By James Lloyd
Phil Taylor was crowned the first ever Champions League of Darts winner as he cruised past rival Michael van Gerwen 11-5 in the final at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.
The 16 time world champion took the title, and the £100,000 top prize, with a number of commanding performances over the weekend that included the dismantling of James Wade in the semi-final.
Stoke based Taylor topped Group A of the tournament and picked up wins over Peter Wright, Robert Thornton and van Gerwen.
“I loved it, I loved every minute of it”, said an ecstatic Taylor.
“I thought in the final I might struggle a little bit. I was dropping down in the semis, my energy levels weren’t as high and I wasn’t firing on all four, but Michael wasn’t either.
“It’s been a long day, but during the final I thought ‘I’ve got you now’”.
‘The Power’ even came agonisingly short of a 9 dart finish in his final group match against Thornton, squandering a shot at double 12, which he claimed slipped out of his hand.
Winner of Group B, Gary Anderson, lost his semi-final match against van Gerwen after the Dutchman stormed to an 11-5 win over the reigning world champion.
The Scotsman explained how he was awake at 4 am on Sunday morning.
“I think it’s all the jet-lag”, said Anderson. “We’ve been all over the world in the last six weeks, and I like to sleep!
“I woke up at about 4 am and there was still some people out and around!.”
Taylor praised the raucous Cardiff crowd and hailed the success of the inaugural Champions League tournament, which was broadcast live on the BBC.
“I’m not going to say anything about Cardiff because I’ve loved every minute of it.
“It’s been brilliant, they [the crowd] got behind both players, they got behind everybody, they are very knowledgeable, they love the darts and really got behind us.”
The 56 year-old added: “It’s a different audience on BBC, which I’ve always classed as ‘Mother of TV’, so it’s on terrestrial TV and you’ll get the old ladies watching, I say that, but I mean the people who can’t afford Sky.”
The PDC tour will head to Dublin next for the next major tournament, the Unibet World Grand Prix, before the European Championships at the end of October.