Phil Taylor has admitted that playing world number one Michael van Gerwen in front of 10,000 Dutch fans at Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena last week was ‘impossible’. ‘The Power’ returned to winning ways in the Premier League with an impressive 7-5 victory over UK Open champion Peter Wright on Thursday, having lost out to MvG seven days prior.
Taylor stormed into an early 3-0 advantage against ‘The Green Machine’, before Van Gerwen won seven of the remaining eight legs to prevail with a 100.55 average and a phenomenal 78% checkout success rate.
Nevertheless, the 16-time world champion received a rough ride from the ‘sea of orange’ in Rotterdam and insisted that it would have been impossible to defeat the reigning Premier League in such a hostile atmosphere.
“Have you ever been booed by 10,000 people and called names you don’t even know what they’re saying?” Taylor quipped. “Look, never in a million years could I have ever won in Rotterdam. You can’t; especially when playing Michael.
“If I don’t watch the Premier League next year, I’m going to watch one match- who plays Michael van Gerwen in Rotterdam, because trust me, they will get slaughtered. I hope it’s Barney actually, because Barney will get the same support,” the 16-time world champion added.
Taylor was attempting to avoid his third successive league defeat in Manchester, having lost to Van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis in his previous two encounters. However, the legendary Stoke star bounced back impressively to edge out Snakebite; averaging 98.75, landing five maximums and converting 50% of his attempts at double.
The 56-year-old admitted: “He was top of the league, so it was a massive win to be honest with you. It was a strange game; both of us missed a couple of doubles and some of the scoring was a bit dodgy, but overall I think it was quite an exciting game. I got excited and I don’t get excited anymore!”
Taylor capitalised on some uncharacteristic profligacy from his opponent and felt he was rather fortunate to seal the two points. “Peter had a massive 156 finish really under pressure and then missed three darts at a double. I hit 64 twice and 62 once under pressure then I missed when I was relaxed. It was strange really and I think a draw might have been a fair result.”
‘The Power’ currently sits in sixth position on nine points, although he’s only outside the play-off places via legs difference. He faces the already-eliminated Jelle Klaasen in Cardiff next week and admitted that he’s really having to battle to remain in contention.
Taylor claimed: “I’m enjoying it. The travelling is taking it’s toll on me; the late nights and early mornings, but I’m still enjoying it and I’m going to try my best in this Premier League. It’s hard when your fans are there and your loved ones and you’re getting run down because you’re not performing like you should do. It’s a bitter pill.”
“When you’re younger you know you can go out and give these players a proper game. I’d have loved to have been a younger kid now and give Michael van Gerwen a kicking; trust me I really would. I can’t do it now; I’m too old.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC