Brilliant Taylor Records 14th World Matchplay Title
Phil Taylor claimed a 14th BetVictor World Matchplay title and a record-break sixth successive victory in the tournament with a stunning 18-13 defeat of Adrian Lewis in Sunday's final at the Winter Gardens.
Taylor's domination of the £400,000 event continued with a relentless performance, maintaining an average of over 110 for the duration of a remarkable final.
Lewis actually took an early break of throw to lead 4-2, and maintained that advantage to lead 6-4 before Taylor turned the game with a remarkable six-leg burst which included finishes of 130 and 123 in successive legs.
Lewis hit back to win the next two legs, and pulled back to trail only 11-10 with a brilliant 11-dart finish.
Taylor, though, punished him for missed doubles in three of the next four legs as he pulled clear at 15-10, and though Lewis threatened a comeback with three successive legs, the World Champion took out 136 before completing an incredible win with a 13-darter.
Taylor's final average of 111.23 is a record for a World Matchplay, with Lewis hitting 19 maximums and a 105.92 average in reply only to fall to defeat.
"It was tough and it's probably one of the best finals I've ever been involved in," said Taylor. "It was a great final and there were two winners there.
"It's such a special venue for me and it's fantastic for me to win this again."
Lewis admitted: "I threw everything at him but he put me under so much pressure. I gave it my all but I fell short at the end."
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
0-0 - Phil Taylor wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Taylor opens with two 140s, and though Lewis lands a 180 in reply, the reigning champion takes out double 16 for a 13-darter to win the opener.
1-1 - Lewis leaves 40 after 12 darts, with Taylor hitting a 180 but only able to watch as the game is levelled with another 13-darter.
2-1 - Taylor lands a 174 score and takes out 88 on the bull to move back ahead.
2-2 - Lewis finishes 87 on double five to win his second leg of the game.
2-3 - Lewis breaks in dramatic fashion, with Taylor missing the bull for a 127 finish as the youngster steps up needing 81, hitting treble 19 but seeing his dart at double 12 land in double five, before he posts double seven to complete the finish and move ahead.
2-4 - Lewis hits a 180 and lands double ten to move two legs clear.
3-4 - Taylor initially misses his chance to win the leg, but Lewis is unable to capitalise and the World Champion returns on double eight.
3-5 - Lewis posts his third 180 and finishes double 18 to regain his cushion.
4-5 - Taylor hits a 171 to leave 32, and lands double 16 for a 13-darter.
4-6 - Lewis maintains his advantage, landing a maximum and finishing 77 on double five - at the second break the averages are 111.17 for Taylor and 109.06 for Lewis.
5-6 - Double eight sees Taylor hit back.
6-6 - Lewis lands a 180, but misses double 16 for a 101 finish, and Taylor breaks back to level with a 130 checkout, ending on double five.
7-6 - Taylor opens with a 180, and regains the lead by completing a 123 combination on double eight.
8-6 - Lewis posts a 180 but misses the bullseye to take out 90, and Taylor finishes 57 on tops to win a fourth successive leg with another break.
9-6 - Taylor fires in a fourth 180 of the game, and lands double six to win a fifth straight leg and move three clear of his opponent.
10-6 - Taylor lands another maximum, and when Lewis misses tops for a 117 checkout, the reigning champion posts double 16 for an 11-darter to continue his surge with a third break of throw.
10-7 - Lewis hits his seventh 180 of the game, and double one with his third dart sees him win his first leg in seven.
10-8 - Both players hit 180s to leave 121 after nine darts, with Taylor unable to hit the bull to complete the combination as Lewis returns to hit double four.
11-8 - Lewis posts another maximum, but Taylor finishes 80 on tops to regain a three-leg lead.
11-9 - Lewis hits a 180 for a fourth successive leg, and when Taylor misses double 14 for a 145 finish, the 28-year-old returns on tops.
11-10 - Lewis breaks back with a superb 11-darter, opening with a 180 and adding a 171 to leave 16 before pinning double eight at the second time of asking.
12-10 - Taylor again breaks throw in a dramatic leg, with Lewis hitting a 180 but unable to hit tops as the reigning champion, who hit a 174 score, lands double four to regain his cushion.
13-10 - Once again Lewis hits a 180, but Taylor completes a 13-dart leg on double top.
14-10 - Taylor scores 174 before Lewis hits a 180 for an eighth successive legs - only to miss the bull to finish 85 as Taylor finishes 87 on double 18.
15-10 - Lewis misses the bull to finish 164, and Taylor mvoes five legs clear by pinning double top.
15-11 - Lewis hits back to win a remarkable leg in which Taylor opens with 180 and 174 to set up a possible nine-darter and Lewis lands two 180s of his own, before punishing two misses at double 15 from his opponent to reduce the arrears with double five.
15-12 - Taylor misses double 18 for a 116 finish, and Lewis breaks throw on double 12.
15-13 - Lewis fires in his 17th 180 of the game, and takes out 127 on the bull to win a third successive leg.
16-13 - Lewis hits a 177 to leave 24, and when Taylor misses double 18 and nine he steps up - but misses two darts at double 12 and one at double six as Taylor returns to hit double one and move two legs away from the win.
17-13 - Taylor superbly finishes 136 to move to the brink of a record-breaking victory.
18-13 - The pair trade 180s before Lewis hits another maximum - his 19th of the game - only to but unable to finish 100, and Taylor seals the win on tops with a 13-darter.