On cloud nine... twice!
Rod Harrington re-lives the legenday Premier League Final when Phil Taylor threw two nine-darters.
Last Updated: 18/05/11 12:14pm
"Possibly the finest game of darts ever seen..."
That's Rod Harrington's verdict on last year's Premier League Final between Phil Taylor and James Wade when The Power stunned the world by becoming the first player in history to throw two nine-darters in a match.
The world number one will return to Wembley Arena to defend his title on Thursday night and to whet your appetite, we asked Sky Sports expert and former world number one Rod Harrington to re-live that legendary evening of 12 months ago...
"It was possibly the finest game of darts I've ever seen; I don't think I'll ever witness another game like it.
"Phil Taylor obviously played well, but also James Wade played brilliantly and pushed Phil to throw the two nine-darters. And remember, he only narrowly missed out on a third one as well!
"He'd been lively all day, messing about at Wembley Arena, punching people on the shoulders, thinking he's a boxer like he always does. He was up for it and he went up there and threw the first one.
"I was sitting backstage when he came off during the first commercial break and he said to me: "I'm going to hit another one."
"He told me to phone up the bookies and find out the odds on doing another nine-darter in the match. Now we're not allowed to gamble, so we couldn't get on it, but then of course he went back up there and did it!
"I'd told a few people around me what he'd said and everyone thought there was no way he could do it again, so it was absolutely unbelievable when he did it.
"It would be sensational if two players threw nine-darters in the same game, but for one player to do it was incredible, especially when you consider it was a shorter format than a World Championship match.
"I'd say it's right at the top of his list of achievements because of the way he did it and also because of the timing.
"The thing people forget is that the show got cancelled on the Sunday night and we had to go back on Monday. There was a power failure at Wembley and that could have really messed things up. We were expecting to be criticised - the PDC, Sky Sports and Wembley Arena - for not having back-up generators or whatever.
"But nobody talks about that. Everybody remembers the two nine-darters on the Monday night. You have to remind people that there was a power cut!
"That bloke always steps up to the plate and seems to do the right thing at the right time.
"When I was at the top of my game in the 1990's you wouldn't see a nine-darter very often.
"I used to throw loads in practice and have done it a few times in exhibitions, but only once in competition. That was at a tournament in Swindon 15 years ago and even though I did it I lost the match 3-1! I've never done it on the TV stage, but I have missed the final double about four times, including missing the bullseye at the World Grand Prix one year.
"Back then only four or five players had the scoring power to be able do it, but now there's probably 100 guys who can do it and that's why you see them more regularly.
"But to do it on live TV in front of a crowd of 5,000 or 6,000 people is another issue. You need to be an incredible player to do one nine-darter on TV, but to do it twice is outstanding.
"I wouldn't say we'll never see it again because there are so many players around that have got the game to do it. There are three parts that you need - the scoring power to get down to it, setting the shot up right and then taking it out.
"Someone like Gary Anderson scores at about 95%, sets the shots up at about 60% and then his shot-outs are about 40%. It's the same for Adrian Lewis or Raymond van Barneveld, but Taylor is at about 90% for all three every time he goes up to the board.
"That's why he's so good at what he does."