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.

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing