Darts: Phil Taylor – Mastership!

It’s the second round of the World Matchplay, and the pundits, are expecting Colin Osbourne, to give Phil Taylor, a test. Osbourne, fresh from victory over Mervyn King, exudes a bucketful of confidence and belief. He’s beaten Taylor recently. And fancies his chances of doing so again. And maybe that was Osbourne’s problem. It was as if Taylor, wanted to prove that Osbourne’s victory, was nothing more than a one-off. For on Tuesday night in Blackpool, Phil Taylor played darts at the very highest level. At one point he was averaging nearly 114. He attained a level of darts, rarely […]

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Darts: Raymond Van Barneveld – Feeling The Heat!

Holding a five leg lead, at 12-7, Dutchman, Raymond Van Barneveld, looked in complete control of his quarter-final match against Wayne Mardle. Then, with defeat staring him in the face, Mardle upped the intensity. With the crowd on his side, he gradually and spiritedly, eroded Van Barneveld’s lead, to edge a thriller, 17-15. This was a match that Van Barneveld, should not have lost. But he appeared to lose his composure. Somehow, the crowd, rooting feverishly for Mardle, seemed to get to him. He lost the critical containment, that was holding his fragile game together. Belatedly, he did appear to […]

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Darts: Mark Dudbridge – The Five Second Rule

It’s the first night of the World Matchplay, at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. Mark Dudbridge is 9-7 up, against Wayne Mardle. And, he has five chances at a double, to take the match. Unfortunately for Dudbridge, he misses them all. Mardle, then proceeds to come back from the brink of defeat, to snatch an unlikely 11-9 win. It’s a match that Dudbridge should have secured. Even at 9-8, he is still in the game. But those crucial, match-point misses, play on his mind. His game goes to pieces, as he can’t seem to get those missed doubles out of his head. […]

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Darts: Phil Taylor – The Power of Nine

So James Wade takes another TV title, with an accomplished display, to see off the spirited challenge of American, Gary Mawson. But the UK Open will be remembered, for a classic nine dart finish from Phil Taylor, in his fourth round match with Jamie Harvey. This is the fourth time, in five years, that Taylor has produced the perfect nine dart finish, at Bolton. After securing, thirteen world titles, you might expect Taylor to be slowing down in his quest for excellence. But he appears to doing just the opposite. Clint Eastwood said in an interview recently that, ‘Some directors […]

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Darts: Kirk Shepherd – The Flag

So Kirk Shepherd was unable to rediscover the fearlessness that characterised his adventure into the World Darts Final. The first clues that this seemed a step too far for the sheet metal worker, came as he made his way onto the main stage. Kirk brought the flag of St. George with him. He waved it at the crowd in a bid to evoke a powerful sense of patriotism. In doing so he forgot to shake the hands of the match officials. When he remembered to do this, he then stumbled, nearly tripping over. Perhaps the reason he needed the crowd […]

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Darts: Kirk Shepherd – Fearless!

It had been expected that Wayne Mardle, three times beaten semi-finalist, would prove too strong for the qualifier Kirk Shepherd in tonight’s semi-final. But the form book was overturned. Kirk Shepherd played without fear. Nothing To Lose + Supreme Confidence = Fearlessness. For Wayne Mardle the weight of expectation was too much. Spirited in defeating Phil Taylor in the quarter final. Now, as favourite, there was little joy. Only pressure. Fearlessness marks the arrival onto the sporting stage of many of the greats and legends. As if they have yet to experience doubt or uncertainty. As if the potency of […]

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Darts: Raymond Van Barneveld – Zen!

So Raymond Van Barneveld is using Zen meditation techniques to improve his concentration. There is much sense in this. In darts there can be high degrees of pressure. A small target. A double to win the leg. Little margin for error. It’s easy to get down on yourself if you miss a double and let your opponent in. Van Barneveld’s technique will enable him to keep calm under pressure. Remain neutral. Almost in a dream-like state. Just let his game flow, easily and naturally. No dramas. No unnecessary shows of emotion. Just calm and steady. Staying in the moment is […]

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