Darts’ most colourful character Peter Wright pushed Michael Van Gerwen to the end in the PDC World Championship Final 2014, but ultimately the Dutch superstar had too much for the Scottish underdog.
The tournament’s form player Wright danced his way up to the oche full of confidence, whilst Van Gerwen walked onto the stage with his typical focus, and he looked unfazed by his status as match favourite in the opening set – taking out 91 to break Wright in the opening leg before going on to win it 3-1.
The Dutchman extended his lead in the second set, his 12-dart finish was followed up by another break of Wright’s throw. Wright did have a chance to break him back immediately, but the Scotsman failed to nail double 20 and Van Gerwen punished his opponent immediately to take a swift two set lead.
With the game running away from Wright, Van Gerwen continued to pile on the pressure by scoring 177 to set up 32 in the opening leg of the third set. Wright just missed the bull for a 130 finish, and Van Gerwen broke Wright again. The rest of the set played out in familiar fashion, as ‘Mikey’ raced to a three set lead.
Wright lost another leg at the beginning of the fourth set, having missed a chance at double 20 to stop the rot, before fluffing his lines twice at double 8 soon after. Van Gerwen claimed another leg, but was immediately pegged back by Wright after missing three darts to take the set. Wright couldn’t carry the momentum through though, and Van Gerwen claimed his fourth straight set.
As the final began to look over, Wright began his comeback, as the Scot claimed the opening leg of the fifth set. Van Gerwen immediately pegged him back, but Wright was growing in confidence – holding his throw before breaking Van Gerwen, hitting a 180 to set up a 130 finish, which he scored with ease to win the fifth set 3-1.
Finally the tournament’s surprise package was beginning to show his quality, taking advantage of his opponent missing three darts at a double to break Van Gerwen, before making it 2-0 for the set soon after. With Wright staring another set win in the face he missed double 20 for a 117 finish, and Van Gerwen took out 80 to keep it alive, but Wright held his throw with a cool 100 to make it 4-2 to ‘MVG’.
The seventh set went with the darts until the final leg, as Van Gerwen hit 136 to leave 32 and pile the pressure on the underdog in his own set. Wright felt the heat as he missed double 20 to claim another set, and the Dutchman took out 32 to restore his own confidence.
With both players showing the class which got them to the final, ‘Snakebite’ and ‘Mighty Mike’ were now matching each other blow for blow, and again the set went with the darts as Van Gerwen took a 2-1 lead. The fourth leg was a scrappy affair though, and after both players missed darts to win it Van Gerwen at last took 8 out to break Wright and go one set from the title.
Wright wasn’t prepared to give up yet though, and he took the first leg in the ninth set before the Dutchman pegged him back instantly. The Scot rediscovered his form though to go on and win the set 3-1.
‘Snakebite’ continued to nibble away at Van Gerwen’s title hopes in the tenth set, hitting an impressive 104 to break MVG in the opening leg of the tenth set before holding on to his darts to take the set 3-1.
With Wright needing to win another set to stay in the game, he continued to hold his darts to take a 2-1 lead in the set. However, Van Gerwen hit an eleven dart leg to steal the momentum from the home favourite, and he took out 72 in the final leg to win the title 7-4 and become the number 1 player in the PDC’s rankings.
Image courtesy of Sky Sports