Blackpool’s World Matchplay Championships have been the plaything of Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor for a long while, with darts’ answer to Michael Schumacher and Steve Redgrave rolled into one taking the prize 14 times overall and in each of the last six renewals.
However, with Taylor looking less than imperious in his 54th year, particularly since suffering a second-round exit from December’s World Championships, the 3/1 second-favourite is overdue being knocked off his Winter Gardens perch.
There’s not much value in taking him on with 2/1 jolly Michael van Gerwen either, but the three arrowsmiths listed below come in as excellent outsider alternatives.
Wade was the last person to win this title whose name doesn’t end with Taylor, and Helen Chamberlain’s ex has been beaten by the Power in three of the six finals since.
Aldershot’s finest flinger has been equally consistent at the Worlds, with last-four exits in each of the last two campaigns, so expect another strong showing from Wade – who’s still just 31-years-old – in the north west.
‘The Warrior’ will hold the dubious advantage of being able to take the tram eight miles along the Fylde coast from his home in Fleetwood for the Winter Gardens event.
Newton has been in and around the top of the rankings for a number of years now without winning a PDC premier competition, but after matching his best finish at Ally Pally when going out to Peter Wright in the quarters at the back end of last year, the world number 10’s time may have come.
A previous quarter-finalist in Blackpool, Newton pulled off a televised nine-darter in the last 16 two years ago.
‘The Bull’ is clearly wildly overpriced to win a tournament he has finished runner-up in twice since 2007.
Don’t be fooled by the 50-year-old’s poor form at the Worlds in December, as Jenkins’ last appearance in this final followed a first-round exit in north London, and the world number 18 recently banked £25,000 when finishing runner-up to Adrian Lewis in the UK Open.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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