Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Billy on the Box: The Odyssey throws up darts classic

As John Gwynne said on Sky Sports there was only one word to sum up the clash between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld last Thursday night — absolutely brilliant.

Yes, once again the stag party that is the Premier League washed up on our shores as the Odyssey was six-packed to the rafters and again it refreshed the parts that other events can’t reach.

Main billing was the clash between darts’ most enduring foes and unlike his wee brother at Chelsea, RVB at least was able to make a match of it.

Mind you, we shouldn’t lose the run of ourselves. It was a cracking match with ridiculous averages but in terms of pure tension, drama and brilliance it wasn’t a patch on the 2007 World Championship final.

That’s safely tucked up in there in my top five sporting moments, along with Ole-Gunnar Solsjkaer’s Champions’ League winner, Philip McCallen’s five-timer at the North-West, Alex Higgins’ ridiculous break in the 1982 world semi against Jimmy White and, of course, Paul Hardy’s winner in the Sky Blues’ 1-0 drubbing of Larne in the 1989 Irish Cup Final.

But I digress. We knew it was going to be special as Dave Clark revealed The Power had hit 10 bullseyes in a row in practice. Now, I’m no Carol Vorderman, but if you do the math, I think you’ll find that’s one short of 501.

Gwynne is a man of letters though, and right at Homer, sorry, home in the Odyssey, where the ‘Odysseus and Ulysses of the oche’ were doing battle. We’ll gloss over the fact that they were the same person but maybe Ulysses was Odysseus’ Premier League nickname as he bound onto the stage to Demis Roussos accompanied by walk-on girl Nana Mouskouri.

But this was a modern classic, a tale of two worlds and bellies colliding, and the man with the Power (right) proving to be RVB’s Achilles heel again.

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