Every New Years Day, there’s only one match that sporting fans should look forward to, and it’s not on the football pitch. The PDC World Championship final is always a spectacle and last night was no exception. 2012 was a monumental year of sport, but if there was ever a game to throw us into 2013 this was it.
Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, was poised and ready to take on his greatest challenge yet, the 23-year-old Dutch magician Michael van Gerwen.
Van Gerwen almost completed the impossible when he missed out on two consecutive nine-dart finishes in his semi-final victory over James Wade. Fresh from this immense display of accuracy, he began the final as deserved favourite.
Phil Taylor on the other hand, had just beaten one of his biggest rivals in recent years as Raymond van Barneveld crumbled under the pressure. ‘The Power’ certainly felt under threat as his emotions boiled over when his opponent tried to congratulate him in the match celebrations.
In the final, it looked as if Taylor would see his 16th world title snatched ruthlessly as the Dutch youngster rapidly went two sets up. With an average of over 106 and making the doubles that had eluded him for the entire tournament count, the Dutchman was in firm control.
Yet, Taylor was also playing a great game; consistency was key. The 52-year-old was too experienced to be defeated at his first set back. He managed to weather the ‘Magic Mike’ storm and equalled the score to 2-2.
The comeback was far from complete. The Dutch superstar broke Taylor again as he stretched his leads to two sets again at 4-2. At this point many were thinking that even the great Phil Taylor couldn’t over power his young opponent. Yet, great champions all have one vital attribute, the ability to take advantage of pivotal moments. Taylor levelled the scoring and from 4-4 there was no turning back.
Taylor didn’t lose another set to van Gerwen as his level rose to imperious heights. With several eleven-dart finishes, Taylor taught the new recruit a lesson in mental attitude. His checkout at 91 was immaculate and was received joyously by the crowd.
Taylor’s achievement of 16 world titles, is beyond anything ever seen in the world of darts and one that may never be achieved again. Although, Van Gerwen is being named as his successor, the ‘future of darts’ plays with a natural flair that resembles Ronnie O Sullivan in snooker. Consistency will be the key.
Yet, for now, the game still needs ‘The Power’ to lead from the top. There has been no darts competitor like him and van Gerwen needs plenty of time to reach those dizzy heights.