Tag Archives: taylor

Australia announce Ashes squad: Brad Haddin recalled as Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus miss out

Veteran Haddin recalled as Australia announce 16-man squad heading to England in bid to win back the Ashes

PUBLISHED:

02:22 GMT, 24 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:30 GMT, 24 April 2013

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has been named as Australia vice-captain for the upcoming Ashes series in England.

The 35-year-old replaces Shane Watson, who stepped down as Michael Clarke's deputy after the troubled tour on India but remains part of the 16-man squad.

National selector John Inverarity said: 'We feel it's important to have a senior, seasoned player support Michael at this time.

Return the Urn: Michael Clarke (centre), Steve Waugh (left) and Mark Taylor before today's squad unveiling

Return the Urn: Michael Clarke (centre), Steve Waugh (left) and Mark Taylor before today's squad unveiling

Key dates

June 26-29: v Somerset

July 2-5: v Worcs

July 10-14: 1st Test, Trent Bridge

July 18-22: 2nd Test, Lord's

July 26-28: v Sussex

August 1-5: 3rd Test, Old Trafford

August 9-13: 4th Test, Durham

August 16-17: v Northants

August 21-25: 5th Test, The Oval

'When Shane Watson advised of his
decision to stand down, the NSP (national selection panel) viewed Brad
as the exceptional candidate to step into this leadership void.'

Matthew Wade, who has been Australia's first-choice wicketkeeper of late, will also travel to England.

'Matthew Wade is a very good cricketer and remains central to our plans for the future,' Inverarity added.

Left-arm seamer James Faulkner is the only uncapped player to be named, with Mitchell Johnson missing out.

Chris Rogers, the 35-year-old batsman
who has just one Test cap to his name, also makes the squad and seamer
Ryan Harris returns.

'Chris Rogers is a hardened
first-class cricketer and has been given a deserved opportunity on the
back of sustained run-scoring in both Australia and England over many
seasons,' said Inverarity.

Eyes on the prize: Brad Haddin has been recalled to the Australia squad to tour England this summer

Eyes on the prize: Brad Haddin has been recalled to the Australia squad to tour England this summer

'James Faulkner has also been given
an opportunity after impressing in recent months as an all-rounder. His
performance in last month's Bupa Sheffield Shield final was compelling
and he has now produced three consistently good seasons with the ball at
Shield level for Tasmania.

'He is a player who is seldom out of the game for long. He takes wickets, forms partnerships and makes valuable runs.

'Ryan Harris has regained fitness and
it is great to have such a very highly regarded and well-performed pace
bowler back in the mix.'

Fawad Ahmed, the Pakistan-born
leg-spinner who has not yet received his Australian passport, has not
been included, leaving Nathan Lyon as the only spinner in the 16.

Ahmed also misses out on the 14-man
Australia A squad to tour the British Isles ahead of the Ashes, which
contains a number of players from the senior squad including Haddin, who
will captain the side, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Harris, Jackson
Bird and Nathan Lyon.

Steven Smith, who misses out on a
place in the Ashes squad despite some creditable performances in India,
is vice-captain of the A side.

Smith is one of five men to drop out
from the India squad – along with Johnson, Moises Henriques, Xavier
Doherty and Glenn Maxwell – which slipped to a 4-0 series defeat amid
high-profile problems with discipline.

Revenge: England were convincing 3-1 series winners in the 2010-11 series

Revenge: England were convincing 3-1 series winners in the 2010-11 series

Inverarity added: 'The tour to India was very demanding and a learning experience for all.

'The result was unacceptable and the
players, coaches, support staff and NSP are smarting from those
performances and are galvanised to ensure that we play tough,
competitive cricket throughout the Ashes.'

The first Ashes Test begins at Trent
Bridge on July 10, with two tour matches before that, while Australia A
will take on Scotland, Ireland and Gloucestershire, with the first match
getting under way in Edinburgh on June 7.

