Wright puts on a masterclass against the Power as Van Gerwen demolished Dolan.
Another rowdy night in Wolves saw Michael van Gerwen book his place in the semi final in a bid to retain his Grand Slam crown after a straight forward victory against Irishman Brendan Dolan.
It could have been a lot closer game than the scoreline suggested with The History Maker having just a 27.27% on his checkouts but that being said Mighty Mike’s was just 30.19%.
Michael looked in the mood for the get go as he kicked off 134, 171 in his first 6 darts before hitting double two for a hold of throw. This was followed by an even better scoring leg hitting 140,180,140 before securing the leg in 13 darts and the first break of throw. The first ton plus finish followed in the third leg as Michael hit a 104 finish and MVG punished a missed dart at double 8 for a 136 finish from Dolan to lead 4-0. 12 darts later it was 5-0 as van Gerwen hit bull for a 121 finish which was followed by Dolans first leg of the game as he hit double 16 to reduce the deficit to 5-1.The Dutchman then went on to win the next 8 legs against the out of form Irishman as he continued to show his rival and the packed Civic centre crowd the dominance he has on the sport at the moment.
Dolan did regain some parity hitting a pair of double tops to win a further 2 legs but a pair of double ones and a double 6 secured a routine victory for the world number 1.
Our final game was the one we have all been waiting for. 2 weeks ago we saw one of the greatest televised games we have ever witnessed as Peter Wright beat Phil Taylor 10-9 in Scotland.
Snakebite is probably throwing some of his best darts at the moment and early doors Phil was on the wrong end of an absolute tanking. Wright opened up with a 15 dart leg after hitting double 10 before following it up with a 14 dart leg hitting double 12. A poor leg by Peter wasn’t punished by the Power as he hit double 8 for a 25 finish after narrowly missing bull for a 132 finish before an excellent 64 finish saw Snakebite secure a double break of throw. A 76 finish for a 12 dart leg give Wright a 5-0 lead going into the first break with Taylor flabbergasted by the excellent Wright applauding him off the stage.
Looking at the stats going into the break Peter was averaging 110 to Taylors near 100 average but what would be worrying the great one is his final dart as it was averaging 7 points less than his first dart when in all honesty this should be the best dart most of the time. This wasn’t helped by Phil’s poor 19 hitting having only hit 2 treble 19s in 10 attempts which was very un-Taylor like but the break certainly reignited the great one.
A 13 dart leg on double 10 saw Phil win his first leg but a 13 dart leg of his own saw Wright reopen the 5 leg lead. 3 consecutive legs from the Power though got him back in the match as his average started to topple the hundred and his opponents fall to the 105 mark and we went into the second break with Wright leading 6-4 with 1 break of throw remaining in his favour.
Then followed the moment we have all been waiting for. With the throw Wright hit 180, 180 and left himself the big 141 for a 9 dart finish. Was it going to happen? Wright hammered in the treble 20, followed by a good treble 19 left him 24 with his last dart. I honestly feel if Wrighty stopped, took in the occasion and threw the dart he would have hit it, he’s one of the best showboaters in the game. However Wrighty pulled the dart just underneath the double 12. Phil easily mopped up his own leg under no pressure from Wright hitting double 12 but it was becoming really difficult for Phil to stamp his authority on the game against the excellent Wright and over the next few legs it was only going to get harder. A miss at 101 for Peter was punished by Taylor who’s 170 left him 16 was expertly dispatched but Peter was now about to give Phil two huge hammerblows after doing so well to get back into the game at 7-6. With the Power sat on 242 he hit an amazing 180 to leave 62 and surely fancied himself to win the leg with Snakebite sat back on 152 but a superb 60, 60, 32 saw him not only just break Phil’s throw but you could sense it broke a little bit of the Powers heart. 180 and 140 from Taylor saw him left with 32 for a 13 darter but another finish over 100, this time a 101 saw Snakebite to enhance his lead to 9-6 as again Phil could only stand there and watch Wrighty at his most brilliant best. Phil’s average was now actually above Wrightys and something I spoke about earlier in this article, his final dart average was now up to 34.09 from just over 29 per dart which he was always going to have to do against the inform Scotsman.
Snakebite threw his worst leg of the match coming back from the break allowing Phil to ease it with a double 16 to pull it back to 9-7 and poor finishing and brilliant finishing from the 16 time champion of the world cost him a hold of throw in the next leg. On 82 to Phil’s 301 you expected Peter to easily win the leg especially when he hit bull with his first dart to leave his favourite double 16 but 5 missed darts at double allowed the Power to turn back time with a superb 143 finish to break Wrights throw but Phil couldn’t follow it up as he threw 18 darts without a shot at double allowing Snakebite to recompose himself hitting double 10. Another 12 darter and another ton plus finish, this time a 141 saw Wright start to really turn the screw on the Power and in the next leg Phil missed bull for a 81 which was punished by a 121 finish on double 14 for a 12-8 lead.
With both players starting to tire, the relentless ton plus finishing from Wright had knocked the stuffing out of Phil and both players scoring decreased although the pair retained over 100 averages it became a bit scrappy. Phil returned from the break hitting a 62 finish to hold throw before before a 80 finish on tops saw Wright return with a 15 darter. Phil went on to win his final leg with a 64 finish as Wright reeled off the final 2 legs to win a belter 16-10.
Going back 3 years ago that and that 143 from Taylor after his opponent had missed 5 darts at double would of mentally crippled his opponent. This would have crippled most darters. Not Wright. He’s in great form. He’s not cocky about his brilliance. He’s down to earth. He’s respectful. He is a clever darter; the Peter Wright I have met on a few occasions on the floor is polite, well mannered and lucky to have a great woman by his side. He knows this. He takes nothing for granted and he keeps getting better. He is also nothing like the party animal he appears on stage. His persona is Snakebite, he is a completely different person to Peter Wright. He is loud, he is exciting, he’s smooth, cool and he is one of the best darters on the planet.
People keep saying ‘Phil is finished’, to put it politely they are talking out of their arses. Phil is the greatest player of all time, he has won everything this sport has to offer and continues to provide breathtaking performances and breathtaking averages. People just are nervous or scared to play the great one anymore. People now pick their game up when they play Phil. They couldn’t get out of 1st or 2nd gear before. They can now and Phil can still kick it with the best and he proved that in the Champions League darts on BBC back in September. Phil isn’t finished. He’s nowhere near. He may be mentally ready to settle down and reduce his schedule but he will still be the greatest darter to have ever graced this planet and who every darter is indebted for the unbelievable work he has put into this sport.
Day Seven Results:
Michael van Gerwen 16-3 Brendan Dolan
Peter Wright 16-10 Phil Taylor