Taylor to turn on the Power
After the highs and lows of the opening round of the BetVictor World Matchplay darts I thought I would take this opportunity to have a look back at the action so far and then look towards the second round matches taking place on Tuesday evening.
Phil Taylor goes into his second round match against Terry Jenkins as the man the beat. The Power cruised into the second round in typically impressive fashion with a 10-1 victory over Stuart Kellett. His average of 103.18 was the highest three-dart average from all the players so far and he capped this off with a 45% checkout. So, can anybody stop the Power from claiming a record sixth successive World Matchplay title?
One man that I’ll be hoping can topple the Power is the young Dutchman Michael van Gerwen. Mighty Mike was pushed all the way from the 2005 champion Colin Lloyd, but he showed his true class to book his place in the second round with a 10-7 victory. He averaged 99.83 for the match and 109 for the five legs after the first break. What did impress me with Van Gerwen was his never die attitude because at one point it did look as if Lloyd had got inside the 24-year-old’s head.
Gary Anderson was another player that impressed me in the opening round with a fine victory over Mervyn King. The former Premier League Darts champion had to miss the recent European Darts Championship with an illness so I wasn’t 100% sure which Anderson would turn up. His 10-5 victory over King proved to me that Anderson means business and if he can build on that performance, I feel that he could play a big role in this year’s tournament despite facing a very tricky 2nd round tie against James Wade, who overcame John Part 10-8.
The final player that I think deserves a mention is Andy Hamilton. The Hammer is one of the most consistent and reliable players on the PDC circuit, but I never thought one bit that he would overcome Ronnie Baxter so impressively. He finished the match with the highest checkout percentage (53%) of all the players in the second round and averaged 97.12.
Looking at the second round matches taking place on Tuesday evening there are some mouth-watering clashes. Raymond van Barneveld opens proceedings when he takes on Justin Pipe. It’s 2/7 for Barney to overcome Pipe (5/2) and that does look a fair price despite the Englishman having put in an encouraging performance against Mark Webster in his opening match of the World Matchplay.
Simon Whitlock is second up on Tuesday evening against the number 12 seed Kevin Painter. It’s 4/11 for the Wizard to progress from the match, but with Painter no pushover that price looks short enough for me. Instead I’m siding with the 180 market. It’s 10/11 for there to be over 10.5 maximums hit and with both players loving to hit the lipstick, I feel that the quote could be a little on the small side. Whitlock recorded five maximums against Klassen in his opening match and Painter matched that with five against Jamie Lewis so with an extra three legs to win the match this eve, both players should be able to cover the quote.
Then it’s the turn of Phil Taylor to turn the power on at the Winter Gardens. It’s 1/14 for Taylor to overcome Terry Jenkins, but if you are looking to back the Power at a better price, then I couldn’t put you off steering towards the handicap betting with Taylor 4/7 with a -5.5 legs start.
Jenkins usually brings the best out in Taylor so I can see some big checkouts hit during the game. It’s 5/6 for the highest checkout in the match to be over 134.5 so with both players more than capable of taking out a big score (Taylor hit a 161 and 134 in the first round), it could be worth a small investment.
The final match looks the hardest match to call on paper when James Wade takes on Gary Anderson. I’ve backed Wade to win the tournament, but with Anderson looking like he’s somewhere near back to his best, Wade is going to have to raise his game from his opening match if he’s going to progress. Ideally I would like to see Wade start with a bang as I still don’t believe Anderson will hold his nerve and with his finishing not the best, Wade could take advantage.