2008 Stan James World Matchplay
2008 Stan James World Matchplay £300,000
Blackpool, England July 20-26, 2008
WAYNE MARDLE produced his ‘get out of jail free’ card to defeat Mark Dudbridge 11-9 on the opening night of the 2008 Stan James World Matchplay. Mardle looked set to crash out of the tournament when Dudbridge, who had also hit a 160 finish, overturned a 7-5 deficit with four straight legs to move to the brink of victory in a thriller. However, the 2004 runner-up missed five darts for victory, allowing Mardle to hit back and level before taking the win in overtime.
Photo Caption: Wayne Mardle comments after squeaking out a 11-9 win over Mark Dudbridge in overtime, “I feel for Mark, but he gave the game to me and I took my chance. I thought I’d blown it, but I got a second chance and had to take it.”
That match set the stage for one of the most thrilling World Matchplay Championships ever played. The 2008 Stan James World Matchplay was held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, England, beginning on Sunday, July 20 and finishing on Saturday, 26 with 32 player’s vying for the first place piece of the £300,000 in prize money.
Stan James World Matchplay Prize Fund
Winner: £ 60,000
Finalist: £ 30,000
Semi-Finalists: £ 17,000
Quarter Finalists: £ 12,000
9-16 £ 8,000
17-32 £ 4,000
Total £ 300,000
In addition, should a nine-dart finish be achieved, a £10,000 prize would be paid. If more than one player achieves this in the tournament this would be distributed equally.
Stan James World Matchplay Format
First Round – Best of 19 legs
Second Round – Best of 25 legs
Quarter-Finals – Best of 31 legs
Semi-Finals – Best of 33 legs
Final – Best of 35 legs
Each match must be won by two clear legs. There will be no tie break and the match will continue until one player achieves a two leg lead.
Previous World Matchplay Winners
Year Winner Finalist
1994 Larry Butler Dennis Priestley
1995 Phil Taylor Dennis Priestley
1996 Peter Evison Dennis Priestley
1997 Phil Taylor Alan Warriner
1998 Rod Harrington Ronnie Baxter
1999 Rod Harrington Peter Manley
2000 Phil Taylor Alan Warriner
2001 Phil Taylor Richie Burnett
2002 Phil Taylor John Part
2003 Phil Taylor Wayne Mardle
2004 Phil Taylor Mark Dudbridge
2005 Colin Lloyd John Part
2006 Phil Taylor James Wade
2007 James Wade Terry Jenkins
The opening night also saw 2005 World Matchplay champion Colin Lloyd condemned to a third successive first round exit at the Winter Gardens with a 10-6 loss to Mark Walsh. Walsh produced arguably his finest televised performance to come back from 3-1 down and see off Lloyd, hitting six 180s and averaging over 100.
Colin Osborne also impressed the crowd with his 10-7 win over Mervyn King. He also overturned a 3-1 deficit and hit six 180s to claim his first win in three attempts on the Blackpool stage.
Terry Jenkins produced his best display for five months to win a place in the second round of the Stan James World Matchplay with a 10-6 victory over Alex Roy. The world number five hit three ton-plus finishes, including a 160 checkout, to see off the qualifier from Watford. It was his finest performance since defeating Phil Taylor in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League, with four successive legs seeing him pull away from six-all to take victory.
Photo Caption: “It’s not been my year so far, but the Premier League tired me out a lot,” admitted Jenkins. “I’ve recovered from that now and I’ve had good practice going into this event. That showed today, and I’m going into competitions hungry for success. Alex is a very under-estimated player who’s been playing well recently. He’s beaten me the last two times we’ve played when I’ve played well, and I knew it would be tough. He played well today, had a couple of ton-plus finishes and that shows the quality of player he is.”
Earlier in the day, Dennis Priestley came from 8-5 down to take a 10-8 win over Adrian Gray, meaning he would meet Jenkins in the second round. Having been a finalist three years in a row, it would be a dream come true for Priestley to finally win the World Matchplay.
Roland Scholten, a semi-finalist two years ago, crashed to a 10-4 defeat to Manchester-based Matt Clark, who made it third time lucky to finally get through the first round in Blackpool.
Tony Eccles celebrated his World Matchplay debut with a gritty 10-8 win over Kevin Painter, who had hit back from 7-3 down to level before paying the price for missed doubles.
