Daryl Gurney stuns Michael van Gerwen to win Players Championship Finals
Gurney: "I thought halfway through this season that my career was over."
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 26/11/18 8:13am
Daryl Gurney clinched his second PDC major title with a thrilling 11-9 victory over Michael van Gerwen in the Players Championship Finals on a dramatic day in Minehead on Sunday.
Van Gerwen was bidding to win his fourth consecutive Players Championship title, and his fifth in six years at the Butlins Resort.
However, the World No 1 was stunned by a nerveless Gurney, who produced a superb display of finishing to seal his second major PDC title, 14 months on from his World Grand Prix triumph.
The Northern Irishman had endured a difficult 2018, failing to go beyond the semi-finals of any televised event, but he delivered the goods to record his first televised win over MVG and scoop the £100,000 winner's prize.
The opening 10 legs all went with throw, despite a significant disparity in the averages. Gurney was averaging 93 to Van Gerwen's 106, but the Dutchman missed the bull on three separate occasions to break the Northern Irishman's throw.
Gurney regained the lead with a clinical 96 kill, before MvG followed up a 171 by pinning double 16 to level at six apiece, after 'Super-Chin' had wired the bull for a 132 outshot.
Van Gerwen then claimed the game's first break of throw with a clinical 88 checkout and 'The Green Machine' appeared to be closing in on a fourth consecutive Players Championship crown.
Nevertheless, Gurney fought back magnificently, levelling the contest on D16, before converting a nerveless 64 outshot on double 16 to edge back ahead at 8-7.
The Dutchman followed up a fine 68 finish by pinning double one to regain the initiative, but once again, Van Gerwen was unable to cement the break of throw.
Gurney followed up his fourth maximum with a two-dart 88 combination to restore parity at nine apiece, before moving to the brink of victory with a 13-dart hold.
Van Gerwen had the throw to send the match into a deciding leg, but Gurney completed a famous win in sensational style, taking out 85 on the bullseye to clinch his second major PDC title.
"I thought halfway through this season that my career was over," commented Gurney after his victory.
"I was stuck on the practice board, practicing hard, trying to get back to the best I could possibly be mentally. This weekend, I've hung in there.
"The way I played in the semi-finals, I thought I needed to find a fourth dart somewhere to play Michael or Gary, but my finishing kept me in there," Gurney admitted.
Van den Bergh retains World Youth title
Dimitri Van den Bergh retains World Youth Championship title with victory over Martin Schindler
"I think it was probably two or three times I hit a 180 to leave a finish and I took it out. That's possibly the only thing that kept me in the game.
"Obviously it's a nice tick in the box because I think I've only beaten him [Van Gerwen] on the main stage once, so I've put that record to bed in some respects.
"As for the Worlds, it's a totally different format, but if you're winning a competition just before the Worlds, it puts you on good terms."
The former World Grand Prix champion had survived three match darts in his second-round victory over Ryan Searle on Saturday afternoon, before he defeated his compatriot Brendan Dolan to reach the last eight.
The 32-year-old then breezed through to his second major PDC final with comprehensive victories over Chris Dobey and Danny Noppert on Finals Day.
'Super-Chin' produced a blistering display to thrash Dobey 10-2; averaging 103.91 and taking out finishes of 146 and 170 to triumph.
He then faced former Lakeside finalist Noppert, who was appearing in his first televised PDC semi-final. However, the Northern Irishman ran out an emphatic 11-3 winner, averaging 98 in the process.
Van Gerwen kicked off Sunday's proceedings with an emphatic 10-3 victory over Steve Lennon to set up a semi-final showdown with Gary Anderson, who averaged over 110 in defeating Jonny Clayton.
Both players had dropped just nine legs en route to the last four, while Anderson had ended Van Gerwen's three-year reign as Grand Slam champion seven days ago in Wolverhampton.
Nevertheless, 'The Green Machine' gained revenge in a pulsating battle; fighting back from 3-0 and 5-3 behind to prevail 11-9; winning the final two legs in 11 and 12 darts to reach his 61st televised final.
Daryl Gurney 10-2 Chris Dobey
Danny Noppert 10-7 Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson 10-4 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 10-3 Steve Lennon
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Daryl Gurney 11-3 Danny Noppert
Michael van Gerwen 11-9 Gary Anderson
Daryl Gurney 11-9 Michael van Gerwen
Attention now switches to the World Championship with 16 days of coverage, kicking off with a live preview show from Alexandra Palace at 6pm on Thursday December 13. The draw takes place on Monday November 26, live on Sky Sports News.
Keep up to date with the news as the tungsten enters its busiest time of year with the PDC World Championships just around the corner get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation@SkySportsDarts