Michael van Gerwen defeated home favourite Gary Anderson to clinch his third successive World Series of Darts Finals title on a thrilling day of action at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena on Sunday evening.
Van Gerwen had defeated Peter Wright in both the 2015 and 2016 finals in Glasgow, but he claimed another Scottish victim to clinch his World Series hat-trick. The world number one was in imperious form and turned on the style to clinch his second televised title within a week-following on from his success at last week’s European Championship.
‘The Green Machine’ averaged 103.30, piled in five maximums and dispatched 61% of his darts at double in a clinical display, and the Dutchman’s finishing was the decisive factor. Anderson- the top seed for this year’s event, averaged 100.68 and landed three 180’s, but was only able to convert six of his seventeen double attempts.
The Scot squandered a wonderful opportunity in the very first leg of the final. He fired in a magical 174 to steal the throw, but spurned three clear darts at D16, as Van Gerwen took out a classy 103 finish for a precious hold.
Anderson responded superbly; posting a brace of maximums and levelling inside 12 darts on D10, but Van Gerwen was unfazed. He kicked off the following leg with six perfect darts and replied with a 12-darter of his own, before conjuring up an effortless 130 kill (T20, T18, D8) for yet another 12-dart leg.
The Dutchman converted a clinical 82 outshot to establish a 4-1 cushion at the first interval, but Anderson defied a 177 from MvG to round-off a 14-dart hold via D10. Nevertheless, Van Gerwen was in merciless mood and won the next two legs inside 27 darts to stretch his lead to 6-2.
However, just as it appeared that the world champion would coast to victory, Anderson dug deep to stay in contention. Van Gerwen posted his first maximum, but ‘The Flying Scotsman’ replied with a 171, which he followed up with a two-dart 94 combination to break back.
Van Gerwen crashed in his second maximum moments later to leave 51 after just 9 darts, but he uncharacteristically spurned two darts at D16 which Anderson crucially exploited; pegging D2 with his last dart in hand to reduce the arrears to 6-4.
This galvanised the partisan Glasgow crowd, but the unflappable MvG upped the ante considerably to pull clear of his fellow two-time world champion. He converted a fine 86 kill for an 11-darter after the pair had traded maximums, before extending his lead to 8-4 with the help of a 14-dart break.
Van Gerwen sealed his third straight leg via D16 after Anderson wired D11 for an 84 finish and this appeared to be the decisive blow. The imperious Dutchman then piled in a stunning 11-darter to move to the brink of victory at 10-4, but Anderson provided some spirited resistance to momentarily delay MvG’s title celebrations.
The Scot rounded off a fine 14-darter on tops to stay alive, before making further inroads by sinking D4 to register his sixth leg. Anderson then left 68 after 12 darts to threaten another break, but Van Gerwen wasn’t to be denied on this occasion; following up his 12th 140 with a clinical two-dart 87 checkout to seal the title in sumptuous style.
This victory marked Van Gerwen’s 38th televised title and continued his astonishing record of having won 66 consecutive live matches on ITV4, a record stretching back to November 2014. The world champion said: “Gary always makes me work hard for it. My finishing and scoring was there at the right moments and I’m really glad to win this again.”
Anderson had suffered back-to-back first-round exits at this event prior to this weekend and was satisfied with his performance. However, the amiable Scot was typically magnanimous in defeat, admitting: “The boy is good. I love playing Michael, he gets on with the game. I got battered tonight but I’m looking forward to next time.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Van Gerwen stormed into the semi-finals with a sensational 10-4 win over Rob Cross- in a repeat of last weekend’s European Championship final. Cross acquitted himself well, averaging 96.84 and firing in five maximums, but he was unable to land a glove on the imperious ‘Green Machine’.
‘Voltage’ started well and trailed 5-4 at one stage, but the world number one reeled off five consecutive legs to close out an emphatic 10-4 triumph; averaging 108.83, registering four maximums and converting 43% of his attempts at double to cap off the complete performance.
The defending champion then faced World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney for a place in the final, after ‘Super-Chin’ defeated Peter Wright in a televised quarter-final for the second time within a week. ‘Mighty Mike’ wasn’t at his vintage best, but still had too much for the Northern Irishman; averaging 95.48 to seal his progression.
The scores were locked at five apiece at one stage, but Van Gerwen enjoyed a stunning mid-game surge, firing off five straight legs to establish a commanding 10-5 lead. Gurney showed impressive resolve and recorded three legs on the spin to cut the deficit to 10-8, but he was unable to complete the heroic fightback, with MvG sinking D5 to prevail.
Elsewhere, Anderson kicked off Sunday’s proceedings with a hard-fought 10-8 win over Gerwyn Price. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ had labelled the Welshman a ‘circus clown’ in the lead up to their quarter-final clash, but Price started strongly; storming into an early 4-1 advantage at the first interval.
However, the two-time world champion responded to level proceedings at five apiece, before firing in a spectacular 167 checkout to move 8-6 ahead. Price continued to battle, but Anderson held firm and closed out a 10-8 victory with a 95.77 average, two maximums and a 50% checkout conversion rate.
This set up a semi-final showdown against fifth seed James Wade, who defeated Dimitri van den Bergh 10-6 in the quarter-finals. Van den Bergh missed 28 darts at double against ‘The Machine’ and Anderson was also guilty of profligacy in the finishing department, but the Scotsman’s proficient scoring power proved decisive.
Wade was only afforded 11 darts at double against ‘The Flying Scotsman’, averaging 88.66 and posting the solitary maximum. Anderson squandered 24 darts at double but was in control from the outset; averaging 94.88 and piling in six maximums to close out a convincing 11-5 triumph, but it was MvG who again claimed glory on Scottish soil.
Photo Credit: Steve Welsh/PDC
Ladbrokes World Series of Darts Finals
Sunday November 5
Afternoon Session 12.45pm
James Wade (5) 10-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gary Anderson (1) 10-8 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen (2) 10-4 Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney (6) 10-7 Peter Wright (3)
Best of 19 Legs
Evening Session 7pm
Gary Anderson 11-5 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 11-8 Daryl Gurney
Best of 21 legs
Michael van Gerwen 11-6 Gary Anderson
Best of 21 Legs