Michael van Gerwen continued his irrepressible vein of form by claiming his second successive Players Championship title after a hard-fought 6-3 victory over James Wilson at the Barnsley Metrodome on Wednesday afternoon.
‘The Green Machine’ was in rampant mood throughout the afternoon, firing in a 9-darter in the last 16, en route to scooping the £10,000 winner’s cheque and securing his 18th PDC title of the year. Wilson performed superbly, but was denied victory in his first ever PDC final.
The Dutchman began the final strongly, holding throw in 15-darts by virtue of a clinical 90 finish culminating on the bullseye. MvG threatened a break of throw in the following leg by leaving 130 after 9 darts, but an untimely bounce-out denied him the opportunity at bull, and Wilson levelled up with an excellent 14-darter.
However, ‘Mighty Mike’ responded emphatically; pinning D8 for a 14-dart hold, having wired the bull for a maximum 170 checkout in the preceding visit. Wilson remained unfazed however; posting successive scores of 140 before nailing D7 for another 14-dart leg to fire back.
Van Gerwen secured the fifth successive hold of throw in the final by converting D18 for a 13-darter, before a tense sixth leg ensued. The 27-year-old Boxtel ace had an opportunity to break throw, but he wired a dart at bull for a 124 kill, and Wilson hit D10 to restore parity once more at three-apiece.
Wilson sensed a break opportunity himself in the seventh leg after Van Gerwen posted nine darts without a treble, but ‘The Green Machine’ rectified matters with his first maximum, and after Wilson was unable to take out 104, MvG produced a nerveless 66 finish to hold; pinning D18 with his last dart in hand.
The decisive moment came in the eighth leg. ‘The Jammie Dodger’ produced some indifferent darts and the world number one capitalised ruthlessly, following up his second maximum with a clinical 108 checkout for the first break of throw, and a 5-3 cushion.
Van Gerwen kicked off the ninth leg with his third maximum, but Wilson continued to battle; leaving 98 after 9 darts. The Huddersfield ace was afforded an opportunity after MvG spurned darts at D12 and D6, but Wilson was unable to capitalise, missing two darts at D19, before the Dutchman returned to post D3 and clinch the title.
Earlier in the day, Van Gerwen kicked off his campaign with a comfortable 6-2 victory over young Mike de Decker, before coming through a hard-fought 6-4 tussle against the veteran Alan Tabern in round-two.
The world number one breezed into the fourth round with a whitewash victory over Jason Lovett, before hitting a magnificent 9-darter en route to an emphatic 6-2 victory over Simon Whitlock in the last 16.
Van Gerwen faced World Grand-Prix champion Robert Thornton in the last eight, but ‘The Green Machine’ stormed to a 6-3 victory, where he faced Belgian hotshot Dimitri van den Bergh, appearing in his first senior PDC semi-final. The Belgian led 2-1, but MvG won five of the remaining six legs to secure a place in the final for the second straight day.
James Wilson, seeded 22nd , eased into the third-round with convincing wins against Steve Hine and James Richardson. ‘The Jammie Dodger’ then displayed nerves of steel, coming through successive last-leg deciders against Steve West and Vincent van der Voort, to reach the quarter-finals.
Wilson faced five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in the last eight, in a repeat of their clash at the European Darts Grand Prix last weekend. Van Barneveld prevailed 6-3 on that occasion, but Wilson gained revenge, reeling off five straight legs from 3-1 down to reach the last four.
The former BDO world number 1 has reached the semi-finals of Players Championship events in four of the last six tournaments, and on this occasion he faced quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena, who was appearing in his first ever PDC semi-final.
Wattimena had defeated the likes of David Pallett, Peter Wright and Jelle Klaasen to reach the last four, but he was edged out in a topsy-turvy semi-final. Wilson claimed an early 3-1 lead, but some fine finishing handed Wattimena a 4-3 advantage. Nevertheless, Wilson responded by reeling off three straight legs of his own to triumph.
Elsewhere, another Dutchman grabbed the headlines in Barnsley, with Jeffrey de Graaf hitting a 9-darter in his second-round tie against Chris Dobey. Despite landing the perfect leg, De Graaf suffered an agonising deciding-leg defeat against Dobey, who went on to dismantle Michael Smith 6-1 in round three.
Ian White and Terry Jenkins suffered first-round exits for the second consecutive day, as they were edged out by Paul Nicholson and Steve West respectively. James Wade and Adrian Lewis were also early casualties, losing in round-two to Mickey Mansell and Ricky Williams respectively.
Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld continued his good run of form by reaching the last eight at the Barnsley Metrodome. The five-time world champion survived four match darts in his first-round victory over Christian Kist, before going on to defeat Darren Webster, Jonathan Worsley and Alan Norris.
Worsley produced arguably the result of the first-round, as he eased past third seed Mensur Suljovic 6-2. Incredibly, this is Suljovic’s first competition of 2016 without winning any prize money.
However, the day once again belonged to Michael van Gerwen. He has equalled last year’s tally of 18 titles, and he is closing in on Phil Taylor’s record of 24- set in 2008. The Dutchman will go in search of an unprecedented triple-header tomorrow, as the third and final Pro Tour event of the week takes place at the Metrodome on Thursday afternoon.
