Phil Taylor 6 Raymond van Barneveld 2

Darting ‘royalty’ was on display at the PDC Darts World Championship last night in the second semi-final, to follow on from the wonderfully entertaining Anderson-van Gerwen match, as Phil Taylor took on Raymond van Barneveld. Sharing an astounding twenty-one world titles between them, including some of the best darts’ battles ever seen, it promised to be another intriguing arm wrestle between the long-time rivals. The reality was a somewhat disappointing contest, as Taylor proved too strong 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.

Possibly the crucial moment of the match came in the sixth set with the score 3-2 in sets in favour of Taylor, as the Englishman demonstrated his pedigree with an eleven 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 and gave him the momentum to move further ahead at 4-2.

His Dutch opponent could not quite match Taylor’s consistency of scoring nor finishing, 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.

Van Barneveld still had his opportunities to close the gap, but missed badly on double top in the second leg of what proved to be the final set, allowing Taylor to establish a two leg lead in set eight as he stood on the verge of making the final. To his great credit, RVB took the third leg to keep the match alive after scoring two 180s, but even then Taylor only just missed a 121 checkout on the double as he sensed the conclusion of the match was near. It duly came in the next leg as Taylor hit double top after the Dutchman had once again missed a double to extend the contest.

Although the 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 Barneveld a shade under 100.

Taylor will now pit his wits against the much fancied Anderson in today’s final later this evening over the best of 13 sets, looking to regain a title he has dominated down the years after sixteen previous World titles. Anderson still searches for his first World title and would be a popular winner among the neutrals, having previously 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 one feels in the final, but such has been Anderson’s form this week and the likely boost he will have gained from defeating van Gerwen, it would not be a major surprise if he prevailed instead.

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