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Van Gerwen caps ‘amazing’ Premier League campaign with title triumph at The O2

DARTS
Double delight: Michael van Gerwen celebrates his second Premier League title. PICTURE: LAWRENCE LUSTIG/PDC

Michael van Gerwen capped off an ‘amazing season’ in the Betway Premier League by dropping just seven legs on finals night to win the title for the second time.

The world number one, who had lost in the previous two finals at London’s O2 Arena, took home the £200,000 prize in style as he swept past Adrian Lewis, and then Phil Taylor, last night.

MVG was the clear favourite to win his first Premier League title since 2013 having finished top of the table in the league phase, with his 7-5 triumph over Taylor in Rotterdam last week handing him the new £25,000 bonus for ending the season at the summit.

“It’s been an amazing season for me and I’m so proud to win this title again,” he said. “Behind the World Championship, this is probably the biggest tournament and it was one of my goals this year to win this trophy.

“It’s extra special for me after losing in the final for the last two years. I could have won those games but I let myself down and I can’t ask for anything for more than this, because to beat Phil is a pleasure in itself as he’s the greatest player who’s ever lived.

“I was really solid tonight and I didn’t make many mistakes. I did the right thing at the right moments and I’m really glad with this result.

“It’s not all about tonight, but about the last 16 weeks. You put so much effort in and try to do well and it’s paid out by winning this trophy.”

The top four players in the PDC Order of Merit made it through to The O2 last night and many said it was too close to call a winner.

But in the end van Gerwen made light work of Lewis and Taylor and dropped just seven legs across the two games, which is the lowest number of legs conceded by a Premier League winner in the end of season play-offs.

The previous record was held by Taylor, who in 2006, 2008 and 2010 dropped nine legs on his way to winning on finals night.

Van Gerwen kicked off the night against Lewis and ran out a 10-4 winner to reach his fourth Premier League final in a row.

Missed doubles proved costly for Jackpot in the early stages, as MVG raced into a 6-1 lead. Lewis had chances to win three of the legs won by the Dutchman, but could not capitalise on them and found himself a long way behind.

The two-time world champion showed his fighting spirit by winning three legs on the bounce to close the gap to 6-4, with the break which followed certainly coming at the wrong time.

“Behind the World Championship this is probably the biggest tournament”

Van Gerwen was able to regroup and two 11 darters in the next four legs helped him close out a 10-4 win and a place in the final.

The second semi-final proved to be a much closer affair as Taylor just managed to get the better of defending champion Gary Anderson 10-7.

The Power looked on course for victory when he won four legs in a row to go 8-4 up, but missed doubles and a brilliant 11 darter saw Anderson fight back to cut Taylor’s lead to 8-7.

But the six-time Premier League winner set up a repeat of the 2013 final by winning the next two legs.

A good start was vital for Taylor in the final and he appeared to have settled well when he held throw twice to go 2-1 up.

Few could have predicted what was to follow as van Gerwen won 10 of the next 11 legs to sweep past Taylor with an 11-3 win.

After MVG won five successive legs to go 6-2 in front, the Power threatened a potential comeback when he took out 80 in two darts and then left tops in the next leg.

But van Gerwen quickly ended those hopes with an excellent 100 checkout with two double tops.

It was the start of another five leg burst for the Dutchman, who in Taylor’s words ‘beat me up’ to win his second Premier League crown.

“I’m very proud to have got through to the final,” Taylor said.

“Michael beat me up, put me under pressure and made me miss doubles. I did my best, but I just couldn’t react against him. His scoring is good but his finishing is phenomenal and that’s where he hurts you.”

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