Thursday, July 14, 2011

Power Can Land 2011 World Matchplay

Despite no longer being the dominant player in the world of darts, the Bookmakers still believe that defending champion, Phil Taylor, is the man to beat at this year’s Stan James World Match-play Championship which gets underway at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool this weekend.

Taylor in fact has won this tournament nine times in the last 11 years and also won it twice more in the 90’s which is why he is the 11/8 favourite in the Darts Odds and why also most darts followers believe that this tournament is his exclusively.

The two times he was beaten in the last 11 years in this competition came in 2005 and 2007 when he actually never made the final, but the two players who got the better of him in those matches, John Part and Terry Jenkins failed to go on and win the tournament.

The reason why pundits believe that "The Power" is no longer the dominant force is simply because he has failed to win a major championship for almost a year. In that same period several other players have emerged including new world champion, Adrian Lewis and Premier League winner, Gary Anderson. Add the names of Wade and Australian number one, Simon Whitlock and former world champion, Mark Webster then it is easy to see why Taylor has struggled to maintain his number one status.

As Taylor struggles so does his former nemesis, Raymond Van Barneveld, who is without a win in big tournaments for far longer than Taylor. His best finish at the Winter Gardens in fact came 12 months ago where he suffered a 12-18 defeat at the hands of Taylor and has only flattered to deceive at best since.

Although he remains a crowd favourite, ‘Barney’ will do well to get even close to the final this year as he has been given a very tricky draw. He has a difficult first round opponent in Steve Brown which should he win he is then likely to face Paul Nicholson and Wade in rounds two and three.

Much of the smart money this year has been going on Premier League champion, Gary Anderson who is currently a good value bet still at 13/2. Although he cannot boast consistently good form in this tournament in the past, it is only been over the last 18 months or so that the Scot has arrived at the elite end of darts and has proven that he can grab opportunities such as this with both hands. If he comes to Blackpool in top form then he will be extremely hard to beat.

10/1 shot Lewis proved that he has the temperament for the big time when he defeated Anderson in the world championship final back in January and although his consistency has never been one of his strong points he is still a big danger to Taylor.

For two or three years Taylor saw Wade as his chief rival and the two have met in several finals in the past. However, Wade much like Lewis suffers from inconsistency and is prone to putting in a bad performance in the early part of a tournament. Should he however get through to the third round and overcome ‘Barney’ he is in with as good a chance as any. He too can be backed at 10/1 with sponsors, Stan James.

Despite the poorish run of form, Taylor has proven time and time again that he is the man to beat in the ‘big ones’. He is defending the title in one of his favourite events and is well motivated to prove to the chasing pack of rivals that they will need to be at their absolute best to beat him. He also knows that even that might not be enough if he turns up in Blackpool in the form he was in 18 months ago.

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