Ian White ended Michael van Gerwen’s five-year reign as the Dutch Darts Masters champion to claim his second successive European Tour title on a dramatic day of action in Zwolle on Sunday.
‘The Diamond’ was remarkably appearing in his fourth consecutive European Tour final, although he’d lost to Van Gerwen in two of those finals, before he defeated Peter Wright to claim the European Darts Grand Prix title a fortnight ago.
Nevertheless, White overcame a partisan home crowd to edge out Van Gerwen 8-7 in a pulsating contest – which also ended the Dutchman’s astonishing record of winning 28 straight last-leg deciders in European Tour events.
Van Gerwen secured his fourth consecutive Premier League title at The O2 on Thursday and he was bidding to create more history on home soil, but White took advantage of a profligate display from the World No 1 to prevail with a 93.01 average, to seal his third European Tour title.
The Stoke-on-Trent ace made the perfect start to Sunday’s showpiece, moving 2-0 ahead after MvG squandered his first seven darts at double. ‘Mighty Mike’ was clearly unsettled and requested a board change which was duly granted, but his double-trouble continued as White extended his lead to 3-0.
Van Gerwen finally opened his account with his 11th dart at a double, but White restored his three-leg cushion with a 15-dart hold. However, Van Gerwen responded in kind, before conjuring up a spectacular 170 outshot and closing out a 13-dart hold to level up proceedings at four apiece.
The World No 1 had the momentum as the capacity crowd inside the Ijsselhallen became increasingly vocal, but the topsy-turvy nature of the contest continued. White held throw to regain the initiative, before capitalising on five more missed doubles from Van Gerwen to lead 6-4.
The 48-year-old then had the opportunity to move to the cusp of victory, but he wasted two at double for a 7-4 lead and Van Gerwen rattled off successive legs in 15 and 13 darts respectively to restore parity at 6-6, to essentially set up a best of three legs contest.
White was visibly frustrated with the persistent whistles from the crowd, but he held his nerve to sink double two with his last dart in hand to move 7-6 ahead, after Van Gerwen had wired the bull for his second 170 checkout of the contest.
The Dutchman held throw to force a decider but ‘The Diamond’ had the advantage of throw which proved decisive. Van Gerwen led by 90 points after the pair’s first 9 darts, but after he failed to take out 126, White completed a nerveless 56 kill on double 10 to deny MVG a sixth straight Dutch Darts Masters crown.
White has been one of the most consistent performers on the Pro Tour over recent years evidenced by his topping of the Players Championship Order of Merit in 2018. However, the big criticism levelled at him is his record in major televised events.
The World No 11 has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals of a major PDC televised event, although he’s demonstrated he’s more than capable of producing quality performances on the big stage on the European Tour, and he showed an abundance of composure throughout Finals Day in Zwolle.
He defeated three of the top five ranked players in the Netherlands on Sunday, following up a 6-2 success over World Cup debutant Jermaine Wattimena with an impressive 6-3 victory over a resurgent Vincent van der Voort en route to claiming the £25,000 winner’s prize.
In the last four, White faced Wright in a repeat of their clash in the European Darts Grand Prix final and once again the Englishman came out on top in a scrappy affair; recording a convincing 7-3 win over ‘Snakebite’ who had darts at double to win eight of the ten legs played.
Van Gerwen kicked off Sunday’s action with a dramatic 6-5 win over his fellow countryman Raymond van Barneveld. The five-time world champion was appearing in his last ever ranking event on home soil and relinquished a 5-4 advantage as MvG fired in a 14-darter in the decider to triumph.
Van Gerwen defeated Dave Chisnall 6-4 in the last eight to extend his unbeaten record over ‘Chizzy’ to 25 games, before he faced Gerwyn Price in the semi-finals. ‘The Iceman’ was unable to register his first career victory over the Dutchman, as Van Gerwen took out a stunning 143 outshot en route to a thrilling 7-6 win.
Photo Credit: PDC Europe
2019 Dutch Darts Masters
Sunday May 26
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Ricky Evans
Glen Durrant 6-0 Dennis Nilsson
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Ian White 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Max Hopp
Peter Wright 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Mervyn King 6-5 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 BST)
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Glen Durrant
Ian White 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Peter Wright 6-4 Mervyn King
Michael van Gerwen 7-6 Gerwyn Price
Ian White 7-3 Peter Wright
Ian White 8-7 Michael van Gerwen