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2016 World Matchplay final: Van Gerwen to break Taylor’s perfect final record

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | July 24, 2016

2016 World Matchplay

  • Final
  • Sunday, July 24th
  • Session from: 19:15 BST
  • Winter Gardens, Blackpool
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

Can Taylor make it 16/16?

Phil Taylor will play in his 16th World Matchplay final on Sunday evening, and amazingly has won each of the previous 15 – the last of which came against Michael van Gerwen in 2014.

The two tussle once more on the famous Winter Gardens oche in Blackpool and, if their semi-final triumphs are anything to go by, then it is set to be an epic and far closer battle than the 18-9 scoreline here two years ago.

Taylor (15/8 match shout with Coral) and Van Gerwen (4/9 odds-on favourite) recorded emphatic victories over Gary Anderson (17-8) and Adrian Lewis (17-9) respectively, but can the former finally get one over the devastating Dutchman?

A 16th World Matchplay win for The Power would mean perhaps more than all the others before him, as he would be doing so in an era where the likes of title holder MvG and world champion Anderson are at their darting peak.

Taylor two years without a Major win

On top of that, it would be Taylor’s first Major televised trophy since the 2014 Grand Slam of Darts, so winning another after almost two years would once again be a big statement against critics that continuously write him off in his ‘old age’.

The one issue for Taylor, is that he has a woeful recent record against Van Gerwen, having won just two of their last 14 duels – though he did triumph last time out in the World Cup of Darts final in a singles match.

2015 William Hill PDC World Championship - Day Three - Alexandra Palace

All time great Taylor came through 4-3 that day on the way to guiding England to the title, and there is every chance that this could go the distance too. Odds of 10/11 say that there’ll be over 31.5 legs played.

For a far more enticing 11/1 price, though, back the match to go beyond its best of 35 legs guideline and for Van Gerwen to win.

Van Gerwen can expect a fired up Power

Stoke-born Taylor will certainly be hoping to make a better account of himself, after being thrashed by MvG in the 2016 Premier League of Darts final back in May, as he takes to the stage he has made his own over the years.

After making light work of Anderson, in a match he at one point was averaging 114, Taylor said ahead of his showdown with Van Gerwen: “It will be a good game, of course it will. I fancy my chances. He’s in for a battle. I’m over the moon to be in the final.”

That confidence is in contrast to his attitude earlier on in the tournament as he played down his chances.

Van Gerwen has always been in awe of The Power, though in the past couple of years has gradually lost the fear of facing him – something that Anderson is perhaps yet to figure out.

Perfect scoring all round on the cards

Both Taylor and Mighty Mike have averaged over 100 three times out of four this tournament so far, with just The Flying Scotsman and Stephen Bunting managing over a ton too, and this final could see both over the Dutchman’s best of 105.85.

That could mean 180s galore, especially after The Power surprisingly out maximum-ed Anderson. He is 19/10 to throw one in the opening leg, with Van Gerwen priced at 6/4.

2015 William Hill PDC World Championship - Day Nine - Alexandra Palace

Meanwhile, for more perfect scoring, odds of 5/1 say that there be a 170 achieved during the match, and a rare nine-dart finish can be taken at 10/1.

There is no doubting the crowd will be behind the king of Blackpool Taylor, but signs do point to Van Gerwen spoiling the party and preventing a fairytale victory for the evergreen darting legend.

Related

For more darts content, take a look at our dedicated archive.

Coral’s top tip: Back Van Gerwen to win by any other scoreline (not first to 18) at 11/1.

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