Michael van Gerwen finally added the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts title to his astonishing CV as he overcame Peter Wright 11-10 in a thrilling final on Sunday night.
- Follow @ChrisHammer180 on Twitter
- Scroll down for all session results & final tables
Michael van Gerwen finally added the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts title to his astonishing CV as he overcame Peter Wright 11-10 in a thrilling final in Leicester on Sunday night.
The world number one has now won every single PDC televised major possible but to complete the 'Green Sweep' he had to demonstrate his true champion spirit by coming through two gruelling - yet brilliantly high class - matches that went the distance in one evening.
Less than an hour after edging past Gerwyn Price 11-10 in a semi-final that will live long in the memory of all darts fans watching, MVG had to survive three match darts from Wright when trailing 10-7 before reeling off four legs on the spin in a dramatic climax to an unforgettable weekend.
After coming through his second deciding leg of the night he was able presented with a cheque for £100,000 and a WWE style belt that was specially created for the fourth staging of this BBC-televised event.
It was however an agonising end to a memorable week in the life of Snakebite, which started with him setting a new world record broadcast match average of 123.5 on the Pro Tour on Monday before winning a fourth individual title of a superb season 24 hours later.
Victory tonight would have arguably been the the biggest success of his career and his first major televised final victory over the world champion at the 10th attempt, with nine of those being 'majors'.
The 2017 UK Open king, who was runner-up to Gary Anderson 12 months ago following a draining semi-final triumph against MVG, had previously lost the finals of the World Championship, UK Open (2015 & 2016), World Series of Darts Finals (2015 & 2016), Premier League (2017), Grand Slam of Darts (2017) and World Grand Prix (2018) but that heartbreaking run looked set to end when he eyeballed double 12 in the 18th leg.
Wright missed all three and was crucially made to pay when MVG pinned double seven with his last dart in hand to stay alive before checkouts from 92 and 62 levelled the match without the Scotsman seeing another attempt to win.
"When Peter had those three darts clear at double 12 I thought it was over, but then with the last dart he turned around and was looking really nervous and I stepped in," said Van Gerwen.
"In the Premier League final he missed darts to beat me and it happened again tonight. You can see with how he threw his [match] darts that he's worried about beating me and he's nervous, and that's a compliment to me.
"Peter's a phenomenal player and everyone knows that. We're going to have a lot more finals."
MVG had the advantage of throw in a tense deciding leg and although Wright appeared to seize the early initiative with an opening score of 140, the 30-year-old responded with visits of 134, 140 and 96 before taking out 50 for a 14-darter as his opponent waited on 86.
Before the drama of the closing stages, van Gerwen appeared slightly jaded in comparison to Wright, who had previously seen off Michael Smith far more easily 11-5 in the first semi-final, although both players initially blasted out of the blocks.
The Dutchman opened up with a finish from 88 to complete an 11-darter before responding to Wright's 156 checkout with his own show stopper from 154 to go out in 12.
The players exchanged 13-darters before Snakebite won four successive legs, including an 11-darter and a checkout of 100 consisting of two double tops, as MVG's previous exertions against Price appeared to catch up with him.
Van Gerwen did pull two legs back but his fighting spirit appeared to be in vain when Wright promptly re-established a three-leg lead at 8-5 after his opponent spurned a two darts from 32.
However, momentum started to swing in the favour of the recently crowned World Grand Prix champion, who was searching for his 12th televised title of 2019 since winning a third Ally Pally crown on New Year's Day, when Wright missed three clear darts at doubles with 20 remaining for a 9-5 lead as MVG closed back to within two.
A fantastic 136 checkout piled further pressure on Wright but that merely served to kick him back into life with back-to-back legs in 15 and 14 darts to move one away from the title.
But that would prove to be the last double the 49-year-old would hit as he was so cruelly punished for those three missed match darts in the very next leg.
Van Gerwen told www.pdc.tv: "It's incredible for me. This tournament was on my bucket list and it's a really important one for me to win. This was a phenomenal weekend for me with a high standard of darts. Peter put me under pressure and I made it difficult for myself in the final.
"I missed a few darts on doubles here and there and I shouldn't have put myself in that position, but Peter missed a couple of clear darts to win the game and I took great advantage of that.