Lawrence Booth, Sportsmail cricket writer and editor of Wisden, gives a run down on the Australian squad heading to England for the Ashes series this summer

Michael Clarke

MICHAEL CLARKE (c)
AGE: 32
CAPS: 92
VERDICT: World cricket's in-form batsman in 2012, the captain will need to score three hundreds to give Australia a chance.

Brad Haddin

BRAD HADDIN (vc)
AGE: 35
CAPS: 44
VERDICT: Ousted by Wade behind the stumps, he's a spiky character who England would rather not have to deal with.

JACKSON BIRD

JACKSON BIRD
AGE: 26
CAPS: 2
VERDICT: Seam bowler who is not particularly fast but his ability to swing the ball both ways has proven very successful in domestic cricket.

Ed Cowan

ED COWAN
AGE: 30
CAPS: 17
VERDICT: Steady, cerebral left-handed opener, but unlikely to frighten the England attack.

Phillip Hughes

PHILLIP HUGHES
AGE: 24
CAPS: 24
VERDICT: England have exploited his vulnerability outside off stump in the past – expect more of the same, plus a peppering of short stuff.

David Warner

DAVID WARNER
AGE: 26
CAPS: 19
VERDICT: Another left-handed opener, he has the potential to destroy the opposition, but inconsistent at Test level. Jimmy Anderson will fancy swinging the ball into him.

Urn the victory: Former England captain Andrew Strauss led Eng;and to victory in the last series

Urn the victory: Former England captain Andrew Strauss led Eng;and to victory in the last series

James Faulkner

JAMES FAULKNER
AGE: 22
CAPS: 0
VERDICT: A left-arm seamer and hard-hitting batsman, the 22-year-old Faulkner is an outsider for a Test spot – but look out for him in the shorter stuff.

USMAN

USMAN KHAWAJA
AGE: 26
CAPS: 6
VERDICT: Left-handed top order batsman who was one of the four players dropped ahead of the third Test in India following a breach of discipline.

Shane Watson

SHANE WATSON
AGE: 31
CAPS: 41
VERDICT: Averaging only 25 since the start of 2011, he needs a big series to prove he was right to quit the vice-captaincy. Could do with bowling too.

Matthew Wade

MATTHEW WADE
AGE: 25
CAPS: 12
VERDICT: His batting can be punchy, but his glovework is shaky. And he's a place too high at No 6.

Nathan Lyon

NATHAN LYON
AGE: 25
CAPS: 22
VERDICT: Australia's first-choice spinner is tidy but unthreatening, and his confidence was knocked recently when he was dropped in India.

Ryan Harris

RYAN HARRIS
AGE: 33
CAPS: 12
VERDICT: Fast and hostile, as he showed when England lost at Perth in 2010-11. Only trouble is, he's rarely fit.

Home of cricket: The first Test in the five match series will take place at Lord's in north London

Home of cricket: The first Test in the five match series will take place at Lord's in north London

cHRIS rOGERS

CHRIS ROGERS
AGE: 35
CAPS: 1
VERDICT: Another left handed top order batsman whose one and only cap came against India in 2008. Played country cricket so is used to English conditions.

James Pattinson

JAMES PATTINSON
AGE: 22
CAPS: 10
VERDICT: Young, hungry, angry and highly talented. He will be the bowler England's batsmen fear most.

Rain on their parade: The Aussies will be hoping they have their own reasons to celebrate on English soil

Rain on their parade: The Aussies will be hoping they have their own Sprinkler Dance on English soil

Peter Siddle

PETER SIDDLE
AGE: 28
CAPS: 41
VERDICT: The workhorse of Australia's seam attack, he has improved hugely over the last year. But will he be bowled into the ground

Mitchell Starc

MITCHELL STARC
AGE: 23
CAPS: 9
VERDICT: Tall left-arm seamer who could be Australia's best chance of keeping Alastair Cook quiet. Can bat a bit too.

Charlton 3 Bolton 2 – match report

Charlton 3 Bolton 2: Addicks come from two down to record long overdue home win

PUBLISHED:

17:37 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:49 GMT, 30 March 2013

Charlton came from two goals down to end their home hoodoo and dent Bolton's play-off hopes.

