PHIL TAYLOR won an incredible 15th BetVictor World Matchplay title as he extended his winning run in Blackpool to an amazing seven straight years with a sensational 18-9 win over Michael van Gerwen at the Winter Gardens on Sunday night.

Taylor’s domination of the tournament – having won 15 titles in 21 events since the World Matchplay was introduced in 1994 – continued as he claimed the £100,000 first prize and retained the trophy in style.

World Champion van Gerwen had won through to his first World Matchplay final as he set out to claim another major title, but was stopped in his tracks by an imperious Taylor display.

Taylor powered into a 7-1 lead with six successive legs in a storming start and took out 121 on the bull as he surged into an 11-2 advantage.

Van Gerwen rallied to pull back to 14-8, but Taylor pounced on a missed double seven for a 122 finish in the next before pulling away to retain the title with an average of 107.27.

“I think this is the best ever win here, and I’m so happy,” said Taylor. “I am absolutely over the moon and you could see from Michael’s expression at the end just how much it meant to both of us.

“It was a tough game and I had to get on top of Michael early on. I knew I’d play well tonight and I wanted to knock his confidence and keep him thinking.

“He’s a confident player, and he’s tremendous. He’s world number one for a reason and he’s been inspiring me to get back to my best, and I want to get my number one ranking back.


Lawrence Lustig/PDC

“He was in tears on stage but he shouldn’t be because he’s played some superb darts this week, but it shows the passion he’s got.”

Taylor’s 13-dart leg to open the game was cancelled out by a 14-darter from van Gerwen in the second, as the reigning champion missed the bull for an early break.

Taylor, though, would break three times in a six-leg run as he pulled clear of a shell-shocked van Gerwen, following up three successive 14-dart legs with checkouts of 78, 74 and 88 as he twice punished his opponent’s missed doubles at tops.

Van Gerwen hit back in leg nine – hitting double 16 after Taylor wired the bull for a 161 finish – before the Stoke great replied with an 11-darter and a 121 finish to lead 9-2.

Taylor also took the next two legs to move 11-2 up, with van Gerwen taking out 82, 127 on the bull and double 18 to cut the deficit to 11-5.

Taylor hit back with a 124 checkout, but van Gerwen’s revival continued as he defied maximum scores from his opponent to win two of the next three to stay in the hunt at 13-7.

A pair of double eight finishes from Taylor sandwiched an 11-darter from van Gerwen, before a 76 finish moved Taylor 16-8 up, a 109 checkout edged him to the brink of victory and double top sealed another Blackpool triumph.

Van Gerwen – who will be married to partner Daphne in the Netherlands next weekend – was left in tears following the game, as he fell just short of claiming his first World Matchplay title.

“I’ve never been in this final and I wanted this trophy so badly,” said the Dutchman. “I was here to win the tournament, but Phil was fantastic and he showed his class tonight.

“He was the better player in this tournament. I didn’t perform as well as I could and I wasn’t good enough. I tried so hard and I don’t know what happened tonight.

“I’ll move on from here because you learn from games like this. I’ve hurt Phil in the past and seen him disappointed, and we’ll have a lot more battles – I’ll be back in the next tournament!”


Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Taylor had been whitewashed 7-0 by van Gerwen almost six months ago on the opening night of the Premier League Darts season, and has spent much of the time since tinkering with the design of his new darts in search of the form he has found in Blackpool.

The victory, which included his amazing nine-dart finish against Michael Smith in the second round, confirmed Taylor’s resurgence as he added: “I’m buzzing and enjoying every minute of this, because the last six or seven months has been the worst time of my career.

“I’ve really tried hard and the last six months have been an absolute nightmare for me.

“I’ve been trying my socks off and I’ve got to thank my sponsors at Target for backing me and helping with everything I’ve changed with my darts. They’ve got so much patience and have done everything I’ve asked of them.”

BetVictor World Matchplay Darts Results

Sunday July 27
Michael van Gerwen 9-18 Phil Taylor
Winner £100,000
Runner-Up £50,000

Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
0-0 – Phil Taylor wins the bull and will throw first.
0-1 – Taylor kicks off the game with a 140 before finishing double 16 for a 13-dart leg.
1-1 – van Gerwen opens the leg with a 177, and though Taylor lands a 180 the reigning champion misses the bull for an 84 finish to allow the Dutch ace in to finish 76 for a 14-darter.
1-2 – Taylor finishes double 16 for a 14-dart finish as he regains the advantage.
1-3 – Taylor posts another 180 before breaking throw on double eight with another 14-dart finish – maintaining a 115 average.
1-4 – Taylor kicks off the leg with a third 180 of the game, before posting double eight once more as he finishes a third consecutive 14-darter.
1-5 – The pair trade 180s as van Gerwen hits his first of the game, but the Dutchman is punished for a miss at tops as Taylor takes out 78 on double 12.
1-6 – van Gerwen opens the leg with a 180, but misses two more darts at double top as Taylor this time finishes 74 to capitalise.
1-7 – Taylor lands a 177 to leave 88, with van Gerwen firing in a third 180 in as many legs but only able to watch on as his rival finishes 88 on double seven to win a sixth straight leg.
2-7 – van Gerwen scores 170 during the leg, and when Taylor wires the bull for a 161 finish, the Dutchman steps in on double 16 to take his first leg in seven.
2-8 – Taylor opens with a 180 and adds a 140 before finishing 81 for an 11-dart leg to regain a six-leg cushion.
2-9 – van Gerwen posts his fourth 180, but Taylor finishes 121 on the bull to move seven legs clear.
2-10 – Taylor hits his sixth 180 to leave 53, and hits tops for a 13-darter as he continues his relentless charge.
2-11 – Taylor finishes double 16 once again as he moves nine legs clear.
3-11 – Taylor fires in a seventh maximum of the game, but van Gerwen wins only his third leg of the game by finishing 82 with a bullseye, double 16 combination.
4-11 – van Gerwen lands a 180 before finishing 127 on the bull to claim a second successive leg.
5-11 – van Gerwen misses double 18 for a 147 finish, but Taylor misses darts at double 16 and eight in allowing the Dutchman back in on double 18 to win a third leg in a row.
5-12 – van Gerwen hits a 180, but Taylor finishes 124 on double 11 to halt his rival’s fightback.
6-12 – van Gerwen replies to a Taylor 180 by finishing 50 to win his fourth leg in five.
6-13 – The World Champion hits his eighth 180 – matching his opponent’s total – only to see Taylor fire in double 16 to move seven legs clear once more.
7-13 – Taylor opens with a 177 but misses double 14 for a 107 finish to break, and van Gerwen lands double 16 to respond.
7-14 – Double eight sees Taylor move four legs away from an amazing 15th World Matchplay win.
8-14 – van Gerwen lands his ninth 180 of the game before taking out 81 for an 11-darter.
8-15 – van Gerwen misses double seven for a 122 finish, and Taylor takes out double eight to continue his push for the title.
8-16 – Taylor takes out 76 on tops as he moves two legs away from glory.
8-17 – The pair trade 180s, with van Gerwen missing double 18 for a 66 finish to allow Taylor in to finish 109 on tops as he moves to the brink of another superb achievement.
9-17 – Taylor this time misses tops for a second successive 109 finish as van Gerwen keeps the game alive on double eight.
9-18 – Taylor pulls clear before finishing tops for a 14-darter as he claims yet another Blackpool triumph, ending the game with a 107.27 average.

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