World Darts Final Sees Gary Anderson Beat Phil Taylor 7 6 In An Ally Pally Thriller
Bravedart Gary Anderson dashed Phil Taylor’s dream of a staggering 17th world title in a classic, see-saw final at Alexandra Palace.
In a monumental feat of concentration and stamina, Anderson outlasted the ‘Power’ 7-6 at the William Hill PDC Championship to become the first Scot on top of the world since Les Wallace in 1997.
It was only the fourth final to go the distance into a deciding 13th set – and only the fourth occasion 16-times champion Taylor has lost in the final.
And the Flying Scotsman, who finally conquered the world at the age of 44, had to overcome extraordinarily bad luck and controversy to land the holy grail of marksmen.
Anderson had just levelled a riveting contest at 4-4, after Taylor had squandered three darts at double 12 to go 5-3 ahead, when he suffered remarkable ill-fortune bordering on the ridiculous.
With his first arrows of the ninth set, Anderson nailed the first two in the treble 20 bed, only for the third – bang on target to make it a maximum 180 – to knock out the other two and all three darts landed on the carpet for a no-score.
Taylor was under no obligation to offer his opponent charity at such a critical juncture of the match.
And instead of throwing his spears on the floor or deliberately missing the board, he carried on regardless.
Professionalism or bad sportsmanship? Public opinion was divided.
But Anderson fought back to take the leg, and the set, against the odds, and from that moment onwards he played like a terrier who would not let go of a burglar’s trouser leg.
Gesticulating angrily at a spectator in the crowd, who he believed was calling out to distract him, Anderson – beaten in the final by Adrian Lewis four years ago – was not going to be denied this time.
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When he nailed double 12 at 10.52pm, with thousands of fans resigned to catching the night bus home, he was a deserving winner of the Sid Waddell Trophy.
Anderson said: “I’ll always stick up for Phil – he is still the best darts player of all time and in 100 years’ time he will still be the best.
“When he came back from two sets down to make it 6-6, to be honest I thought my chance had gone. But I’ve waited a long time for this moment.”
Anderson he was not impressed with the three boards used in a memorable slinging match at Chucking’em Palace after suffering more bounce-outs than a jogger’s sports bra.
The narrative of a breathtaking final barely does justice to the sheer intensity of the drama.
Anderson raced into a 3-1 lead, only for Taylor to reel off the next three sets in a row by winning nine of the next 10 legs.
But when Taylor missed the chance to open a two-set lead, and then came within a whisker of a dream nine-dart finish in the penultimate set, realityh dawned that, for once, it was not going to be his night.
Taylor, 54, may never get a better chance to match Roger Federer’s 17 Grand Slam tennis wins or the 18 Majors golfing legend Jack Nicklaus stockpiled.
But his place in the sporting pantheon was already assured before Anderson became only the fourth man to beat Taylor in a world championship final after John Part, Dennis Priestley and Raymond van Barneveld.
The Power said: “When I got it back to 6-6, my energy levels went up and I thought, ‘I’ve got you, Anderson’. But I couldn’t have been much closer to a 17th title.”