By Jamie Arrowsmith 07/06 Updated: 07/06 16:49
FRESH from winning his sixth PDC Premier League Darts title last week, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor continued his tour of Riley's Sports Bars by visiting Solihull.
Standard Sports Editor Jamie Arrowsmith went along to meet the world number one and see if he could succeed where so many others have failed, and topple the 15-time world champion.
FEW people have dominated their sport in the way Phil Taylor has dominated darts over the last 20 years, so whilst my task of trying to take a leg off the Stoke ace seemed highly impossible, it was a challenge too good to turn down.
Taylor has achieved everything there is to be achieved in the sport and has a list of titles to his name that will never be neared, let alone surpassed.
The current PDC Player of the Year has won over 150 professional tournaments, hit nine televised nine-dart finishes and holds the world record for a televised three dart average, an incredible 118.66 set against Kevin Painter at the UK Open in 2010.
One of the most intriguing things about the 51-year-old is his continued desire to be the best, to want to win and to continue raising the bar in terms of standard when he clearly has nothing left to prove.
“It’s simple, it is my job and I always try to do it to the best of my ability,” he told me.
“Darts is how I make a living and from the day I started playing I have always worked incredibly hard at it.”
Taylor sets himself standards that others could only dream of achieving, highlighted by the fact that he disagreed with my assessment that 2011 was a great year for him despite winning five major titles.
“It was an okay year, but it wasn’t great,” he said.
“There were two major things missing for me, the World Championship and the Premier League title. I’ve already managed to get one of those back in 2012, so hopefully I can go on and win the lot this year.
“I probably put myself under more pressure to do well now than I ever have done before and it is purely because I want to win so much.
“I think I want to win more than a lot of other players do and I think that is one of the reasons I have enjoyed so much success throughout my career.”
With the talking over it was time for the action to start, but I would have to wait my turn to try and perform my sporting miracle.
Forest of Arden Darts League organiser Brian Twist was first into the lion’s den and the first to suffer the fate of so many of Taylor’s opponents throughout his career, defeat.
The challenges of 14-year-old Ryan ‘Runaway’ Derbyshire, The Iceman, The King, The Donut and G-Force were all overcome by Taylor who interspersed a number of 180s with exhibition style checkouts.
The Power was not to have things all his own way though as Gail Coe generated the biggest cheer of the night from the 300-strong crowd when, with a slice of help from the evening’s MC, she hit double two to secure an unlikely victory.
It was now down to me to see if I could follow her lead and inflict a second defeat on Taylor, and things started well.
My first three darts scored 45 and I was ahead, admittedly because I threw first and my opponent was yet to throw a dart. But, for roughly ten seconds, I was ahead of the greatest player to ever pick up a set of darts.
Unfortunately it was all downhill from there as scores of 26, 30 and 15 did little to worry my opponent.
All was not lost though. The magic of the MC struck again as my remaining tally of 326 was magically cut to 32. Double 16 with three darts in my hand to turn off The Power.
Sadly, the accuracy of my darts left a lot to be desired and the marker was in more danger than the double, my dreams of a major upset had probably gone.
One dart later that proved to be the case as with unerring accuracy, Taylor found the middle of double top to leave me on the wrong end of yet another darting masterclass.
Although defeated I consoled myself with the fact that in losing, I joined a pretty impressive list of names who have been beaten by Taylor throughout his career, and with how well he continues to play and his desire to keep improving evident, I think that list will keep on growing for some years to come yet.
DROITWICH Spa suffered a five-wicket defeat off the
A STUNNING bowling performance from Chris Amundsen helped
A SENSATIONAL innings from Ash Newdick helped Bromsgrove
BARNT Green picked up a second successive Birmingham
APPEARING at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio is the ...
FORMER Worcester Warriors head coach Richard Hill has refused to ...