On a day for New Year's resolutions, Peter Wright taught sportsmen and women the world over never to give on their dreams after finally reaching the summit of darts.
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At the age of 49 and six years after almost quitting the sport, Snakebite got his hands on the most prestigious trophy of them all thanks to a sensational 7-3 victory over Michael van Gerwen.
This wasn't just his maiden PDC World Championship title but also the first time he'd managed to overcome his nemesis in a major final at the 10th attempt having suffered numerous agonising defeats in the previous nine.
Not least the climax of the 2017 Premier League Darts and 2019 Champions League, where he spurned multiple match darts in both before losing in deciding leg thrillers, but there were no signs of battle scars on this occasion as he ruthlessly crushed the three-time champion in spirit and scoreline.
Despite averaging a shade lower than van Gerwen's average of 102.88 with a mark of 102.79 and firing in five fewer 180s with 11, the Scotsman was far more clinical on his doubles (53.3% vs 40%) and crucially won three of the four sets that went the distance.
The first of those was the opener after MVG marginally missed the bullseye for his second 170 checkout of the tournament before repeating the tick in the eighth - against the darts - and ninth to move 6-3 ahead and knock the stuffing out of the usually irrepressible MVG, who missed attempts at doubles in both of those deciders too.
In fact, after the Dutchman's purple patch of momentum initially wiped out his early 2-0 set lead - including taking the third in just 37 darts - an unfazed Wright won five of the next six to run out a surprisingly comfortable winner in the end.
Van Gerwen did threaten the World Championship's 10th nine darter and first since 2016 as a last hurrah in the final set but just like previous near misses from Adrian Lewis, Darren Webster and Nico Kurz earlier in the tournament, he fell short with his attempt at double 12.
The result also brings a historic tournament, which will be remembered largely for Fallon Sherrock dominating nearly all of the global headlines with her astonishing victories against Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic, to a fittingly conclusion as Wright becomes the oldest ever first-time winner of the trophy aged 49, eclipsing fellow countryman Gary Anderson's previous record by five years.
That's some feat when you consider Raymond van Barneveld's legendary career was ended at the start of the World Championship at the age of 52.
The 2017 UK Open champion, who suffered heartache in three of his other four major finals to Phil Taylor (World Matchplay 2017), Gary Anderson (Champions League 2018) and most recently Gerwyn Price at the Grand Slam of Darts was understandably emotional after his moment of glory.
"I can't quite believe it," said the new world number two, who moves up from seven in the PDC Order of Merit after pocketing £500,000.
"I thought about giving up before I reached the final six years ago but this shows that you should never give up on your dreams. Michael is an excellent champion and deserves everything he has won but it was my turn and it feels brilliant.
"I've worked so hard on finding the right darts, the right throw and the right mentality and it all came together at the right time. I am really proud of myself and really grateful for everybody that has helped me become World Champion."
If you believe in sporting fate, then you've got to look back on his remarkable recovery against Noel Malicdem in his very first match and wonder if he was always destined to win his first world title this time around.
On the brink of defeat he required 302 in six darts and did just that with three treble 18s followed by a stunning 140 checkout with his opponent waiting on 42 for the match after just missing bullseye for victory.
After labouring past Seigo Asada and surviving a stirring comeback from Jeffrey de Zwaan, who trailed 2-0 in the fourth set after losing the first three, to win 4-3, Snakebite went on to record a personal best world championship average of 105.86 against Luke Humphries and threw four more 100+ checkouts, including a 170 and a 161, to take his tally to 13 for the tournament.
He added another two during a bad-tempered 6-3 win over Gerwyn Price in which the post-match debate was dominated by the lack of a handshake and the Iceman's "OTT" reaction (his words) to Snakebite attempting to engage in some light-hearted banter after winning the first set.
But the pair made up - rather comically on WhatsApp - as Wright turned his attentions on his date with destiny.
The flamboyant Scotsman, who is well known for bullishly uttering the words "I'll get him next time" after every final defeat to his nemesis, certainly played the like a steely "new Snakebite" that he'd promised in pre-match interviews.
