Taylor completes Players Championship Finals Treble
TAYLOR COMPLETES CASH CONVERTERS PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS TREBLE
PHIL TAYLOR won his third Cash Converters Players Championship Finals title with an imperious 13-6 win over Kim Huybrechts at the Butlins Minehead Resort on Sunday night.
Taylor scooped the £60,000 first prize with a brilliant display in the final, sharing the first 12 legs with the emerging Belgian before finding another gear to run away for the win.
Taylor had stared defeat in the face earlier in the day, with Andy Hamilton missing one dart to defeat him in the quarter-finals before the 15-time World Champion hit back from 9-5 down for a 10-9 win.
He then swept past Simon Whitlock 11-2 in the semi-finals and pulled away in mid-game, winning the final seven legs without reply.
"I'm chuffed to bits to have won this," said Taylor. "It's a really tough day and to win three matches and take the title is a big challenge, so I'm over the moon. "It's been a tough day today. Winning against Andy Hamilton was probably my greatest escape and it's been an unbelievable day to be honest.
"Kim came into the final full of confidence but I wanted to keep putting him under pressure and making him think and eventually I got on top of him.
"He's got a huge future in the game and whoever plays him in the World Championship will be scared of him now. He'll be in loads more finals in the future."
The victory is Taylor's third major of the year, following his previous Premier League and World Matchplay wins, and will be ideal preparation for the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship, which begins on December 14.
"Like every other player, me and Kim are going to go away now and prepare for the World Championship now," added Taylor. "We'll be getting our practice and rest in and doing everything properly."
Huybrechts opened the final in fine style by winning the opening two legs, hitting 180s in both and capitalising on a missed double from Taylor in each to lead 2-0. He also missed a dart to lead by three legs, at double top for a 160 finish, as Taylor hit back-to-back double 16 checkouts to level and double top to lead 3-2.
The game's next seven legs all went with the throw, including finishes from 109 and 97 from the Belgian, as the pair reached mid-game locked at six-all.
Taylor edged the next on double one to lead 7-6 and then produced the key break on double ten to lead by two legs as he began his charge, adding double four and double 12 - for an 11-darter - to lead 10-6. A further brace of double 16 checkouts saw Taylor take a 12-6 cushion, and he sealed the victory in style by hitting tops.
Huybrechts' run to the final earned him a £24,000 cheque as runner-up and sees him rise to 21st in the PDC Order of Merit, having won through to his maiden major final with impressive wins over Peter Wright and Justin Pipe in Sunday's final stages.
"I'm really proud," said Huybrechts. "To play in my first TV final and for it to be against Phil is a dream and, at the moment, I can't ask for much more.
I could have done better but I was a bit nervous and I didn't hit as many 180s or doubles as I did in other games and that was the difference. At the beginning it didn't matter to me that I was playing Phil but at a certain point you start realising that you're playing the 15-time World Champion, and then you start missing some trebles and some doubles. t's my first year on the PDC circuit and I've had an amazing year. I've got a lot of self-confidence and I believe I can beat anyone if I play at my top level. 'll be back for the World Championship and I'll be practising more ahead of that. Last year I reached the quarter-finals in my first time there but I'll have even more confidence now so I'm really looking forward to it."
Huybrechts was in sensational form with an 11-6 semi-final win over Taunton's Justin Pipe, hitting 11 out of 22 attempts at a double during the contest as he ended the local star's best-ever run in a major tournament.
"Kim's finishing was brilliant and the best man won," said Pipe. "It may have been different if I'd taken the first couple of legs but it's another learning curve for me. It's my first TV semi-final and I'm up to ninth in the world, so I'm really happy."
Australian star Whitlock was unable to reproduce the performance which had seen him overcome Gary Anderson in the quarter-finals earlier this year, as Taylor took an 11-2 triumph in their clash.
"I missed some doubles early on and you can't afford to do that against Phil," said Whitlock, who moves above Anderson to fifth in the PDC Order of Merit. "Phil capitalised on that and bashed me up but I never gave up. I kept fighting but you can't give him that sort of lead. I felt good towards the end of the game but it was too late for me."
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Kim Huybrechts 11-6 Justin Pipe
Phil Taylor 11-2 Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor 11-6 Kim Huybrechts
Kim Huybrechts v Justin Pipe
0-0 - Kim Huybrechts wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - Pipe opens the game with a 180 but misses two darts at doubles to allow Huybrechts in on double 16.
2-0 - Double six for Huybrechts doubles his lead.
2-1 - Pipe takes out 96 on double eight to get off the mark.
3-1 - Huybrechts breaks throw by finishing 83 on double 16.
4-1 - Huybrechts moves three legs clear by edging a key leg with a 56 finish after Pipe misses his chance to hit back.
4-2 - Pipe initially misses four darts to win the leg, but Huybrechts fails to capitalise with a dart at tops and the Taunton ace returns on double five.
5-2 - Huybrechts finishes 70 on the bull to regain a three-leg cushion.