The Addicks were staring at a fourth straight Valley defeat, and 10th of the season, after Wanderers raced into a two-goal lead through Marvin Sordell and Medo Kamara.

But skipper Johnnie Jackson pulled one back before half-time and Bolton fell to pieces in the second half when Sam Ricketts was sent off.

Turnaround: Yann Kermorgant scored from the spot to complete a remarkable comeback for Charlton

Turnaround: Yann Kermorgant scored from the spot to complete a remarkable comeback for Charlton

MATCH FACTS

Charlton: Hamer, Solly, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Pritchard, Hughes (Gower 72), Jackson, Harriott (Wilson 86), Kermorgant,
Fuller (Haynes 86).

Subs Not Used: Button, Green, Obika, Feely.
Booked: Hughes, Solly, Kermorgant.

Goals: Jackson 25, Dervite 60, Kermorgant (pen) 63.

Bolton: Lonergan, Ricketts, Knight, Dawson, Alonso, Medo, Spearing, Pratley (Odelusi 82), Ngog, Sordell (Butterfield 59), Lee (Craig Davies 69).

Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Eagles, Kevin Davies, Wheater.

Sent Off: Ricketts (58), Craig Davies (90).

Booked: Ricketts, Dawson, Spearing, Craig Davies.

Goals: Sordell 4, Medo 20.

Att: 17,322

Ref: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).

Latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Dorian Dervite immediately dragged
Charlton level and Yann Kermorgant struck the winner from the penalty
spot to complete an unlikely comeback, while Bolton finished with nine
men after a late red card for Craig Davies.

Charlton were missing two of their
senior defenders, Leon Cort and Matt Taylor, through injury and illness
and their patched-up back four were under the cosh from kick-off.

Chung-Yong Lee had already shot over and David Ngog forced a save from Ben Hamer before Bolton took a fourth-minute lead.

Sordell collected Ngog's pass and
turned makeshift centre-half Dervite inside out before tucking the ball
past Hamer.

Charlton attempted to hit back and midfielder Bradley
Pritchard was twice denied by Trotters keeper Andy Lonergan.

But Bolton doubled their advantage in
the 20th minute when Ngog found Medo 25 yards out and the Sierra Leone
midfielder beat Hamer with a swerving drive which went in off the post.

However, five minutes later Charlton
grabbed a lifeline when Bolton cleared a corner only as far as Jackson
on the edge of the area.

The midfielder took the ball past two
defenders before rifling it low into the net.

Captain's strike: Johnnie Jackson started the Charlton revival with his 25th-minute goal

Captain's strike: Johnnie Jackson started the Charlton revival with his 25th-minute goal

They almost grabbed an
equaliser before the break, but Pritchard could not quite get a toe on
Ricardo Fuller's ball across goal.

At the start of the second half
Lonergan could only parry Callum Harriott's deflected shot but Craig
Dawson was on hand to clear.The game swung Charlton's way on the hour
when Ricketts was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Fuller.

Bolton were hit with a double
punishment as, from the free-kick, Kermorgant's curler came back off the
post and Dorvite reacted first to lash in his first goal for the
club.And three minutes later they were ahead.

Lead: Goals from Marvin Sordell (above) and Medo Kamara (below) put Bolton 2-0 ahead at The Valley

Lead: Goals from Marvin Sordell (above) and Medo Kamara (below) put Bolton 2-0 ahead at The Valley

Lead: Goals from Marvin Sordell (above) and Medo Kamara (below) put Bolton 2-0 ahead at The Valley

Fuller burst into the area and was brought down by Darren Pratley, with Kermorgant stepping up to take the penalty.

The Frenchman has form for fluffing
his lines from the spot, having famously tried and failed with a chip in
a play-off penalty shoot-out while playing for Leicester.

But as The Valley held its breath,
Kermorgant wisely opted for power and blasted his shot wide of
Lonergan.Charlton had to endure seven minutes of stoppage time but
Bolton substitute Davies used up most of it by earning himself two
yellow cards to complete Bolton's second-half meltdown.

