Michael van Gerwen claimed victory in the first streamed Players Championship event in PDC history, whitewashing the in-form Mensur Suljovic 6-0 in the final at the Barnsley Metrodome on Tuesday afternoon.
Van Gerwen was in magnificent form throughout the day; dropping just 13 legs in his seven matches. However, he saved his best for the final, where he fired in three maximums to dismantle Suljovic, who was appearing in his first ever Players Championship final- his third Pro Tour final this month.
Van Gerwen clinched a scrappy opening leg on D2, after Suljovic had spurned a dart at D18 to break throw. ‘The Green Machine’ then fired in his first maximum en route to breaking Suljovic’s throw in 13-darts.
The Austrian posted his first maximum as he attempted to register an instant break back, but MvG fired in another 180, before pinning D8 to establish a commanding 3-0 cushion. The Dutchman was growing in confidence and posted visits of 123, 134 and 134 in leg four, before converting 110 for a majestic 12-darter and a second break of throw.
Suljovic was desperate to avoid a whitewash and he gave himself an opportunity to break back after firing in a timely score of 170. However, ‘The Gentle’ spurned two darts at D16 and Van Gerwen nailed tops to complete a 16-dart hold of throw.
The pair recently contested the European Darts Trophy final in Muelheim which went to a deciding-leg, but this was far more one-sided. Van Gerwen produced successive visits of 180 and 170, before converting 56 in two-darts to record a magnificent victory inside 11-darts.
It was an historic day for the PDC, and Van Gerwen played an integral role. He appeared in the first ever streamed Players Championship match, as he began his campaign with a comfortable 6-3 win over Ryan Harrington. ‘The Green Machine’ then eased into round-four, by virtue of 6-2 victories over James Richardson and Jonny Clayton respectively.
In the last 16, MvG faced Adrian Lewis, who dropped just six legs in his first three matches. However, MvG was in magnificent form, firing in four maximums to whitewash the two-time world champion.
The world number one faced the in-form James Wilson in the last eight, who again reached the latter stages of a Players Championship event. ‘The Jammie Dodger’ recorded comprehensive victories over Jelle Klaasen and Gerwyn Price to reach the quarters, but Van Gerwen was too strong for Wilson, prevailing 6-2.
The Dutchman faced John Henderson in the semi-finals, after the Scot overcame fourth seed Kim Huybrechts in the last eight. Henderson had survived four match darts in his first-round clash against Jeffrey de Graaf and took advantage of his good fortune to reach the last four.
Henderson stormed into a 2-0 lead and missed one dart at tops for a double-break. Van Gerwen reeled off three successive legs to respond, but Henderson regained the initiative to lead 4-3, before ‘Mighty-Mike’ won the remaining three legs to triumph in a topsy-turvy semi-final.
On the other side of the draw, Suljovic began his campaign with comfortable victories over Robert Owen and Michael Barnard, before edging through a nervy last-leg shootout against Joe Murnan to reach the last 16.
The Austrian then produced a fine display to dump out fifteenth seed Joe Cullen 6-3, before easing past Justin Pipe 6-2 in the quarter-finals. Nevertheless, it was an excellent day for Pipe, who put himself firmly back in contention for a World Grand-Prix spot by virtue of reaching the last eight in Barnsley.
In the semi-finals, Suljovic faced arguably the performer of the day, Mick McGowan. The Irishman continued his good form from the European Darts Grand Prix last weekend, earning £3,000 by virtue of reaching the last four to put himself in pole position to qualify for the World Grand-Prix next month.
McGowan kicked off his campaign at the Metrodome by dumping out tenth seed Terry Jenkins 6-2 in the opening round. He then saw off the challenges of Andy Parsons and John Bowles to secure a place in the last 16, where he would face Vincent van der Voort.
‘The Magnet’ produced a masterful exhibition of finishing to edge out the Dutchman in a thrilling deciding-leg. McGowan converted four ton-plus checkouts of 100, 121, 124 and 128 to seal a quarter-final showdown with Mervyn King, who had seen off the likes of Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld to reach this stage.
However, ‘The King’ was unable to progress any further, as McGowan claimed a 6-4 victory to reach his first PDC ranking semi-final for a number of years.Suljovic however, proved to be an obstacle too far for the Republic of Ireland star, who delivered an inconsistent display and suffered a 6-2 defeat.
Elsewhere, fifth seed Ian White suffered an early exit in Barnsley, as he was beaten by former Lakeside world champion Christian Kist in round-one. White has won three Players Championship titles this year-all in Barnsley, although it wasn’t a happy hunting ground for ‘The Diamond’ on this occasion.
Michael Smith suffered a surprise 6-1 defeat to eventual semi-finalist John Henderson in round-two, whilst Dave Chisnall was edged out by promising youngster Ted Evetts at the same stage.
Second seed Peter Wright was beaten in his board final by five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld. The pair met in the semi-finals of the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen last weekend, where Wright prevailed 6-2. However, Barney gained revenge on this occasion, coming through a tense last-leg decider.
Phil Taylor won’t be appearing in Barnsley this week having pulled out of the Players Championship triple-header. This leaves ‘The Power’ with just four events to secure his spot for the Players Championship finals in Minehead, as he is currently outside the top 64 of the Pro Tour Order of Merit.
However, the day belonged to Michael van Gerwen, who secured his second Players Championship title of the year- his 17th title of 2016, to close in on last year’s tally of 18. The Dutchman will have the opportunity to better that statistic as the Players Championship events continue on Wednesday and Thursday.
