By Alex Osborne: The 2013 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship final will be contested between ‘Mighty’ Michael van Gerwen and 15-time World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor after two amazing Semi-Finals at the Alexandra Palace on Monday night.
Michael van Gerwen defeated ‘The Machine’ James Wade 6 sets to 4 and very nearly made darting history by hitting back-to-back 9 dart finishes. Michael was 2 legs to 0 down in the fifth set of the match when he hit his first 9 darter. MvG threw a 180, followed it up with a 177 and then checked out 144 on double 12 to hit a perfect televised 9 dart leg.
Interestingly, there was no hand shake from James Wade after van Gerwen’s perfect leg but that did not stop the young Dutchman. Moments after celebrating his nine darter, Michael kicked off the following leg with a 180 and backed that up with another maximum to give him an opportunity for back-to-back nine dart finishes. ‘Mighty’ Mike needed 141 to make history; he struck the treble 20, hit the treble 19 but just missed the double 12 for the nine darter! Ironically, he lost that set 3-2.
Following Michael van Gerwen’s Semi-Final victory, 15-time Champion of the World Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor took on his old rival, a 5-time World Champion himself, Raymond van Barneveld. After his Quarter-Final win, Barneveld claimed that he did not fear Taylor and that he wanted a fight. A fight is exactly what he got as ‘The Power’ stormed ahead to take a 5-1 lead in sets in double quick time. RvB just didn’t look like he believed in himself like he had since his triumph in the Grand Slam of Darts in November.
Believing that he now had no chance of winning, Barneveld visibly relaxed and just began playing darts. Amazingly, this rejuvenated the 5-time World Champion who reeled off 3 straight sets to pull the score back to 5-4 to Taylor. However, ‘The Power’ pulled through to make his 19th World Darts Championship final but it was the aftermath of the match that attracted the media’s attention.
After Phil hit the double 16 to win the match, he vigorously celebrated towards the crowd as a release of adrenaline. He then shook hands with the markers and the match announcer before shaking Raymond van Barneveld’s hand. Everything looked fine until Barney held on to Taylor’s arm and pulled him toward him to give him a hug, Phil shrugged him off and was visibly angry with Barneveld.
The 15-time World Champion has since apologised for his outburst and says that he acted disgracefully and that he was out of order. Sky Sports News wrongly reported that Barneveld said that he hopes Phil loses in the final to Michael van Gerwen and RvB tweeted saying: “Rumours saying in sky that i hope Phil loose what a joke i never said nothing i am a professional Phil and me are okay what a world pffff”
‘The Power’ will take on ‘Mighty Mike’ on New Year’s Day live from the Alexandra Palace in London. The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 8pm. Will Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor win his sixteenth World Championship title and be the first man to lift the Sid Waddell trophy, or will ‘Mighty Mike’ prove too much to handle?…