Michael van Gerwen continued his invincibility on the European Tour in 2015; winning his third successive European tour event in Munich, beating John Henderson 6-5 in a pulsating final. This victory sees MvG surpass the £1million mark on the Order of Merit; only Phil Taylor has managed that feat. Considering the strength in depth and plethora of talent within the PDC, this is a remarkable achievement and testament to the immense quality and consistency van Gerwen has produced over the last 18 months.
However, the 25-year-old Dutchman rode his luck on the final day; he trailed Jamie Caven 5-3 in the last 16, Jabba wired D20 for a 118 checkout to claim victory in the final leg. MvG was also somewhat fortunate against William O’Connor in the quarters. The Irishman led 3-1, but failed to maintain his consistency, allowing van Gerwen to capitalise and secure a narrow 6-4 win.
Nevertheless, there was nothing fortunate about his semi-final demolition of Peter Wright. Snakebite, fresh from Premier League elimination last Thursday, enjoyed victories over his compatriots Jamie Bain and Robert Thornton earlier in the day, but he was victim of a van Gerwen assault in the last four. The ‘Green Machine’ was absolutely relentless, particularly in the opening legs. He hit a 10-darter to establish a 3-0 lead, and despite Wright averaging 100.25, van Gerwen coasted to a 6-1 win with a 113.63 average.
In the final, he faced Scotsman John Henderson, who was appearing in his first PDC tour final. Henderson enjoyed a phenomenal Monday in Munich; his run to the final has virtually sealed his place at the World Matchplay in July. He reached the quarter-finals by whitewashing the in-form Andrew Gilding 6-0. Henderson averaged 104 and hit a superb 75% on the doubles. He replicated this form in the quarters, despatching Brendan Dolan 6-1 with a 107.5 average.
In the semi-finals, the 42-year-old faced Adrian Lewis, who was fresh from whitewashing James Wade in the quarters. Jackpot made a commanding start, establishing a 2-0 lead, but Henderson showed great fighting spirit to claw his way back. He punished a poor scoring leg from Lewis in the eighth leg, before breaking again in the tenth to reach the final.
The final was a fitting spectacle to cap off an excellent tournament. It looked rather ominous for ‘Big John’ in the opening three legs; his scoring was very erratic and MvG raced to a 3-0 lead, but a fantastic 147 checkout from Henderson reduced the arrears. MvG then led 5-3 and was poised to close out the contest, before the Scot produced a stunning 126 finish (T19, T19, D6) to break the Dutchman. He held comfortably in the tenth leg, but unfortunately couldn’t score heavily enough in the final leg, allowing MvG to seal the win on D20 for a 16-darter.
Big Tournament for ‘Big John’
It was fantastic to see Henderson performing so well on the big-stage. He has enjoyed a fine start to 2015, producing some good performances on the floor, as well as reaching the last-16 stage of the UK Open. After suffering crippling back problems in recent years, he is finally fulfilling his potential and this could be his ‘breakthrough year’ in the PDC.
In terms of van Gerwen, his incredible form continues; the fear factor Taylor possessed over so many years is now abundantly evident with van Gerwen. MvG’s phenomenal averages and exciting combination finishes are immensely impressive, but the most concerning factor for his opponents, is that he is capable of beating the top players at 70% of his maximum powers. For example, against Wade in the Premier League last Thursday, by his standards he averaged a meagre 100, lacking his usual consistency; yet he still beat a solid Wade with unerring comfort. MvG is unbeaten in 9 Premier League games against the darting elite, and has won three successive European tour events; the first time this has been achieved. Make no mistake; we are in the midst of MvG’s darting dominance.
German Darts Masters- Last 16 Results
James Wade 6-3 Terry Jenkins
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Wes Newton
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Simon Whitlock
John Henderson 6-0 Andrew Gilding
Peter Wright 6-3 Jamie Bain
Robert Thornton 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
William O’Connor 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Jamie Caven
James Wade 0-6 Adrian Lewis
Brendan Dolan 1-6 John Henderson
Peter Wright 6-5 Robert Thornton
William O’Connor 4-6 Michael van Gerwen
Adrian Lewis 4-6 John Henderson
Peter Wright 1-6 Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 John Henderson