Mighty Mike Claims Minehead Triumph
MIGHTY MIKES STUNS TAYLOR WITH COMEBACK TO CLAIM CASH CONVERTERS PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS TITLE
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN stunned Phil Taylor with an amazing comeback from 6-3 down to win the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals title with an 11-7 triumph at the Butlins Minehead Resort on Sunday night.
The Dutch ace had entered the £250,000 event as the number one seed having topped the PDC ProTour Order of Merit with nine victories during 2013, and went on to claim his four major televised title in an incredible final.
He trailed Taylor 6-3 before turning the game on its head in an incredible seven-leg burst which put him into a 10-6 advantage, hitting three 11-dart legs and a 110 finish to leave the World Champion rattled.
Taylor replied to win the 17th leg, but van Gerwen hit a 177 score to leave 24 in the next before hitting double 12 to complete a remarkable fightback.
Van Gerwen had knocked out Jamie Lewis, Adrian Lewis, Wes Newton and Andy Hamilton on his way to the final, and ended six months without a tournament win as he repeated May's Premier League triumph against Taylor.
"It's a great day in my life and an unbelievable night," said van Gerwen. "To be ranked number one and to then win the tournament is fantastic, but to win like that against Phil is amazing.
"You always need to play well against him because he's won so many finals this year, but in the beginning of the game I struggled a bit and he was strong.
"If you want to beat Phil, you can't afford to miss and I hit some important finishes. To beat Phil, Adrian, Wes and Andy - all top ten players - in one tournament and win the trophy says I'm a true champion.
"I'm very happy because I'd lost in a couple of finals and people were talking about my performances, but I knew I had the game there so it's great for me and for my confidence going into the World Championship - but first I'm going to enjoy this win because it means a lot to me."
The final saw the opening four legs shared before Taylor hit double 16 to lead 3-2, broke with an 88 finish in the sixth leg and then landed double 16 again to move 5-2 up.
Van Gerwen hit back in the eighth leg, but missed two darts to break throw in the next as Taylor posted double eight for a 6-3 lead.
The Dutchman began his comeback by winning the tenth leg on double 16, and returned from the break to win the next five legs in a stunning session to put himself ahead, hitting legs of 12, 14 and 11 darts to lead 7-6, before taking out a 110 checkout and another 11-darter.
Taylor opened the 16th leg with a 180, only to see his opponent land four 140s and an 81 finish for another 11-dart finish as he moved 10-6 up, and though the Stoke ace landed another 177 and double 16 to take the next, a 177 from van Gerwen set up double 12 for the title.
Van Gerwen had earlier hit a 170 checkout during his 9-4 quarter-final defeat of Newton, and overcame Hamilton 10-5 in the semis.
Taylor had been at his brilliant best in averaging 111.58 in his 9-2 quarter-final triumph over Raymond van Barneveld, and won six successive legs in the semi-finals against Justin Pipe, turning a four-all scoreline into a 10-4 victory.
Pipe's run had seen him reach the semi-finals of the tournament for a second successive year in Minehead, as he reached that stage for a third time in a major televised event.
"Although I'm disappointed to lose, I'm happy with the weekend," said Pipe. "I had my chances and I can only take the positives and I want to push on from this now because I feel like a top ten player now.
"I played well in the semi-final but Phil's phenomenal and that's why he's the 16-time World Champion. He hit a brilliant 132 finish which turned the game, but I'll learn from that and I want to emulate some of what he's done."
Hamilton also picked up £15,000 for reaching the last four as he continued his amazing record in televised tournaments, having won through to at least the quarter-finals in the last ten major ranking events since June 2012.
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Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Sunday December 1
Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Andy Hamilton
Justin Pipe 4-10 Phil Taylor
Best of 19 legs
Michael van Gerwen 11-7 Phil Taylor
Best of 21 legs
Michael van Gerwen v Andy Hamilton
1-0 - Hamilton opens the game with a 180, but misses double 18 to finish 99 as van Gerwen land tops to finish 72.
2-0 - van Gerwen misses the bull for a 161 finish but is able to return and land double eight.
3-0 - The Dutchman finishes double 18 with his third dart to take another leg.
3-1 - Hamilton hits tops to win his first leg of the contest.
4-1 - van Gerwen lands double four to regain his three-leg cushion.
4-2 - Double four sees Hamilton hit back.
5-2 - van Gerwen regains his three-leg lead.
6-2 - Both players miss two darts at double 16 before van Gerwen returns to break on double eight.
