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Article: The golden shot

The golden shot

Phil Taylor once again showed his class as he claimed the World Matchplay title in Blackpool.

The Darts Premier League champion overcame James Wade 18-9 in the final at the Winter Gardens, sealing an emotional win with an incredible 132 finish, which culminated in his moving four feet to his right before sending his dart zeroing in on a crowded centre to nail the bullseye.

Sky Sports commentator Sid Waddell was hardly surprised by the outcome in Blackpool, but is staggered by the heights that the Power has been hitting in the last six months.

In his latest column, Sid reflects on possibly the greatest darts shot of all time - and reveals the winner of his competition to find a new nickname for Kevin McDine.

Arrows of desire

There is just one word to describe Phil Taylor - incredible.

He has an amazing appetite for glory that is only matched by Caesar, Napoleon and General Patton and it^s clear in these last two months that he^s picked up where he left off in the Darts Premier League.

To be as good as him, you need to get a lot of things right; you need to practise in the right way, the attitude needs to be spot on and you need to use the right darts.

His new arrows of desire have resulted in a remarkable progression since February. In the first month of the Premier League he lost three times in four matches and I thought he wouldn^t get better because his bag of problems seemed too big.

His body weight was wrong and he was throwing darts so loosly that they were landing half an inch below the 60. I wasn^t sure the new darts he was using were right for him, but since the first week of March he has really got going again.

Previously, the best we^d seen from Taylor was the 18 months from January 2002 to the middle of 2003 when he was averaging about 101.

But that has been dwarfed by some of his efforts this year. His end average in the Darts Premier League was 103.4, he produced the highest game average ever with 114.5 against Wes Newton at the UK Open and he arguably peaked last weekend with an average of 109.5 in the final. That^s the greatest ever final average in the history of PDC darts

Furthermore, the shot that won the tournament is one of the best that myself and Dave Lanning have seen in our lives. The bull was completely covered with barrels and flights - it looked not only like the Amazon Jungle but Mount Rushmore as well - but somehow he got the dart through.

I^ve been connected with the game for 36 years and it^s the best shot I^ve ever seen. It bears comparison with Leighton Rees^ 10-darter against Alan Evans in 1978 and Taylor^s own nine-darter against Chris Mason in 2002.


The only bloke in the world who can give Taylor half a game at the moment is James Wade.

He^s only been a tournament professional for two-and-a-half years, but James has emerged as the only player who can square up to Taylor in terms of dedication, attitude, talent and modesty.

When James hugged a tearful Talyor at the end of the match, he understood what it meant to Phil. Six months ago Taylor thought his career might be finished and James knew how desperate he was back then.

Years ago Eric Bristow understood Taylor better than anybody else, then it was Dennis Preistley, but as he put his arms around Taylor in Blackpool, James proved that he is now that man. He is a potential multi-word champion and he is clearly in the same zone as Taylor.

As for the others, Raymond van Barneveld seems to have a very weak psyche and his wife says he^s more interested in shopping than practising (Barney Queen of Shops anyone?)

Dennis Priestley is showing his calibre despite his health problems, while Wayne Mardle^s concentration always seems to falter when he^s under stress.

Adrian Lewis was a big hope but he seems to have hit a brick wall, as has Kevin Painter, so I think Andy Hamilton and Colin Osborne will be the two dark horses to look out for at our next live event - the World Grand Prix in Ireland.

And the winner is...

I would put Kevin McDine on the list of players to watch after his performance in Blackpool, although I^m not sure if he^ll qualify for the event in Ireland.

However, I must say I was impressed with all the responses we got after I asked you to come up with suggestions for a nickname for the lad from Newcastle.

My favourite one was "McDine-amite" which was first suggested by James Diddams. As a prize, I^ll send you a signed copy of my book ^Bellies and Bullseyes^ which comes out in paperback next week. Just e-mail your address here James, and I^ll pop it in the post.

Story by: Sky Sports


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