Off: Dougie Freedman speaks to referee Trevor Kettle after his Bolton team finished the game with nine men

Off: Dougie Freedman speaks to referee Trevor Kettle after his Bolton team finished the game with nine men

Red card: Samuel Ricketts is given his marching orders in the 58th minute

Red card: Samuel Ricketts is given his marching orders in the 58th minute

CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE – AS IT STANDS

TABLE

Which football star wants to play club cricket when he retires?

From Blues to whites: Everton skipper Neville wants to play club cricket when he retires from football

By
Phil Gradwell

PUBLISHED:

13:11 GMT, 14 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:57 GMT, 14 March 2013

Retirement will be a whole new ball game for Everton captain Phil Neville, who says he wants to spend his post-football days playing club cricket.

Neville, 36, may have won 59 England caps, have six Premier League titles to his name and be leading out an established top-flight side but he is relishing the thought of swapping his blue shirt for his whites.

That may not be for a few years yet but the defender – who played alongside Andrew Flintoff in Lancashire's youth set-up and was a good enough cricketer to play for the county's second XI aged 15 – said when his football career is up he will join Bury-based local-league club Greenmount, for whom he played as a junior.

Is that a wide Phil Neville looks as if he is getting into the cricket a bit early during Everton's FA Cup defeat by Wigan

Is that a wide Phil Neville looks as if he is getting into the cricket a bit early during Everton's FA Cup defeat by Wigan

Different kind of whites: Neville played 59 times for England

Different kind of whites: Neville played 59 times for England

WHO ARE GREENMOUNT CC

Greenmount Cricket Club, founded in 1867 (as far as records can establish) are based in Bury, Greater Manchester and play in the Bolton League.

In 2011 they won a treble of the Bolton League, the Lancashire Knock Out and the Hamer Cup.

They have had many famous overseas players including Australians Mark Taylor and Matthew Hayden and West Indian Franklyn Stephenson.

The much more English Neville Neville, father of Phil and Gary, also played for the club.

Neville told the Bolton News: 'One hundred per cent, I will play cricket again in a couple of years time if my career ends.

'That is the first thing I am going to do; I am going to get back doing something I love.

'People sometimes fear retirement but I am looking forward to it because I can go and do something I love.'

Neville was speaking as an ambassador
at the launch of ‘The Lancashire Way’ – an inclusive cricket initiative
launched by Lancashire CCC.

He
added: 'To get the chance at my stage in my life to get back involved
with Lancashire is great because I love going to Old
Trafford to watch.'

Team-mates: Neville played with a young Andrew Flintoff in Lancashire's youth set-up

Team-mates: Neville played with a young Andrew Flintoff in Lancashire's youth set-up

Advice: Everton captain Phil Neville chats to England women's cricketer Lydia Greenway at Lancashire's Old Trafford ground

Advice: Everton captain Phil Neville chats to England women's cricketer Lydia Greenway at Lancashire's Old Trafford ground

Steven Taylor puts off Asmir Begovic during Newcastle v Stoke

VIDEO: Watch Taylor put off Begovic by clowning around before Cabaye free kick

By
Angus Paterson

PUBLISHED:

00:24 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:12 GMT, 11 March 2013

Steven Taylor is known as an eccentric sort and he proved why on Sunday as Newcastle faced Stoke.

The Newcastle defender was spotted clowning around in front of Asmir Begovic as he tried to put the Potters keeper off before Yohan Cabaye's free kick.

And maybe it worked, because the French midfielder sent a peach of a strike over the wall and in to the top corner.

Scroll down for video

Sneaky: Steven Taylor (centre) put off Asmir Begovic (left) before Yohan Cabaye's goal

Sneaky: Steven Taylor (centre) put off Asmir Begovic (left) before Yohan Cabaye's goal

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has once again urged England manager Roy Hodgson to take a look at the centre back.

The 27-year-old, a former captain of his country at Under-21 level, was one of the stand-out performers as the Magpies fought back from a goal down to defeat the Potters 2-1 in the Barclays Premier League at St James' Park.

Pardew said: 'He was immense today. Steven Taylor gave a performance of England standard today.

