Michael van Gerwen beats Peter Wright to claim World Grand Prix title

A topsy-turvy contest, which saw Van Gerwen struggle to find his way early on, ended with the world no 1 reeling off seven successive legs to turn a 2-2 scoreline into another title on the outskirts of Dublin and leave Snakebite with just one major televised title from nine finals.

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With starting and finishing doubles for the tournament hovering at the 50% mark, Van Gerwen had made a habit of fast starts but it was not the case on Final night in Dublin.

Timing proved crucial with the fifth set pivotal. At 2-2, Wright will feel he should have been at least 3-1, perhaps even 4-0 in front, and a missed dart for the set in the fifth from Snakebite allowed MVG to take a 3-2 lead from which he never looked back.

A thrilling 101 finish turned the contest and as Van Gerwen motored away with the last two sets it meant Snakebite had lost an eighth televised ranking title, six of them at the hands of Van Gerwen,

“I was struggling. I was fighting really hard,” said Van Gerwen, who managed to claim the crown with a barely believable average just short of 89.

“I didn’t play nearly as well as I did in the last two games but today I survived. I think I did the right things at the right moments and I think I played a phenomenal tournament.”

WORLD GRAND PRIX: Results, Draw and schedule

A tense opening set went the way of Van Gerwen and having averaged 96 for the tournament, he took the first stanza with an average of 85, 11 points fewer than Snakebite, who did little wrong.

But it was a case of chances taken, as a focused Wright moved into a 2-1 lead and wired the bull for a thrilling 164 check-out.

MVG pinned double 16 with his last dart before turning the final leg with a third maximum and, with Wright sat on 70, the Dutchman took out a sensational 110 to pinch the first set.

Rather than pick up his level, Van Gerwen remarkably dipped as Wright stormed to the second set with the world number one’s average of 79 underpinned by a string of missed doubles to start, as well as finish.

A clinical 86 wrapped up the second leg and 41 soon followed in the third to level the contest.

Wright reeled off a fourth leg in succession to take the first leg of the fourth set, but missed the opportunity for a two-leg lead. Van Gerwen punished his opponent by stealing the fifth-leg decider to move 2-1 ahead in sets.

Snakebite again took the first leg, before Van Gerwen clicked into gear thanks to six perfect darts at the start of the second. He failed to take out the magical nine-darter but took the leg, only to see Wright keep his nose in front with a brilliant 101 finish for a break of throw and then clinch the set for a level contest.

The pair traded the first two legs of the fifth before Snakebite missed three darts for a 2-1 lead. MVG nipped in but a second 101 finish of the match took the set to a deciding leg.

Van Gerwen had taken the previous two sets that went the distance and, when Wright missed a dart for the set, the Dutchman swooped with a nerveless 101 finish.

Three legs on the bounce gave him the sixth set and he finished with a flourish taking out three more to inflict an 11th defeat in TV ranking meetings with Wright and, again, the world no 2 seemed to find a way to lose rather than win.

Van Gerwen has already claimed 17 titles this year but the Premier League has been the only notable trophy, with Gary Anderson busy picking up the majors, and his win on Saturday night represents a first major ranking title since the Grand Slam in November last year.

And a return to Dublin proved memorable for Van Gerwen who claimed his first ever major title at the Citywest as a 23-year-old in 2012 and, having won in 2014 and 2016, he continued the run of picking up the trophy every other year.

Darts season is in full swing and continues on Sky Sports with the Grand Slam of Darts in November and the World Championships which gets underway from the iconic Alexandra Palace on December 13.

Don’t forget to download, subscribe and listen to the brand new Darts Show podcast, episode one is already available and episode two is on the way next week.

2018-10-06T00:00:00+00:00