I must say that it was a privilege to be present at the final of this year’s World Matchplay in Blackpool where both Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis produced darts of stunning quality over such a long format that it is difficult to imagine that it can ever be eclipsed!
If you were averaging almost 106 in any game you would expect to come out as the victor – but not if you are up against “The Power”! I don’t think Phil has played any better than he did on Sunday, averaging an incredible 111.
Most opponents would have crumbled under this incessant barrage but, to his immense credit, Adrian refused to buckle and he gained the respect of the most knowledgeable of all crowds with his spirit and darting excellence. They also remembered his earlier superb performance in the semi-final in defeating Michael Van Gerwen – remarkable not only for the quality of the darts but also for the sheer pace of the action. And remember, only the night before Adrian had to battle the quarters against the resilient Andy Hamilton.
Phil could so easily have made an exit in his earlier game against Terry Jenkins and it speaks volumes for his sheer tenacity that, in the end he prevailed. I don’t think complacency forms part of the Taylor dictionary when it comes to these massive occasions.
The final was played with admirable mutual respect and it was also nice to see my Sky colleague, John Gwynne, receive a fitting acknowledgement for his contribution to the world of darts as he announced his retirement from his current role.
Blackpool certainly rocked in 2013!