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Taylor goes "James Bond" for Barney clash

Legends return for NHS online match

PHIL TAYLOR admits he’s had to become “James Bond” for legendary lockdown clash with Raymond van Barneveld to raise thousands for the NHS.

The 16-times World Champion takes on Barney in a Paddy Power/Target Darts online streaming clash at 7pm tonight.

But The Power also admits that it is likely to be one of the last appearances he’ll make as a player as back and hip injuries hinder his movement.

Paddy Power will donate £1,000 to the NHS for every 180 the icons throw during the match and Taylor revealed: “We’re playing best of seven, 501, double out, so a normal game. Paddy Power are sending some equipment up. 

“It’s all going to be sanitised, left in my car park, so someone will go and pick it up and bring it in. They’ve told me how to set it up, then I’ll put it back outside in the box and they’ll come and pick it up and take it away. It’s like James Bond stuff this is, it’s ever so strange. 

“Paddy Power, bless them, a thousand pounds for every 180 that we hit, to the NHS.

“Seriously, this is more fun, it’s something nice that we can do. I’ve been inundated for shirt requests, I signed a couple of dozen yesterday. Target have been fantastic because they keep supplying them for me for free and we send them off to the charities. Some of them are raising three and four thousand pounds for the NHS, it’s brilliant. Absolutely fantastic. 

“This is more for the NHS, I’m not bothered whether I win, lose of draw to be honest with you. But I’d like to win it, but it’s all about raising money.”

This grandad grudge match is also a return to arguably the greatest rivalry the sport has ever seen along with Eric Bristow and Jocky Wilson. 

The Power v RVB 2007 world final was without doubt the best match ever seen on TV - and Taylor also felt sorry for the way his Dutch pal’s career ended with a first round defeat at the Worlds in December. 

Taylor added: “It was the most talked about. Sky would put up ‘Taylor vs Barneveld’ and they had a clock ticking down for a few weeks. 

“It got that busy after that, Barry Hearn put so many tournaments on that it was second nature, I was playing Raymond every other week then, so it lost that little bit of a thrill really. It’s like Man Utd playing Liverpool every other week, it loses something I think.

“I felt gutted for him, I’ll be honest. I think he put himself under too much pressure. He wanted to copy what I did and go out with a bang and it was hard for him. I think he felt too much pressure. He’s never been a good loser, Barney hasn’t, he’s always been a passionate loser, if you know  what I mean? He loves to win which everybody does. Going out like that would have killed him, he’ll never forget it, that’s for sure.

“I’ve had loads of good matches with Raymond. The one I remember, one of the best ones, even though I lost it, was the time in Bolton, when he went jumping round the stage like a kangaroo. 

“He went out on 97, I’d just missed I think three at double top to win it and he went out on 97. I knew, you just know, it’s ever so strange, you look at the people you’re with thinking ‘he’s going to hit this’ and he went boom-boom, two darts. That was brilliant, pure class under pressure.”

But The Power also admits that will be part of his swansong from playing darts at all. He added: “I’m too old now, I’ve got arthritis in my right hip, I’ve got to have a new hip fitted when all this dies down. I pulled my back, I’ve crushed a disk a disk in my back so I’m not physically fit enough to compete against these youngsters now and put the practice in. 

“You’ve got to practice two or three hours a day, I just couldn’t do it now. And the travelling, I do not miss the travelling. 

“We’ve finished and we can go on holiday but we don’t want to go, it’s ever so strange, it’s lovely being around home.”

 Words by Phil Lanning; Images by Taylor Lanning.

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