PHIL TAYLOR is darts’ No1 heavyweight again after a crushing victory in Flight Night II.
The Power KO’d the challenge of Ray van Barneveld 7-1 in awesome style to win the Ladbrokes.com PDC World Championship after an agonising two years in the wilderness.
The two titans of tungsten faced each other in the sport’s biggest match in a repeat of the 2007 final which went big Barney’s way in a gripping sudden-death shootout.
But this time there was no way Taylor was letting go of the trophy which he has now held aloft a record 14 times and five-time champ Barney was blown away.
Taylor, 48, said: “It was like a boxing match. I couldn’t afford to relax for one split second until I hammered in that last double.
“I feel like I’ve been reunited with an old friend. It’s a very special feeling, I’m over the moon. I couldn’t stand being stuck on 13, it felt kind of unlucky. I just told myself to play solidly and I knew I was playing well.
“After the first set I got an inkling I could be on here. I just had to remember to keep calm, not get carried away and just keep landing the jabs until the final bell.”
The final punch which floored bewildered Barney was a classy double 12, following on from a treble 19 to checkout on 81.
Taylor set a new record as he blitzed his way to his first title at the new Alexandra Palace venue.
His incredible three-dart average of 110.94 was the highest in any PDC final over 15 years — beating his own previous best of 109.47 in the World Matchplay in June last year.
Taylor also re-established England’s place at the summit of PDC darts after two years in foreign hands.
There were no nerves from the king of the oche last night as he set about his task to regain past glories.
The first two sets were over and done with inside 20 minutes with clear daylight between the two men and Taylor 2-0 up.
He never looked back and swept to the title having dropped just four sets over the whole six matches of his triumphant campaign.
Even Barney could not make a dent in The Power’s supremacy and left the stage a shattered man.
He admitted: “Phil is the greatest on earth. I couldn’t give any more. Phil did not give me many opportunities but those he did give me I didn’t take.
“Two or three years ago he was struggling and hitting averages of 100, 102. I am doing that now. The crowd was cheering ‘England, England’ not for me. But I am pleased for him that he is world champion again.”