'They really do need to have a look at him at centre-half because I think it's a problem position for England and his performance against [Peter] Crouch and everything else that they threw at us today – because we had no height in the team.

Belief: Alan Pardew thinks Roy Hodgson should consider the defender for England

Belief: Alan Pardew thinks Roy Hodgson should consider the defender for England

'Steven Taylor had to do everything today on that side of it and he was brilliant.'

Taylor's hopes of winning recognition at senior international level have not been helped by a succession of injuries over the years, although he has been on the fringes of the squad in the past.

Pardew admitted earlier this season that keeping the Greenwich-born, Tyneside-raised defender fit is something which may require a tailored approach.

However, he has few doubts about his ability and firmly believes he has what it takes to warrant serious consideration.

Clowning around! Steven Taylor puts off Asmir Begovic

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Paul Taylor charged with grievous bodily harm for alleged pub brawl

Ipswich striker Taylor charged with GBH after alleged pub brawl in Suffolk

By
John Fahey, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

13:36 GMT, 2 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:36 GMT, 2 March 2013

Ipswich striker Paul Taylor has been charged over an alleged pub brawl.

The 25-year-old was charged with causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) following the incident at a pub in the Suffolk town in October last year.

The alleged victim, a 30-year-old man, sustained two broken fingers and a fractured eye socket, Norfolk Police said.

Charged: Paul Taylor is alleged to have been involved in a pub brawl

Charged: Paul Taylor is alleged to have been involved in a pub brawl

The forward, who broke his ankle last September during a match, will appear at Ipswich Magistrates' Court on March 18.

A force spokesman said Taylor, of Ashton Close, Rendlesham, was charged alongside Olatunde Ademuyiwa, 24, of Beechway, Liverpool, who was also charged with GBH.

Ademuyiwa was also charged with assault by beating, along with Jodie Twitchett, 24, of Ashton Close, Rendlesham, during which a 42-year-old man sustained a broken rib and a cut to the head in the same incident.

Mark Cavendish wins Tour of Qatar stage

Qatar hero! British star Cavendish storms to victory on stage three

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

15:55 GMT, 5 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 5 February 2013

Mark Cavendish claimed his second win for Omega Pharma-QuickStep on stage three of the Tour of Qatar today.

The 27-year-old from the Isle of Man, who joined Omega Pharma-QuickStep following one year at Team Sky, opened his account for the Belgian squad in the Tour de San Luis and added another victory on the 143-kilometre route from Al Wakra to Mesaieed.

A 10-second time bonus accompanied the win and moved Cavendish to fourth overall, eight seconds behind American Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), who retained the lead.

All smiles: Mark Cavendish celebrates his stage win in Qatar

All smiles: Mark Cavendish celebrates his stage win in Qatar

Mark Cavendish

Two of Bookwalter's team-mates – American Taylor Phinney and Briton Adam Blythe – remained second and third overall, respectively.

Tomorrow's fourth stage is the 160km route from Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche.Cavendish wrote on Twitter:

'Nice to get the win here today in Tour Of Qatar! '@opqscyclingteam just chaperoned me the whole day. Machines! BIG machines! Thanks guys.'

Over the line: Cavendish powers to victory on stage three of the Qatar Tour

Over the line: Cavendish powers to victory on stage three of the Qatar Tour

Mark Cavendish

In an Omega Pharma-QuickStep media release, the Manxman added: 'I felt really strong, so I have to thank my team. They really kept me protected, kept me out of trouble the whole time and gave me energy for the sprint.

'I really had to kick at 350 meters, I was so far back.'

On the prospect of taking overall victory on Friday's final day, he added: 'I think it's best to come here, focus on the stage wins, and hope the GC (general classification) can come from that.'

Eric Bristow sure Phil Taylor will win many more world dart"s titles after capturing his 16th against Michael Van Gerwen

Bristow: Don't expect Taylor to throw in the towel anytime soon, he'll grab a few more world titles before he's gone

By
Thom Drake

PUBLISHED:

10:56 GMT, 2 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 2 January 2013

Eric Bristow has predicted that Phil Taylor's 16th PDC World Darts Championship title will not be his last after watching him produce a stunning fightback against Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen.