Taylor, an eight-time Winter Gardens winner, was pushed hard by Steve Beaton before taking a 10-6 victory in his opening contest. Taylor averaged 103.5 and hit nine scores of 174 or more in overpowering Beaton to set up a second round clash with Colin Osborne.
Van Barneveld was made to sweat even more against Stoke qualifier Mark Frost, a scaffolder by trade, who led the Dutchman 6-4 and 9-8 before succumbing to an 11-9 loss.
World Champion John Part opened his challenge with a 10-3enge with a 10-3 win over Chris Mason, who was hampered by nerve damage to an elbow which will require surgery next month.
Kevin McDine made a stunning World Matchplay debut to dump Stoke’s Adrian Lewis from the event with a 10-8 win in a thrilling contest.
Dutch wonderkid Michael van Gerwen made a thrilling start to his Stan James World Matchplay challenge with a 14-12 win over Andy Hamilton. The 19-year-old matched his undoubted talent with a newfound maturity to begin his challenge for the £60,000 title in Blackpool in a see-saw battle with Hamilton. The Stoke man fought back from trailing 3-0 and 8-5 to give himself a shot at an 11-9 win, but two missed darts for the match cost him as van Gerwen edged home.
Photo Caption: It took Michael van Gerwen 4 extra legs to put ‘The Hammer’, Andy Hamilton, down. “I’m very happy now to get the win,” said van van Gerwen. “I always want to win 10-0, but it doesn’t matter how you win as long as you get the win. We didn’t play the board, we played each other. We were both a bit nervous at times and I can play a lot better than that. I’ll look forward to playing Wayne Mardle next. He’s a fast player so it’s easier for me. We’ve played twice before and I like playing against him.”
Van Gerwen’s Dutch colleague, Vincent van der Voort, suffered disappointment on his World Matchplay debut with a 10-8 defeat to Alan Tabern, who won eight of the final ten legs to come from 6-2 down to take the win.
Blackpool-based Ronnie Baxter delighted his home crowd with a 10-4 win over Andy Smith, while Peter Manley produced some of his trademark One Dart finishing to see off Denis Ovens by the same scoreline.
In the last first round match, defending champion James Wade began his challenge to retain the title with a 10-4 romp against Wayne Jones. Wade’s average peaked at 109 in taking a 6-0 lead, and he landed a 157 checkout in moving into the second round.
First Round Match Results
Mark Walsh 10-6 Colin Lloyd
Wayne Mardle 11-9 Mark Dudbridge
Colin Osborne 10-7 Mervin King
Dennis Priestley 10-8 Adrian Gray
Tony Eccles 10-8 Kevin Painter
Matt Clark 10-4 Roland Scholten
Terry Jenkins 10-6 Alex Roy
John Part 10-3 Chris Mason
Kevin McDine 10-8 Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor 10-6 Steve Beaton
Raymond van Barneveld 11-9 Mark Frost
Ronnie Baxter 10-4 Andy Smith
Alan Tabern 10-8 Vincent van der Voort
Michael van Gerwen 14-12 Andy Hamilton
Peter Manley 10-4 Denis Ovens
James Wade 10-4 Wayne Jones
SECOND ROUND MATCHES
Phil Taylor produced one of the greatest ever televised displays to romp into the quarter-finals of the Stan James World Matchplay with a 13-5 victory over Colin Osborne. Taylor was on course to achieve a record average in a major championship when he peaked at 114.7 in taking a 10-0 lead against the Derby challenger. Although his average dipped as Osborne hit back, including hitting a ten-darter in pulling back to 12-5, Taylor eventually wrapped up the win with a 50 percent checkout ratio and a 109.45 average, the third highest in World Matchplay history.
Photo Caption: Nearly setting a TV record scoring average, Phil Taylor eased past Colin Osborne in the second round with a 13-5 win. “I was just aiming to get the win and that’s fantastic,” said Taylor. “You don’t always think about your average but it’s great to be playinng so well. Colin has a lot of bottle and showed that by fighting right to the end.”
Kevin McDine continued his emergence as a darting star with a 13-9 win over Mark Walsh to reach the quarter-finals. The 23-year-old made his Winter Gardens debut with a win over Adrian Lewis on Monday, and backed up that victory with a solid display to see off Walsh. McDine now meets Phil Taylor on the televised stage for a first time in what will be the biggest test of his 18-month career as a professional.
