Michael van Gerwen retained his Players Championship Finals crown with a comprehensive 11-3 victory over Dave Chisnall at the Butlins Minehead Resort on Sunday evening, although the world number one was forced to come from 6-0 down in a dramatic semi-final clash against the unfancied Darren Webster.
Nevertheless, despite surviving a scare in the last four, ‘Mighty Mike’ was in imperious form in Sunday’s curtain-raiser, averaging 108.34, landing six maximums and converting 53% of his double attempts to triumph in convincing fashion. Chisnall averaged 99.24 himself, but he was unable to produce the goods in the key moments.
Despite the best efforts of ‘The Yellow Peril’, MvG’s astonishing dominance in PDC majors continues. Van Gerwen hasn’t suffered defeat in a ranking major since losing to Raymond van Barneveld at last year’s World Championships and Michael’s victory over Chisnall marked his ninth TV crown of 2016; his 25th in total.
Van Gerwen started the final strongly; breaking Chisnall’s throw with a confident 13-darter. Chisnall landed his first maximum in the second leg, but MvG doubled his lead by pinning D16 for a 17-dart hold. However, the St Helen’s star opened his account in leg three with a clinical 121 finish on the bullseye.
The world number one regained his two-leg cushion with a classy 13-darter, before leaving 88 after just 9 darts as he attempted to register a double-break. However, Van Gerwen spurned two darts at D14 and ‘Chizzy’ capitalised on this reprieve, nailing D7 at the first time of asking to reduce the deficit to 3-2 at the interval.
The St Helen’s star had the opportunity to level up proceedings immediately after the break, but he squandered three clear darts at tops as Van Gerwen pinned D8 with his last dart in hand to hold.
This proved an expensive miss for Chisnall, as MvG stormed 5-2 ahead after converting an 83 finish on the bull for a 12-dart break. Chisnall landed his second maximum as he attempted to break back, but he wired the bullseye for a 12-dart break of his own, as Van Gerwen won his third consecutive leg via D18.
The 27-year-old Dutchman was in the groove and surged 7-2 ahead after rounding off a magnificent 10-darter to break once again. Van Gerwen then left 36 after just 9 darts in the following leg, but he endured some double-trouble on this occasion, before hitting D9 at the sixth time of asking to win his fifth leg in succession.
Chisnall stopped the rot with a regulation 54 kill, but Van Gerwen moved to within two legs of victory after holding throw emphatically in 13-darts. The Dutchman was scoring prolifically and landed his sixth maximum before pinning D10 to move to the cusp of another major TV title.
The St Helen’s star was helpless to stop the rampant ‘Green Machine’ and Van Gerwen completed the victory in sumptuous style. He posted visits of 140, 134 and 140 to leave 87 after 9 darts, and he clinically converted the outshot in just two-darts to secure his third Players Championship Finals triumph in the last four years.
Earlier in the day, Van Gerwen kicked off proceedings with a stunning 10-5 victory over his old friend Raymond van Barneveld. It was an extremely high-quality contest, with Van Gerwen averaging 108.03 and landing seven maximums to overcome the five-time world champion, who averaged 103 and converted 71% of his double attempts.
In the semi-finals, MvG faced Darren Webster, who secured a place in his maiden PDC major ranking semi-final with a convincing 10-6 victory over former Lakeside world champion Christian Kist. Van Gerwen was the overwhelming favourite for this last four clash, although it turned into a truly captivating contest.
‘The Green Machine’ kicked off the contest in surprisingly sluggish fashion, as Webster extraordinarily surged into a 6-0 lead. The world number one was shell-shocked but recovered to level up proceedings at six-apiece, before the next three legs went with throw as Webster regained the initiative at 8-7.
However, the third and final interval appeared to quash Webster’s momentum and Van Gerwen reeled off four successive legs to survive a major scare, securing victory with a majestic 144 finish. ‘The Demolition Man’ acquitted himself superbly, but ‘Mighty Mike’ prevailed 11-8 with a 94.59 average, landing nine maximums in the process.
Chisnall’s progress to the final was slightly more serene. In the last eight, ‘Chizzy’ defeated Robbie Green 10-5 in a rather underwhelming affair. The St Helen’s star hit five maximums and averaged 93.17 to prevail, capitalising on Green’s poor 18% checkout ratio, despite only converting 25% on the doubles himself.
Chisnall faced Peter Wright in the semis after Snakebite edged past Kim Huybrechts in a thrilling deciding-leg. However, the Scot struggled for fluency as Chisnall stormed into a commanding 8-2 advantage. Wright fought back valiantly to reduce the arrears to 10-8, but Chizzy eventually secured an 11-8 win with an impressive 100.58 average.
Finally, 21-year-old sensation Corey Cadby was crowned PDC Unicorn World Youth champion after defeating Dutchman Berry van Peer 6-2. The Australian was in majestic form, averaging 98.35, taking out a stunning 126 finish and registering two maximums to scoop the title and secure qualification to next year’s Grand Slam of Darts.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Sunday November 27
Christian Kist 6-10 Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Dave Chisnall 10-5 Robbie Green
Kim Huybrechts 9-10 Peter Wright
Best of 19 legs
Michael van Gerwen 11-8 Darren Webster
Peter Wright 8-11 Dave Chisnall
Best of 21 legs
PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship Final
Berry van Peer 2-6 Corey Cadby
Best of 11 legs
Michael van Gerwen 11-3 Dave Chisnall
Best of 21 legs