Van Gerwen wins Players Championship One in Wigan
World Number One Michael Van Gerwen won Players Championship One on Saturday defeating fellow Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena 8-4 in the final of the opening Pro Tour Event of the year in Wigan.
Van Gerwen, who came into the tournament on an unbeaten run of 12 matches stretching back to a final defeat in the Players Championship Finals to Daryl Gurney back in November, came into the day after a win in the Premier League against Michael Smith on Thursday Night, starting off with a win over Luke Woodhouse 6-2 with an average of 108.8 then saw off Gary Eastwood 6-1 and Mickey Mansell 6-2 with an average of 105.1 and missing Double 18 for a Perfect leg. In the Last 16, he defeated Mark Dudbridge 6-3 who was having his deepest run in a Pro Tour Event for four years, then the Dutchman saw off Jonny Clayton 6-1 with an average of 110.1 to reach the Semi Finals. His Semi Final match was arguably his tightest match of the day when he took on Newcomer Scott Baker and edged past him 7-5 to reach yet another Pro Tour Final. After the first six legs of the final, each leg had been won in under 15 darts and it was 3 a piece before Van Gerwen rattled in an 11 Dart break of throw to make it 4-3 and from then on he was in complete control winning 4 of the remaining 5 legs finishing with a 21 dart leg and stretch his unbeaten run to 18 matches in 2019.
Wattimena, who had been denied a first PDC final on a number of occasions, started off the day with a 6-3 win over Ross Smith before a 6-4 win over Barrie Bates then smashing recent Challenge Tour Event Winner Ritchie Edhouse 6-1 to reach the Last 16. Then he ran into the Diamond Ian White, arguably the toughest opponent to face in a floor event, he saw him off 6-5 with a 96.3 average before defeating youngster Harry Ward 6-3 to reach yet another Pro Tour Semi Final. In the semi finals he took on Peter Wright, who denied him a first PDC final last year. Wattimena won the opening 5 legs before Wright pulled 2 legs back and Jermaine made it 6-2 and both players thought it was all over before the referee Owen Binks told them the new rules that it was first to 7. In the next leg, Wattimena got over the line 7-2 to make it a landmark day reaching his first PDC final, but it wasn’t to be in the final but a brilliant start to the year for the Dutchman who is aiming to reach the World Cup of the Darts team in June for the Netherlands to partner Michael Van Gerwen.
What a day it was for Scott Baker, who won his PDC Tour Card last month in the exact same venue after coming over from the BDO, he saw off John Goldie, Former World Champion Rob Cross, Darius Labanauskas, Stephen Burton and Kyle Anderson on his way to the Semi Finals. Also, a semi-final run for World Number Three Peter Wright and Quarter Final runs for the likes of Michael Smith, Jonny Clayton as well as Kyle Anderson and Harry Ward. Early exits for James Wade, Simon Whitlock, Raymond Van Barneveld, Dave Chisnall, Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney. Also, Glen Durrant and Mark McGeeney, two former BDO stars, were both first round casualties on their PDC Debuts.
The Pro Tour weekend in Wigan concludes on Sunday with Players Championship Two and another £75,000 tournament. Two Live streaming boards off action at https://www.pdc.tv/ and all Results and Matches can be checked out at https://tv.dartconnect.com/.