Michael van Gerwen set a new world-record of 44 televised games unbeaten last night, on a dramatic evening of Premier League action at the Manchester Arena. ‘The Green Machine’ defeated James Wade to usurp Phil Taylor’s previous record, before his incredible run was ended by his fellow countryman Raymond van Barneveld later in the evening.
Van Gerwen was doubling up in Manchester having missed night five in Exeter due to a back injury, and he kicked off proceedings with victory over eight-time major winner James Wade. The contest was locked at four apiece, until Van Gerwen fired in five maximums in just three legs to prevail 7-4 with a 104.20 average.
Van Gerwen’s victory over Taylor in Rotterdam had drawn him level with the Power’s record of 43, which was set from November 2004 to July 2005. Nevertheless, the world number one’s impressive victory over ‘The Machine’ saw him take sole ownership of that coveted record.
Prior to last night, Taylor was the last person to inflict defeat on MvG in televised competition, when he defeated the 27-year-old in the final of the inaugural Champions League of Darts in September; a staggering 179 days ago.
Since then, ‘Mighty Mike’ has enjoyed unprecedented title success, winning the World Grand Prix, European Championship, World Series of Darts Finals, Grand Slam of Darts, Players Championship Finals, World Championship and the Masters.
However, within hours of setting a new-world record, Van Gerwen’s remarkable unbeaten streak was ended. Three-time world champion John Part was the man to break Taylor’s monopoly at the World Matchplay in 2005, and it was another multiple world-champion that halted MvG’s surge, in the shape of Raymond van Barneveld.
Van Barneveld dismantled world number two Gary Anderson on home soil last week, and the five-time world champion rolled back the years once more to stun his younger compatriot. Barney averaged 101.20, landed five maximums and missed D12 for a nine-darter en route to a 7-5 win which moves him up to third in the league table.
Barney has been somewhat of a nemesis for Van Gerwen over recent years. He defeated ‘The Green Machine’ in the finals of both the Grand Slam and the Premier League in 2012 and 2014 respectively, whilst he also remains the last player to defeat MvG in a ranking televised major- at the 2016 World Championship over fifteen months ago.
Nevertheless, despite his defeat against Van Barneveld, the world number one returned to the top of the Premier League table in Manchester, after previous table-topper Peter Wright was beaten in a high-quality contest by an impressive Phil Taylor.
Although it was a mixed night for ‘Mighty Mike’, he can take immense pride from setting an astonishing record; particularly given the strength in depth throughout professional darts at present. It took twelve years for Taylor’s record to be broken and it could be some while yet before Van Gerwen is knocked off his darting pedestal.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC