Unibet Masters 2016: Van Gerwen defends his Crown in style – 

Another dominant display from ‘Mighty Mike’ as he successfully defends his Unibet Masters title with a convincing 11-6 display against Dave Chisnall. Losing semi-finalist Phil Taylor rues missed chances as his opportunity to prove a point slipped away.

Dave Chisnall

vs James Wade


A really impressive performance saw Dave Chisnall

 reach a major televised final since the 2014 Grand Slam of Darts. The St Helens man breezed past the ‘Machine’ James Wade with a comfortable 11-6 win. Chisnall started really well in the first leg hitting tops to go 1-0 ahead, however there was some nervous

 darts thrown by Chisnall as he allowed Wade to capitalise on his mistake as he somehow didn’t get a dart at a double from 100 with six darts. Wade capitalised and responded with a tops of his own to level the match at 1-1. Chisnall returned to outscoring Wade,

 hitting a 174, finishing the leg off by taking out double 12 to restore his lead. Chisnall then produced some fine darts, as he hit 2 180’s against the throw, as he taken out double 8 after missing the Bull on an 84 checkout. Another 180 for Chizzy in the

 fifth leg resulted in a 4-1 lead after he hit double 16 to close the first session at 4-1 and in cruise control. Wade returned from the break a new player, as he hit his first 180 and finished on double 10 to reduce the lead to 4-2. Wade then looked ready

 to roll as he threw two consecutive 12 darters, as well as throwing back to back 180’s in leg 7. Leg 8 also included back to back 180’s and seemed to look like he was going to kick into gear. Chisnall stopped the surge momentarily as he hit a 168 to leave

 16 which he dispatched to make it 5-4. Chisnall and Wade both traded 180’s, however it was Wade that looked stronger after Chisnall missed two at double 16, allowing wade to take out a 138 to go into the break with the momentum at 5-5. Chisnall hit another

 180 as he regained the lead after the break, hitting double 16 in the process. An 11 dart leg for Chisnall broke Wade, hitting double 20 and taking out 58 to re-establish the lead at 7-5. Chisnall almost took out a 150 on double 18, however Wade wasted an

 opportunity as he missed double 4 to finish off a 61 checkout. Chisnall came back and hit double 4 with his last dart to extend his lead to three legs again. Wade’s fate was sealed when he was broken for a second time in succession as he missed tops for a

 133 checkout, allowing Chisnall to come back in and hit double 20 to go 9-5 ahead. Chisnall was rampant on double 20 as he hit it again to go 10-5 ahead and within a leg of the match. However, in the following leg Chisnall missed two match darts at double

 20, allowing Wade to hit double 8 to extend the match to a 17th leg. Chisnall saw off Wade, as the man from Aldershot missed the Bull for a 121, leaving Chisnall to take out 117 on double 20 to win the match. Chisnall finished with 12 180’s, two off the record

 set by Michael van Gerwen in last year’s final, and had a 55% checkout rating. Chisnall consistently played the better darts and punished Wade for his scoring.

Michael van Gerwen

vs Phil Taylor


A match of two of the most decorated players

 in recent history took place in an unfamiliar round of a tournament, as the second semi-final was earmarked as a possible match of the tournament. Van Gerwen raced out of the blocks and broke Taylor almost immediately with a 42 checkout and started off in

 similar fashion to how he ended his match vs Michael Smith. However, the stalwart of the ‘Power’ showed no signs of folding as he returned with a break of his own, taking out 80 for a level game. Taylor then went ahead with a fantastic 13 dart leg, as he returned

 to his favourite double 16 to edge him ahead of the Dutchman. MVG almost responded with a 122 checkout, however he missed double 7, allowing Taylor to break him again taking out 36 to go 3-1 ahead. The next leg was vital for MVG as he didn’t want to be heading

 into the first break 4-1 down to Taylor who is a relentless front runner, and he made sure that didn’t happen as he took out a fantastic 161 to break back for a second time of his own. A high checkout from MVG would not have felt right without a traditional

 fist pump and scrunched face, and he truly obliged as he closed the gap back down to 1 leg. After the break, MVG responded with a 134 to leave 36, as he tied the game up at 3-3. Both traded 180’s in Leg 7 but it was the ‘Power’ who won the leg with a 81 checkout

 and a 12 dart leg to suit. Back came MVG who responded with a 180 and a 12 dart leg of his own, taking out 89 to keep pace with the veteran. However, Taylor was still in firm control as he cleaned up a bodged attempt at 98, by returning to hit double 3. Then

 came a blow to MVG, after again trading 180’s, ‘Mighty Mike’ missed two darts at double 16, letting Taylor in with a chance that he duly obliged to take as he took out 84 in two darts to go into the second break 6-4 up, and winning both sessions 3-2 in the