"I played well all the way through the weekend and did everything I had to do. I averaged over 100 in every match but I know I can improve and there's more in the tank.
"It gives me a lot of confidence because we have lots of big events coming up. It's nice to have so many tournaments on the calendar and I love to perform on stage, especially when I'm playing well and winning."
Wright said: "Michael won this one but I'll get him back next time. This is done and dusted now and I'll move on to next week and the European Championship."
Van Gerwen, who has also won the Masters, Premier League, Melbourne Masters, New Zealand Masters and World Grand Prix during a season in which he's silencing the doubters that did surface earlier this year, now has 37 major PDC crowns to his name while he also has 51 televised titles that include his World Cup exploits with the Netherlands and various World Series tournaments.
He'll be an ever shortening favourite for the upcoming European Championship, World Series of Darts Finals, Grand Slam of Darts, Players Championship Finals and of course the World Championship as a packed winter schedule continues.
Michael van Gerwen came through a pulsating clash with Gerwyn Price that will live long in the memory as he booked his place in the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts final against Peter Wright.
The world champion maintained his undefeated record (including one Premier League draw in 2019) against the Welshman, who came into their 18th meeting with high hopes of breaking his duck having won four tournaments during what has been a highly impressive season, but was taken right down to the wire to do it.
Indeed, Price had the advantage of throw in a nervy deciding leg and looked favourite to reach the final on his tournament debut having produced fantastic darts throughout an absorbing contest, only to run out of steam when it really mattered.
The 2018 Grand Slam of Darts champion only found two trebles in his opening four visits and by the time he hit two treble 20s in a score of 125 to leave 65, MVG had already reached 46 and made no mistake for a match-winning 14-darter.
Van Gerwen, who is yet to get his hands on this trophy and has only reached the final once before when losing to Phil Taylor in the inaugural edition of 2016, averaged 105.54 compared to the Iceman's 102.49 while he hit one more maximum with seven and pinned 11 of his 17 darts at double as his opponent only spurned seven in a high-quality contest.
The bar was set as early as the first leg when the Dutchman made a 10-darter after opening visits of 140, 180 and 145 while a superb checkout of 120 in the seventh leg gave him breathing space at 5-3.
Price wouldn't go away and a 12-darter helped him restore parity at five apiece and although he edged ahead, a 106 checkout from MVG got him back level.
The inspired former rugby player produced back-to-back 14 and 13 darters to go from 7-8 down to 9-8 up only for MVG to take two of the next three in a high class fashion to force a deciding leg in which he'd keep his cool the best.
"I'm gutted that I lost but I pushed Michael all the way," said Price. "I thought I played pretty well but he showed why he's World Champion because he never gave up.
"I was confident coming into it and I just need the rub of the green now."
Wright had earlier reached the final for the second successive year with a brutal 11-5 victory over Michael Smith.
Snakebite, who was runner-up to Gary Anderson 12 months ago, started the fourth staging of the BBC-televised event slowly in his opening group game against Daryl Gurney on Saturday but after scrapping past the Northern Irishman, he's since been a formidable force at the Morningside Arena.
Wright went on to impressively beat both Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross as he topped the group with a perfect record and he carried that form into the semi-finals in emphatic style.
The 49-year-old opened up with a 128 checkout and six legs later he followed up a 180 with a stunning finish from 161 - his second of those of the tournament - to make it 7-0 and leave Bully Boy shellshocked.
Smith, who squeezed into the last four thanks to a nail-biting victory over James Wade in his do-or-die final group game during the afternoon, got off the mark with an 13-darter before quickly falling 9-1 behind but he refused to throw in the towel despite his perilous position.
The St Helens man reeled off four legs in succession, starting with an 81 checkout to seal an 11-darter and ending with a 121 finish for a 12-darter only for Snakebite to find another gear.
His third 100+ checkout of the match put him one away from victory before sealing it with a 14-darter.
Wright, who won his fourth individual title of a superb season on Tuesday just 24 hours after setting a new world record broadcast match average of 123.5, hit seven 180s compared to Smith's two, pinned 11 of his 20 attempts at doubles and averaged an impressive 103.52.
Smith, who is still searching for his first big televised major having been runner up in the World Championship, Premier League and World Matchplay over the past two seasons, averaged 97.88 but was made to pay for his poor start.
