It was simply sensational!
Without doubt, one of the best performances of his career….a 109 average and an hour of tungsten genius from Phil Taylor.
He was crowned Grand Slam Champion for a 4th time in five years, sweeping aside the challenge of Gary Anderson in their all Unicorn Final at the Wolverhampton Civic.
And he dedicated the win and pledged to give the trophy to legendary commentator Sid Waddell, who is battling cancer.
Taylor was in the zone!
And when he is in that mood, there is just no stopping him……and there was just nothing that Anderson could do…..a 16-4 win and it has to be one of the best darting displays ever seen from the great man.
At one stage, he looked on course for a world record average in a ‘Major’ TV Final, but just fell short of the 111.67 he hit in the Premier League Final against James Wade two years ago.
It is now five consecutive big victories on the spin for ‘The Power’ who just looks unbeatable at the moment…..the World Matchplay, European Championship, World Grand Prix, Championship League Darts and now the Grand Slam.
No wonder he is odds-on to win a 16th World Championship at the Alexandra Palace.
“It is up there with the best I have played,” admitted Taylor. “I knew I had to dominate because we all know what Gary can do. I felt everything went right.”
And Taylor revealed a special ‘Power Nap’ helped him to this near perfect performance. “I had a sleep between the semi-finals and final and there is no doubt that it helped me. I was well away but I need my sleep, I’m getting on a bit now!” he joked!
Anderson was magnanimous in defeat. “What can you do?! The man is simply a machine. He was terrific. But getting to the final has helped my confidence and I can’t be too worried about the result because Phil was unbelievable.”
Anderson started superbly, as he led 2-1 thanks to brilliant finishes of 140 and 125 on the bull, but when Taylor broke the Scot’s throw for the first time in the fifth leg, the writing was on the wall.
He was relentless, winning SEVEN consecutive legs – and in that time he allowed Anderson only one dart at a double.
It was a hot tungsten streak – one of the best 20 minutes of darts you will ever wish to see, and in those seven magical legs, Taylor averaged a staggering 116 to open an 8-2 advantage that he was never going to let slip.
Those legs were won in 12, 14, 14, 14, 11, 12 and 13 and included five 180s, and two dart finishes of 81, 86 and 92….
Anderson managed to win another couple of legs and should have got the final back to 5-10 but he was swimming against the Taylor tide.
And then came another Taylor ‘Power Surge’ of seven more consecutive legs….124 on the bull, 88, 84 on the bull and the Scot could only watch and admire.
The only weak link came when he was going for the winning dart…..he finally won it on D2 with his 6th match dart.
Anderson averaged 99 and banged in five 180s and there is no doubt that he has got a stack of ‘Major’ darts titles in his locker.
But when Taylor produces Darts from the Gods, nobody can get close to the grand master of tungsten.
And that was just 60 minutes of magnificent sporting entertainment.
You get the feeling that with Taylor in this mood, no one will stop him at those World Championships….we shall see!
Gary Anderson 4-16 Phil Taylor
Winner - £100,000
Runner-up - £50,000
By STUART PYKE at the Grand Slam of Darts
Photos courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC