Phil Taylor 6 Raymond van Barneveld 2

Darting‘royalty’ was on display at the PDC Darts World Championship last night in thesecond semi-final, to follow on from the wonderfully entertaining Anderson-van Gerwenmatch, as Phil Taylor took on Raymond van Barneveld. Sharing an astoundingtwenty-one world titles between them, including some of the best darts’ battlesever seen, it promised to be another intriguing arm wrestle between the long-timerivals. The reality was a somewhat disappointing contest, as Taylor proved toostrong for ‘Barney’ to move into the final against Anderson with a 6-2 victory,and hence deprive Holland of seeing either of their countrymen in the last two.

Possiblythe crucial moment of the match came in the sixth set with the score 3-2 insets in favour of Taylor, as the Englishman demonstrated his pedigree with aneleven dart finish after consecutive 180s had led to a potential nine-darter.It seemed to indicate that he was finding his rhythm when he needed it most andgave him the momentum to move further ahead at 4-2.

HisDutch opponent could not quite match Taylor’s consistency of scoring norfinishing, as a classy 124 checkout with the bull to finish, eased ‘The Power’to within one set of victory at 5-2 as he took the seventh set.

VanBarneveld still had his opportunities to close the gap, but missed badly ondouble top in the second leg of what proved to be the final set, allowingTaylor to establish a two leg lead in set eight as he stood on the verge ofmaking the final.

To his great credit, RVB took the third leg to keep the matchalive after scoring two 180s, but even then Taylor only just missed a 121checkout on the double as he sensed the conclusion of the match was near. It dulycame in the next leg as Taylor hit double top after the Dutchman had once againmissed a double to extend the contest.

Althoughthe standard throughout did not seem quite on a par with the first semi-final,the three-dart averages were still high with Taylor recording 102.39 and van Barnevelda shade under 100.

Taylor will now pithis wits against the much fancied Anderson in today’s final later this eveningover the best of 13 sets, looking to regain a title he has dominated down theyears after sixteen previous World titles.

Anderson still searches for hisfirst World title and would be a popular winner among the neutrals, havingpreviously lost out to Adrian Lewis in the final of the 2011 PDC event.Experience and know-how of clinching the title may count in Taylor’s favour onefeels in the final, but such has been Anderson’s form this week and the likelyboost he will have gained from defeating van Gerwen, it would not be a majorsurprise if he prevailed instead.