By News Team
Last Updated: 29th June 2021
The World Matchplay gets under way on July 18th and as one of darts’ greatest competitions it’s likely to bring about some great moments.
There have certainly been plenty in the past, so we’ve counted down the greatest moments in World Matchplay history.
World Matchplay legend Taylor waves farewell
In 2017 it was time to say goodbye to a legend. Phil Taylor was into the last year of his career and this was set to be his final World Matchplay. His walk-on in the tournament was both incredible and emotional. As his accolades were listed off before he walked to the stage, the world realised the magnitude of his career. ‘Record-breaking’ and ‘history-making’ were the perfect way to describe it.
Taylor dominated the World Matchplay, winning it an incredible 16 times, and rounded it all off by landing his final title in 2017. He beat two-time defending champion Michael van Gerwen and former champion Adrian Lewis on his way to the World Matchplay final, before an impressive performance against Peter Wright saw him lift the trophy for the last time. A fitting farewell to a legend.
Harrington and Baxter produce a thriller
One of the most thrilling finals in World MatchPlay Darts history occurred in the 1998 World Matchplay Darts final. Rod Harrington and Ronnie Baxter went head-to-head and produced an enthralling game of arrows with a spectacular ending.
Baxter led for most of the game, finishing legs in style. However, Harrington’s stubbornness meant he took the clash to a tie-break after his opponent had missed a match dart at double top. From there he then went on to win the game in style after checking out on a superb 125.
Harrington had won the first of his two titles – a haul only bettered by Taylor.
Taylor hits first UK televised nine-darter
In 2002, Taylor and Chris Mason met in the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay. Little did they know, the match would go down in World Matchplay Darts history.
‘The Power’, who averaged a stunning 112.17, started perfectly in the fifth leg, sinking six consecutive darts into the lipstick to leave himself with 141. The anticipation was incredible as he then hit T20 followed by T19 – and completed the perfect leg with the D12 to secure a nine-darter.
History was made as this was the first ever UK televised nine-darter and Taylor took home £100,000 for his efforts.
Lloyd hits 170 checkout in 2005 final
The world number one at the time, Colin Lloyd, met John Part in the 2005 World Matchplay final in what was set to be a great match. ‘Jaws’ had already seen off opponents including Lewis and Baxter, while Part had beaten the likes of Taylor and Peter Manley.
It was a well-fought final, but in the end Lloyd was comfortably clear – though it wasn’t the overall game itself that makes this one of the greatest World Matchplay moments ever, but the way it ended up as Lloyd hammered home a 170 finish in an incredible fashion.
Flintoff goes wild on commentary
Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff is, rather surprisingly, responsible for our last moment on this list.
Flintoff joined Harrington and John Gwynne in the commentary box for the 2012 World Matchplay as Steve Beaton took on Van Gerwen in a sensational match.
During the game, MVG set up a perfect leg and the trio could hardly contain their excitement. When ‘Mighty Mike’ did the inevitable, the commentary box erupted in one of the most memorable moments in World Matchplay history as Flintoff went wild.
Dimitri’s first major
Last year’s competition was incredible and was packed full of surprises. All of the world’s top four players were eliminated before the quarter-finals, with only two of the top ten making it to that stage.
Dimitri van den Bergh was on a charge throughout the tournament and pushed his way into his first major PDC final. He lined up against the two-time World Champion Gary Anderson, with the Flying Scotsman looking for his second Matchplay title in three years.
Van den Bergh put in a solid performance, averaging 98.31 and found himself leading 10-8 midway through. From then on, the DreamMaker put his foot down and rattled off five legs on the spin. Dimitri put the tie to bed 18-10, in turn winning his third televised title and first major. He also became only the second player to win on their debut since Larry Butler in the inaugural 1994 tournament and became the most recent World Matchplay winner.