Michael van Gerwen continued his darting domination by retaining his Grand Slam of Darts title with a comprehensive 16-8 victory against James Wade at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Sunday evening.
Van Gerwen wasn’t at his vintage best in the final, averaging 98.74, hitting six maximums and converting 42% of his double attempts. However Wade struggled throughout, averaging 90.73 and landing just two maximums, as he suffered his second Grand Slam final defeat to the imperious ‘Green Machine’.
This victory maintains Van Gerwen’s extraordinary record of having won every single TV ranking major since suffering defeat to Raymond van Barneveld in last year’s World Championships. Furthermore, the Grand Slam marks MvG’s 24th title of 2016, which equals Phil Taylor’s previous record set in 2010.
Wade secured first blood in the final by pinning tops for a 14-darter, but Van Gerwen levelled up proceedings with a 14-dart leg of his own. ‘The Machine’ then closed out the third successive hold of throw, before breaking the Dutchman’s throw with a typically clinical 112 outshot.
Wade had the opportunity to head into the interval with a 4-1 cushion, but Wade failed to capitalise on missed doubles from the world number one, spurning two darts at D20 and D10, as the Dutchman capitalised on this reprieve to get the contest back on throw.
‘Mighty Mike’ levelled up proceedings with a clinical 104 checkout on tops, before winning a further three legs all on D20 to establish a three-leg cushion. However after firing in a stunning 171, MvG spurned three darts for his sixth straight leg, allowing Wade to reduce the deficit with a nerveless 82 kill.
The left-hander was given a reprieve immediately after the break, reducing the arrears to just the solitary leg after MvG missed three clear darts at double. Despite this, the world number one recovered impressively; restoring his two-leg cushion on tops, before hitting his third maximum and converting 94 to complete a quality 11-dart break of throw.
Van Gerwen took out 70 with consummate ease to move 9-5 ahead, before winning his fourth consecutive leg with a stunning 127 finish on the bullseye. ‘The Green Machine’ then nailed D10 for his fifth straight leg to edge closer to victory with Wade floundering in the scoring department.
Nevertheless, the eight-time major winner demonstrated admirable resilience to launch a spirited fightback. He stopped the rot with a 76 kill, before capitalising on MvG missing the bull to register back-to-back legs. Van Gerwen had momentarily lost focus and Wade pounced, posting a commanding 14-dart hold to reduce the deficit to 11-8.
However in typical Van Gerwen fashion, he soon arrested his slump in sumptuous style. He fired in his fourth maximum before taking out a magnificent 136 finish to move 12-8 ahead. He continued this form after the break, landing a classy 171 and clinically converting 94 in two-darts for an 11-darter.
Van Gerwen landed his fifth maximum and pinned D5 to surge 14-8 ahead, before moving to within a leg of retaining his crown after taking out 25, having missed the bull for a 164 kill in the previous visit. Wade’s hopes had been extinguished and Van Gerwen clinched victory in style, following up his sixth maximum by pinning D16.
Earlier in the day, Van Gerwen had secured his place in the final with one of the most extraordinary displays ever produced over the best of 31 legs format. ‘The Green Machine’ was merciless from the outset, averaging 111.17, landing seventeen maximums and converting 47% of his attempts at double to defeat Peter Wright 16-10.
Wright also performed superbly, but suffered defeat against the world number one for the sixteenth game in succession. Snakebite averaged 102.13, fired in seven maximums and hit 35% of his doubles, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the mesmeric Dutchman.
Van Gerwen kicked off proceedings in style with a 126 checkout, following this up with a majestic 125 kill in the fourth leg, with Wright sat on D18 after just nine darts. Whenever Wright drew level, MvG produced more moments of brilliance to reclaim the initiative, which was evidenced in the seventeenth leg.
Wright had restored parity at eight apiece in spite of Van Gerwen averaging 110, but the Dutchman regained the lead with a stunning 139 checkout. Two holds of throw saw Wright reduce the arrears to 10-9, but Van Gerwen won six of the remaining seven legs to seal victory, hitting two 10-darters along the way.
James Wade produced a nerveless display of finishing to overcame Gary Anderson in an incredibly topsy-turvy contest. Anderson dominated the statistics, averaging 98.36 to Wade’s 91.93, hitting eight maximums to the left-hander’s three, and converting 45% of his doubles compared to Wade’s 43%.
Nevertheless, in typical Wade fashion, ‘The Machine’ defied the averages to reach his second Grand Slam final. The eight-time major winner led from the first leg, but the momentum shifted as Anderson won three consecutive legs to lead for the first time and establish a 10-8 advantage.
However, in the latter half of the match, Wade’s finishing was absolutely magnificent. The 31-year-old squared up the match with finishes of 70 and 81, and whilst Anderson pinned D8 to edge back ahead, ‘The Machine’ won the next three legs to seize control at 13-11.
Anderson began to score more prolifically as he attempted to replicate the heroics which saw him edge out Raymond van Barneveld in a classic encounter on Saturday, but he lacked consistency and Wade capitalised, holding throw in three successive legs with checkouts of 116, 69 and 68, to secure a spot in his first major final for 18 months.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts
Sunday November 20
Michael van Gerwen 16-10 Peter Wright
Gary Anderson 14-16 James Wade
Best of 31 legs
Evening Session (7pm)
Michael van Gerwen 16-8 James Wade
Best of 31 legs