Michael Van Gerwen picked up his maiden Matchplay title on Sunday night. It brought an end to Phil Taylors incredible record of seven straight titles at the Winter Gardens. What an incredible nine days it proved to be in Blackpool. Filled with tension, drama and darting excellence.
32 of the world’s best players entered. All with hope and expectation that they could win the 2015 Matchplay title. The second most prodigious event in the PDC calendar. But only one man could walk away victorious.
Michael Van Gerwen eased to victory in the opening round, defeating his young Dutch compatriot Benito Van De Pas 10-4. Peter Wright produced the most impressive performance of the first round, a 108 average in defeating Kim Huybrechts. Phil Taylor cruised to victory over John Henderson. There were also wins for Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson, Dave Chisnall and James Wade. The shocks of the first round were produced by Mensur Suljovic and Gerwyn Price, in their defeats of Terry Jenkins and Michael Smith. The biggest shock of all came when five-time world champion Raymond Van Barneveld was knocked out of the competition by Andy Hamilton. The highest quality contest of the opening round was contested between Ian White and Stephen Bunting, both averaging over 100. White went on to win 10-6.
Jamie Lewis had the unfortunate task of taking on MVG. He was given no chance by the world number one, it ended 13-2. MVG finished with an average of 110! Taylor and Wade safely booked their places in the quarter-finals, with wins over Andy Hamilton and Brendan Dolan respectively. Dave Chisnall edged a thrilling encounter against Keegan Brown, 13-11. Ian White and Peter Wright also progressed to the last eight, defeating Simon Whitlock and Andrew Gilding. Two more major shocks occurred in the second round. Former Welsh Rugby player Gerwyn Price produced an unbelievable performance to defeat Adrian Lewis. An even bigger surprise, reigning world champion Gary Anderson was knocked out in the last 16. He was defeated 13-9 by Mensur Suljovic. The unusual Austrian had certainly made his mark on the tournament.
Peter Wright booked his place in the semi-finals. With a 16-7 win over Gerwyn Price. Wright was looking for his first ever major title. Phil Taylor demonstrated a phenomenal display in finishing in his victory over Dave Chisnall. Two 130 checkouts and a superb 161 finish eased him to a 16-8 victory. James Wade put an end to the exploits of Mensur Suljovic, it finished 16-11 to the world number 6. The match of the round was played between MVG and Ian White. White raced into an early lead, only to be pegged back. At 13 all, it was any man’s game to win. MVG proved why he is currently the best in the business, reeling off the last three legs and securing his place in the last four.
The semi-finals were comprised of four of the best players in the world. First up was Taylor against Wade. Not many people gave Wade a chance of winning. It was a close encounter throughout. Wade’s finishing and coolness under pressure proved to be decisive. He won 17-14. Taylor was out. The second semi-final saw MVG paired up against his bitter rival Peter Wright. Wright had his chances. MVG demonstrated how to win big matches, by hitting the right shots at the right time. Could he now go on and claim his first Matchplay title?
The final was between MVG and Wade. The second and third most successful players in PDC history. Wade was looking to add to his previous Matchplay title in 2007. MVG was looking for the career grand slam. Adding the Matchplay title to his world championship and premier league titles. It was a cagey game throughout, neither player was at their best. It was the Dutch superstar who would go on to claim victory. 18-12. MVG had once again proved why he is the best in the world.
It was a fantastic nine days of darts. We witnessed the best in the business competing for the prestigious Matchplay title at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. We saw drama of the highest order, shocks that couldn’t have been predicted, and some of the best darts imaginable.