The five most fierce rivalries in darts, including Phil Taylor vs Raymond van Barneveld

From arguments on the oche to post-match controversies, we take a look at five of the best rivalries in darts history and the incidents which made them iconic.

When it comes to a sport that brings pure entertainment and value for money, there aren't many that can compare to darts. 

Playing in front of an electric atmosphere can motivate players to produce some of their best performances, especially when it comes to the World Championships.

But it can also create some heated exchanges on the oche, and to celebrate, Planet Sport has taken a look at some of the best rivalries in the sport.

Phil Taylor vs Raymond van Barneveld

Overall meetings: 61-18 (4)

World Championship meetings: 5

2016 quarter-final: 3-5

2015 semi-final: 6-2

2012 semi-final: 6-4

2009 final: 7-1

2007 final: 6-7

Taylor v Van Barnaveld

Possibly the biggest and most famous battle in recent years. When 21 world titles are shared out between two people, it's hardly a surprise that Taylor and Barney had their fair share of handbags.

In 2007, we were treated to an all-time classic when Barneveld defeated Taylor 7-6 in a breath-taking PDC World Championships final. They would meet in the final two years later but it failed to replicate the same type of match, with Taylor thrashing the Dutchman 7-1.

They were battling each other for years but their rivalry nearly crossed the line at the 2012 World Championships. Taylor had won the match 6-4 but it was afterwards that the Englishman took offence after a very strong handshake from Barney.

It escalated further with both men pushing and shoving each other. Their fierce rivalry continued up until the start of 2018 when Taylor called time on his illustrious career.

Michael van Gerwen vs Peter Wright

Overall meetings: 64-22 (2)

World Championship meetings: 4

2020 final: 3-7

2014 final: 7-4

2012 last-32: 4-2

2009 last-64: 3-1

Van Gerwen Wright

Wright and Van Gerwen had a public fallout at the 2015 Premier League Darts following the former's attempt to get the crowd going mid-match. The reason it got Van Gerwen's back up was due to it being before a shot on the bullseye.

Wright - known as the Snakebite - would miss the shot and lose the match. While there was no physical confrontation between the pair, it was quite obvious a storm was brewing with moody looks and comments made to each other throughout the match.

It included Van Gerwen calling his opponent 'unprofessional' and Wright replying by branding him 'a big baby'.

The 2019 Melbourne Masters is another example of when the two collided during a game - watch below.

The rivalry went up another notch after Wright won his first major title in 2017 at the UK Open. Fast forward six years and they are two of the biggest stars in the sport. Wright defeated his foe in the 2020 World Championships final, defeating Van Gerwen 7-3 to become world champion at the age of 49.

They have been involved in some classic match-ups and now that Wright has won some big tournaments of his own, expect these two to compete in plenty more finals against each other.

Gerwyn Price vs Gary Anderson

Overall meetings: 7-8

World Championship meetings: 1

2021 final: 7-3

Price Anderson

There is no love lost between these two world champions and it all started at the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts.

We all know Price is an animated character and loves a good fist pump and roar to the crowd when he checks out. But we also know it can get under the skin of opponents and Anderson's not one to keep his words bottled up.

Tempers flared in the final after Price hit a 174. Celebrations from the Iceman turned into a push from Anderson and a war-of-words. Despite the crowd getting on Price's back, he would go on to win seven of the remaining eight legs to win the tournament for the first time.

They reignited their feud in the 2021 World Championships final and it was Price who came out on top, dominating the fixture to win his first world title.

Phil Taylor vs Adrian Lewis

Overall meetings: 55-17 (2)

World Championships meetings: 1

2010 quarter-finals: 5-0

Taylor Lewis

Both are from Stoke, they represented England together at the World Cup of Darts and are both world champions. A lot in common? Yes. But that doesn't necessarily mean they are the best of friends.

Taylor recalled the time when their relationship turned sour after Lewis told the media: "It's time to stop calling me Phil's protege - all I've ever done is practise with him, but I used to practise with my dad and nobody calls me his apprentice.

"How much of my success is down to Phil? He passed on a few tips, like going to bed early and a few things I should be doing as a professional, but I had qualified for three tournaments on the circuit before I had even met him."

Adrian Lewis makes his way out ahead of his match against Matt Campbell during day one of the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. Picture date: Wednesday December 15, 2021.

Taylor replied: "I was standing only a few feet away when he said those words. I thought his comments were very disrespectful - to suggest I had never done anything for him apart from telling him to go to bed early was not just dismissive, it was an insult.

"For a few weeks I didn't say a word to him; in fact, I felt so let down that I told him to keep away from me."

Eric Bristow vs John Lowe

Overall meetings: 12-19

World Championship meetings: 6

1989 semi-final: 1-5

1988 semi-final: 5-2

1987 final: 6-4

1985 final: 2-6

1984 semi-final: 0-6

1981 final: 3-5

Eric Bristow

Now, this is a blast from the past. Before there was a split in organisations (PDC and BDO), you had players battling it out for supremacy under one roof.

Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Leighton Rees, Alan Evans and Bobby George were the leading names in the late 1970s.

It was in the 1980s when an iconic rivalry between Bristow and Lowe first emerged. At one point, darts fans were Team Bristow or Team Lowe - a bit like in tennis with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and more recently, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in soccer.

They were without doubt the two best darts players on the circuit but totally different when it came to playing the game. Lowe was focused on winning as many titles possible and collecting prize money while Bristow entertained the fans and gave hilarious post-match interviews.

Who could ever forget their meeting at the World Championships final in 1987? Bristow was edged out by Lowe 6-4 and he immediately shook hands and made a swift exit.

It was a huge moment for Lowe who had previously lost two world finals against Bristow in 1981 and 1985.

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