Taylor came out on top in a high-quality final at Alexandra Palace in London last night, battling from 4-2 behind to win 7-4.

It earned 52-year-old Taylor a cheque for 200,000 plus the new Sid Waddell Trophy, named after the late commentator.

Taylor's comeback epitomised his continuing class

Unstoppable: Taylor's comeback epitomised the class which has set him apart in the world of darts

Bristow, who dominated darts in the 1980s, helped Taylor financially in the early stages of his career, and has seen the Stoke man develop into the sport's greatest player.

Bristow cannot see Taylor remaining dominant for years to come, but he expects the latest victory will not be the last world title he takes, even if Van Gerwen is threatening to topple him.

'He won't get to 20 but there most likely will be another one in him,' Bristow said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

'He is getting on a bit now. And Michael van Gerwen is going to win a few, he's a brilliant darts player, he's the best of the rest of the bunch.

Bristow is positive that Taylor can add to his 16 world titles in the coming years

Enduring: Bristow is positive that Taylor can add to his 16 world titles in the coming years

Van Gerwen has proved he is the best of the rest at just the age of 23

New generation: Van Gerwen has proved he is the best of the rest at just the age of 23

'It was great for darts. I think we have seen the newcomer coming through, who's going to take over from Phil, but not yet.'

Bristow puts Taylor's success down to intense practice.

'He's just superb, he's very dedicated. He puts a lot of time into his sport,' Bristow said.

'He plays four, five, six hours a day, even now, 30 years on.

'It was a great final, both of them played superbly.'

Bristow himself won five World Championships between 1980 and 1986

Golden oldie: Bristow himself won five World Championships between 1980 and 1986

Taylor had questioned his own future after his ding-dong with Van Barneveld

Feuding: Taylor had questioned his own future after his ding-dong with Van Barneveld

Waddell, known as the voice of darts, died in August after a battle with cancer, and his name was chanted by the crowd during the final.

'That was lovely,' Bristow said.

'Phil went out there to win the title. Obviously he wanted to win the first ever Sid Waddell trophy, but once you're up on that stage you're playing the game.

'Now he's got the trophy and it's got Sid Waddell's name on it, he'll be over the moon about that.'

Phil Taylor hints he could quit darts after world championship final

Is the Power going out Tired Taylor hints he could be ready to take his final bow on the oche

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 31 December 2012

They may have been the words of a tired and cold-ridden man, but Phil Taylor threatened that he could be playing the final match of a darts career without equal at Alexandra Palace.

The Power, who takes on Holland’s new wonderkid Michael van Gerwen in the final of the Ladbrokes.com PDC World Championship, was disgusted by his behaviour after semi-final victory over Raymond van Barneveld on Sunday night.

An emotional Taylor mistook a Van Barneveld handshake for a provocative gesture and acted aggressively towards his friend and long-time rival in a sour finale to a thrilling match.

Shout bout: Phil Taylor and Raymond Van Barneveld clash on Sunday

Shout bout: Phil Taylor and Raymond Van Barneveld clash on Sunday

Ashamed: Taylor has apologised for his behaviour

Ashamed: Taylor has apologised for his behaviour

Disagreement: Taylor and Van Barneveld exchanged words as they left the stage

Disagreement: Taylor and Van Barneveld exchanged words as they left the stage

Tale of the tape

Taylor said: ‘I’m ashamed of myself and I feel terrible. I’ve texted Raymond and spoken to him and there is nothing else I can do, only apologise for it. It will never happen again.

‘I don’t care about darts at the minute. I know I’m in the final but I don’t feel excited or chuffed about it. I feel very down. I could just walk away tomorrow night and retire — go out on top. I’m a bit disillusioned about everything. Obviously I’m not feeling very well and I need a break.

‘To put the record straight, Raymond is a very strong lad and when he shook my hand and pulled me he hurt me a little bit. That was all it was and I reacted disgracefully.

