Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor believes next week’s double-header will decide whether or not he makes the play-offs of Premier League darts at the O2.
The 16-time world champion was held to a frustrating draw by Gary Anderson at Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena last night – leaving him level with the Scotsman having played a game less.
Taylor plays twice at the NIA in Birmingham next week, taking on Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld, and says defeat in both would end his play-off hopes.
“That’s make or break next week – if I lose them two forget it,” Taylor told Sky Sports.
“Getting to the O2 is all that matters – me and Gary are pushing now.”
Taylor burst into a 3-1 lead before missed darts at double and a 57 checkout pulled Anderson level at 3-3.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ took a 6-5 lead, forcing Taylor to hold throw to secure the draw – which he did with a 71 checkout.
Both players suffered embarrassing mathematical lapses during the game, Anderson first busting 169 by hitting 177 before Taylor bust 129 by hitting 139.
“I’m getting old by the way,” 53-year-old Taylor said.
“It was definitely 129 – I’m looking at Paul (the scorer) thinking can’t you count or something.”
Anderson joked: “My eyesight is bad – that was 189 on the board I looked at.”
Taylor is battling to avoid missing out on the play-offs for the first time in Premier League history.
Before last night’s disappointing draw, he had been in good form, winning his previous three Premier League games and claiming the German Masters last weekend.
“I picked £20,000 up on Sunday night so I’m not too miserable,” Taylor said.
“I was pushing in front, kept getting in front and he kept coming back.”
In the other matches, Van Barneveld secured his play-off place with a convincing 7-3 win over Adrian Lewis.
‘Barney’ hasn’t lost since the second week of the competition and inflicted two-time world champion Adrian Lewis’ fourth successive defeat.
The Dutchman, a diabetes sufferer, was hospitalised in Berlin on Saturday after feeling unwell at the airport.
“I learnt a very hard lesson there – I have to look after myself,” said Van Barneveld.
“It’s hard for me to play Premier League and tournaments in the weekend.
“The Premier League is really important to me. I’m going to pick out the tournaments that I think are the best.”
Barney faces Taylor next weekend and will be looking to secure his first Premier League win over ‘The Power’.
“I have never beaten him in the Premier League. – he is still the best,” added the Dutchman, a former postman.
“I know I can play. I can win every game if I play well.”
Reigning world champion Michael van Gerwen also secured his place at the O2 with a 7-4 win over Dave Chisnall.
The two Scotsmen Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton both played twice on the night with the pair facing each other in the final game.
It finished in a 6-6 draw, meaning Anderson had secured two draws on the night to keep him in contention to reach the play-offs.
Thornton lost the opening match of the night 7-5 to Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright, who consolidated his position inside the top four.
Main image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.