darts like hat to beat me.”
Taylor hit TEN 180s and averaged 112 in what was a simply stunning final.
Wade actually hit a maximum and then took out 136 to win the opening leg against the throw, but then we witnessed Taylor’s first 9-darter!
174, 180…..then T20, T17 and D18 and the 6,000 fans at Wembley celebrated with ‘The Power’
Credit though to James Wade, who refused to be put off by Taylor’s heroics…..at one stage, Taylor was averaging nearly 118 as he established a 6-3 advantage.
Wade fought back brilliantly…..he took out 121 on the bull and broke Taylor to level at 7-7!
But then came 9-darter No.2 in that 15th leg…..this time it was 180, 180 and 141 – T20, T19 and D12 and nobody could quite believe what they were seeing……we were all witnessing darting history!
In the next leg, Taylor hit seven more perfect darts and missed the T19 but he was 9-7 in front…..Wade stormed back though, hitting a 64 finish after Taylor missed three darts at tops for the match.
He wasn’t to be denied though and a 10th 180 set him on his way, as D14 won him the title to round off a sensational historic night at Wembley.
Wow, Wow and Wow! Just what will Philip Douglas Taylor come up with next?!
A fabulous night and a fabulous performance……Taylor’s latest history-making achievement will probably never be beaten.
The greatest darts star in the history of the sport has eclipsed everything yet again!
In a rollercoaster semi-final, Wade showed a lot of character to see off the challenge of the highly fancied Simon Whitlock.
‘The Machine’ raced 4-1 ahead, only for the Aussie to hit back….Whitlock won four legs on the spin to move ahead for the first time.
The 10th leg was absolutely crucial, because with the Australian sat on 40 to go 6-4 in front, Wade nailed a brilliant 107 finish to level the match….and the rest, as they say, was history as he went on to clinch his place in a 3rd consecutive Premier League Final, with an 8-6 win.
In his semi-final, Taylor walloped Mervyn King 8-1 to gain revenge for his defeat at the hands of the Norfolk man at Wembley last year….the highlight was a brilliant 164 check-out and an average of 107.98
King though, edged out Whitlock – winning the last two legs to claim third place with an 8-7 win.
Simon Whitlock 6-8 James Wade
Phil Taylor 8-1 Mervyn King
3rd/4th Place Play-off:
Simon Whitlock 7-8 Mervyn King
James Wade 8-10 Phil Taylor
By STUART PYKE (Twitter @stuartpykesport)
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC