Michael van Gerwen did not take the lead in the Betfred World Matchplay final until the 29th leg. But tonight, after an 18-14 triumph over world number one Gerwyn Price, he is taking home the trophy and the £200,000 prize money. It was an enthralling display at the Blackpool Winter Gardens from ‘MVG’ who clinched his third Betfred World Matchplay title.
Van Gerwen hit maximums in the second and third legs, but his scoring was better than his finishing as he found himself 4-0 down. It was a deficit that it would take the Dutchman a long time to overturn, but there were always signs he was in this Matchplay final. Another maximum in the fourth and a 177 in the fifth showed that Van Gerwen’s scoring was as good as it’s ever been, even if the battle of the doubles was being won by Price.
A mammoth 160 checkout to take the score to 4-3 was a turning point for Van Gerwen, and though he would be behind until well into double figures, some doubt registered on the face of his Welsh opponent. The doubles still weren’t quite flowing, while Price was hitting them with dead-eyed consistency. One began to wonder if Van Gerwen’s arm surgery just a month ago was impacting his finishing.
That is a 𝙢𝙖𝙟𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙘 160 checkout 🤤🤤
A simply sublime bull finish slotted in between two closely grouped darts dispelled those fears, as did two 180s in a four-visit leg to pull it back to 9-7. Price was still far from done, but the most evocative highlights now belonged to Mighty Mike. A twelve dart leg in the 18th, a spin of four legs out of five to take it level at 12-12, a 134 to restore parity at 13-13. Whenever Price got his nose back in front, Van Gerwen was there to shut it in the door.
Finally, crucially, a supreme 130 checkout took the three-time world champion ahead at 15-14. From there he could not be stopped, with a 114 checkout to go within a leg being the highlight. Price’s famous defiance remained, he pointed to the Blackpool stage and smirked in what transpired to be the final leg. But ‘MVG’ closed the show to take the win and a thoroughly-deserved title that felt highly unlikely when this tournament first convened.
Picture courtesy of Taylor Lanning/PDC
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