Fantastic fourth Premier League Darts title for relentless Michael van Gerwen

Van Gerwen retains his PL crown (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen secured a phenomenal fourth Premier League title after an 11-4 rout of Michael Smith in the final at The O2 on Thursday.

The world number one secured a third consecutive crown in the elite invtational as he averaged 112.37 and landed seven 180s in a 21-minute masterclass.

Having finished top of the table for a sixth successive season, the Dutch star went on to maintain his unbeaten record in Premier League Semi-Finals by overcoming Rob Cross 10-6 before going on to claim glory in emphatic fashion.

"I think I played a phenomenal game, one of my best ever,” said Van Gerwen. "I know I had a big job to do to win the game but I was focused on doing something extra – I wanted to break the record average but I fell just short.

“There was a lot of pressure on me to perform but I think I coped with it well and ran out a deserved winner.

"I had to be at my best to beat Michael, he is one of the big boys now.

“It means a lot to me to win this tournament, I had to work hard for this over the last 16 weeks and to win it again is amazing.”

Van Gerwen was clinical on the doubles, hitting 11 from 16 attempts, and averaged around 120 for most of an unstoppable display.

Smith battled hard to keep himself in the contest, producing checkouts of 125 and 104 along with six maximums but was powerless to halt the Dutch darting juggernaut.

“I want to thank the fans and everyone who supported me,” said Smith, who was making his debut appearance in the play-offs after finishing second in the league phase.

“Michael was just too good tonight, I tried my best but it just wasn’t enough on the night.

“Even at 8-2 down I was battling to win legs, which I might not have done before this year when I might’ve thrown the towel in.

“I will be back next year, determined to go one better and lift the title.”

Van Gerwen got off to a flying start in the final, firing in 12, 12 and 11-dart legs to open up a 3-0 lead, before Smith calmed the nerves to get off the mark.

Mighty Mike then cleaned up 25 after missing the bull for a 170 finish to lead 5-1, and then produced another 11-dart leg to surge further ahead.

Smith stopped the rot in style with a stunning 125 checkout but the world number one resumed normal service after the interval to make it 10-2, before Smith pulled another two legs back to reduce the arrears to 10-4.

Van Gerwen, though, sealed victory with a brilliant 112 finish to secure his fourth Premier League title in six years competing in the prestigious event.

Van Gerwen had earlier fired in nine 180s and an impressive 103.65 average in ending the hopes of debutant Cross in the Semi-Finals.

The Dutch star kicked off the night with a 180 en route to a 12-dart leg before players exchanged holds of throw.

Van Gerwen went into cruise control over the next three legs to move into a 5-1 lead before Cross handed himself a lifeline with a first break of throw to reduce the deficit to 5-2.

It did not turn out to be the turning point that Cross was hoping for as Van Gerwen broke straight back to restore his four leg lead by pinning double ten.

Van Gerwen then landed his second 11-darter of the game, taking out 96 to extend his lead to 7-2.

Cross held throw to go in to the break 7-3 down and showed he had not given up as he broke the MVG throw on double 16 to trail 7-4.

The two-time World Champion moved within a leg of victory by taking out 128 for a 9-4 lead, before Cross held and then broke the Van Gerwen throw with a superb 118 checkout.

The Dutch ace then snuffed out any hopes off a 'Voltage' revival as he broke back with a 15-darter to seal his spot in the final.

“I feel like I might have tried a bit too hard early on in the match,” said Cross, who was featuring in just his fourth televised Semi-Final.

“My first dart wasn’t going right all night, which allowed Michael to run riot and do what he does best.

“The Premier League has been a massive learning curve for me and I’m confident that I will do even better in the tournament next year if I’m selected.

“This is still just the beginning for me, I’ve got so much more to give and I know that I will be back playing my best darts in the near future.”

Smith claimed arguably the biggest win of his career to date with an impressive 10-6 triumph over his close friend and mentor Gary Anderson to reach his first major final.

On his debut Play-Offs appearance, Smith smashed in eight maximums and two ton-plus checkouts to book his place in the final.

The St Helens star settled quickly, taking out 100 to hold in the first leg then doubling his advantage with another 15-darter to break throw.

The Scot broke straight back to halve the deficit, and then hit back-to-back maximums but missed chances to hold and the Englishman punished to lead 3-1.

Anderson clawed his way back into the game, finding tops to break the Smith throw and trail 4-3, before finding tops again to level.

Smith edged closer to one of the biggest wins of his career, reeling off the next three legs to take a commanding lead, including a 120 checkout in leg 11.

Anderson held to close the gap to two and trail 8-6, before the former World Youth Champion went one leg from glory with a 12-dart leg.

An emotional Smith found tops to wrap up the win and set up a final clash with Van Gerwen, ending Anderson’s hopes of a third Premier League crown in the process.

“Michael played a good game tonight and he deserved to win,” admitted Anderson, who qualified for the Play-Offs for a fifth successive year.

“The way I’ve played this year it was a bonus for me to reach the semi-finals.

“I’ve had some good games and some bad games, but overall I think I did alright in this year’s Premier League.”

Smith's success in reaching the final sees him qualify for November's Grand Slam of Darts, where he had reached his only previous televised semi-final in the 2015 event.

Premier League Darts 2018 Play-Offs Results

Thursday May 17

Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Rob Cross
Michael Smith 10-6 Gary Anderson

Michael van Gerwen 11-4 Michael Smith

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Fantastic fourth Premier League Darts title for relentless Michael van Gerwen

Michael van Gerwen secured a phenomenal fourth Premier League title after an 11-4 rout of Michael Smith in the final at The O2 on Thursday.

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