Players Championship 14
Tuesday September 20, Barnsley Metrodome
Michael van Gerwen (1) 6-3 Ryan Harrington
James Richardson 6-2 Matthew Dennant
Jonny Clayton (32) 6-5 Max Hopp
Nigel Heydon 6-5 Tony Newell
Steve Beaton (16) 6-3 Chris Dobey
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Adrian Lewis (17) 6-2 Nathan Derry
Yordi Meeuwisse 6-3 Ray Campbell
Gerwyn Price (8) 6-2 Darron Brown
Andy Smith 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
Trevor Burkhill 6-5 Cristo Reyes (25)
Arron Monk 6-5 Kevin Painter
Jelle Klaasen (9) 6-1 Brian Woods
Jamie Lewis 6-5 Steve Brown
James Wilson (24) 6-1 Prakash Jiwa
William O’Connor 6-5 Jason Wilson
Christian Kist 6-3 Ian White (5)
Peter Hudson 6-1 Jason Marriott
Devon Petersen (28) 6-2 Jamie Robinson
Chris Quantock 6-2 Darren Johnson
Michael Smith (12) 6-2 Simon Preston
John Henderson 6-5 Jeffrey de Graaf
Josh Payne (21) 6-3 Steve McNally
Darren Webster 6-3 Mike Zuydwijk
Kim Huybrechts (4) 6-0 Alan Tabern
Mike De Decker 6-3 Stuart Kellett
Jermaine Wattimena (29) 6-2 Ryan Palmer
Jay Foreman 6-5 Scott Dale
Alan Norris (13) 6-3 Wes Newton
Vincent Kamphuis 6-5 Andy Jenkins
Robbie Green (20) 6-5 Nigel Daniels
Simon Stevenson 6-2 Mark Frost
Peter Wright (2) 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Steve Hine 6-5 Berry van Peer
Raymond van Barneveld (31) 6-1 Andy Hamilton
Richie Corner 6-4 Billy Holmes
Simon Whitlock (15) 6-2 Paul Milford
Shaun Griffiths 6-3 Matt Clark
Mervyn King (18) 6-4 Ryan Meikle
Mark Barilli 6-5 Mick Todd
Dave Chisnall (7) 6-5 Keegan Brown
Ted Evetts 6-2 Jyhan Artut
Vincent van der Voort (26) 6-3 Callum Loose
Ronnie Baxter 6-4 Mark Hylton
Mick McGowan 6-2 Terry Jenkins (10)
Andy Parsons 6-1 Lee Evans
Robert Thornton (23) 6-0 Andrew Gilding
John Bowles 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Benito van de Pas (6) 6-2 Ricky Williams
Ronny Huybrechts 6-1 Matthew Edgar
Justin Pipe (27) 6-4 Colin Littlecott
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 David Pallett
Stephen Bunting (11) 6-5 Jonathan Worsley
Andy Boulton 6-3 Dean Winstanley
Jan Dekker 6-4 Mark Webster (22)
Paul Nicholson 6-4 Ricky Evans
Mensur Suljovic (3) 6-2 Robert Owen
Michael Barnard 6-2 Curtis Hammond
Jason Lovett 6-5 Steve West (30)
Joe Murnan 6-3 Dennis Smith
Joe Cullen (14) 6-5 Mickey Mansell
Barrie Bates 6-2 Wayne Jones
Jim Walker 6-4 Jamie Caven (19)
Brendan Dolan 6-0 Terry Temple
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 James Richardson
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Nigel Heydon
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-3 Steve Beaton
Adrian Lewis 6-0 Yordi Meeuwisse
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Andy Smith
Trevor Burkhill 6-5 Arron Monk
Jelle Klaasen 6-2 Jamie Lewis
James Wilson 6-2 William O’Connor
Christian Kist 6-1 Peter Hudson
Devon Petersen 6-4 Chris Quantock
John Henderson 6-1 Michael Smith
Darren Webster 6-4 Josh Payne
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Mike De Decker
Jay Foreman 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Vincent Kamphuis 6-5 Alan Norris
Simon Stevenson 6-4 Robbie Green
Peter Wright 6-2 Steve Hine
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Richie Corner
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Shaun Griffiths
Mervyn King 6-2 Mark Barilli
Ted Evetts 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Ronnie Baxter
Mick McGowan 6-2 Andy Parsons
John Bowles 6-4 Robert Thornton
Benito van de Pas 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts
Justin Pipe 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Andy Boulton
Jan Dekker 6-1 Paul Nicholson
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Michael Barnard
Joe Murnan 6-2 Jason Lovett
Joe Cullen 6-4 Barrie Bates
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Jim Walker
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Trevor Burkhill
James Wilson 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Christian Kist 6-2 Devon Petersen
John Henderson 6-3 Darren Webster
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Jay Foreman
Simon Stevenson 6-5 Vincent Kamphuis
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Peter Wright
Mervyn King 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Ted Evetts
Mick McGowan 6-4 John Bowles
Justin Pipe 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Jan Dekker
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Joe Murnan
Joe Cullen 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Adrian Lewis
James Wilson 6-1 Gerwyn Price
John Henderson 6-5 Christian Kist
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Simon Stevenson
Mervyn King 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Mick McGowan 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Justin Pipe 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 James Wilson
John Henderson 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Mick McGowan 6-4 Mervyn King
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Justin Pipe
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 John Henderson
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Mick McGowan
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Mensur Suljovic