Blogs & Opinion


Rod Harrington:

Most Popular Posts:

Power play

Rod Harrington Posted 9th July 2013 view comments

A focused Phil Taylor can bounce back from European Championship disappointment to seal a 14th World Matchplay crown, says Rod Harrington.

The Power suffered a shock defeat to Ronny Huybrechts in Germany last weekend but Harrington, who himself won the Matchplay title in 1998 and 1999, expects reigning world champion Taylor to return to his very best when the second most prestigious event in darts gets underway in Blackpool on Saturday July 20.

Taylor: Can seal another Winter Gardens win

Taylor: Can seal another Winter Gardens win

"Phil is really up for it," Harrington told Sky Sports News after making the draw for the 20th BetVictor World Matchplay.

"He didn't play too well last weekend but before that he's been playing exceptional.

Given the way he won the UK Open and the way he beat Michael van Gerwen, it is hard to see anybody outside of Phil if he gets his mind on track.

Rod Harrington
Quotes of the week

"Given the way he won the UK Open and the way he beat Michael van Gerwen, it is hard to see anybody outside of Phil if he gets his mind on track."

Taylor has been drawn to face Stuart Kellett in round one at the Winter Gardens. Harrington expects the 16-time world champion to prevail but warned 31-year-old Kellett will not be daunted by his tough task.

"Stuart is one of the up and coming young professionals and he's not scared of Phil," he said.

"He'll get up there and take the game to Phil there's no question, but Taylor's going to be hard to beat."

Peak

However, Harrington says Taylor won't have it all his own way, with the World Matchplay field as strong as it has ever been.

Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis are among the bookies' favourites to dethrone Taylor, but Harrington says there are plenty of other players hitting top form at just the right time.

"We have the 32 best performing pros at the time in Blackpool and so many of them are really peaking," he said.

"As well as Van Gerwen, Lewis and Taylor, don't forget Snakebite Peter Wright, Jamie Caven is playing exceptional, Kevin Painter is playing well and there are so many players who can put their name on this title."

Special

But whatever the outcome, Harrington is convinced the tournament will deliver another fascinating week of action and drama.

The event is hugely popular with fans and players alike and Harrington was full of praise for the competition.

"The crowd make it special," he said.

"They're up there on their holidays so they're in a party mood and they're darts fans, too. When you walk into that arena and see the high ceiling it just makes it special, it really does.

"This is getting closer and closer to the World Championship. Phil Taylor says it is his favourite tournament and it has that spark of specialness."

Watch the World Matchplay live on Sky Sports HD from Saturday July 20

back to top

Other Darts Experts:

Latest Posts in Darts:

Latest News RSS feeds

Van Gerwen crushes Anderson

Michael van Gerwen produced a record-breaking display to win the German Darts Championship in Hildesheim.

Anderson into evening session

Gary Anderson defeated Steve Beaton 6-3 to progress to the final session of the German Darts Championship.

Anderson survives scare

Gary Anderson overcame a scare to edge past Ricky Williams 6-5 in the German Darts Championship second round on Saturday.

Classy Klaasen to play van Gerwen

Jelle Klaasen beat Jamie Caven in style in Germany to set up a second round clash with Michael van Gerwen.

Van Gerwen overpowers Bunting

Michael van Gerwen maintained his impressive form with a 7-3 victory over Stephen Bunting in the Premier League.

Features

We take a look at some of the most loved up moments at the darts

We take a look at some of the most loved up moments at the darts

It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend and we are marking this special occasion by looking back at five of the most loved-up moments on the oche.

Darts betting preview: Sky Bet pick out the best odds ahead of Week Two in the Premier League

Darts betting preview: Sky Bet pick out the best odds ahead of Week Two in the Premier League

Bournemouth is the setting as the Premier League Darts campaign runs into its second week, live on Sky Sports 1 HD on Thursday.

Premier League Darts: Michael van Gerwen is the one to fear, says Wayne Mardle

Premier League Darts: Michael van Gerwen is the one to fear, says Wayne Mardle

Michael van Gerwen must be slowed down very soon or he'll run away with the Premier League, says Wayne Mardle.