Whatever the PDC decide, chuck the book at me, they can do whatever they want. I’m ashamed because I really like Raymond. It’s upset me.’

Is this the end Taylor was pushed all the way by Van Barneveld and says he needs a break

Is this the end Taylor was pushed all the way by Van Barneveld and says he needs a break

Winning feeling: Taylor shows his emotion after winning the semi-final

Winning feeling: Taylor shows his emotion after winning the semi-final

Whether or not Taylor is serious about retirement, he is not underestimating the task facing him if he is to claim a 16th world title tonight. Van Gerwen has been the star of this World Championship, bullying his opponents into submission with a scoring ability only Taylor has ever attained on a consistent basis.

Taylor added: ‘I’ve not seen a dart player like Michael in all my career. Only myself really. I think he’s the next one. His scoring, passion, his will to win, his aggression, Michael’s got the full package.

‘He’s phenomenal. He’s different to all the players I’ve seen and I’ve seen nearly four generations of players. Pretender to my crown He’s no pretender. For me to beat him is going to take a lot of concentration and a lot of effort. I can do it but it’s going to take a lot. I had a 109 average and lost to him the other week, but I can get him.’

The man of the moment: Michael van Gerwen is a player in form

The man of the moment: Michael van Gerwen is a player in form

Champion in waiting Van Gerwen beat two time champion Adrian Lewis and James Wade on the way to the final

Champion in waiting Van Gerwen beat two time champion Adrian Lewis and James Wade on the way to the final

Van Gerwen was just nine months old when Taylor claimed his first world title in 1990. Remarkably, he didn’t pick up a set of darts until he was 13, playing with friends at their homes in Boxtel, a small town near Eindhoven in southern Holland.

He turned professional four years later in 2006, recording a televised nine-dart finish and winning the World Masters at the age of 17. He has never been a respecter of reputations.

Van Gerwen said: ‘I don’t like watching darts. Even now, most of the times I don’t bother. I played Phil for the first time when I was 17. I knew nothing about him before that. It would be great if I could become world champion 10 years after playing for the first time.’

Phil Taylor apologises after ugly confrontation with Raymond van Barneveld

I reacted disgracefully! Taylor apologises after ugly confrontation with Barney

|

UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 31 December 2012

Phil Taylor apologised for his ‘disgraceful’ behaviour after beating Raymond van Barneveld in the World Championship semi-final on Sunday.

‘The Power’, who will play Michael van Gerwen in the final, clashed with Barney after his 6-4 win at Alexandra Palace and the pair had to be separated by security guards.

‘I reacted disgracefully and I feel terrible,’ Taylor told Sky Sports.

‘I’m ashamed because I really like Raymond but he hurt me a little bit, that was all it was.

‘It was spur of the moment.’

Scroll down for a video of the incident

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Taylor and Van Barneveld clash

Reading 1 West Ham 0 – match report

Reading 1 West Ham 0: Pogrebnyak's early strike is enough as Royals earn three crucial points in relegation battle

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UPDATED:

17:04 GMT, 29 December 2012

Pavel Pogrebnyak struck his third league goal for Reading to give Brian McDermott's side their second Barclays Premier League win of the season at the expense of West Ham.

The Royals had halted a run of seven defeats with a draw at home to Swansea on Boxing Day and went one better against a poor Hammers side, moving three points clear of bottom club QPR in the process.

McDermott had said before the game that his players would do whatever they had to do to start picking up victories.

Celebration time: Pavel Pogrebnyak marks his goal after five minutes which gave Reading the lead at the Madejski Stadium

Celebration time: Pavel Pogrebnyak marks his goal after five minutes which gave Reading the lead at the Madejski Stadium

MATCH FACTS

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Kebe (Robson-Kanu 74), Guthrie (Hunt 64), Pogrebnyak

Subs not used: Taylor, Morrison, Cummings, Tabb, Le Fondre

Goal: Pogrebnyak 5

Bookings: Pogrebnyak, Pearce, Harte

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Tomkins, O'Brien, Collins, Nolan, Jarvis, Taylor (Collison 53), Noble (Maiga 78), O'Neil (Vaz Te 66), Cole

Subs not used: Spiegel, Demel, Spence, Diarra

Bookings: Collins, Noble, Nolan, Tomkins

Referee: Michael Oliver

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As it turns out they had to do almost
nothing to beat a lacklustre West Ham as James Collins presented
Pogrebnyak with a late Christmas gift.

