Healthy Taylor powers past tough draw McGeeney

Phil Taylor powered into R2, seeing off the challenge of former BDO world finalist Mark McGeeney. It’s not in Taylor’s make-up to appear at these tournaments, win a game or 2 then head home after a humbling defeat to someone who wouldn’t have laced his boots in his pomp. Neither is it in his make-up to call it a day and leave it to the “youngsters”, as he likes to call the 50 year old’s in the draw. Instead he’s been working hard every day on the dartboard, inspired by a chat he had once with Sir Stanley Matthews. Speaking to BT Sport, Phil said. “He told me he was running on Blackpool beach on a Sunday morning when everyone else was resting, so I tape Coronation Street and watch it at 11 o’clock to make sure I’m practicing all evening”. Not only that, he’s invested in a nutritionist specialising in the keto diet and the nutritionist has joined him in Yeovil. “I feel better than I have in years…he has changed my life” the Power beamed. If that is the case, the 11/1 odds on Taylor seems ludicrous, if he clicks nobody will match him this weekend but the jury is still out. Phil took the match relatively comfortably 4-2 without needing to go through the gears however there was a patch of vintage form in the 4th set when he had both a 144 and 138 finish in back to back legs and a clean 11 dart leg to win the match. Speaking after the game it seems McGeeney was just thrilled to share the stage with Taylor, “it’s a big tick on my bucket list” he commented before exiting the stage.  

What a reward for David “Excalibur” Cameron! Defending champion of the World Seniors Darts Masters and he lands a R1 tie with current WDF world champion Neil Duff, who at just 50 years old, scrapes into the Seniors by the skin of his teeth. Despite being second favourite in this game according to the bookies, Duff must have fancied his chances. This match had a lovely pace to it from dart 1, both players keen to deliver their darts in quick order. Sharing the first 4 sets, the game had a wonderful flow as the momentum see-sawed between them.   

When Duff took the 5th set with Cameron capitulating with 12 missed darts at double it looked like the battle had been won. Sitting on a double for a 4-2 set, Excalibur, close to being put to the sword, popped in a remarkable 156 finish to take us to a deciding set. Duff took some deep breaths behind him, incredulous at the finish but mentally prepping for set 7. Duff took leg 1 in the final set and roared his approval, trying to find other ways to unsettle the unflappable Canadian. It didn’t work and a D10 took us the full distance.  

In the last leg, finally Duff’s hard work paid off and he dominated, taking an 82 beautifully on the Bull, D16. Afterwards he talked of the familiar theme of the heat on the stage at Westlands. “The heat is unreal up here, the gel is running from my hair, my glasses are sticking to my face”. When asked about being Richie Howson’s next opponent, Duff boasted “I’m not playing Richie, he’s playing me.”  


Robert Thornton said his wife will remind him of his missed 6 match darts before completing a hard fought win over Colin McGarry. As the Seniors Tour becomes more established, the idea of an easy R1 is rapidly fading. Robert Thornton, a man who’s Senior career has reenergised his darts is on the hunt for a Triple Crown this weekend. However, standing in his way was Colin McGarry, the elegant throwing Northern Irishman was generally agreed to be a potential banana skin. So it proved initially, the first 2 sets were shared and it looked nip & tuck. It was then time for The Thorn to put on the afterburners, buoyed by his recent successes, he took himself to 3-1 and it was his darts at 1-1 in Set 5. As he sat comfortably, McGarry produced a maximum and followed it with the loudest roar of the night. Unsettled, Thornton contrived to miss 5 match darts and The Chief gratefully accepted the charity to make it 3-2. However in Set 6, rather than crumble, Robert drew on his experience to see out the match, finally completing the win on his SEVENTH match dart. Speaking to BT Sports “I beat myself up, but he got me back up by shouting. Don’t remind me of the missed match darts as I’m sure the wife will remind me” Robert groaned. John Part awaits in R2.  

Dancing dartist Leonard Gates led the Yeovil crowd in a James Brown dancing class as he waltzed into R2. Following his Champion of Champions win, Gates appears to have found a home in Seniors Darts. “England, y’all have got it going on” he told BT Sport after a 4-2 win over “Flash” Mark Dudbridge. The match was on a knife edge throughout but “Soulger” Gates appears to be unmoved by his opponents actions. Leading 3-1 all was looking good for Gates until Dudbridge narrowly missed a 9 darter in leg 1 of set 5, mopping up in 10 and in the next leg won the set with a 156 check out. Lesser men may have wilted but Gates said he took no notice of the scoring blitz “In my mind there’s more game to play”. He was spot on as Dudbridge couldn’t keep up the power scoring and the achingly cool American took to the dancefloor once more.  


