England won the World Cup of Darts for a record fourth time with victory over Netherlands in a thrilling final on Sunday evening in Frankfurt. The decisive match was contested between Adrian Lewis and Michael van Gerwen, and Jackpot prevailed 4-1 in an emotionally-charged contest.
Phil Taylor struck first in Sunday’s final, averaging 102. 94 in defeating Michael van Gerwen 4-3. Taylor was the better player throughout, with MvG’s average languishing in the 70’s at one stage. Taylor missed two darts for a 4-2 victory as Michael forced a deciding leg, but Taylor converted D16 for a 68 checkout to claim the spoils.
However, Raymond van Barneveld drew Netherlands level at 1-1 with another deciding-leg victory over Adrian Lewis. Barney started strongly, before missing three darts for a 3-0 advantage. Lewis responded well and forced a seventh and deciding leg, but Raymond showed his class, securing victory with a majestic 11-darter.
The doubles contest was the third tie of the final and many believed that this would be the decisive contest. England won the opening leg by virtue of a 103 checkout, but Netherlands fired straight back with a 13-darter. Lewis missed D20 to regain the lead, and Van Barneveld punished this error, with a wonderful 104 outshot on D16.
Taylor produced a timely 174 in the fourth leg, but Van Barneveld was unfazed and again pinned D16 to seal the third straight leg for the Dutch. Lewis reduced the arrears to 3-2 with a fine 98 finish, but Van Barneveld moved Netherlands to within a point of the title, following up his second maximum with a perfectly-executed D16.
Van Barneveld had the chance to seal World Cup glory by beating Phil Taylor, although this proved one obstacle too many for the five-time world champion. Taylor won a topsy-turvy tie 4-1, with his clinical D16 hitting proving crucial. ‘The Power’ took out 66 and 83 finishes to move 3-1 up, before hitting D16 once more to force a fifth and deciding rubber.
Michael van Gerwen secured World Cup glory for Netherlands two years ago by beating Adrian Lewis, although on this occasion, the roles were reversed. The pair traded maximums in the opening leg, before Lewis hit D3 to hold his throw. Jackpot then extended his advantage moments later, capitalising on four missed doubles from MvG.
Van Gerwen’s double trouble continued in the next leg, but he eventually reduced the arrears to 2-1, hitting D1 for a modest 21-dart leg. Nevertheless, Michael was unable to restore parity in the fourth leg, as Lewis pinned D4 for a huge 76 checkout.
This proved to be the defining blow, as Lewis recorded two maximums on his throw in the fifth leg to close in on victory. The two-time world champion spurned five match darts, but he eventually converted D8 to ensure that England retained their World Cup crown.
It was a bizarre final, with constant shifts in momentum. Van Gerwen will be bitterly disappointed with his performance. He averaged just 85 and hit 6% of his double attempts against Lewis and struggled throughout the entire final, but there’s no doubt that the world number one will respond in the only way he knows- by winning more events.
Earlier in the evening, England secured a place in their fifth World Cup final with a comprehensive victory over Northern Ireland in the last four. The English duo dropped just one leg en route to victory, as Taylor whitewashed Brendan Dolan, whilst Adrian Lewis produced a maximum 170 finish to defeat World Cup debutant Daryl Gurney 4-1.
Elsewhere, Netherlands’ progress to the final was similarly serene. Michael van Gerwen averaged 102.70 in dismantling Ronny Huybrechts 4-1, whilst Raymond van Barneveld defeated Kim Huybrechts in a high-quality affair. The match was evenly poised at two apiece, but successive checkouts of 86 and 76 enabled Barney to prevail.
It’s fitting that the final was contested between the number one seeds and tournament favourites. The final featured three of the world’s top four ranked players, but Van Barneveld, ranked 11th in the PDC Order of Merit, was arguably the stand-out performer, particularly in the doubles. What an event; what a final. Congratulations to England!
Betway World Cup of Darts
Sunday June 5
England 2-0 Northern Ireland
Belgium 0-2 Netherlands
England 3-2 Netherlands
Phil Taylor 4-3 Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld 4-3 Adrian Lewis
Netherlands (Van Gerwen, Van Barneveld) 4-2 England (Taylor, Lewis)
Phil Taylor 4-1 Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis 4-1 Michael van Gerwen