Darts supremo Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor secured his 68th major TV tournament title defeating James Wade in a classic World Matchplay final 18 legs to 15 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. It was the seventh time the two had met in a major final and a repeat of last year’s final, which Taylor won 18-8. 

Taylor had beaten off hometown favourite Ronnie Baxter in the semi-finals the previous night, whilst Wade saw off Terry Jenkins in a tight affair to book his place in Sunday night’s showpiece.

The final itself was a nip and tuck affair for most of its duration, with the score at 8-7 after the first three sessions with both men trading breaks of throw regularly.

In the fourth session Taylor broke away to a 10-7 lead but Wade, a multiple-major winner himself, showed his own champion spirit to break Taylor’s throw in the 18th leg. The man from Aldershot then went on to take the next two legs to square the match at 10-all.

However, the break clearly came at a favourable time for Taylor and broke Wade’s momentum, as Taylor took the next 4 legs on the return to the oche with Wade’s scoring dropping dramatically. Wade managed to avoid a whitewash for the session taking the next to make it 14-11.

After Taylor took the 26th to look like he was about to cruise his way to the title, Wade found his game again, taking out two consecutive 100-plus checkouts to pull it back to 15-13, with Taylor strangely declining an opportunity to finish on the bull on the second occasion to allow Wade to take out 114. Wade pulled the gap to just one leg and looked set to level the match after hitting the first two treble 20’s before just missing his favourite double-10 to take out a 140. Taylor duly hit double 16 and restored a 2-leg advantage.

Wade took out 76 to pull it back to 16-15 and was on a 144 finish but again just missed the double to complete a 3-dart finish to level the match. Taylor again took advantage to make it 17-15 and went on to seal his 13th Matchplay title in the 33rd leaving Wade to wait once again for his first major final win against the Power.


Simon Mulligan

Image: bbc.co.uk