Darting delight

skysports.com looks back on a memorable World Darts Championship

By Paul Higham.   Last Updated: 06/01/09 9:56pm

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Taylor and Barney: Power too good in final

Taylor and Barney: Power too good in final

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The 2009 World Darts Championship may have had a familar ending to it, the world number one beating the world number two in the final - but the action and drama that proceeded it made it a remarkable tournament from start to finish.

So odds-on favourite Phil Taylor battered the world's next-best player Raymond van Barneveld in the final, a truly expected ending to the tournament given the way 'The Power' had been performing this year, but the Alexandra palace was anything but predictable throught a magical 13 days of darting excellence.

We had shocks galore as the well-established seeds struggled against hungry young qualifiers and foreign invaders, while the classic matches that only the World Championship seems to be able to produce came thick and fast.

With record prize money up for grabs, and the vibrant crowd at the Ally Pally as loud and lively as ever, the 2009 World Championship will go down as a vintage year in darts.

Shocks

The very first session of the tournament was stocked with shocks, as in all the first five seeds to step onto the stage left with the bitter taste of defeat - none more so than defending champion John Part.

The Canadian three-time world champion was hoping for a strong title defence, but instead he was taken apart by American Bill Davis in an embarrassing 3-0 defeat on opening night.

World number five Terry Jenkins was then stunned by Dennis Smith, and to prove it was no blip in the order of things the shocks kept on coming - with former finalist Peter Manley going out to Mensur Suljovic.

Last year's surprise finalist Kirk Shepherd was another to fall at the first hurdle, while 67-year-old John MaGowan upset the odds to topple Chris Mason.

Another intriguing factor in this year's tournament was the appearance of women's world champion Anastasia Dobromyslova, which generated a huge amount of publicity and, although she lost, the girl can play and she has earned herself a challenge match with Eric Bristow to come.

History

Taylor's 14th world title should rightly have top billing in the tournament review, but a co-starring role will have to go to Barney and his superb nine-darter during the quarter-finals - the first perfect leg in the PDC World Championship game.

Barney had already been involved in probably the match of the tournament, and final-leg thriller against Ronnie Baxter, and his perfect leg in defeating Jelle Klaasen capped a tremendous tournament for the Ducthman - even if he did fall at the final hurdle.

Some great stories also emerged from the tournament - the resurgence of Baxter and the runs of both Co Stompe and Barrie Bates to the last eight were welcome sights for all darts fans.

Geordie-turned-Aussie Paul Nicholson ruffled a few feathers on and off the oche, but his talent cannot be doubted after he also made the quarters by beatin Adria Lewis in a thriller and Dennis Priestley.

The final word must go to Taylor though, as he capped a remarkable year with a 14th world title, and a record average for a World Championship game when thrashing his closest rival.

The darts roadshow gets rolling again in February with a return of the Premier League, but it will take a long time for the memories of the Alexandra Palace to fade.

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