A dramatic and pulsating night of darts at the 02 saw Michael Van Gerwen cement his place as the best in the world. Michael Van Gerwen beat Peter Wright , 11-10 in a last leg decider in the final, but that was only half the story.
The night started with Van Gerwen dispatching two time world champion Gary Anderson 10-7 in a thrilling contest. The standard was high, as you would expect between the two players that have been at the summit of the game over the last two years. It remained close throughout with both landing big three dart finishes including a sensational 160 checkout from Anderson.
The 16th leg proved to provide the crucial break, Van Gerwen taking out 88 to move 9-7 ahead before holding his throw in the next to seal his pot in the final.
In the other semi-final Wright took on Phil Taylor, but usual fan favourite Snakebite had to face the crowd not being behind him. Despite Wright moving clear, the fans were hoping to see Taylor claim the title on his final Premier League outing before retirement. He fought back to move ahead twice, but missed crucial darts when he had the chance to move 9-7 up. However, despite not being at his best Wright took his chances, as he came through 10-9 in a deciding leg to set up a showdown with Mighty Mike.
After two great semi-finals the final itself did not disappoint.
In recent months Wright has been fantastic and the confidence he has gained showed early on as he raced into a 5-1 lead. At this point Van Gerwen was struggling to get going and his average fell to 95 when he trailed 7-2. However, he crucially held his throw in the final leg before the break to make it 7-3. He carried this form on after the interval bringing the deficit down to two before Snakebite was able to stop the rot.
Wright missed darts to go 9-6 ahead and was made to pay as Van Gerwen continued to rattle off the legs winning six out of seven to draw level at 8-8.
Wright was still was in control knowing if they went to a deciding leg he would throw first. He went 10-9 ahead when the real drama took place. Snakebite played a near perfect leg after leaving just 32 from nine darts against the Van Gerwen throw. He was unable to take his first three opportunities at double to lift the title, only to see MVG fail as well giving Wright another three darts. However, he would miss these three as well and this time the world number one punished him.
The reaction at the end of the leg from Wright told the story, he was deflated and despite throwing first in the final leg his head wasn’t in it allowing Van Gerwen to clinch the title.
It was his third Premier League crown and is a huge victory for him after not being able to compete in the UK Open.
As for Wright you can only hope that it does not affect him going forwards and he is able to pick himself up. It will a very hard loss to get over, but after the comeback he has made in the last two years to reach the top I am sure he will.
It has been a fantastic Premier League of Darts once again this year, but as in 2016 at the end it is Michael Van Gerwen who has lifted the trophy at the 02.