Ian White claimed his second European Tour title after edging out Peter Wright in a thrilling last-leg decider at the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen on Sunday evening.
‘The Diamond’ was remarkably appearing in his third consecutive European Tour final, but having suffered defeats to Michael van Gerwen in each of the last two tournaments, it was a case of third time lucky for the Stoke-on-Trent star, who edged out ‘Snakebite’ in a dramatic showpiece.
The opening three legs of the final all went with throw, but White secured the first break of throw in leg four as he produced a show-stopping 170 checkout – the third of the tournament – to lead 3-1. However, Wright levelled at 3-3 before the next six legs went with throw with the scores locked at six apiece.
Wright appeared to have struck the decisive blow in the 13th leg, as he converted a clinical 104 kill after White missed tops for a 120 checkout. However, White responded by firing in his second maximum and survived one match dart to force a decider, before holding his throw in the last to seal his second European Tour title on D16.
“It took six years to win one, and now I’ve made three finals [in a row] and I am so glad to get over the line,” said White. “The final was a bit of a struggle, we didn’t play our best but I knew that if I missed a double he would take advantage.
“The 170 checkout was special, but then I still allowed Peter to get back into the game. But to win another one, I am over the moon. There are not many of us who have won more than one [European Tour title], so I am just happy to win it”, said White, who was celebrating his 11th PDC title.
The Stoke star had kicked off Sunday’s action with a majestic 6-3 win over former World Youth champion Keegan Brown. The pair each fired in five maximums, but White won four of the final five legs to prevail with a sensational 110.84 average, despite Brown averaging 107.04 himself.
The 48-year-old stormed into the semi-finals courtesy of a comprehensive 6-1 victory over Jeffrey de Zwaan. The young Dutchman defeated Rob Cross and Michael Smith earlier in the tournament, but he was brushed aside by ‘The Diamond’, who averaged 97.07 en route to victory.
Steve Beaton awaited White in the last four and ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ defeated Stephen Bunting, Mensur Suljovic, Ryan Searle and Darren Webster to reach his first European Tour semi-final since September 2017. However, ‘The Diamond’ edged out Beaton 7-5 in a hard-fought affair en route to glory.
Although Wright was left to rue one missed dart for glory in Sindelfingen, it was a welcome return to form for the Scot, who has endured a testing 2019 Premier League campaign. However, he produced some sensational displays on German soil to reach his first ranking final since October.
The former UK Open champion began Sunday’s action with a brilliant 6-4 win over former Austrian Darts Open champion Jonny Clayton. Wright fired in EIGHT maximums in just ten legs; averaging 104.75 and converting 38% of his attempts at double in the process.
This set up a quarter-final showdown against world number one Michael van Gerwen, for the second straight European Tour event. Nevertheless, Wright gained revenge for his defeat to the Dutchman seven days ago, defeating MvG 6-3 to deny him a fifth European Tour title of the season.
In the last four, Wright faced Jamie Hughes, who enjoyed his best run in a PDC ranking event. ‘Yozza’ defeated Adrian Lewis, Mark McGeeney and Nathan Aspinall to reach the semi-finals, but he was thrashed 7-1 by a clinical Scot, who averaged 98.97 and boasted a 50% checkout success rate.
Reflecting on his weekend, Wright said: “Well done to Ian White, he is on top form at the moment. To play him in the final and get as close as I did, I am really happy. But I have to say well done to Ian.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2019 European Darts Grand Prix
Sunday May 12
Ian White 6-3 Keegan Brown
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Michael Smith
Steve Beaton 6-4 Ryan Searle
Darren Webster 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Mark McGeeney
Peter Wright 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 James Richardson
Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 BST)
Ian White 6-1 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Steve Beaton 6-2 Darren Webster
Jamie Hughes 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Peter Wright 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Ian White 7-5 Steve Beaton
Peter Wright 7-1 Jamie Hughes
Ian White 8-7 Peter Wright