Comment & Analysis @paulprenders
Michael van Gerwen beats Rob Cross to claim fifth Premier League Darts title
Last Updated: 24/05/19 11:44am
Michael van Gerwen underlined his domination of darts by beating Rob Cross in Thursday night's final to add a fifth Premier League success to the third world title he won at Alexandra Palace in January.
The world No 1, who beat Daryl Gurney in the opening semi-final to reach a seventh consecutive Premier League final, proved too strong for Cross by recording an 11-5 win to claim a remarkable fourth title in succession at The O2.
Having scrapped his way past Superchin with an average of just over 96, Van Gerwen upped the ante to average more than 103, fire five 180s and take out two three-finishes to sink Cross, who bettered his semi-final last year with a runners-up finish but was no match for MvG.
Van Gerwen weathered a mid-match burst from Cross that saw the 2018 world champion waste three darts to level having fought back from 5-1 down. Instead MvG won six of the last seven legs to seal the £250,000 winner's cheque and yet another Premier League crown.
Four months and a 16-week league campaign that this year featured nine 'contenders' ended in familiar fashion as Van Gerwen again underlined his status as the best player on planet darts.
Premier League Darts Play-Offs
|Semi-Finals||Michael van Gerwen||10-7||Daryl Gurney|
|Rob Cross||10-5||James Wade|
|Final||Michael van Gerwen||11-5||Rob Criss|
After two low-key semi-finals, the last two world champions and the top two players in the world, faced off the final with former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie in attendance.
However as well as facing the best player in the world, Cross had the weight of history to overcome as other than that memorable World Championship semi-final in 2018, Van Gerwen has dominated the head-to-head including 7-2 and 8-2 wins in this year's league campaign.
And the writing looked like being on the wall early on as Van Gerwen, who pipped Cross to top the league phase for a seventh successive season in Leeds last week, broke throw in the opener and then landed the first major blow of the final.
Having seen Van Gerwen miss a couple of darts for a break, Cross missed two chances of his own and despite needing all three darts in hand, Van Gerwen pinned the required double for an early two-leg lead.
A more assured Cross got on the board with a 13-dart hold but it only stirred the beast as a pair of chilling finishes gave MvG two more legs in fine style.
The Dutchman ignored an unfortunate bounce-out from treble 18 to put his next dart in the very same target and then follow-up with double 18 to clean up 90 before a first three-figure finish of the night saw him 5-1 in front courtesy of a brilliant 112.
But Cross hit back in style, back-to-back legs for the first time in the final saw him push his average beyond 103 and draw to within two legs of the defending champ.
Voltage then reduced the deficit to one, having wired double eight for a 127 he returned to clean up double four for third leg on the bounce to trail 5-4.
With the interval looming, Cross wasted three darts to level the contest having left 36 after 12 darts, a fact not lost on Van Gerwen who stepped up to take out 74 and celebrate as if he had won the title.
The Dutchman returned from the break to stamp his authority all over the game, opportunities over the final seven legs were few and far between as Van Gerwen crucially broke for a 7-4 lead after Cross failed to take out 119 allowing MvG to dispatch a classy 72 combination to move three legs clear once again.
He followed up with six perfect darts but couldn't find nine-dart perfection but it didn't matter as he powered across the finishing line for a memorable title that now leaves him just one short of Phil Taylor's record of six - something he already has in his sights next year after a four-year winning run in the event.
Premier League Darts - The Final
|Michael van Gerwen||11-5||Rob Cross|
|11/24 (46%)||Double Success||5/16 (31%)|
|4||Legs Against Throw||1|
In their words...
You don't have to wait long for more live darts with coverage of all four days of the World Cup of Darts from Hamburg live on Sky Sports Action from June 6-9