Resort backs Taylor Power

Monday evening at the World Matchplay Darts, in Blackpool's Winter Gardens Empress Ballroom.
Monday evening at the World Matchplay Darts, in Blackpool's Winter Gardens Empress Ballroom.
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IT must have been the Taylor effect that gave the wild fans at the World Matchplay Darts championships all that power in their lungs.

The crowd cheered the players on throughout the third night of the Betfair tournament in the Empress Ballroom at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

But it was when world number one Phil “The Power” Taylor took to the stage that the 1,200 darts fans really showed what applause means.

The 15-time world champion came striding out wearing a special Team GB Olympic shirt to The Power while his opponent Mervyn King paraded onto the stage wearing a crown to Michael Jackson’s Bad.

Reigning champion Taylor is looking to match his own previous record unbeaten run from 2000 to 2004 in Blackpool .

He is on course although he was given a scare by King before securing a 10-8 win.

Taylor said: “It would be amazing to win the title again and I’ll be giving everything I have to do that.

“I’m feeling great and have been practising hard to make sure I’m ready for Blackpool.”

Fans turned out dressed to impress with dart boards painted on their faces and brightly coloured wigs to make them stand out from the crowd.

Some had even gone to the extreme of painting their whole bodies blue to transform themselves into Smurfs for the night.

Garfield Clare, known as Spike to his friends, said the darts tournament is great for local business.

Mr Clare, who runs the Leecliff guest house on Palatine Road, said: “It’s brilliant.

“We hold a darts tournament at the guest house and then bring the guests here tonight for the competition.

“Having the darts in Blackpool is an extra we’ve got ahead of anyone else.

“As long as it’s good darts, it’s great. We like backing the local lads like Wes Newton.”

The darts attracts tourists from all over the country, many of who spend the whole week in the resort.

Tom Eccleston, 55, from Birmingham, said: “ We’ve been coming to Blackpool for the last six years.

“We love it, the atmosphere is amazing.

“We queued up from 3am one cold February day to get these tickets.”