Having headed into the tournament as the favourite in the darts odds to win a record 12th Grand Prix of Darts following his success in the inaugural Champions League of darts in Cardiff, Phil Taylor crashed out of the competition earlier this week thanks to a shock defeat the Steve West. It was only the fifth first round defeat in the Power’s famous career, with the 56-year-old crumbling to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of his compatriot. Despite taking the opening set, Power was certainly not at his best, missing double 12 on three separate occasions before eventually taking an early lead. However, West maintained his focus, and sealed victory in the final set with a 62 checkout.
Taylor had previously overcome world number one Michael van Gerwen to win the Champions League of Darts, however given his early exit, the darts odds have seen a major switch in focus. Bookmakers Coral have now installed Van Gerwen as the favourite for the Grand Prix with at the oche odds of 4/7 on, with Gary Anderson and Raymond Van Barneveld just behind the Dutchman. However, Van Gerwen had to survive a scare of his own before eventually seeing off the threat of Steve Beaton, and will be well aware of his need to improve before the latter stages.
It was a day of shocks in Dublin, with defending champion Robert Thornton and James Wade both suffering first round defeats. Having beaten Van Gerwen in the final last year to claim the biggest win of his career to date, Scotland’s Thornton lost out to Stephen Bunting, with the seventh seed heading home early. Also on the plane home early was Wade, who was shocked by Terry Jenkins in front of a packed Irish crowd.
As for Taylor, the veteran will now begin preparations for the PDC World Championships, where he is 5/1 in the darts odds with Coral to claim record 15th title. Taylor has recently been told he must pay £830,000 to his ex-wife, and will undoubtedly be looking to put his troubles away from the board to the back of his mind before heading to Alexandra Palace.