Power Surge

Adnan Khurshid

Phil “The Power” Taylor is, according to many commentators and pundits, playing some of the best darts of his life. Last month when he demolished Gary Anderson to lift the Grand Slam of Darts 2011 title, he did so in some style. A 16-4 victory coming as a surprise to many, who backed Anderson to produce a brilliant display of his own. Instead Taylor went to work, peppering the treble twenties and finding the doubles with consummate ease. Gary Anderson was left scratching his head and “The Power” collected another trophy. Anderson is not the first opponent to be left dazzled by the darts of Taylor, and the 2011 Grand Slam was not the first trophy won by the 51 year old from Stoke; by no means will it be the last either.

Having already won over 150 tournaments, one wonders where he gets his desire. Simple, he describes darts as his job, as work for which he gets paid. Essentially he is right, but we rarely think about sportsmen having jobs, rather we think of them as having careers and being celebrities. Such is the humble nature of Phil Taylor, that he has remained as humble and as grounded as ever despite becoming one of England’s most successful sportsmen.

The world championships begin in late December and end early in the new year, and with them fast approaching, it is very difficult to look beyond Phil Taylor as the favorite to lift the crown; astonishingly it would be his 16th world title. The fact that Adrian Lewis is the current World Champion but many are overlooking him in favor of Taylor speaks volumes. Despite not being the holder, he is still the man to beat, and he has been for the best part of two decades now. Players hope they will avoid him in the draw, they hope he will have a bad day at the office, or that someone else will somehow beat him so they don’t have to themselves. Well and truly he has the aura similar to Roger Federer and Tiger Woods of not so long ago.

Many have challenged Taylor’s power at the top of the game. Rivalries with Dennis Priestley and John Part have provided great entertainment. However no one in the world of darts is in any doubt as to who is his biggest rival, or who has been over the years; a Dutchman by the name of Raymond van Barneveld. The two have engaged in titanic tussles, their contrasting styles are there for all to see. Taylor with the terminator like precision, and van Barneveld with a free flowing action. Chalk and cheese, like all great rivalries, a great blockbuster for the modern darts fans to admire. This rivalry hit its peak, in the 2007 World Championship final. It was decided by a sudden death leg and the Dutchman upset all odds to claim his 5th world title. It is a testament to the achievements of Taylor that his greatest rival is second to him in terms of world titles. He has a huge lead over the pack and is the holder of almost every record in the game; simply astonishing.

That’s why for the upcoming world championships, one finds it tough to look beyond “The Power”. Yes, the competition may be talented, Simon Whitlock, the world champion Adrian Lewis, Barneveld and co; but they are not as talented as Taylor. The rest of the draw may be gritty and determined; Jenkins, Webster, and Anderson typifying this, but they are not as determined as Taylor. Come the New Year I back him to clinch yet another crowing moment, and add to already huge trophy haul. I have a funny feeling that it wont be his last either.

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