Van Gerwen wins third Premier League Title
Photo by: Credit PDC
World number one Michael van Gerwen came back from the brink, to win his third PDC Premier League title at the O2 last night. After beating Gary Anderson 10-7 in the semi-final, van Gerwen was the red-hot favourite heading into the final. Peter Wright had come through an emotional rollercoaster in his semifinal, to beat Phil Taylor 10-9 in his last ever Premier League game. The two-time world champion would have to dig deeper than he had ever had to before, as Wright would lead the final 5-1 and 7-2 in the race to 11.
After the television ad break, Wright would come back to the stage and be forced to service an onslaught of tungsten brilliance from the Dutchman. Van Gerwen would transform the game in the blink of an eye as he levelled the final up at eight legs all. Wright has developed into a cool customer, as he didn’t panic through all this and re-establish his lead at 9-8. Wright then moved within a leg of his greatest darting achievement, leading 10-9 Wright attacked the van Gerwen throw and carved out an opportunity for Glory. Snakebite would have six match darts on the van Gerwen throw, to win the second biggest prize in darts. The crowd at the O2 were on the edge of their seats, as they watched the tension unwind in front of them. Wright would miss all of those six match darts in a cruel twist of fate; the world number one would level up the match and send the Premier League into a one leg shootout for the first time. At the back of the stage, Peter Wright looked a broken man knowing the opportunity of a lifetime had passed him by. Wright failed to regain his composer and only started the leg with a score of 60, this was jumped all over by van Gerwen as he battered the treble 20. As referee George Noble called out the maximum, it was like a crushing body blow to Peter Wright. From that moment there was no stopping van Gerwen, as the Dutchman wouldn’t make the same mistakes Wright had made as he was now a three times Premier League champion.
"It felt fantastic," Van Gerwen told the PDC. "Normally it doesn't happen that someone misses six match darts against me, it's the first time in my life I've won a game like this.
"I'm over the moon of course because things like that don't happen very often. When he gets three darts for the match, you think you're done.
"I didn't play well in the beginning of the game, but after the break, I came back really strong. I thought it was won, but then he stepped up again, playing well and then he missed six darts. I had a chance and took it."
“He probably doesn't know how it feels to have that pressure against him," added Van Gerwen. "He's never beaten me in a really important game, and I think this was one of those moments where I used that mental advantage.
"He's a fantastic player, more steady and he's one of the big boys now - but still I kept him off the big trophies!"
Wright was trying to be upbeat when he spoke to Sky Sports after "Well done to the champion, fair play to Michael," said Wright. "It's been a good season; the top two players finished one and two.
"By the end of tonight that's gone, and Michael will know I've let him off.
"I can't believe I missed so many darts at a double. You can't have five darts at a double to beat the number one in the world and double World Champion, and it's something I've got to learn.
"I'll go back to the practice board and then get him next time. At the moment I think I should have won, but that's gone and I'll start to think about the next tournament.
"You've got to learn to lose before you win, and I'm not going to lose anymore - the wins are coming."
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