10 times women’s world champion Trina Gulliver bowed out in R1 of the World Senior Darts Masters 2023 sponsored by Jennings Bet after a topsy-turvy tungsten tussle. Gulliver flew out of the traps, rapidly taking the first two sets with a near 94 average. Whilst Gulliver took first blood in the match, it was Mason who literally bled, nicking his finger on the dartboard wire, leaving visible blood across the 1 & 5 bed.  Mason admitted to Helen Chamberlain afterwards “I wasn’t getting a look in and I knew if it continued after the break that I would get beat”. Set 3 felt a decisive turning point, Mace the Ace pinning a 133 out-shot which gave him some momentum and took the wind from the Gulliver sail. Set 4 may have been the most critical of all with Gulliver missing a dart to take her 3-1 ahead in sets and within striking distance of a win. However in the key final sets, Gulliver’s darts deserted her. The doubles dried up and the scoring began to evaporate too and Mason took full advantage to claim 4 sets on the trot to advance through into R2. “I respect Trina probably more than any other player” a relieved Mason admitted “she’s a legend and a forerunner for our sport.” And with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, he added “Don’t forget, her & I share 10 world championships between us”.  

Deliberate darter Dennis Harbour called out Phil Taylor after shocking fans favourite Martin “Wolfie” Adams in the second match. Harbour admitted “it’s difficult to play against one of your best mates (Adams), but I’ve never played Phil Taylor and I would love to” Dennis was clearly thrilled to progress 4-2 in what was in truth, a dowdy encounter. Edging in front after a silky smooth shanghai in leg 3 of set 1, the Harbourmaster kept Adams at arms length throughout the contest. A combination of the heat and the nature of the players game, this was a battle for the purists with the 6 short sets taking well in excess of an hour. Harbour’s mid finishing was a real highlight in the game, a number of times taking out finishes in 2 darts, including a special 86 after Wolfie had just pressurised with a 180. Throughout the game Adams struggled for rhythm, but Harbour took full advantage and it wasn’t until the last set before the pressure really showed in Harbour’s form. As he dallied for a final double, Adams toothless display was amplified as he couldn’t take advantage. The wounded Wolfie admitted to BT Sport he was “hot and bothered” as he snarled his way off the stage.  

In a stone-cold Seniors Darts classic, Darth Maple overcame scowling Kevin Painter in a last leg decider after the Artist had battled back from 3 sets to nil behind. Taking us into the decider, Part offered up a high 5 which was met with total ambivalence from Painter who was either completely focused in the zone or livid as he seemed to take every good dart thrown by Part as a personal affront, shaking his head and mumbling behind the ice cool Canadian. Whilst Part is well known to be as personable as they come, you don’t win 3 world titles without steel and he demonstrated that in the decider. After Painter missed two at D18 for the match, Part nailed D20, leading to a real outpouring of emotion. “I’ve a good record versus Kev” Part opined afterwards “I just have to stay there and I knew I’d get a chance. There was no way I was missing that tops” The ultimate match player, Part lost the first leg of the first 3 sets, only to come back and win them all, leading Painter to be close to boiling point. There was no doubt Painter looked the better of the two during the match play, but Part was sharper on the doubles. In set 5, Part missed a D11 for the match and Painter encouraged by this twitch took the set and when he took set 6 too it looked for all the world as if Part’s race was run. However the final set proved Part is right in the hunt for the title this weekend.  

The final game in the afternoon session gave everyone a chance to say farewell to the Limestone Cowboy Bob Anderson who’s retiring from the game. With the announcer, commentators and even the referee and scorers all bedecked in cowboy hats, Anderson came to the stage one more time to the approbation the 1988 world champion deserved for a legendary career, although this time he left his horse in the dressing room. It was a tough assignment for opponent Richie Howson who’s found the Seniors tour very much to his liking so far, but he showed his mind was concentrated on the win and not the farewell tour for Bob. Scoring heavily, it was a routine win for the Owl who will find harder tasks to come seeing out the match 4-0. But this was all about the 75 year old legend and despite the reverse looked to enjoy every minute of the acclaim and warmth he received from the knowledgeable Yeovil crowd. “I wish I could have played like I used to play” Bob Anderson said afterward “it’s a bitter pill to swallow that you can no longer do what you used to do. As all old cowboys do, I’m going to ride off into the sunset”