Van Gerwen seeks new record after Cazoo Premier League hat-trick

Michael van Gerwen (Taylor Lanning/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen insists he wants to break more records in the Cazoo Premier League after moving eight points clear at the top of the table following his Night Six success in Liverpool.

Van Gerwen sealed a 6-4 victory against Michael Smith in a high-quality final at the M&S Bank Arena, averaging over 100 and defying six 180s from World Champion Smith to triumph on Merseyside.

Van Gerwen also becomes the first player to win three successive nights since the Premier League's nightly knockout format was introduced, having previously celebrated back-to-back wins in Dublin and Exeter.

“You have to turn up in a final against a player like Michael Smith, and I’m glad I did,” admitted the reigning champion, who also eased past Jonny Clayton and Peter Wright en route to Night Six glory.

“When you are under pressure, it’s the best feeling in the world to produce good darts. It gives you joy and it gives you confidence.

“I know how to win without playing my A-game, but I think in patches tonight against Michael Smith, I did play really well.

“I am not where I want to be yet, but I am winning games and that is the most important thing.”

Van Gerwen is riding the crest of wave in the sport’s biggest roadshow, but he came into Thursday’s action smarting from his defeat to Andrew Gilding in last Sunday’s UK Open final.

The Dutchman led 8-5 and 9-7 before succumbing in a dramatic last-leg shoot-out at Butlin’s Minehead Resort, missing a dart at double 16 to clinch his fourth UK Open crown.

“It was a painful one. Andrew didn’t get nervous and played three world-class legs at the end of the match,” conceded the 33-year-old, who had won his six previous meetings with Gilding.

“I hate losing, and you don’t want to put yourself in that position but it happened. Fair play to Andrew.

“Yes, I have lost two finals recently, but it’s one of those things. I won four big titles on TV last year, then I lost two, and now I’m going to win four again!”

Van Gerwen has been the dominant force in the Premier League throughout the last decade, topping the league phase in eight of his ten appearances.

The three-time World Champion looks poised to continue that trend in this year’s campaign, but he insists motivation will not be an issue, with Play-Off qualification already looking inevitable.

“I want to get a record number of points,” declared Van Gerwen, who will take on a struggling Peter Wright in his Nottingham opener next week.

“I love to play in front of big crowds and that is what you have in the Premier League. I have won three nights now, but there is still 11 or 12 to go, so it’s on to the next one.

“I think my game is at 90%. I’m not at my best, but I know how to win when I’m not playing my A-game.

“I feel good, I feel comfortable and I’m in a comfortable position in the table, which is where you want to be.”