Michael van Gerwen warms up for the World Championship with rout of Phil Taylor

Jamie Shaw in Off The Oche 06 Dec 2019
MVG produces a masterclass in Manchester (Photo credit: Modus)

Michael van Gerwen stepped up his preparation for the defence of his world title by thrashing former rival Phil Taylor 9-3 in an exhibition match in Manchester on Thursday.

The world number one, who launches the defence of his William Hill World Championship crown on opening night at Alexandra Palace next Friday, averaged 110 and hit six 180s in a blistering display to blow away his former nemesis.

The pair faced off for the first time on UK soil since their Grand Slam Semi-Final in 2017, with Taylor bidding for revenge in his second year of retirement from professional competition.

Van Gerwen, though, quickly stamped his authority in front of a 1,100-strong crowd at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre, affording ‘The Power’ darts at a double in just one of the opening seven legs as he raced into a 6-1 lead with a sensational 116 average.

Van Gerwen extended his lead to 7-1 before Taylor stopped the rot with a 96 checkout, only for MVG to kick off the next leg with a 170 and a 180 before eventually finishing double ten for a 12-darter.

The Dutchman then squandered multiple match darts, denting his average, as Taylor stayed alive at 8-3 behind, but the reigning World Champion made no mistake in sealing the deal in the following leg.

After the match, Van Gerwen paid tribute to Taylor’s darting legacy as he addressed the crowd.

The night also saw Glen Durrant defeat Vincent van der Voort 5-2 with a 104.5 average and a high checkout of 109, while the likes of Bobby George and Darryl Fitton featured in exhibition matches and emerging talents including Bradley Brooks, Jim Moston, James Beeton, Callum Loose, Harry Gregory, Ben Smith and Nathan Care were also in action.