 process. Taylor then took out 67 on double 16 to establish a three leg lead for the first time in the match. MVG returned with a double 18 to keep it to one break apart. The break of throw came when Taylor missed two darts to extend his lead back to three

 legs after MVG hit a 180 and took out a 130 on double 5 to once again break back at 6-7. Again both players traded 180’s as MVG missed five darts at doubles to level the match up allowing Taylor to snoop in on double 13 to break once more. Double 2 then came

 to the rescue of the ‘Power’ as he reopened that three leg lead. Once again another maximum for van Gerwen as he took out 48 on tops to bring it back to two legs apart at 7-9. Another 180 from MVG as he took out 36 after hitting 168 to set him up perfectly

 for the break, the game that was so unpredictable, had not finished with the magic just yet. A seemingly poor leg from MVG, looked set to see Taylor break once more and leave him to throw for the match, but over-confidence and psychological battles were placed

 in and amongst the action as Taylor turned down a 121 to set himself up for 32, with MVG on 144. MVG responded by hitting the 144, and his emotion was brought out for the first time since the 161 back in the fifth leg. Taylor missed double 16 for a 102, but

 cleaned up to win the 19th leg and make it 9-10 to Taylor. MVG luckily escaped the 20th leg, as Taylor missed 7 match doubles, allowing van Gerwen to step in and hit double 16 to force the decider. A 12 dart leg from MVG was enough to get him over the line

 as he hit double 12 to reach another major final. Seven 180’s and a 50% checkout average propelled MVG to the final and once again defeating his old adversary once more in a thriller.

Michael van Gerwen

 vs Dave Chisnall


After having considerably less time to prepare for the final than his opponent, it was van Gerwen who came out of

 the blocks strongest, opening up with a double 10 to start of the proceedings. An underwhelmed Dave Chisnall who looked to be struggling with fatigue or nerves as he was fighting for the possibility of his first PDC major. However, MVG hit his first maximum

 and finished off with a 64 checkout to break the throw of Chisnall. MVG and Chisnall traded 180’s in the third leg, but it was MVG who established the foothold as he finished off with an 84 checkout to go three legs ahead an in cruise control. Chisnall hadn’t

 really got going in the final and couldn’t stop the MVG train as the Dutchman went up 4-0 after hitting double 16, much to the delight of the World Number 1. That lead then quickly turned into 5-0 as van Gerwen and Chisnall both traded 180’s but it was ‘Mighty

 Mike’ who with tops to go into the break 5 legs ahead. After the break, Chisnall looked slightly more relaxed, and he had first chances at a double as he missed double 19 for a 155, after MVG missed double 18 for a 10 dart leg. Chisnall returned to hit double

 19 and gained his first leg on the board, even if it was a hold of throw. A 180 for Chisnall, wasn’t enough to string back-to-back legs as MVG took out a three figure finish for the first time in the match as he finished off 110 with ease. MVG then broke Chisnall

 again as he hit another 180, finishing off the eighth leg on double 10. Chisnall hit double 6 with his last dart to reduce the lead to five legs, as MVG had a dart at double 18 to extend further. Chisnall then put two legs together back to back as he held

 his throw to go into the break 4 legs down after hitting tops to win the mini session 3-2. MVG returned after the break with a determined look on his face as he hit a 171 to leave 32, which he duly finished off with his last dart on double 8. Chisnall had

 found his range, as he reduced the gap again hitting 90 on the Bull. ‘Mighty Mike’ was seemingly in no rush as he was very much relaxed on Chisnall’s throw, but making sure he held his own which is what he did again in the 13th as he again took out double

 10 to win the leg and go within two of the match. Again Chisnall came fighting back, and again he finished upon double 19 to win his fifth leg of the match as his attempts to keep pace with van Gerwen were fading. Chisnall’s last hope was to break van Gerwen

 in the 15th leg, but a wasted opportunity at 88 allowed the Dutchman to take out 80 to have 6 opportunities for the match. Another 180 for Chisnall, who started scoring higher more regular in the latter stages, hit double 4 after five missed doubles from ‘Chizzy’.

 However, the fate of Chisnall was compounded when MVG finally hit double 5 after Chisnall missed darts at tops, to win another major and back-to-back wins at the Unibet Masters. Not a fantastic final but 51 legs in a day is good enough for MVG who shows the

 rest of the competition why he is World Number 1, after hitting six 180’s and finishing with a 99 average, Michael van Gerwen reigns supreme again.


photo:Lawrence Lustig/PDC


By Daniel Hall

About the Author





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