Michael van Gerwen retained his Coral UK Open title with a comprehensive 11-4 victory over Peter Wright in a repeat of last year’s final, at Butlins, Minehead. Van Gerwen maintained his terrific form, averaging 106.68 and hitting six maximums as he dispatched Snakebite, who once again was denied in his fourth major TV final.
Van Gerwen held throw convincingly in the opening leg with a clinical 13-darter, but Wright levelled up proceedings with a clinical 64 finish. However, this prompted a mini-surge from MvG, who pinned D12 for a 14-darter, before securing the first break of the final with a sensational 11-darter, having posted a maximum in the preceding visit.
The fifth leg was a significant turning point. ‘The Green Machine’ appeared destined to post back-to-back 11-darters; but five missed darts at double handed Wright a glorious opportunity to break back instantly. However, Snakebite spurned two darts at tops for a 54 checkout, and van Gerwen eventually converted D3 for a 4-1 cushion at the first interval.
Wright remained in touch by converting 61 on D16 in the sixth leg, but the Dutchman reclaimed his three-leg cushion with a fabulous 13-darter moments later. Wright wired the bullseye for a 161 finish in the eighth leg, but he returned to post D8 and reduce the arrears to 5-3.
However, this provoked another power surge from MvG. Van Gerwen converted 285 in 6 darts, following up his fourth maximum with a superb 105 checkout. Wright then had the chance to reduce the deficit to two legs, but after the Scot wired D16 for a 146 checkout, MvG mercilessly took out 88 in two darts to establish a commanding 7-3 advantage.
The 26-year-old from Boxtel hit D2 for a routine hold of throw, before he raced six legs clear with a clinical 76 checkout. Wright was simply powerless to stop van Gerwen’s relentless brilliance, and Michael moved to within a leg of victory with a ruthless two-dart 74 kill.
Wright won his fourth leg after van Gerwen surprisingly missed three tournament darts, before a dramatic fifteenth leg ensued. Wright posted back-to-back 180’s and came agonisingly close to hitting a 9-darter, just pulling his final dart at D12. Yet, he then missed darts at D6 and D3, enabling MvG to step in and clinch the title with a 64 finish.
It was an extraordinary performance from van Gerwen, who possesses an ominous air of invincibility at present. Wright did very little wrong for the majority of the contest, averaging over 100 for large periods, but he was completely and utterly dominated by the world number one.
Earlier in the day, Van Gerwen survived a mini-scare as he overcame amateur qualifier Barry Lynn 10-6 in the last eight, to set up an enthralling semi-final clash against 16-time world champion Phil Taylor. Taylor averaged 105.57 and recorded seven maximums as he dispatched Welshman Mark Webster 10-3.
However, MvG continued his dominance against Taylor, winning 9 of the final 11 legs to defeat ‘The Power’ 10-6. Taylor missed D14 for a 121 checkout which would have handed him a 5-1 cushion. This proved to be decisive, as ‘The Green Machine’ went through the gears, averaging 107 to record his eighth win over Phil in their last nine meetings.
Elsewhere, Wright came through a high-quality tussle against Joe Cullen in Sunday’s quarter-final. The pair both averaged 102 and Cullen fought back from 9-3 down to 9-7, but Snakebite eventually got over the line with a clinical 95 checkout, to set up a quarter-final clash against Jelle Klaasen, who ruthlessly whitewashed Kyle Anderson 10-0.
In the last four, Wright secured a spot in his second consecutive UK Open final with a hard-fought win over Jelle Klaasen. ‘The Cobra’ was punished for a poor 23% checkout ratio as Wright secured a 10-6 victory with a solid 96 average. Nevertheless, Peter was still unable to cross the winning line as Van Gerwen’s superiority continues.
Coral UK Open
Sunday March 6
Afternoon Session (12.45pm)
Jelle Klaasen 10-0 Kyle Anderson
Peter Wright 10-7 Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Barry Lynn
Phil Taylor 10-3 Mark Webster
Best of 19 legs
Evening Session (7pm)
Peter Wright 10-5 Jelle Klaasen
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
Best of 19 legs
Michael van Gerwen 11-4 Peter Wright
Best of 21 legs