Darts: Young Dutch master 'Mighty Mike' takes nervous Taylor to the wire

Maybe it has been the thought of conquering one of London's palaces that has prompted the biggest Dutch invasion of the capital since Prince William of Orange toppled King James II. Almost everywhere you turn at Alexandra Palace this week there is an arrow-throwing Lowlander aiming to bring down a home player at the Ladrokes.com PDC World Championship.

Raymond van Barneveld's successful defection last year to the Professional Darts Corporation - the four-times winner of the rival British Darts Organisation's world championship beat Phil Taylor in the final on his first attempt to take the PDC crown - prompted four more of his fellow countrymen, Michael van Gerwen, Jelle Klaasen, Toon Greebe and Vincent van der Voort, to make the same move earlier this year.

Van Gerwen faced the toughest task of them all when he was drawn with Taylor in the first round, but last night the 18-year-old came within one shot of causing one of the biggest darts upsets of all time. "Mighty Mike", who became the youngest winner of a major event when he took the World Masters 14 months ago, lost 3-2 as an unusually nervous Taylor repeatedly let his opponent back into the game.

When Taylor took the first set 3-0, closing out each leg with his first dart at double top, victory looked to be a formality, but the world No 1's form suddenly deserted him. Taylor missed all 11 of his shots at a double in the second set, which Van Gerwen won 3-0.

A 106 check-out saw the Dutchman go in front for the first time to lead 2-1 in the third set, which he closed out at 3-2. At 2-2 in the next set Van Gerwen had one dart at double 12 to take the match but missed. Taylor, never beaten in the first round in 19 appearances at the World Championship, promptly levelled the match. Van Gerwen led 3-2 in the decider before Taylor won three legs in a row, the last of them with a 12-dart finish, to take the match.

Taylor, who now plays Mark Walsh, said: "I gave him too much respect and the nerves got to me, though I never thought I was on the way out. I thought that if he got close he would get nervous. Mind you, I was concentrating so hard that I never knew he actually had a dart for the match."

In the previous contest, the 19-year-old Greebe pushed Peter Manley, the world No 5, all the way before losing another thrilling encounter 3-2. Greebe led 2-1 in the final leg and had the chance to win the match with three darts at 142. He did not take his chance, however, and Manley responded in impressive style, taking three legs in a row to win the final set 4-2.

The first match featured another Anglo-Dutch encounter, with Manchester's Matt Clark up against Roland Scholten, renowned for his ability to hit maximums. Eight 180s, as well as two 11-dart finishes, helped Scholten to a 3-2 win.

PDC World Championship: First round: P Manley (Eng) bt T Greebe (Neth) 3-2; R Scholten (Neth) bt M Clark 3-2 (Eng); P Taylor (Eng) bt M Van Gerwen (Neth) 3-2.

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower