Phil Taylor bounced back from his World Matchplay disappointment by retaining his Perth Darts Masters title, beating James Wade 11-7 in the final.
Taylor, who won the last World Series event in Japan last month, beat Gary Anderson 10-5 in an extremely high-quality contest in his semi-final, averaging 108 against the Flying Scotsman.
Anderson averaged 105 himself, but Taylor’s ruthless finishing was the decisive factor, as the Power recovered from 4-3 down to win 7 of the last 8 legs played to secure an emphatic victory.
In Sunday’s other semi-final, James Wade gained revenge for his World Matchplay final defeat against Michael van Gerwen, by defeating the Dutchman 10-9 in an epic contest. It was a topsy-turvy encounter, with the first five legs all going against the throw. The Machine then began to go through the gears, winning three consecutive legs to establish a 5-2 lead.
He managed to preserve his lead despite continued pressure from MvG; going 9-7 up thanks to a stunning 122 finish culminating on the bull. Van Gerwen responded instantly, breaking back before holding throw to force a deciding leg. However, Wade held his nerve impressively, to secure his first win over van Gerwen in 10 attempts on television.
Wade had just minutes to recover from a draining semi-final triumph before returning to the stage and this was illustrated by the Machine’s tepid start to the final. Taylor surged into a 5-1 lead, leaving the left-hander with an uphill task to overturn the deficit.
Despite this, Wade’s tenacious and battling qualities that have contributed to him winning eight TV majors were evidenced against the Power. He hit a tremendous 130 finish to reduce the arrears to 5-2, after Taylor had squandered chances for a 6-1 advantage. Wade then plugged away to reduce the score to 7-4.
The critical moment came in the 12th leg, as Taylor produced a classy 123 checkout for a 12-darter and an 8-4 advantage. Although Wade won three of the following five legs, the deficit just proved too great to overturn.
Even though The Power wasn’t at full throttle, he was still performing consistently and Wadey was left to rue his sluggish start, as the 16-time World Champion closed out a comfortable 11-7 win.
After his astounding Matchplay streak was halted by Wade just last month, this was an extremely important tournament for Taylor, to banish any psychological demons, particularly on the doubles. His scoring was excellent at the Matchplay, but he displayed alarming fragility on the D8/D16 segments, nevertheless he certainly seems to have rectified this.
Unsurprisingly, Taylor, who turned 55 on Thursday, was in buoyant mood in the immediate aftermath, as he looked ahead to next week’s Sydney Darts Masters, as the Australian darting roadshow continues.
Taylor admitted: “I was disappointed to lose to James in Blackpool, I didn’t play anywhere near my best, I gave him chances and he took them. It was good to put that right today. The guys will all be wary of me now heading into Sydney next week and I’m looking forward to it!”