Phil Taylor has reignited his war of words with Michael van Gerwen after dumping the world number one out of the Champions League of Darts at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The 16-time world champion edged out Van Gerwen in a dramatic last-leg decider to secure his third Champions League victory over the Dutchman in just two years. This saw ‘The Green Machine’ fail to qualify from the group-stages after he had lost 10-5 to his compatriot Raymond van Barneveld just 24 hours earlier.
Van Gerwen made a blistering start to the contest and stormed into a 3-1 lead, but Taylor won five of the next six legs to seize control. The Dutchman fought back but ‘The Power’ secured the eight legs he needed to secure qualification and dump out MvG, before closing out victory which sparked a celebratory jig from the 57-year-old.
Taylor thrashed Van Gerwen 16-6 in the pair’s last-meeting in July’s World Matchplay quarter-finals and the Stoke-on-Trent star had harsh words for his rival on that occasion. He told him to ‘grow up’ after claims emerged that MvG was texting Vincent van der Voort during the break of his second-round clash against Simon Whitlock.
Once again, there were very few pleasantries exchanged between the pair in Cardiff, with Taylor imitating Van Gerwen’s trademark double-fist pump celebration, before enjoying a prolonged dance after moving 8-7 ahead, which sealed his progression and confirmed MvG’s exit.
However, in his post-match interview, Taylor simply claimed he was giving the world number one a taste of his own medicine. He admitted: “I can play better than that, of course I can, and Michael can. I just played Michael’s game. He’s a wind-up and so am I. I’ve just given him back what he normally gives.”
“He gives it large when he goes in front, so I thought give it him large when I win a leg and that’s what I did. He’s the world number one and world champion. It just shows everybody that I can still play the game.”
‘The Power’ also labelled Van Gerwen a ‘mard-arse’, after revealing that the Dutchman had told Taylor’s manager Bob Glenn that the Stoke-on-Trent veteran was behaving disrespectfully.
Taylor continued: “When he came off he had a go at Bob [Glenn] and said I kept moving his stuff and I was disrespectful. He’s talking a load of rubbish to be honest with you. I don’t touch his stuff and I don’t even know what he’s on about, what stuff? His dart case? No idea, but who cares?”
“He’s the best winner in the world, he is, but when he loses, he’s the biggest mard-arse to have ever drew breath and I’ll tell him when I go upstairs, trust me,” Taylor added.
The 57-year-old was aiming to defend his title having defeated Van Gerwen in the final of last year’s inaugural event, but he was convincingly beaten by Gary Anderson 11-6 in the semi-finals, which brought an end to his incredible unbeaten record in Cardiff.
With Taylor set to retire after this year’s World Championship in January, it’s unclear how many times, if at all, the pair will clash before he hangs up his arrows competitively. Nevertheless, whilst ‘The Power’ may be winding down his career, his rivalry with ‘Mighty Mike’ remains as fiercely contested as ever.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC