MICHAEL VAN GERWEN won the partypoker.com World Grand Prix for a second time with a superb 5-3 win over James Wade on Sunday night at Dublin’s Citywest Hotel.
The Dutch star consolidated his status as world number one by scooping the £100,000 title for the second time in three years, showing his class in the double-start format with a gutsy display.
Van Gerwen found himself a set down twice in the game, and after taking the lead at 3-2 saw Wade hit back to level – but the World Champion found an extra gear to win the final two sets and claim the title.
Wade started the better, winning the first set 3-1 despite a 13-darter from van Gerwen, who was punished for missed doubles in leg four as the left-hander – a two-time World Grand Prix winner – took first blood.
Van Gerwen hit back from a leg down to level by winning set two in a deciding leg, taking his three legs in 12, 14 and 13 darts.
Wade then secured the third set 3-1 as he followed a double top finish with checkouts of 71 and 117 to move 2-1 up, and the Aldershot ace then added a 106 checkout in set four, only for van Gerwen to take the set 3-1 to level.
Van Gerwen then edged a dramatic fifth set, with Wade hitting back from 2-1 down to force a deciding leg before scoring 180 and 177 to leave 20 in leg five, only to miss three darts at double ten to allow the Dutchman in for a 110 checkout to put him 3-2 up in the game.
Wade, though, hit back superbly with checkouts of 141, 61 and 96 as he came from a leg down to win the sixth set 3-1 and square the game – but the seventh proved key in the outcome of the match.
The 2007 and 2010 winner moved 2-0 up with a brace of double top finishes, only to miss three set darts in the third leg as van Gerwen hit back on tops, took out 106 for a 12-darter and 86 for the set to lead 4-3.
He then finished double eight to win the eight set’s opening leg and kicked off the second with a 160 score before finishing double top to move 2-0 up.
Van Gerwen then landed his ninth 180 of the game to pull clear in leg three, before landing tops to secure the title.
“This is amazing and to win this tournament again is fantastic, said van Gerwen. “I missed a lot of doubles but I did everything I could to win the game.
“The 110 checkout to win the fifth set showed how good I was, but it also showed James’ class with the way he came back after that.
“James could have won the game, but I think I was the stronger player when I needed to be. James made it very difficult but I was just the better player and I’m so happy.
“He did brilliantly to reach the final and deserved to be there, but there can only be one winner and I’m glad it’s me.
“You play darts to be the best in the world and I’m very glad that I’m in the number one position. I want to stay there but firstly I’m going to enjoy this because it’s a huge win for me.”
Wade conceded that missing three darts at doubles to win the fifth and seventh sets proved costly: “I missed too many important doubles, there were six crucial darts at doubles.
“There were two sets there where I had massive shots and I didn’t take them, and Michael took his chances. He’s great and he’s the man to beat at the moment.
“It’s a step in the right direction for me being back in a big final, so I’ll take the positives from that. I’m back to where I belong, playing good darts again.”
The night also saw emerging Northern Irish player Daryl Gurney win the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay title for a second time, defeating Polish-born Radek Szaganski 6-2 as he secured a place in the William Hill World Darts Championship in December.