Wayne Mardle powered his way into the quarter-finals of the Stan James World Matchplay with a superb comeback against Michael van Gerwen at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. The 2003 runner-up produced one of the finest fightbacks of his career in overturning an 8-6 deficit against the teenage wonderkid. Mardle won seven of the game’s final eight legs to book his place in the quarter-finals.
Emerging talent Alan Tabern reached a third successive quarter-final in a major tournament with a superb 13-7 defeat of World Champion John Part. The St Helens-based star opened up a 6-0 lead against Part with a sensational start before setting up a quarter-final against veteran Dennis Priestley.
Priestley, who has bounced back from a prostate cancer operation this year, overcame Terry Jenkins 13-11 to remain on course for a fourth World Matchplay final.
James Wade turned the pressure up on his rivals for the Stan James World Matchplay title with a 13-7 win over Ronnie Baxter. The defending champion averaged 98 and took a 10-1 lead including a ten-dart leg in seeing off local star Baxter to earn a place in the quarter-finals.
Photo Caption: The defending champion, James Wade, took a 10-1 spot before Ronnie Baxter shifted gears. But it was a little to late for ‘The Rocket’ to catch up. “I couldn’t believe I was 10-1 up and thought I was home and dry, but I nearly paid the price,” said Wade. “I’m still learning and taking things on board, though. All I can do is keep practicing and doing what I do best, but I still haven’t hit top gear yet.”
Matt Clark reached the quarter-finals of the Stan James World Matchplay for a first time with a 13-6 win over Peter Manley at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The Manchester-based thrower had never won a game in Blackpool before his first round win over Roland Scholten, but claimed another major name with an assured win against the 1999 runner-up. Clark’s performance was founded on some superb finishing, taking out 50 percent of his chances at a double.
Raymond van Barneveld returned to top form to power past Tony Eccles into the quarter-finals. The Dutchman was unconvincing in a first round win over unknown qualifier Mark Frost at the Winter Gardens, but showed flashes of his brilliant best to see off Eccles 13-3. He romped into a 5-0 lead before Eccles got off the mark, and included finishes of 138 and 116 in setting up a quarter-final against Wayne Mardle.
Second Round Match Results
Phil Taylor 13-5 Colin Osborne
Kevin McDine 13-9 Mark Walsh
Dennis Priestley 13-11 13-6 Wayne Mardle
Terry Jenkins 13-7 John Part
James Wade 16-14 13-6 Wayne Mardle
Terry Jenkins 13-7 John Part
James Wade 16-14 Terry Jenkins
Alan Tabern 13-7 John Part
Wayne Mardle 13-9 Michael van Gerwen
Matt Clark 13-6 Peter Manley
Raymond van Barneveld 13-3 Tony Eccles
James Wade 13-7 Ronnie Baxter
QUARTER FINAL ROUND MATCHES
Veteran star Dennis Priestley reached his first Stan James World Matchplay semi-final since 1999 with a 16-14 win over Alan Tabern at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. The 58-year-old, who had prostate cancer surgery in January before returning to the top level of darts, edged a tight contest to condemn Tabern to a quarter-final defeat for a third successive major tournament. The two could barely be separated in a thriller, but Priestley defied fatigue to sneak into the last four.
Photo Caption: The Veteran Dennis Priestley stayed on track with a Quarter Final win over Alan Tabern “I’m absolutely delighted to be in the semi-final,” said Priestley. “My aim is always just to play as well as I can, and if I win, it’s a bonus. When it was 8-8, I asked referee Bruce Spendley how many more legs I needed and nearly passed out when he said I needed eight more! I had a period where I was absolutely exhausted, but I bucked myself up and got a second wind. I was playing really good darts and just couldn’t break Alan late in the game. He was snapping at my heels all the time.” Priestley’s deliberate style has become a trademark over 20 years at the top level, but he admited he speeded up his game in the Blackpool summer heat.
James Wade remained on course for a second successive Stan James World Matchplay victory following a 16-12 win over Matt Clark, but admitted that frustration almost cost him the win. Wade was pushed all the way as Clark continued his most impressive run in a major PDC tournament to come close to knocking out the defending champion. Clark had knocked out Roland Scholten and Peter Manley to reach the last eight, and was neck-and-neck with Wade for much of a compelling contest. However, Wade crucially kept his cool to take three legs without reply at the end of the game to seal his place in the semi-finals.
