Michael van Gerwen wins Players Championship title
40th major TV title for MvG who heads to Alexandra Palace as red-hot favourite to claim world title number three
Last Updated: 26/11/17 11:27pm
Michael van Gerwen made it three successive Players Championship titles with a dominant 11-2 victory over surprise finalist Jonny Clayton in Minehead.
The world number one, who beat Dave Chisnall in last year's final and Adrian Lewis in 2015, was too strong for Welshman Clayton who had shocked top seed Rob Cross in the semi-final but proved to be no barrier to Van Gerwen's fourth Players title in the last five years.
Monday's draw for the World Championship, which is live on Sky Sports News from around 6.30pm, will map out MvG's course for the defence of his world crown and he has moved into the sort of ominous form he displayed this time last year when he swept all before him on his way to a second Sid Waddell Trophy.
This weekend the Dutchman headed to the South West with three successive major televised titles under his belt over the last few weeks and he left with a fourth, adding the Players title to the Grand Slam he won last Sunday and the World Series of Darts and European Championship crowns that preceded his Wolverhampton success.
The world no 1 has bounced back from a shock first-round exit to John Henderson at the World Grand Prix to stack up 28 consecutive victories - Sunday's finals day saw him account for Jan Dekker in the last eight and Justin Pipe in the semi-finals.
Clayton was the last man standing from the top half of the draw having beaten in-form Cross 11-8 in the last four and Steve Beaton in the quarter-final during a memorable run that will take him inside the world's top 32.
But MvG was too good for the 43-year-old who was playing in his first major final, powering to a 5-0 lead after a dominant first session that took a little under eight minutes.
Clayton returned from the break to stop the rot and claimed two of the next three legs, but Van Gerwen finished strongly including a brilliant 11-dart leg to head into the interval 8-2 in front.
Three more legs followed in quick succession as Van Gerwen put the seal on victory in the final tournament before the World Championship gets underway on December 14 and MvG will head to Ally Pally as an overwhelming favourite to claim another third world title.
Attention now turns to the World Championship and you can follow the countdown on Monday with our live stream of the final qualifying competition at www.skysports.com/darts and across our mobile devices, as well as on our Sky Sports Facebook page.
Jonny Clayton v Michael van Gerwen
Rob Cross 8-11 Jonny Clayton
Justin Pipe 3-11 Michael van Gerwen
Rob Cross 10-6 James Wade
Steve Beaton 10-8 Jonny Clayton
Daryl Gurney 9-10 Justin Pipe
Jan Dekker 7-10 Michael van Gerwen
The draw also takes place on Sky Sports News on Monday, while the action gets underway from Alexandra Palace on December 14. You can stay up to date with all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts #LoveTheDarts