6-3 - Hamilton finishes 90 on the bull to break for the first time in the game.
6-4 - Hamilton lands a 180 before hitting tops to reduce the gap to two legs.
7-4 - van Gerwen opens with a maximum and lands tops to regain his cushion.
8-4 - van Gerwen kicks off the leg with a 177 before posting double ten to move four legs clear.
9-4 - A superb 116 finish sees van Gerwen move to the brink of victory.
9-5 - Hamilton hits tops with his third dart to keep the game alive.
10-5 - van Gerwen takes out 76 on tops to seal his place in the final.
|Michael van Gerwen||10-5||Andy Hamilton|
|3||Breaks of Throw||1|
|10/22 - 45%||Checkout %||5/12 - 42%|
Justin Pipe v Phil Taylor
0-1 - Taylor hits double ten to take the opening leg in 14 darts.
1-1 - Pipe replies with a double ten finish of his own to level.
1-2 - Taylor posts two 180s in the leg, and finishes 82 for a 12-darter.
2-2 - Pipe finishes 66 on double four to square the game again.
2-3 - Taylor initially misses tops, but Pipe is unable to take out 120 to break as the reigning champion lands double five to move back in front.
3-3 - Both players initially miss their chance to take the leg before Pipe finishes double one to level.
3-4 - Pipe hits a 180 but misses the bull for a 124 finish to break throw, and Taylor posts 65 on tops to hold.
4-4 - Pipe hits back again by finishing double 15.
4-5 - Taylor takes out 103 on double 12 to move back in front.
4-6 - Pipe leaves 38, but Taylor breaks throw for the first time in the match with a superb 132 bullseye finish, echoing his 2008 World Matchplay-winning shot as he shuffles across the oche to land the final bullseye.
4-7 - Taylor lands a 180 and finishes double 16 to move three legs clear.
4-8 - Taylor finishes 84 on double 11.
4-9 - Double 16 moves the reigning champion to the brink of victory.
4-10 - Taylor raises hopes of a nine-darter, scoring 180 and 177 to leave 144, hitting another treble 20 before just wiring his eighth dart, but he returns to hit double eight to seal a ten-darter in moving into the decider against Michael van Gerwen.
|Justin Pipe||4-10||Phil Taylor|
|0||Breaks of Throw||3|
|4/12 - 33%||Checkout %||10/15 - 67%|
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
0-1 - Taylor finishes double 16 for a 14-darter to open the game.
1-1 - Both players open with 180s before van Gerwen holds throw to win the leg.
1-2 - Taylor finishes tops to move back in front.
2-2 - Taylor scores 121 and 180 but is waiting on 40 as van Gerwen takes out 84 to level.
2-3 - Taylor opens with 140 and 180, with van Gerwen hitting a 177 but unable to take out 148 as the reigning champion hits double 16.
2-4 - Taylor kicks off the leg with a 171 score - hitting treble 20, treble 19 and treble 18 - before finishing 88 on double seven to break for the first time.
2-5 - Double 16 gives Taylor a three-leg advantage.
3-5 - van Gerwen hits a 180 and lands double four to hit back.
3-6 - Taylor hits a 174 score, but initially misses two darts at double 16, only for van Gerwen to miss double 12 and double six to break throw as the Stoke ace returns to pin double eight.
4-6 - van Gerwen replies to cut the gap to two legs on double 16.
5-6 - Taylor opens with a 180, but van Gerwen replies with a maximum and then scores 140 and 165 before completing a 12-darter on double four to break for the first time.
6-6 - van Gerwen hits a 174 score to leave 71, and takes out the finish in two darts on double 16 to level.
7-6 - Taylor lands a 180 to leave 100 and van Gerwen matches his maximum to leave 42, and when the reigning champion is unable to take out the finish, the Dutch ace takes a fourth successive leg on double 16.
8-6 - van Gerwen leaves Taylor visibly rattled, winning another leg by taking out 110.
9-6 - van Gerwen hits a 180 and takes out 81 on double 12 to claim a sixth straight leg.
10-6 - Taylor lands a 177, but van Gerwen lands three 140s before finishing 81 again for back-to-back 11-dart finishes.
10-7 - Taylor opens with another 177 score, and hits double 16 to win his first leg in eight.
11-7 - van Gerwen lands a 177 of his own to leave 24, and takes out double 12 to win the title with a 14-darter.
|Michael van Gerwen||11-7||Phil Taylor|
|3||Breaks of Throw||1|
|11/20 - 55%||Checkout %||7/12 - 58%|