The darts world is running out of superlatives when it comes to assessing the prowess of Phil Taylor. "The Power" won his 13th world championship last night and the £100,000 first prize when he took the PDC crown at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet with a stunning display, beating Peter Manley 7-0 in the final.
Having started the final with a tournament three-dart average of 100.64, Taylor's figure for the match was an extraordinary 106.74. It was not that Manley threw poorly: the world No 5 had started with a tournament average of 89.63 and averaged 92.49 in the final. Manley even managed to hit 67 per cent of his doubles, but the blunt truth was that he won only six legs in the entire match.
The statistics, however, barely do justice to Taylor's performance. His form barely wavered as he scored heavily and finished ruthlessly at every stage. Taylor said afterwards that he had "not been 100 per cent sure" he would win the final, but his confidence appeared total from the very first dart.
It had been billed as the ultimate grudge match. Manley, who has long been the figure that darts crowds love to hate, refused to shake hands after Taylor whitewashed him in the final here four years ago. Although he subsequently apologised, the frosty relations between the two men froze over again after Manley's controversial quarter-final victory over Adrian Lewis, Taylor's protégé and practice partner.
Lewis walked off the oche at one stage, claiming that Manley had been talking while he was throwing in an attempt to put him off. Taylor waded into the controversy, saying that the match should be replayed if Lewis's allegations were proved correct. At the end of the final Taylor presented his winning darts to Lewis.
As it turned out, both finalists behaved impeccably, though the determination in Taylor's eyes from the start suggested that he would be going all out to put Manley in his place and repeat his whitewashing feat of four years ago. Indeed, this was the fourth time Taylor had not conceded a set in the final, Dennis Priestley (in 1998) and John Part (in 2001) having suffered the same fate as Manley.
Taylor's starting odds of 8-1 on did not deter one punter from Cheshire gambling £40,000 on the champion with Ladbrokes, the sponsors. By the end of the first set that was looking like a smart piece of business as Taylor's odds had halved to 16-1 on after the champion made a stunning start.
Having handed the throw to Manley, Taylor proceeded to win the first three legs with just 40 darts. He took the second leg with the highest possible check-out, hitting treble 20 twice and then the bull. By the end of the set Taylor's three-dart average stood at 115.
Manley's first winning leg came in the second set, which he levelled at 2-2 with a stunning 141 check-out (treble 17, double 20, bull), but there was no stopping Taylor, who took a 2-0 lead by checking out on 57. The third set was also close. After Taylor had gone into a 2-0 lead, taking his record on doubles to eight hits in 11 attempts, Manley drew level, only for Taylor to win the deciding leg to take a 3-0 lead.
Sets four and five were comfortably won 3-1 and set six went by in a flash, Taylor taking all three legs with finishes in 14, 11 and 14 darts and an average of 115.5. Finishes in 15 and 11 darts gave Taylor a 2-0 lead in the seventh set and he completed victory with a 98 check-out. It was a fitting finish for a player who bestrides his sport like no other.
PDC World Championship (Purfleet) Final: P Taylor (Eng) bt P Manley (Eng) 7-0.