He added a further 100+ checkout to his extraordinary haul of 16 - even though his finish from 140 came in a set he'd lose - while his 11 maximums saw him finish the World Championship just three short of Anderson's all-time record of 71.
Wright's quality and determination that have characterised his career both came to the fore in equal measure throughout the whole tournament, let alone the final, only this time he had the killer instinct at the most important moment of all.
As for van Gerwen, he failed in his bid to retain the Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time in his illustrious career and also suffers his second defeat in an Alexandra Palace final having also lost to Phil Taylor back in 2013.
Snakebite also prevents the world number one kicking off a new decade how he ended the last, although he's still expected to dominate for a number of years to come.
Van Gerwen won 50 individual televised titles in the PDC over the last decade while his previous triumph over Wright in the Champions League of Darts final completed the 'Green Sweep' of every major at the age of just 30.
He said: "Of course it hurts a lot to lose this final but the credit goes to Peter. He played a great tournament and was better than me in the biggest moments and I think he deserved to win in the end.
"I can only blame myself for missing at important moments but I will work hard to come back stronger from this."
The pair could possibly renew their rivalry at the season-opening Masters at the end of January but if not there, then they will clash on the opening night of the 2020 Premier League season.
Both finalists are part of a nine-player line-up that also includes Gary Anderson, Gerwyn Price, Nathan Aspinall, Rob Cross, Michael Smith, Daryl Gurney and debutant Glen Durrant following his incredible debut season in the PDC.
Fallon Sherrock also gets the call to be a 'Challenger 'while John Henderson will also return to Aberdeen to try and recreate that unforgettable of last year. You can click here for all the dates and line-up information.
FINAL STATS: Michael van Gerwen 3-7 Peter Wright
- MVG: 102.88
- Wright: 102.79
- MVG: 16
- Wright: 11
- MVG: 18/45 (40%)
- Wright: 24/45 (53.3%)
- MVG: 128, 124
- Wright: 140
TOURNAMENT STATISTICS (MVG first)
- Average: 99.29 - 99.18
- Best Ave: 104.09 (v Bunting) - 105.86 (v Humphries)
- 180s: 43 - 68
- 100+ checkouts: 11 - 16
- Highest checkout: 170 - 170
- Doubles: 92/215 (42.79%) - 115/250 (44.39%)
- Legs won/lost: 92/71 - 115/88
ROUTES TO THE FINAL
Michael van Gerwen
- Rd 2: 3-1 v Jelle Klaasen (Av: 96.28, 180s: 1, Doubles: 11/25)
- Rd 3: 4-0 v Ricky Evans (Av: 96.75, 180s: 10, Doubles: 12/28)
- Rd 4: 4-0 v Stephen Bunting (Av: 104.09, 180s: 7, Doubles: 12/25)
- QF: 5-2 v Darius Labanauskas (Av: 99.5, 180s: 6, Doubles: 18/40)
- SF: 6-3 v Nathan Aspinall (Av: 96.34, 180s: 3, Doubles: 21/52)
- Rd 2: 3-2 v Noel Malicdem (Av: 96.53, 180s: 9, Doubles: 16/33)
- Rd 3: 4-2 v Seigo Asada (Av: 94.42, 180s: 8, Doubles: 16/37)
- Rd 4: 4-3 v Jeffrey de Zwaan (Av: 96.39, 180s: 12, Doubles: 19/37)
- QF: 5-3 v Luke Humphries (Av: 105.86, 180s: 12, Doubles: 18/37)
- SF: 6-3 v Gerwyn Price (Av: 98.39, 180s: 16, Doubles: 22/61)
- Michael van Gerwen: 3x World Champion (2014, 2017, 2019), 2x World Matchplay champion (2015, 2016), 5x Premier League champion (2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), 5x World Grand Prix champion (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019), 2x UK Open champion (2015, 2016), 3x Grand Slam of Darts champion (2015, 2016, 2017), 4x European champion (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), 5x Masters champion (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), 5x Players Championship Finals champion ( 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019), 4x World Series of Darts Finals winner (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019), 3x World Cup winner (2014, 2017, 2018) & 11 televised World Series titles.