The Hammers defender looked to play a
simple ball back to goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and Pogrebnyak stole
in to slot past the Finn and put Reading ahead with just five minutes on
the clock.

Royals' winger Jimmy Kebe was causing
problems down the right flank early on and a 14th minute cut-back almost
found Pogrebnyak but was well cleared.

Two minutes later the same duo combined well on the edge of the area but Kebe's final ball drifted behind for a goal-kick.

West Ham struggled to make an
impression in attack but skipper Kevin Nolan released Matt Taylor just
before the half-hour mark, but his cross was collected by Reading
goalkeeper Adam Federici.

A few tough tackles started flying in
as the first half progressed with Pogrebnyak joining West Ham's Mark
Noble in referee Michael Oliver's notebook for a foul on Winston Reid.

The hosts then gifted West Ham a
half-chance in the final seconds of the first half as they dallied on
the ball outside their own penalty area.

Nolan pounced and found Gary O'Neil, but he appeared to be caught in two minds and his final ball was neither a shot or a cross.

Cool finish: Pavel Pogrebnyak opens the scoring for Reading following a poor back pass by West Ham's James Collins

Cool finish: Pavel Pogrebnyak opens the scoring for Reading following a poor back pass by West Ham's James Collins

Dejection: West Ham defender James Collins after his weak backpass gifted Reading's Pogrebnyak the opening goal on five minutes

Dejection: West Ham defender James Collins after his weak backpass gifted Reading's Pogrebnyak the opening goal on five minutes

Pogrebnyak had the ball in the back of
the net again five minutes after the restart but was flagged offside
after latching onto a through ball from Mikele Leigertwood.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce introduced
Jack Collison in place of the ineffectual Taylor with 54 minutes gone
with the Wales international making only his second appearance since
returning from a career-threatening knee injury.

The 24-year-old almost drew the
visitors level 10 minutes later but his low shot was parried by Federici
with no West Ham player able to tap home the rebound.

Although the Hammers were starting to
finally find their feet in the game they almost fell further behind when
Jem Karacan's thunderous effort was tipped onto the bar by Jaaskelainen
with Kebe firing the rebound into the crowd.

Scrap: West Ham's Winston Reid (left) and Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak battle for the ball

Scrap: West Ham's Winston Reid (left) and Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak battle for the ball

Eyes on the ball: Gary O'Neill (right) and Danny Guthrie keep a close watch

Eyes on the ball: Gary O'Neill (right) and Danny Guthrie keep a close watch

Ricardo Vaz Te was the next player to
be thrown on by Allardyce with the Portuguese returning to first-team
action for the first time since dislocating a shoulder in early October.

The winger had impressed earlier in
the campaign and flashed a cross in with 10 minutes remaining that was
hacked clear by Chris Gunter in front of the sliding Modibo Maiga.

Vaz Te was involved again moments
later as he missed West Ham's best opening of the game, inexplicably
heading Matt Jarvis' cross wide of the goal from four yards out.

How did he miss West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te (bottom left) reacts with incredulity after missing an easy header

How did he miss West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te (bottom left) reacts with incredulity after missing an easy header

Firm grip: Winston Reid with his arm around Reading's Jimmy Kebe

Firm grip: Winston Reid with his arm around Reading's Jimmy Kebe

Touchline battle: Sam Allardyce implores his West Ham players on, while Brian McDermott keeps a close check on proceedings

Touchline battle: Sam Allardyce implores his West Ham players on, while Brian McDermott keeps a close check on proceedings

Reading managed to see out the closing
stages to claim what could be a vital three points while West Ham's
lack of away goals again proved their undoing.

The Hammers have only scored five
goals on their travels in the league so far this season and the defeat
leaves them only six points off the bottom three.