Taylor v Van Barneveld: I broke my sofa celebrating epic 2007 match – and there could be a repeat tonight!

Two of the best of all time return to the Oche tonight.

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When I woke up this morning I thought I was still dreaming… but no, it’s true!

Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld – two of the greatest ever tungsten throwers – are going head to head live on Paddy’s YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts tonight at 7pm.

It’s a first-to-seven-legs clash to raise funds for the NHS, and Paddy’s adding £1,000 to the total for every 180 scored.

There’ll be no switching to treble 19 for top scores, as Barney and The Power look set to build a decent pot in what promises to be fantastic entertainment.

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Now, like most people hitting their mid-fifties, I can’t remember what I had for breakfast.

However, I can vividly remember their epic 2007 World Championship final at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet.

It looked all set for a one-way traffic victory for Taylor. He was hitting everything and overpowering Barney in the early sets.

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Barney looked doomed. But when the realisation of an almost certain defeat relieved the pressure on him, he relaxed and started to come back into it, eventually going on to win an epic sudden-death leg.

What a brilliant bit of sporting drama that was.

Yours truly and my then 11-year-old son broke a spring on the sofa jumping up and down celebrating. The missus wasn’t too pleased! 

It’s incredible to think how far darts has come since that iconic final. With the aid of the brilliant commentary of the late Sid Waddell, a sport which was on TV only once or twice a year is now an almost weekly staple.

Current World champion Peter Wright, World No.1 Michael van Gerwen and a host of other top players can expect to clear close to a million quid in prize money alone per year.

It’s a far cry from the £28,000 Taylor picked up in 1992 when he beat Mike Gregory for his second world title at the Lakeside Country Club in Surrey.

Gregory had six darts at double in the final set to win that title. He missed every time and the binman had to go back to the day job.

Things could have been so different for Gregory had one of those darts hit their target. That’s another match worth watching again.

That’s the beauty of darts. There is often less than a millimetre between success and agony.

There are winners, losers and people made of championship material.

Two such giants go head to head tonight in this fun first to seven legs clash playing in their own home on separate boards.

Join us for all the fun at 7pm tonight and remember, mind the sofa!

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