Career PDC titles: 133 (TV: 53)
Majors PDC Titles/Finals: 39/50
Titles this season: 14 (TV: 8)
- Peter Wright: World champion (2020), UK Open champion (2017), World Championship runner-up (2014), Premier League runner-up (2017), World Matchplay runner-up (2017), World Cup winner (2019) 26 non-major PDC titles including Melbourne Darts Masters (2018) and German Darts Masters (2017, 2019). Fourth player to win 10 PDC tournaments in a calendar year (2017)
Career PDC titles: 28 (TV: 6)
Majors PDC Titles/Finals: 2/15
Titles this season: 5 (TV: 2)
PDC World Darts Championship 2020: Round-by-round results
- Michael van Gerwen (1) 3-7 Peter Wright (7)
- (1) Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Nathan Aspinall (12)
- (7) Peter Wright 6-3 Gerwyn Price (3)
- (1) Michael van Gerwen 5-2 Darius Labanauskas
- (12) Nathan Aspinall 5-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh (29)
- Luke Humphries 3-5 Peter Wright (7)
- (27) Glen Durrant 1-5 Gerwyn Price (3)
FOURTH ROUNDQuarter One
- (1) Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Stephen Bunting (17)
- (25) Steve Beaton 2-4 Darius Labanauskas
- (5) Gary Anderson 2-4 Nathan Aspinall (12)
- (29) Dimitri Van den Bergh 4-3 Adrian Lewis (13)
- Kim Huybrechts 1-4 Luke Humphries
- (7) Peter Wright 4-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan (23)
- (27) Glen Durrant 4-3 Chris Dobey (22)
- (3) Gerwyn Price 4-2 Simon Whitlock (14)
THIRD ROUNDQuarter One
- (1) Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Ricky Evans (32)
- (16) Jonny Clayton 0-4 Stephen Bunting (17)
- (8) James Wade 2-4 Steve Beaton (25)
- Darius Labanauskas 4-2 Max Hopp (24)
- (5) Gary Anderson 4-3 Ryan Searle
- (12) Nathan Aspinall 4-3 Krzysztof Ratajski (21)
- Luke Woodhouse 2-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh (29)
- (13) Adrian Lewis 4-3 Darren Webster (20)
- Kim Huybrechts 4-2 Danny Noppert (31)
- Nico Kurz 2-4 Luke Humphries
- (7) Peter Wright 4-2 Seigo Asada
- (10) Dave Chisnall 3-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan (23)
- (6) Daryl Gurney 2-4 Glen Durrant (27)
- Fallon Sherrock 2-4 Chris Dobey (22)
- (3) Gerwyn Price 4-0 John Henderson (30)
- (14) Simon Whitlock 4-1 Mervyn King (19)
- Seeded players entered at this stage
- (1) Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Jelle Klaasen (bt Kevin Burness 3-1)
- (32) Ricky Evans 3-1 Mark McGeeney (bt Matt Campbell 3-1)
- (16) Jonny Clayton 3-0 Jan Dekker (bt Ryan Joyce 3-2)
- (17) Stephen Bunting 3-2 Jose Justicia (bt Arron Monk 3-0)
- (8) James Wade 3-0 Ritchie Edhouse (bt Boris Koltsov 3-1)
- (25) Steve Beaton 3-1 Kyle Anderson (bt Xiaochen Zong 3-2)
- (9) Ian White 1-3 Darius Labanauskas (bt Matthew Edgar 3-0)
