By Josh Powell | European Championship
Every time someone writes off Phil Taylor he comes firing back like a man possessed. It could be a pundit, a former pro or just an average darts fan in the corner of a pub on a Thursday night. Taylor hears the rumours and bounces back even stronger.
2013 was tipped as being the ‘Year of MVG’. Michael van Gerwen had narrowly lost to Taylor in the World Championships at January, but his ability on the biggest stage of them all got people talking about a change of the guard at the top.
Van Gerwen won the Premier League in style but was more disappointing than Mumford and Sons at Glastonbury, when suffering a 10-7 loss to Taylor in the quarter-final of the UK Open.
The Power hasn’t exactly been out of form. He won the UK Open at the start of June with a 107 three-dart average in the final and a check-out success rate of 58 per cent. Taylor backed up that good form with a European Tour win in Gibraltar last week and comes into this Championship in Germany on some serious form.
Throw in the fact that Taylor has won four of the five European Championships, and in those finals has averaged 104, 109, 105 and 109, and suddenly you have to question what the lads in the trading room have been smoking this week.
Both men, bar any major shocks, will make the latter stages of the tournament and there is a very good chance that they will fight it out on the oche in the final on Sunday. But with MVG at 15/8 and Taylor at 5/2 I know who I’d rather put my pound on.
If you’re looking outside the top two tungsten-tossers you’d do a lot worse than considering ‘The Hammer’ Andy Hamilton. At 25/1 he might not win the event but could be a decent each-way shout to grace the stage in the final.
The number six seed is in the weak fourth quarter of the draw and should get through to the quarter-finals with very little hassle. There he is likely to meet two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis. But the Jackpot is in poor form, winning just four of his 16 Premier League games this year and he was whitewashed 6-0 in the first round of this event in 2012.
A win for Hamilton would put him in a semi-final, possibly against Michael van Gerwen and one step away from a European Championship final. He doesn’t have a bad record against MVG, winning 13 of 28 matches against him and winning two of five ranking games.
A big performance from the Hammer on Sunday could be a crushing blow for Paddy Power if the 25/1 shot makes the final.