Phil Taylor Brings Back Classic ‘Mind Games’ Strategy in World Seniors Matchplay

 

Phil Taylor Brings Back Classic ‘Mind Games’ Strategy in World Seniors Matchplay

In the world of professional darts, there are arguably few names that carry quite the same level of gravitas as Phil Taylor.

Born in the humble town of Burslem in 1960, Phil Taylor is one of the greatest darts players – if not British sportsmen – of all time. Taylor went on to dominate the world of professional darts for well over two decades.

And in the course of his professional playing career, which is still very much alive, Taylor has won a staggering 85 major titles and 16 World Championships.

Perhaps even more impressive is the dominant fashion in which Taylor secured these career milestones. Between 1995 and 2002, Taylor won eight consecutive World Championships, reached 14 consecutive finals between 1994 and 2007, and competed in 21 world finals.

This saw Taylor holding the world number one ranking for a staggering 13 years, eight of which ran consecutively between the years of 2006 and 2013.

Taylor also has the unique honour of being inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame while his career was very much still under way. This came in 2011, which was a full seven years before he officially retired from professional darts.

Taylor’s retirement from the game eventually came in 2018, following the 2018 PDC World Darts Championship, which was his 29th World Championship appearance.

Despite announcing that the tournament would likely be his last, Taylor put in a solid performance after coming into the World Championship ranked sixth in the world.

Taylor was solidly beaten in the final by Rob Cross, who, incidentally, was making his first World Championship performance.

 

2022 World Seniors Dart Championship: The Return of Phil Taylor?

Despite seemingly having ridden off into the sunset following his 2018 PDC World Darts Championship performance, Taylor surprised fans when he entered the inaugural 2022 World Seniors Darts Championship.

The World Seniors Darts Championship is a new venture between MODUS Sports and Jason Francis, and is organised by the World Seniors Darts Tour. It is open to players aged 50 years or more and gives qualifying players the chance to battle it out for a top prize of £30,000.

Taylor was one of the first players announced to be taking part in the tournament, with the 24-player field consisting of 11 former PDC and BDO World Champions, in addition to 11 other invited players.

Usually, you could count on The Power to be a dead cert for placing sportsbook free bets. However, Taylor did not live up to everyone’s expectations. And although many fans had put sportsbook wagers on him to win the inaugural championship, Taylor was ultimately knocked out in the quarterfinal by Kevin Painter.

 

A Comeback by Taylor? World Seniors Matchplay tournament 2022

Although he was knocked out relatively early in the inaugural World Seniors Darts Championship, this apparently did not deter the seemingly ever-tenacious Phil Taylor.

This was apparent during the World Seniors Matchplay tournament held in Hull, where Taylor enjoyed a thrilling run into the final stages of the event.

Former World Champion Taylor appeared to have rolled back the years in what turned out to be a classic performance by “The Power”.

Taylor managed to reach his second World Seniors final in a row. And while he did eventually lose out to Thornton, Taylor looked every bit his old self in the preceding matches.

Perhaps most notably, fans saw a glimpse of some classic tactics by “The Power” as he indulged in “mind-games” against his old rival Kevin Painter.

At 5-5 against Painter, Taylor approached the board with just 80 needed to get ahead. After just barely straying into the single five, Taylor hit a 25, which would only have required a bullseye from him to win the leg.

However, he clearly couldn’t help himself and despite being on a finish, Taylor shot for an 18 instead. Commentator John Rawling immediately recognised this as a classic psychological tactic by Taylor.

This was risky business for Taylor, as Painter got frighteningly close to taking out 118, hitting a treble 20, single 18, and just barely missing a double top.

Following this bit of mind games, Taylor would go on to win a tight match against Painter, with a 12-10 margin – ironically, the same score he would lose by to Thornton in the final!

Despite ultimately losing in the final, however, fans watching across the world got a glimpse of “The Power’s” tenacity. And while he was clearly disappointed he hadn’t clinched the victory, Taylor vowed to start working on improving his game and re-finding his form as soon as he got home.

Fortunately for Taylor, there is still plenty of time until the seniors circuit kicks off again. With many months until the next World Seniors Championship, Taylor has a nice chunk of time ahead of him to sharpen those tools once again.