- (24) Max Hopp 3-2 Benito van de Pas (bt Gabriel Clemens 3-2)
- (5) Gary Anderson 3-0 Brendan Dolan (bt Nitin Kumar 3-0)
- (28) Steve West 0-3 Ryan Searle (bt Robbie King 3-2)
- (12) Nathan Aspinall 3-1 Danny Baggish (bt Andy Boulton 3-2)
- (21) Krzysztof Ratajski 3-1 Zoran Lerchbacher (bt Jamie Hughes 3-2)
- (4) Michael Smith 1-3 Luke Woodhouse (bt Paul Lim 3-0)
- (29) Dimitri Van den Bergh 3-0 Josh Payne (bt Diogo Portela 3-0)
- (13) Adrian Lewis 3-2 Cristo Reyes (bt Lourence Ilagan 3-2)
- (20) Darren Webster 3-0 Yuki Yamada (bt Ryan Meikle 3-1)
- (2) Rob Cross 0-3 Kim Huybrechts (bt Geert Nentjes 3-2)
- (31) Danny Noppert 3-2 Callan Rydz (bt Steve Lennon 3-2)
- (15) Joe Cullen 1-3 Nico Kurz (bt James Wilson 3-1)
- (18) Jermaine Wattimena 2-3 Luke Humphries (bt Devon Petersen 3-1)
- (7) Peter Wright 3-2 Noel Malicdem (bt Rowby-John Rodriguez 3-0)
- (26) Keegan Brown 3-2 Seigo Asada (bt Mickey Mansell 3-0)
- (10) Dave Chisnall 3-1 Vincent van der Voort (bt Keane Barry 3-0)
- (23) Jeffrey de Zwaan 3-2 Darin Young (bt Raymond van Barneveld 3-1)
- (6) Daryl Gurney 3-0 Justin Pipe (bt Benjamin Pratnemer 3-2)
- (27) Glen Durrant 3-0 Damon Heta (bt Jose De Sousa 3-0)
- (11) Mensur Suljovic 1-3 Fallon Sherrock (bt Ted Evetts 3-2)
- (22) Chris Dobey 3-2 Ron Meulenkamp (bt Ben Robb 3-0)
- (3) Gerwyn Price 3-2 William O'Connor (bt Marko Kantele 3-0)
- (30) John Henderson 3-0 James Richardson (bt Mikuru Suzuki 3-2)
- (14) Simon Whitlock 3-0 Harry Ward (bt Madars Razma 3-2)
- (19) Mervyn King 3-2 Ciaran Teehan (bt Ross Smith 3-0)
PDC World Darts Championship Finals
Final scores in sets
- 1994 - Dennis Priestley 6-1 Phil Taylor
- 1995 - Phil Taylor 6-2 Rod Harrington
- 1996 - Phil Taylor 6-4 Dennis Priestley
- 1997 - Phil Taylor 6-3 Dennis Priestley
- 1998 - Phil Taylor 6-0 Dennis Priestley
- 1999 - Phil Taylor 6-2 Peter Manley
- 2000 - Phil Taylor 7-3 Dennis Priestley
- 2001 - Phil Taylor 7-0 John Part
- 2002 - Phil Taylor 7-0 Peter Manley
- 2003 - John Part 7-6 Phil Taylor
- 2004 - Phil Taylor 7-6 Kevin Painter
- 2005 - Phil Taylor 7-4 Mark Dudbridge
- 2006 - Phil Taylor 7-0 Peter Manley
- 2007 - Raymond van Barneveld 7-6 Phil Taylor
- 2008 - John Part 7-2 Kirk Shepherd
- 2009 - Phil Taylor 7-1 Raymond van Barneveld
- 2010 - Phil Taylor 7-3 Simon Whitlock
- 2011 - Adrian Lewis 7-5 Gary Anderson
- 2012 - Adrian Lewis 7-3 Andy Hamilton
- 2013 - Phil Taylor 7-4 Michael van Gerwen
- 2014 - Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Peter Wright
- 2015 - Gary Anderson 7-6 Phil Taylor
- 2016 - Gary Anderson 7-5 Adrian Lewis
- 2017 - Michael van Gerwen 7-3 Gary Anderson
- 2018 - Rob Cross 7-2 Phil Taylor
- 2019 - Michael van Gerwen 7-3 Michael Smith
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