MICHAEL VAN GERWEN broke the record for the highest average ever hit in a Unibet Premier League final as he retained his title at The O2 in London on Thursday.

The world number one threw a stunning 112.37 average in his 11-4 triumph over Michael Smith to claim his third successive Premier League crown, and the fourth of his career.

Van Gerwen’s average in the final was also the highest in this year’s tournament but fell just short of the highest ever in a televised final (112.49), which was also posted by the Dutchman in his 2015 Unibet Masters win over Raymond van Barneveld.

“I knew I had a big job to do in winning the game, but I was focused on doing something extra – I wanted to break the record average,” said Van Gerwen, who hit 16 maximums on the night.

“Maybe I put a bit too much pressure on myself to break the record which meant I fell just short.

Van Gerwen (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

“But what more could I ask for? I produced a phenomenal display today in both the semi-final and the final.

“I am proud of myself for how I played, I felt confident that I had more left in the tank and I showed everyone what I can do.”

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

The Dutch World Cup star beat Rob Cross 10-6 in his semi-final earlier in the evening to reach a sixth consecutive Premier League final, before clinching the £250,000 first prize, on top of a £25,000 league leader's bonus after topping the regular season's league table for a sixth straight year.

“I think I played a phenomenal game, one of my best ever,” Van Gerwen added.

“Sometimes winning feels better than the other ones, and this feels good for me because I didn’t win the World Championship and this is the biggest one after that.

Van Gerwen (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

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

“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 means a lot to me.”

The two-time World Champion will now look to add to his 12 PDC titles so far this year as he bids to break his record of 26 in a year.

“My goal is simple - I want to win as many titles as I can,” said Van Gerwen, who will head the field in the German Darts Masters on Friday, May 25.

“If you don’t work hard you’re never going to make it, it’s as simple as that. I never give up, I always give 200% and that’s how I like it to be.

Van Gerwen (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

“I need to keep beating my opponents, it’s just about winning titles – that is the only thing that counts.”

Top Five Averages In Televised Finals:
112.49 – Michael van Gerwen (v Raymond van Barneveld) 2015 Masters
112.37 – Michael van Gerwen (v Michael Smith) 2018 Premier League
111.67 – Phil Taylor (v James Wade) 2010 Premier League
111.62 – Michael van Gerwen (v Mensur Suljovic) 2016 European Championship
111.23 – Phil Taylor (v Adrian Lewis) 2013 World Matchplay