Players Championship 15
Michael van Gerwen (1) 6-2 Mike De Decker
Alan Tabern 6-5 Stuart Kellett
Mick McGowan 6-3 John Henderson (32)
Jason Lovett 6-4 Mike Zuydwijk
Simon Whitlock (16) 6-4 Matthew Dennant
Trevor Burkhill 6-4 Jyhan Artut
Adrian Lewis (17) 6-3 Mark Barilli
Ricky Williams 6-5 Mark Frost
James Wade (8) 6-1 Steve McNally
Mickey Mansell 6-3 Andy Boulton
Mark Webster (25) 6-5 Jason Wilson
Richie Corner 6-5 Andy Parsons
Tony Newell 6-2 Gerwyn Price (9)
Brian Woods 6-2 Michael Barnard
Robert Thornton (24) 6-2 Andy Smith
Ronnie Baxter 6-4 Darron Brown
Paul Nicholson 6-4 Ian White (5)
Andrew Gilding 6-1 Ron Meulenkamp
Cristo Reyes (28) 6-2 Robert Owen
Kevin Painter 6-3 Chris Quantock
Stephen Bunting (12) 6-5 Darren Johnson
Ryan Palmer 6-5 Andy Hamilton
Jamie Caven (21) 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Wes Newton 6-2 Prakash Jiwa
Kim Huybrechts (4) 6-3 Brett Claydon
Ronny Huybrechts 6-1 Ray Campbell
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Devon Petersen (29)
Jan Dekker 6-3 Peter Hudson
Michael Smith (13) 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Arron Monk 6-4 Dennis Smith
Chris Dobey 6-1 Robbie Green (20)
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-0 Vincent Kamphuis
Peter Wright (2) 6-3 Jamie Robinson
Matt Clark 6-4 Shaun Griffiths
Jermaine Wattimena (31) 6-5 Jonny Clayton
David Pallett 6-4 Ricky Evans
Simon Stevenson 6-1 Joe Cullen (15)
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-0 Nathan Derry
Steve Brown 6-5 Steve Beaton (18)
Joe Murnan 6-5 Yordi Meeuwisse
Dave Chisnall (7) 6-3 Terry Temple
Dean Winstanley 6-5 Curtis Hammond
Justin Pipe (26) 6-2 Nigel Heydon
Max Hopp 6-5 Jay Foreman
Jelle Klaasen (10) 6-1 Ted Evetts
Wayne Jones 6-5 John Bowles
Berry van Peer 6-4 Josh Payne (23)
Mark Walsh 6-2 Simon Preston
Andy Jenkins 6-4 Benito van de Pas (6)
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-5 Matthew Edgar
Vincent van der Voort (27) 6-4 Ryan Meikle
Keegan Brown 6-0 Lee Evans
Steve West 6-5 Terry Jenkins (11)
Jim Walker 6-2 Colin Littlecott
James Wilson (22) 6-2 Steve Hine
James Richardson 6-5 Mick Todd
Jonathan Worsley 6-2 Mensur Suljovic (3)
Kevin Dowling 6-5 William O’Connor
Raymond van Barneveld (30) 6-5 Christian Kist
Darren Webster 6-0 Jason Marriott
Alan Norris (14) 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Nigel Daniels 6-1 Mark Hylton
Jamie Lewis 6-4 Mervyn King (19)
Paul Milford 6-2 Scott Dale
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Alan Tabern
Jason Lovett 6-4 Mick McGowan
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Trevor Burkhill
Ricky Williams 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Mickey Mansell 6-4 James Wade
Richie Corner 6-4 Mark Webster
Tony Newell 6-5 Brian Woods
Robert Thornton 6-2 Ronnie Baxter
Andrew Gilding 6-5 Paul Nicholson
Cristo Reyes 6-5 Kevin Painter
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Ryan Palmer
Wes Newton 6-3 Jamie Caven
Ronny Huybrechts 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Jan Dekker
Michael Smith 6-5 Arron Monk
Chris Dobey 6-5 Jeffrey de Graaf
Peter Wright 6-5 Matt Clark
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 David Pallett
Simon Stevenson 6-1 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Joe Murnan 6-4 Steve Brown
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Dean Winstanley
Justin Pipe 6-5 Max Hopp
Jelle Klaasen 6-3 Wayne Jones
Mark Walsh 6-0 Berry van Peer
Andy Jenkins 6-1 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Keegan Brown
Steve West 6-0 Jim Walker
James Wilson 6-3 James Richardson
Jonathan Worsley 6-5 Kevin Dowling
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Darren Webster
Alan Norris 6-1 Nigel Daniels
Jamie Lewis 6-4 Paul Milford
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Jason Lovett
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Ricky Williams
Richie Corner 6-4 Mickey Mansell
Robert Thornton 6-4 Tony Newell
Cristo Reyes 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Stephen Bunting 6-1 Wes Newton
Dimitri van den Bergh 6-3 Ronny Huybrechts
Chris Dobey 6-1 Michael Smith
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Peter Wright
Simon Stevenson 6-1 Joe Murnan
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Justin Pipe
Jelle Klaasen 6-2 Mark Walsh
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Andy Jenkins
James Wilson 6-5 Steve West
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Jonathan Worsely
Alan Norris 6-3 Jamie Lewis
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Robert Thornton 6-4 Richie Corner
Cristo Reyes 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Dimitri van den Bergh 6-4 Chris Dobey
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Simon Stevenson
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Dave Chisnall
James Wilson 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Alan Norris
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Robert Thornton
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Cristo Reyes
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
James Wilson 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
James Wilson 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 James Wilson