Darts legend Phil Taylor has dubbed North East star Chris Dobey the ‘future of darts’, after beating him in the first round of the 2018 World Championship .
Bedlington’s Dobey bowed out at the first hurdle on Friday evening, despite a valiant comeback against the 16-time World Champion.
Having fallen 2-0 behind in sets, Dobey fired back to win the third set and missed two darts at double 16 to force a final set, as he succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to ‘The Power’.
Nonetheless, Taylor – who is retiring after the competition – was left mightily impressed by Dobey, admitting his relief after seeing off the talented youngster.
“There was a lot of pressure on me,” Taylor told PDC TV after the game.
“But to get past Chris Dobey . . . when they keep talking about the future of darts, that is your fella, I think.
“Him and Dimitri (van den Bergh), they are the ones to push the game on.
“I felt a bit tired tonight and that is not me, but I have got a few days off now and I’ll get ready for the next game.”
In what could have been the final game of Taylor’s glittering career, both players started off shaky, but it was Dobey who drew first blood.
‘Hollywood’ took out 46 to win the first leg of the match, before taking out 78 for a 2-1 lead. Nonetheless, Taylor drew on all of his experience and with Dobey sat on 36 for the first set, the 57-year-old pinned double 20 with his last dart, before clinching the fifth leg to seal the first set.
Taylor quickly blitzed his way into a two-set lead, and all signs suggested the Stoke ace was on his way to a 3-0 whitewash.
Nonetheless, Dobey showed a lot of heart in the third leg, establishing a 2-1 lead. Taylor crashed in a 105 checkout to move one leg away from victory, but Dobey remained unmoved.
‘Hollywood’ reeled off scores of 134, 180 and 137, before taking out 50 for a stunning 11-dart leg, to move the game into a fourth set.
The pair shared the opening legs of the fourth stanza before Dobey fired in a crucial 104 checkout, breaking the Taylor throw for a 2-1 lead.
Heartbreakingly for Dobey he then wired two darts at double 16 to take the game into a deciding set and Taylor made no mistake on the same target.
Dobey continued to battle in the last leg and heaped the pressure on Taylor by setting up double 18 in the final leg.
But Taylor drew on all of the experience which has seen him dominate the game for over 25 years, taking out 44 to seal the win, and keep alive hopes of securing a 17th World Championship title.
Dobey admitted he was disappointed after the game as he thought ‘he had him’.
“I feel hard done by but those two darts were crucial – you can’t miss two darts against Phil,” Dobey explained.
“I’ve just got to take it, you win some you lose some. I gave it a good battle out there, I came back strong but missed one or two darts at double.
“To be honest I thought I had him in the later stages of the match.
“He stole the first set, which hurt, but I battled back, but unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the result.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.”
Elsewhere on Friday evening, World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh dumped out former World Champion Stephen Bunting, while the much fancied Rob Cross enjoyed a successful debut at Alexandra Palace with a routine win over Japan’s Seigo Asada.
Full results (15/12/17)
Seigo Asada 2-1 Gordon Mathers
(21) Stephen Bunting 1-3 Dimitri van den Bergh
(6) Phil Taylor 3-1 Chris Dobey
(20) Rob Cross 3-0 Seigo Asada
Source : Chroniclelive