Awesome Anderson meets Taylor in World Darts Championship final
Phil Taylor, the pre-tournament favourite, will take his place on the oche in the final of a World Darts Championship for an astonishing 20th time, when he faces Gary Anderson on Sunday evening.
The Power (4/6 odds-on favourite for victory with Coral), now 54 years old, has even more remarkably won 16 of those, 11 more than anyone else, and is undoubtably one of the greatest ever of any individual sportsman.
Taylor will get the chance to equal tennis star Roger Federer’s career Major title total to date of 17, and be one behind golf legend Jack Nicklaus’ haul of 18, while he has already surpassed Tiger Woods’ ‘measly’ 14. Even former Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher could only manage seven world championships.
But while those sporting greats are seemingly on par with The Power, they had chances to win their trophies four times a year, except for Schumacher. Taylor, on the other hand, only has one opportunity every 12 months, and no other has dominated a game for a long as he has (25 years).
However, there is one man this year who can halt Taylor’s bid to match Federer, in Anderson. The Scot is in terrific form himself, having just knocked out world number one and title holder Michael van Gerwen in a thrilling semi-final, and winning the Players Championship Finals event prior this tournament.
Anderson (5/4 for victory) is a runner-up here at the Ally Pally in 2011, where he lost out to Adrian Lewis 7-5, and he is a 15/2 chance to fall short by that scoreline again.
The Flying Scotsman, though, won his last encounter against Taylor at the Players Championship Finals, and has been defeated in just one of his previous five meetings with the all-time great. Anderson is, therefore, a tasty 8/1 shout to triumph 7-6.
This duo have surprisingly yet to meet at the PDC World Darts Championship, but will know each other well, having duelled 38 times before.
They have, however, recorded fantastic and consistent averages throughout this tournament, getting more than 100 in each of their five matches, with The Flying Scotsman’s first round 86.20 being the only exception.
Anderson was particularly impressive against Van Gerwen, seeing the Dutchman off 6-3 after managing a 50 per cent finishing record. Mighty Mike was by no means playing badly, and the scoreline didn’t do him justice, but he just could not keep up with the rampant, determined Scot in the end.
Taylor, meanwhile, made light work of his 6-2 win over long-term rival Raymond van Barneveld. Barney looked jaded and happy to accept defeat, after coming through some gruelling battles earlier in the tournament, against the likes of Lewis and BDO world champion Stephen Bunting.
This match is expected to produce the highest quality, so if you fancy a nine-dart finish on Sunday night, then take tempting odds of 6/1.
It is fitting, though, that the best players of the event this year, Anderson and Taylor, meet in the final, and thus making sure that a Brit has still reached this stage of every PDC World Championship.
So, whoever the victor is on Sunday, it will be thoroughly deserved and there’ll either be a new champion in The Flying Scotsman, or a result that will further increase The Power’s unreachable record.
But put your money on Anderson, who is 10 years younger than Taylor, to edge the match in another thriller.