Michael van Gerwen has denied Danny Noppert’s claims that he was ‘stamping’ to put his fellow Dutchman off during their controversial World Grand Prix clash last night.
Noppert produced the performance of his televised career to defeat Van Gerwen 2-0 in a thrilling opening round tie, although his triumph was somewhat overshadowed by the post-match allegations levelled at MVG.
“After the first set, we had some troubles behind the stage, because I thought he was stamping on the floor if I was on a double,” Noppert told Sky Sports.
Reflecting on the incident post-match, the former Lakeside finalist told reporters: “We had some troubles in the first set. I said to him: ‘You’re stamping on the floor when I’m on a double’.
“We had some words with each other after the first set. For my feeling, it was [deliberate]. I think a player like Michael, he doesn’t do that, but for my feeling, it was deliberate.
“He was angry I think, and he was playing well in the second set. He was starting brilliantly, but I was focused, I wanted to win the match.
“It is bad. I want to speak with him. I am happy with the win, but it is not feeling really good.”
There was no handshake between the pair post-match, and Van Gerwen – a five-time Grand Prix champion – vehemently denied his opponent’s accusations.
“I am angry and disappointed that I didn’t win tonight. The fans were phenomenal in Leicester tonight,” Van Gerwen posted on Twitter.
“I have played this sport a long time and have never and will never use tactics on the oche. Thank you for all the support.”
Reflecting on the controversy, Sky Sports analyst Wayne Mardle was reluctant to speculate, but admitted ‘only the players know what went on’.
“Only Michael knows if he was stamping. Maybe he did. If he did, then he has gone to depths that he hasn’t done before, but I don’t know. Danny obviously felt there was something.
“What we did see was that Michael was kind of ‘just there’ and Danny took exception to – I actually mentioned loose floorboarding, it really does happen a lot on these stages.
“That’s not making excuses for Michael van Gerwen, that’s just experience of being up here a lot. But there’s clearly no love lost and something’s gone on.”
Noppert drew first blood in a topsy-turvy opening set, but the contest exploded into life in a sensational second, as Van Gerwen kicked it off by wiring the bullseye for a spectacular nine-dart finish.
However, Noppert was relentless, converting a clinical 103 kill after MVG had squandered three set darts, and ‘The Freeze’ kept his cool to wrap up a famous victory courtesy of a two-dart 90 combination in a dramatic second set decider.
Van Gerwen was one of several big names to exit the tournament on a remarkable evening in Leicester, with Peter Wright and Gary Anderson also succumbing at the hands of Rob Cross and Ian White respectively.
However, Noppert’s reward for defeating the three-time world champion is a showdown against another Dutchman, Vincent van der Voort, who eased past Gabriel Clemens in his opener.