Phil Taylor offered sage advice to 13-year-old prodigy Leighton Bennett, before beating him in the ‘Power at the Tower’ exhibition.

The unique head-to-head at the Tower of London went Taylor’s way. But Bennett played his part with a number of high scores and checkouts, bringing out his now standard exuberant celebrations on a number of occasions. His excitable nature attracted some criticism when the Lincolnshire ace beat Nathan Girvan to win the BDO World Youth Championship. 16-time world champion Taylor offered his young opponent some simple advice – ignore it.

“It’s nonsense that the boy should get any rubbish on social media for celebrating winning the world title,” The Power told Live Darts before the event.

“The sport has got to embrace characters now. There’s too many fines being handed out for players just showing their emotions. That’s what the game is all about.

“But to have a go at a boy of 13 for leaping on stage when he won the World Youth title is just utter rubbish. I say good on him for being so happy,”

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Taylor himself has been outspoken about over-the-top celebrations in the past, be it from Kim Huybrechts or Michael van Gerwen. But the PDC legend unreservedly backed Bennett, who looks set to become a big deal in professional darts himself.

“I think a few people said he was cocky. What the hell is wrong with that?

“What would these people have said about Eric Bristow, and he made the game what it is today!

“My advice to Leighton is just to do what comes naturally. He’s not a cocky boy at all, but that shouldn’t stop him showing his emotions on stage – the sport needs that,” he said.

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Author: Ed McCosh