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Aidan is at the World Grand Prix and trying to discover what is the winning formula for this tournament!

Aidan's Dublin Diary - Nicholson and Taylor

Posted: 06.10.13 in Tournament Analysis Blog category

Aidan is at the World Grand Prix and trying to discover what is the winning formula for this tournament!

Aidan Farrelly will be chatting exclusively for the Darts Performance Centre with the winners from each Round One tie in this year’s PartyPoker World Grand Prix in Dublin. We want to know how each player approaches the treacherous double start competition, how they compose their nerves, and any other performance related tips along the way.

It’s on! This Wednesday. Nicholson v Taylor. Don’t miss this one folks!

Paul Nicholson

Paul Nicholson has set up what is sure to be a thrilling second round duel with Phil Taylor, overcoming Robert Thornton in a scintillating performance in Round One. His scoring was emphatic. His doubles were clinical. His concentration was outstanding. Three words come to mind when summarising his victory; Tactical, Composed and Focussed.

“I knew if I was to stick to my plan, which was double 16, then staying down the board with treble 19, I needed to be sharp, quick and get on the treble 20 quick. It worked. Tonight he [Thornton] gave me a shot and I took it. And I think that’s my game in a nutshell.

“There was a lot of work that went in to that game. My focus was better there than it has been in three years. To say I’m very happy is an understatement. I stuck to the task at hand. I think Robert Thornton is the best double starter on tops in the world.

 “I am very happy.

“The last few months have been very tough for me. I have tried to find myself again. I have been a professional for 5 years. I am no spring chicken. I am 34 now, and it’s time to get in to my prime.

“If I want to be a World Champion, I need to kick on from here. If I don’t, I can go outside the top 32. I am a fighter, I have never missed a Grand Prix in my career, and I don’t intend to.

“Last year, Wayne Mardle said the way I started on double 16, treble 19 was clinical. I wanted to stick to that plan. Last year was my fourth Grand Prix and it was the first one that I felt comfortable. It worked tonight. It’s a brutal format; playing the best of three sets is tough.

“I survived the pressure, and put myself in a good position. I hit a double that I hate in the end [20], but started with a double that I love [16] and I won’t be moving away from that this week.

“The aim for this week was to feel comfortable after the players champs this weekend. I kept telling myself, I’m not playing bad but I was millimetres away from playing great. I think tonight was a great performance. And I will grasp confidence from that. I will take it one leg at a time.

“I’m going to practice a little tomorrow. Have a rest. Go to the gym. I’ll tell you one thing. I will be ready for Wednesday.”

Phil Taylor

What’s more dangerous than playing Phil Taylor? Playing Phil Taylor when he has a point to prove. Jamie Caven did as much as humanly possible to stick with Taylor in the opening round, most wouldn’t have had the nerve to claw back the second set.

The two set’s Taylor won were 3-0. Comfortable. He is on a mission this week, one would feel. Having thrown six perfect darts, all that was on his mind was to scupper Brendan Dolan’s unique feat. He is also relishing the opportunity to play a raw, focussed Paul Nicholson this Wednesday.

“I hit the 160, 180 and missed the 161. One lad shouted from the crowd ‘You are sh....’ When I walked up to the 161, matching Brendan Dolan is what was in my mind. I am gonna match you. It’s very difficult, the 161 is 10 times harder than the 141. I will have a few shots at it this week.

“I’m ok, I’m plodding along. I didn’t do well at the weekend, but I didn’t come to win. I wanted to get ready for this tournament. I didn’t want to lose, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t the end of the world. It was more of a practice session for me.”

When asked if he changes his practice routine or approach to a format such as this in the World Grand Prix, Taylor was frank in his response.

“I’m too old to change. I just have to keep going. I don’t change how I get ready for this or any tournament to be honest.

“Paul is on a resurge. His form and confidence has been picking up. He had to do his apprenticeship, get back on the treadmill. Do your job. He stopped trying to wind everyone up, because it didn’t work. He has grown up and is a proper darts player now. And it’s better for me to go in and play someone who will play proper darts now.”

Darts Performance Centre Analysis

The one aspect of Nico’s reflection on last night that every player can learn from is his ability to “stick to the plan”. Double 16 worked well for him and then keeping the manoeuvring around the board to a minimum he then went for treble 19, clever! This was a strategy also picked up by Eric Bristow during the Sky coverage.

What can you say about Taylor? Love him or hate him he is the master of preparation, the master of match play (in any format) and knows exactly the right things to say in his post match interview. Save perhaps his verbatim recollection last night of one fan’s opinion of his skills after The Power narrowly missed out on a 9 dart opportunity. 

You can find Aidan's chat with Baxter, Newton and Whitlock here!


Aidan has been a fan of darts since a young age, although he didn't pick up his first set if arrows until he was 23. In that time, Aidan has been dedicated to finding out what it takes to become a professional. He plays with two club teams in his County in Ireland.

Aidan documents his ups and downs of improving his game, and explores some of the unknown, yet crucial elements of darts such as nerves, confidence and much much more.


Aidan teamed up with the Darts Performance Centre ahead of his battle with Raymond van Barneveld 12 months ago, a relationship which he admits has "helped me to focus on certain areas that needed improvement, and the support from Paul and Andy guarantees will make you a better dart player".


Aidan throws a 23g DPC Elite Performance dart. He loves to tell people that he has now lost count of the amount of 180s he has thrown. His highest checkout in a competitive leg is 130, and the closest he has come to a perfect leg was two maximums before crippling under pressure to finish out with a 15 dart leg.


His plan is simple: to be a Pro! Follow his journey right here!

Aidan welcomes any feedback, advice or questions. You can find him on twitter:

@A_Farrelly or email: throwlikeaprodarts@gmail.com

Author: Aidan Farrelly ( throwlikeaprodarts@gmail.com )

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