5-3 - Pipe takes out 120 to win his third leg of the game.
6-3 - Huybrechts hits his first 180 of the game and lands double eight.
6-4 - Pipe finishes double 12 for a 101 checkout.
7-4 - Huybrechts takes out 73 in two darts to win his seventh dart.
7-5 - Huybrechts hits a 180 but misses a dart at tops to punish Pipe, who returns to land double eight.
8-5 - The Belgian posts a two-dart 67 checkout.
8-6 - Huybrechts lands a 180 but Pipe holds his nerve on double 16.
9-6 - Huybrechts posts a fourth 180, and when Pipe misses double 16 he returns to hit double ten to move two legs away from the final.
10-6 - Pipe is unable to take out 101, and Huybrechts lands double nine with a key third dart to move to the edge of victory.
11-6 - Huybrechts opens with a 174 and lands two 140s before finishing an 11-darter to seal his place in a first major final.
Kim Huybrechts: "I'm really happy. My finishing was important - every player in this tournament can hit 180s and 140s and the difference is in the doubles, and Justin gave me chances which I took. In my last big semi-final at the European Championship I lost to Simon Whitlock, so this is massive for me and I'm looking forward to the final."
Justin Pipe: "I'm not too disappointed because it's my own fault - I was too relaxed at the start and my finishing wasn't good enough. Kim's finishing was brilliant and the best man won. It may have been different if I'd taken the first couple of legs but it's another learning curve for me. It's my first TV semi-final and I'm up to ninth in the world, so I'm really happy."
Simon Whitlock v Phil Taylor
0-0 - Phil Taylor wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 - Taylor lands a 180 and double 16 for a 14-darter to win the opener.
1-1 - Whitlock finishes tops to level.
1-2 - Whitlock lands a 180 but misses three darts to win the leg and Taylor finishes double five.
1-3 - Whitlock is punished for five misses as Taylor posts double eight to break throw.
1-4 - Taylor finishes 32 to establish a three-leg lead.
1-5 - Both players miss tops, before Whitlock is off-target with two darts at double ten and one at double five, and Taylor returns to pin tops to move four legs clear.
1-6 - Tayor wins his fifth successive leg.
1-7 - Taylor scores 134, 174 and 177 before finishing double four for a 12-darter.
1-8 - The pair trade 180s, with Taylor then missing double 12 for a 141 finish but returning to take out 24 at the next time of asking.
2-8 - Both players again hit 180s, with Whitlock then finishing 88 on double 14 to win only his second leg of the game.
2-9 - Taylor finishes 88 on double seven to move closer to victory.
2-10 - Taylor takes out a sensational 170 to move to the brink of the final.
2-11 - Taylor completes the win in style by taking out 164.
Phil Taylor: "I knew I had to play well against Simon and I did that but he let me in early on with some missed doubles. I had to get on top of him early on and keep him under pressure, but I still knew I had to hit the big finishes at the end to make sure I finished him off. Kim has been sensational this weekend and he'll be really tough in the final."
Simon Whitlock: "I missed some doubles early on and you can't afford to do that against Phil. He capitalised on that and bashed me up but I never gave up. I kept fighting but you can't give him that sort of lead. I felt good towards the end of the game but it was too late for me."
Kim Huybrechts v Phil Taylor
0-0 - Phil Taylor wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Huybrechts hits a 180, and when Taylor misses double 16 he steps in to finish 24 with an improvised double nine, double three combination.
2-0 - The Belgian lands another maximum, and when Taylor misses the bull to take out 88 he finishes double nine for the second leg.
2-1 - Huybrechts misses tops for a 160 finish, and Taylor lands double 16 to get off the mark.
2-2 - Taylor opens with a 180 and is first to a finish, with Huybrechts landing a maximum in reply only to see the world number one finish double 16 to level.
2-3 - Taylor lands tops to move ahead for the first time with a third successive leg.
3-3 - Huybrechts posts double two to level the contest.
3-4 - Taylor hits double 16 to edge back ahead.
4-4 - Huybrechts lands a fourth 180 of the game and takes out 109 on double 16 to square the final.
4-5 - Huybrechts hits another maximum but Taylor posts double 16 for a 14-darter.
5-5 - The Belgian lands double four to level matters.
5-6 - Taylor opens with a 180 and finishes double 16 to hold throw.
6-6 - Taylor misses a dart at tops and Huybrechts finishes 97 on double 12.
6-7 - Taylor edges the 13th leg on double one.
6-8 - Taylor lands a key double ten to break.
6-9 - Taylor misses double 14 for a 145 finish, and although Huybrechts fires in a 180 the world number one has enough cushion to land double four to move three legs clear.
6-10 - Taylor finishes double 12 to win a fourth straight leg.
6-11 - Taylor lands double 16 to move two legs away from the title.
6-12 - Another double 16 finish moves Taylor to the brink of the title.
6-13 - Taylor hits tops to win his third Players Championship Finals title, ending the game with a 103.57 average.