Wright out to deny Taylor's fairytale Blackpool finish
Phil Taylor and Peter Wright will clash in the BetVictor World Matchplay final on Sunday night following their semi-final triumphs against Adrian Lewis and Daryl Gurney in Blackpool.
Legendary star Taylor’s bid to sign off at the Winter Gardens with a 16th World Matchplay victory continued as he followed up Friday’s defeat of reigning champion Michael van Gerwen with a 17-9 win over Lewis.
2013 runner-up Lewis had battled through to the last four on his return to action following a back operation earlier in July, but finally ran out of steam against his Stoke rival.
After Taylor opened with a 14-darter, Lewis took three successive legs to move into a 3-1 lead.
Missed doubles in the next three legs, though, allowed Taylor to regain the edge, and though Lewis hit tops to move 5-4 up, a surge from the 56-year-old in mid-game proved crucial.
Taylor took three straight legs from seven-all to lead 10-7, and though Lewis briefly stemmed the tide with double 12, the number eight seed took out legs of 12 and 11 in a run of five further legs to move 15-8 up.
Lewis took out 74 as he hit back, but Taylor finished double eight and double four to win the next two legs and seal his spot in a 17th Blackpool final.
Wright had earlier won through to his first World Matchplay final, defeating Gurney 17-15 to continue his bid for a second televised title of the year.
The third seed ended Gurney’s challenge at the Winter Gardens despite a slow start which saw the Northern Irish ace lead 3-0 and 4-1 before a change of darts from Wright sparked his revival.
The Scot reeled off legs of 12, 14 and 14 darts to level, before punishing three misses from Gurney to lead for the first time, and finishes of 65, 80 and 90 took him into an 8-4 advantage.
Wright also took out 108 either side of winning legs for Gurney, who failed to capitalise on a total of 16 missed doubles from the UK Open champion in the next two legs, with 10 wayward darts of his own allowing his rival back in to lead 11-6.
Gurney, though, regained his range on tops and landed two 180s as he won his eighth leg of the contest and then finished double two and double eight to pull back to 11-10.
However, Gurney was crucially denied the chance to level as Wright held his nerve on double 10 twice in three legs, before tops gave the world number three a 14-11 cushion.
Gurney’s 118 checkout was followed by a 100 combination from Wright to leave him 15-12 up, but a brace of double 16 finishes from the 31-year-old cut the gap to one leg once more.
Wright, though, edged clear again by taking out 71 to move to the brink of victory, with double 12 keeping Gurney’s hopes briefly alive before a miss at the bull allowed the Scot to finish 96 and book his place in the final.