Wayne Mardle produced one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the Stan James World Matchplay to dump out Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter-finals. The 2003 runner-up looked set to exit the event when van Barneveld took a 12-7 lead in their contest, only for Mardle to string together eight legs in a row to take the lead. Crowd favorite Mardle then held off van Barneveld’s challenge to take victory and set up a semi-final against defending champion James Wade.
Photo Caption: Wayne Mardle upset Raymond van Barneveld when he suddenly went cold and Mardle ran off 8 straight legs in their Quarter Final match. “When I was five legs down, I felt he wasn’t playing well and I had to push him,” said Mardle. “When I did he faltered, but he still came back to take me all the way. It was a battle and I’ve proved I can battle it out now in all three games I’ve played this week. You get more resilient from each game and it makes you stronger. I’m in the semi-finals and it’s my first one since the World Championship. It’s a huge boost. I was the favorite then and everyone expected me to beat Kirk Shepherd, but James is expected to beat me now and I’m pretty dangerous in that situation. I’m loving it and there’s no better feeling than winning. Losing hurts and that’s what’s given me the fight. I want to win one big major tournament, and who knows, this could knows, this could be the first.”
Phil Taylor remained on course for a ninth Stan James World Matchplay title following a 16-6 win over Kevin McDine, but insisted he had to improve if he is to reclaim the Blackpool trophy. Taylor seemed on course for a comfortable win when he romped into an 8-0 lead against the 23-year-old. However, McDine reduced the arrears to 13-6 to give the world number one some nervous moments before Taylor wrapped up the win.
Quarter Final Match Results
Dennis Priestley 16-14 Alan Tabern
James Wade 16-1111e 16-11112 Matt Clark
Wayne Mardle 18-16 Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor 16-6 Kevin McDine
SEMI FINAL ROUND MATCHES
James Wade remained on course to claim a fourth major title and retain the World Matchplay trophy following a clinical 17-5 dismissal of Wayne Mardle. Mardle had knocked out world number two Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter-finals, but never stood a chance against Wade, with the 25-year-old racing into a 7-0 lead and hitting 12 180s in storming to victory.
Phil Taylor bulldozed his way into the final of the Stan James World Matchplay with a scintillating 17-8 win over Dennis Priestley. Taylor produced one of the most heavy-scoring games in the history of the tournament, hitting 12 180s and setting up three potential nine-darters, missing double 12 on one occasion to see a £10,000 bonus elude him. However, he remained on course to claim the £60,000 first prize after ending Priestley’s plucky challenge, with the 58-year-old coming from 10-2 down to trail just 13-8 at one stage.
Photo Caption: Phil Taylor ended Dennis Priestley’s run at a World Matchplay title winning their Semi Final match. “Dennis was brilliant and I had to play that well to beat him,” said Taylor. “I hit him hard early on, but he doesn’t give in and he kept coming back at me.” Priestley admitted, “Phil was simply too consistent for me. I was too up and down and didn’t play as well as I’d have liked, but I know where I lost it. He did something remarkable, and I didn’t produce good enough darts to beat him, especially in the legs where I started and didn’t win them in 15 darts, which is what you have to do.”
Quarter Final Match Results
Phil Taylor 17-8 Dennis Priestley
James Wade 17-5 Wayne Mardle
Phil Taylor was left in tears after winning the Stan James World Matchplay for a ninth time with an 18-9 destruction of defending champion James Wade. Wade led 7-4 in his bid for a first victory over the Stoke legend in a final only to fall victim to an incredible performance as Taylor averaged almost 110 to take the £60,000 first prize. Taylor claimed 12 legs out of 13 to move 16-8 up before Wade hit seven perfect darts in hitting back, but he was merely delaying the inevitable, with victory sealed thanks to a 132 bullseye checkout.
“I’m lost for words,” admitted a tearful Taylor. “It means so much to me to win this title back. I’ve never been prouder of winning a tournament in my entire career than now. At the end of last year when I lost in the first round of the World Grand Prix in Ireland, I sat backstage and thought that my career was over. But I’ve worked so hard and this is a reflection on that. James started superbly in the final, and I had to do something special to get back at him.”
Photo Caption: Phil Taylor, the 2008 Stan James World Matchplay Champion, holds the trophy he has held 8 times before. He never let James Wade get too close on his way to an 18-9 victory.
Final Match Results
Phil Taylor 18-8 James Wade