Michael van Gerwen successfully defended his World Series of Darts Finals title by beating Peter Wright 11-9 in a pulsating repeat of last year’s final on a dramatic night at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow on Sunday evening.
Van Gerwen led 10-6 and appeared destined to close out a routine victory, but he spurned match darts as Wright fought back to 10-9. MvG then missed seven match darts, but Wright squandered five darts to force a decider, as ‘The Green Machine’ finally clinched the win with a 101.18 average.
It was a pulsating tussle and Wright acquitted himself superbly. Snakebite averaged 99.63 and landed eight maximums but it wasn’t enough to secure a maiden PDC TV title, as he suffered final heartbreak for the fifth time in his career.
The game started in rather scrappy fashion as Wright won the opening leg on D4 after Van Gerwen was unable to threaten an 85 checkout, but the Dutchman responded strongly, registering his first maximum and pinning D9 for a comfortable 13-dart hold.
Van Gerwen then registered his second successive 13-darter on D10 to break Wright, although Snakebite secured an instant break back, posting his first maximum and punishing an uncharacteristically sloppy leg from the world number one.
Nevertheless, the home favourite was unable to cement this break of throw and Van Gerwen recorded the third straight break of throw, following up a majestic 174 by nailing D8 for his third 13-darter of the final.
Wright sealed the fourth consecutive break of throw to restore parity at three apiece, before Snakebite finally ended the sequence of breaks. Van Gerwen wired the bull for an 87 finish, allowing the Scot to pin tops to convert a crucial 96 checkout.
Wright kicked off the eighth leg with his fourth 180, but ‘Mighty Mike’ responded in kind, also landing his fourth maximum before taking out tops to complete a commanding 14-dart hold.
Snakebite was scoring superbly, but he was ruthlessly punished for missed doubles before the second interval. He missed four darts at D18 and D9 as Van Gerwen took out 130 on the bull to move 5-4 ahead, before the Dutchman established a two-leg lead for the first time with a 103 finish, after Wright missed a dart at bull to break.
The pair traded holds of throw after the interval, before MvG cleaned up 86 on D7 to establish a three-leg lead and break Wright once more. Van Gerwen then fired in his sixth maximum as he attempted to move further ahead, but MvG missed three darts at double and Wright capitalised to reduce the arrears to 8-6.
Wright had the opportunity to reduce the deficit to the solitary leg with a 122 finish, but he was unable to register a shot at the bullseye, and Van Gerwen nailed D8 to re-establish a semblance of control. The Dutchman then clinically converted 72 in two-darts to move within a leg of the title.
However, the world number five continued to battle valiantly. He fired in two maximums as he held throw in 12 darts, before a dramatic eighteenth leg ensued. Van Gerwen left 41 after just 9 darts, but he missed two match darts at D16 and Wright converted 81 to complete an 11-darter and reduce the scoreline to 10-8.
The Scot won his third straight leg to reduce the deficit to the solitary leg although MvG appeared unfazed as he hit his ninth maximum to close in on victory. Yet, he missed a staggering seven darts to seal the title, but Wright was unable to exploit this profligacy, missing five darts himself as MvG eventually clinched the win on D2.
For the second year in succession, Van Gerwen defeated Wright in a high-quality and nerve-jangling final. Snakebite certainly appears on the cusp of winning his first PDC major, but he’ll be extremely disappointed with his failure to force a last-leg shootout.
Earlier in the day, Van Gerwen stormed into the final by dropping just three legs in his first two matches. ‘The Green Machine’ produced a phenomenal performance to mercilessly whitewash Simon Whitlock 10-0, averaging 109.71, as Whitlock was afforded just one dart at double in the entire contest.
The world number one then delivered a similarly brilliant display to record an 11-3 rout of Dave Chisnall in the semi-finals. Chisnall produced a brilliant comeback to defeat Adrian Lewis in the last eight, but he was unable to trouble MvG, who completed the victory with a mightily impressive 108.69 average.
Elsewhere, Peter Wright booked his place in the last four with a hard-fought win against Gary Anderson’s conqueror Joe Cullen. Cullen established an early 2-0 advantage but Wright won the next five legs to seal command. ‘The Rockstar’ fought valiantly, but Wright closed out a 10-7 victory with a 99.83 average.
In the semi’s, Wright edged out Phil Taylor in one of the best World Series matches ever staged. Taylor took out stunning finishes of 127, 139, 146 and 149 to move 10-8 ahead, but Wright, who averaged over 105, launched a brilliant comeback and won the final three legs after ‘The Power’ missed seven match darts in the face of a partisan home crowd.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Ladbrokes World Series of Darts Finals
Sunday November 6
Adrian Lewis 6-10 Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen 10-0 Simon Whitlock
Benito van de Pas 3-10 Phil Taylor
Joe Cullen 7-10 Peter Wright
Best of 19 legs
Michael van Gerwen 11-3 Dave Chisnall
Peter Wright 11-10 Phil Taylor
Best of 21 legs
Michael van Gerwen 11-9 Peter Wright
Best of 21 legs