England on the brink
England’s so-called dream team of Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis are on the brink of elimination from the PDC World Cup at the second round stage for the second time in as many attempts.
14 months ago Spain caused the upset of the tournament by eliminating England, represented by Taylor and James Wade, this time around Canada could eliminate the tournament favourites. Although the world’s number one and two ranked players are still generally priced at odds-on to go through.
The Canadians had booked their place in the second round with an unconvincing win over Hungary earlier in the day, and were consequently able to come into the match with the number one seeds devoid of any expectations. Taylor was as short as 1/25 in the betting to beat Ken MacNeill and few, yours truly included, expected anything other than a straightforward victory for The Power.
Not so. MacNeill, ranked number 98 in the world and with cumulative earnings for the past two years at less than 0.01% of Taylor’s, took the first leg with a 111 checkout. The world number one hit back to take the next two legs, but MacNeil wasn’t for folding and hit back with two legs of his own before Taylor levelled the match to take it into a decider. The Canadian had first shot at an out but missed the bull for a 170 finish, then, with Taylor waiting on 32, the man from Edmonton held his nerve and took out double 19 with his second dart to record a famous victory.
That set the alarm bells ringing in the England camp, but there would be no dramas if the World Champion could win his game. However, he came up against a snarling John Part, buoyed by his partner’s win, and when Darth Maple hit a 140 checkout in the final leg England were left staring down the barrel.
In order to progress to the second round the tournament favourites must now win their doubles match, to level the tie, then win a sudden death shootout leg; an eventuality that most bookmakers price England at around 4/6 to achieve. However, Stan James disagree and offer 8/11 about the Canadians progressing, leaving England at Even money odds to go through.
Lewis and Taylor remain the tournament favourites at odds of 7/4, but Australia (5/2), Scotland (9/2) and Wales (13/2) have all come in for support after each winning both of their second round singles matches.
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• England v Canada: Three world champs do battle
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