The Scotsman will now meet van Gerwen, who he beat in last year's semi-final, but whatever happens tonight a new name on the trophy to follow in the footsteps of Phil Taylor, Mensur Suljovic and Anderson.
By Matt Brocklebank
Peter Wright secured top spot in Group B with a high-quality 10-8 win over Rob Cross, with the world number two ending the tournament without a victory in the round-robin stage.
Wright followed up his two wins on Saturday by opening the contest with a 180, and he also landed an 11-darter and a ten-dart finish as he shared the opening six legs.
Cross broke to move 4-3 up with a 12-darter, only for Wright to take command with four successive legs, and though the 2018 World Champion hit back with a 140 finish as he levelled at seven-all, the Scot closed out victory.
Gerwyn Price powered into the semi-finals on his Champions League debut with a clinical win 10-6 defeat of Daryl Gurney in their decisive Group B clash.
Price's accuracy on tops helped him to establish a 5-1 lead as he took command, hitting the double four times from as many attempts in the opening stages of the contest.
Gurney fought back to trail just 8-6 with some fine darts of his own, but a key 89 checkout from Price moved him to the brink of victory before double ten sealed his place in the last four as the Group B runner-up.
Michael van Gerwen completed his Group A campaign with a third successive victory, defeating Gary Anderson 10-4 with a 101 average as he set up a semi-final with Gerwyn Price.
Reigning champion Anderson bounced back strongly from his two defeats on Saturday with a fine start, taking out 152 as he moved into a 2-0 lead.
Van Gerwen, though, took the next five legs without reply in a stunning burst to turn the tie on its head, taking out 140 for a 12-darter and two 13-dart legs in the process.
Anderson hit back with an 11-darter, but Van Gerwen won the next four to move to the brink of victory before completing the win with a 146 checkout.
Michael Smith completed the semi-final line-up, defeating James Wade 10-8 in their Group A decider.
A tight contest saw Wade hit back from 2-1 and 3-2 down to lead 4-3 and 5-4, with a 96 finish for a 12-darter from the left-hander in leg 11 being followed by a sensational 170 checkout from Smith to level at six-all.
Wade edged 7-6 up, but Smith punished a miss at double 18 to level and then took out 90 on the bull for a key break as he moved 9-7 up, before landing double ten to close out a 10-8 success.
Champions League of Darts 2019: Tables & results
- (Q) Michael van Gerwen P 3 W 3 L 0 LegDiff +12 Pts 6
- (Q) Michael Smith P 3 W 2 L 1 LegDiff +1 Pts 4
- James Wade P 3 W 1 L 2 LegDiff -3 Pts 2
- Gary Anderson P 3 W 0 L 3 LegDiff -10 Pts 0
- (Q) Peter Wright P 3 W 3 L 0 LegDiff +7 Pts 6
- (Q) Gerwyn Price P 3 W 2 L 1 LegDiff +7 Pts 4
- Daryl Gurney P 3 W 1 L 2 LegDiff -3 Pts 2
- Rob Cross P 3 W 0 L 3 LegDiff -11 Pts 0
Saturday October 19
Group Stage Matches (Best of 19 legs)
- Daryl Gurney 7-10 Peter Wright (Group B)
- Rob Cross 5-10 Gerwyn Price (Group B)
- Michael Smith 10-7 Gary Anderson (Group A)
- Michael van Gerwen 10-8 James Wade (Group A)
Group Stage (Best of 19 legs)
- Daryl Gurney 10-6 Rob Cross (Group B)
- Peter Wright 10-8 Gerwyn Price (Group B)
- James Wade 10-9 Gary Anderson (Group A)
- Michael Smith 6-10 Michael van Gerwen (Group A)
Sunday October 20
Group Stage (Best of 19 legs)
Live on BBC 2 from 1230 BST
- Rob Cross 8-10 Peter Wright (Group B)
- Daryl Gurney 6-10 Gerwyn Price (Group B)
- Michael van Gerwen 10-4 Gary Anderson (Group A)
- Michael Smith 10-8 James Wade (Group A)
Knockout Stages (Best of 21 legs)
Live on BBC 2 from 1830-2200 BST
- Peter Wright 11-5 Michael Smith (SF 2)
- Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Gerwyn Price (SF 1)
Final (best of 21 legs)
- Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Peter Wright