Phil Taylor secured a magnificent double over world number one Michael van Gerwen to secure the inaugural Champions League of Darts title at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on Sunday evening.
‘The Power’, who thrashed Van Gerwen 10-4 in their round-robin clash on Saturday night, repeated his heroics to clinch an emphatic 11-5 victory over the Dutch ace in the final. Taylor averaged 98.97, hit four maximums and converted 52% of his attempts at double, to scoop the £100,000 winner’s cheque.
Taylor enjoyed a perfect start to the final, breaking throw in the opening leg. ‘The Power’ fired in his first maximum and pinned D16, after MvG had missed the same target for a 112 checkout. The 16-time world champion doubled his advantage moments later, again hitting D16 to complete a 63 finish for a 15-dart hold of throw.
Van Gerwen kicked off the third leg with a timely maximum, but Taylor responded in kind, leaving 81 after just 9 darts. Taylor then had a glorious opportunity for a double-break, but missed darts at D12 and D6 respectively, as Van Gerwen opened his account with a 13-darter on D8.
Taylor’s trend of missing doubles continued into the fourth leg as he spurned a further three darts at D18 and D9, but on this occasion he enjoyed a reprieve. Van Gerwen missed D18 for a 102 checkout, allowing ‘The Power’ to regain his two-leg cushion.
MvG’s throw came under further scrutiny in the fifth leg and Taylor fired in a 14-darter to secure a precious double-break, however the world number one reduced the arrears to 4-2 with a sublime 11-darter for an instant break back.
Van Gerwen’s fragility on his own throw continued however. ‘The Green Machine’ missed D16 for a 111 kill and Taylor stepped in ruthlessly, taking out 64 within two-darts to break for the third time in the contest, before opening up a commanding four-leg advantage with a 14-dart hold on tops.
Van Gerwen enjoyed an unusually comfortable hold with a clinical 110 finish, but Taylor stormed into the interval with a 7-3 lead, after teasing us with the prospect of a 9-darter once again. ‘The Power’ posted seven perfect darts, but his eighth dart at T19 was agonisingly below the treble.
‘Mighty-Mike’ posted his fifth maximum straight after the break, but it was to no avail, as Taylor broke his throw once more, completing a fine 86 checkout in 11-darts, after the Dutchman had missed a dart at bull to hold.
The world number one was simply unable to withstand the relentless pressure placed upon him by Taylor, and missed doubles cost the 27-year-old Boxtel ace in leg twelve, as Taylor nailed D10 to ease into a 9-3 lead.
Van Gerwen continued to battle valiantly and clinched his fourth leg of the contest with a 13-dart hold on tops, before the Dutchman finally benefitted from Taylor’s missed doubles, taking out 70 in two-darts to secure back-to-back legs.
MvG fired in his seventh maximum and a 171 as he attempted to reel off three straight legs, but Taylor delivered the decisive blow, converting 81 on the bullseye for a majestic 12-darter, to move within a leg of the title.
Van Gerwen posted his eighth maximum as he attempted to stay alive, but he was unable to take out 124 and Taylor duly pounced. ‘The Power’, who had finished impeccably throughout the weekend, converted a classy 114 finish on D17, to seal the inaugural Champions League of Darts crown.
Taylor’s progression to the final was relatively serene. ‘The Power’ had secured his semi-final spot on Saturday evening, having also thrashed Van Gerwen in his second group game. Taylor faced Robert Thornton on Sunday afternoon, and maintained his 100% record with a brutal 10-2 victory, as he averaged a mightily impressive 108.31.
The 16-time world champion faced eight-time major winner James Wade in the semi-finals, after ‘The Machine’ produced a stunning display to dispatch Michael Smith 10-4. Wade averaged 103.03 and hit eight maximums, as ‘Bully-Boy’ departed Cardiff without a victory to his name.
Despite this, Wade was unable to replicate that level of performance against Taylor, as the 56-year-old cruised to a comprehensive 11-3 win. Wade clinched the opener, but missed darts at double in each of the next three legs as Taylor established an almost unassailable 8-1 cushion.
The eight-time major winner battled valiantly to try and restore some pride, but the Stoke-on-Trent star refused to relent, sealing victory with a 98.38 average. Yet, the most impressive aspect of Taylor’s performance was his clinical finishing, as he hit 11 of his 19 double attempts, a handsome ratio of 58%.
Elsewhere, Van Gerwen had secured his place in the semi-finals with victory over Peter Wright in a decisive Group A clash on Sunday afternoon. MvG’s 10-4 defeat to Taylor in his second group game on Saturday night meant he had to defeat Snakebite, but ‘The Green Machine’ prevailed 10-5, averaging 100.27 in the process.
In the last four, the world number one faced world champion Gary Anderson, who topped Group B with three successive victories. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ made a flying start to lead 4-2, with five of the first six legs going against the throw.
Nevertheless, the Dutchman upped the ante considerably and won nine of the remaining ten legs to seal an 11-5 triumph, as Anderson was left to rue a lack of consistency in the scoring department. However, it was a merciless performance from Van Gerwen, who averaged 105.67, hit six maximums and converted 50% of his attempts at double.
Unibet Champions League of Darts
Sunday September 25
Final Group Matches
James Wade 10-5 Michael Smith (B)
Gary Anderson 10-5 Adrian Lewis (B)
Phil Taylor 10-2 Robert Thornton (A)
Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Peter Wright (A)
Phil Taylor 11-3 James Wade
Gary Anderson 5-11 Michael van Gerwen
Phil Taylor 11-5 Michael van Gerwen