England retained the World Cup after an absorbing final win over the Netherlands in Frankfurt – making it four titles which the Stoke pair have won since the inception of the tournament in 2010.
Adrian Lewis held his nerve against Michael van Gerwen in the deciding set in an extremely tense final – for long periods of the game only the sound of the thud of the tungsten against the board echoed through the Eissporthalle – and raw emotion was in no shortage as composure levels melted on stage. Neither player looked like they really settled given the enormous pressure of carrying the weight of a nation upon their shoulders. Darts anoraks would have to flick back through the record books to find a set in which van Gerwen was so inept at finishing.
This tournament is not regarded as the biggest spectacle in the PDC, but the singles/doubles format which is unique to the game always guarantees excitement and the chance of a huge upset.
Player of the tournament – Phil Taylor (England) – Never dropped a leg in the lead-up to the final, and managing to overcome his bogey run against Michael van Gerwen before defeating his old nemesis Raymond van Barneveld in both his singles matches means the England captain deservedly gets this recognition. A very solid run of form which has been typical of his performances in 2016.
Match of the tournament – Australia 1-2 Netherlands – Quarter-Finals – On a knife-edge throughout and at one stage it looked like the first ever World Cup nine-darter might be struck, Simon Whitlock accidentally hitting D10 on the eighth before the MvG/RvB duo duly hit seven perfect darts afterwards.
Overachievers – Northern Ireland – Made the last four but were soundly beaten by a vastly superior England team.
Underachievers – South Africa – A pretty embarrassing campaign for Devon Petersen and Graham Filby as they were hammered 1-5 by Singapore in the opening round, averaging a mere 75.2.
Moment of the tournament – The cheerful Chinese Wenge Xie celebrated wildly after hitting a 177 in his game with Adrian Lewis – before the two-time World Champion duly took out tops to move further ahead.
Home nations – Grading
England – A+ – Survived an early scare against Spain but otherwise very comfortable. Managed to retain their trophy even when it looked like the tide was turning against them when the Netherlands won the final doubles match to take a 2-1 lead but strong reverse singles performances ensured it was a deserved triumph.
Scotland – C – Last year’s finalists were left thinking what might have been after being turned over by the Huybrechts brothers in the quarter-finals. Double tops proved troublesome for Anderson and Thornton but they showed great mettle to avoid an early upset against a sensational Cody Harris-inspired New Zealand.
Wales – D – Were tipped by many as the dark horses but were beaten in the second round by underdogs Canada. One saving grace was the emergence of Gerwyn Price but Mark Webster simply could not get going.
Northern Ireland – B+ – Granted, England breezed by them but a semi-final appearance is no mean feat. Brendan Dolan found it difficult to get any rhythm in most of his games but his partner Daryl Gurney continues to impress and is easily one of the hottest young darts players on the circuit at the minute.
Ireland – C – On paper, the weakest side of the home nations but William O’Connor and Mick McGowan will still feel let down after being soundly beaten by close rivals Northern Ireland.
Three players who impressed us
Cody Harris – New Zealand
It is highly doubtful many would have heard of the 30-year-old Kiwi before the opening round game with Scotland. However, he left a huge impression as the minnows almost had the major-holding pair of Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton on the ropes, leading 3-1 at one stage. Checking out with a spectacular 125 in the first leg, Harris went onto record nine scores of 137+, eventually finishing with a 102.8 average which his opponents would have been proud of. A confident player and will be one to watch when the World Series visits Auckland in a fortnight.
Antonio Alcinas/Cristo Reyes – Spain
Yes, this entry may have both halves of the Iberian islander duo but it would be unjust to include one over the other after the terrific team performance which very nearly caused another upset. Alcinas clearly took inspiration from being part of the team which knocked out England in 2010. The Mallorcan and his Tenerifian partner played a blinder averaging 96.6 – remarkable considering the tournament format and the overall record of both players as individuals on the circuit. Thoroughly played their part in a gripping match.
John Part – Canada
Former two-time World Champion Part put in the showing which many neutrals longed to see after such a difficult period in his career. Failure to recapture the form of yesteryear and consistently missing out/underperforming in big tournaments had many fearing he was set for the scrapheap as far as his professional career was concerned. However, Darth Maple’s exploits this weekend will give him the impetus to kick on and not permanently swap the tungsten for the commentator’s mic any time soon as Canada had a respectable run to the quarter-finals. After winning his singles match against Mark Webster in the last 16, his stunning 161 outshot helped put the Welsh dragons to the sword before squeezing by Brendan Dolan in a tense encounter the following afternoon.