Memories of the 2014 Darts World Championship will be rekindled on Wednesday night in Blackpool as Phil Taylor takes on Michael Smith in the second round of the World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens.
‘The Power’ was humbled memorably by World Youth Champion Smith in the World Championship at the Alexandra Palace before Christmas last year, and the pair will stage a rematch in the World Matchplay on Wednesday night in their bid to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Taylor is aiming for a 15th World Matchplay title this week and his seventh in a row, the world number two on course to achieve that feat so far after a comfortable 10-3 round one success over practice partner, Darren Webster.
The reigning champion averaged 101.79 in the first round and took out a superb bull, bull, double 16 checkout of 132 along the way, and heads into his second round clash as hugely enhanced 4/1 favourite with Betfair (new customers only) to avenge his December defeat to the young star performer, Smith.
Smith survived a 10-8 contest in the opening round against Justin Pipe, setting up a clash with Taylor to make it to the last eight where he is a very capable 10/3 underdog with Bet365 to cut The Power once again.
On the rematch, Taylor told Sky Sports: “It’s going to be a cracker. On Wednesday we are in for a treat – I’m going to give Michael a game now. I want to have a good fight with him and let us see who is the best.”
Wednesday’s night of arrows in Blackpool kicks off with Paul Nicholson taking on Wes Newton, before Lakeside World Champion Stephen Bunting faces former Premier League champion, Gary Anderson.
Adrian Lewis then takes on Mervyn King in a mouth-watering contest, King 7/2 with Paddy Power to beat ‘Jackpot’, who whitewashed qualifier Andrew Gilding in the opening round. Paddy Power also refund your losing stake if the final checkout of any match is of 100 or more.
World Champion Michael van Gerwen meanwhile joins James Wade, Dave Chisnall and Simon Whitlock in the quarter-finals already, Whitlock pulling off the biggest surprise by eliminating Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld on Tuesday evening.
Action on Wednesday night gets underway at 7.20pm, and you can watch all the action live on Sky Sports.