Mighty Michael van Gerwen was pushed all the way by Peter Wright in the Champions League final on Sunday night, and had to mount a storming final session comeback to claim his frist ever Champions League title – and, more importantly, Paddy Power’s unique championship belt in an 11-10 thriller at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
Wright reeled off two legs in a row to move within a leg of the title at 10-7 and in the 18th leg he looked set to complete a stunning upset win as he had three darts to take out 24 and snatch the belt.
But none of them landed and Van Gerwen could smell blood in the water.
“When Peter had those three darts I thought the game would be over. But after the two darts at double 12 that were a mile away, He turned around and I could see the fear in his eyes.”
“He’s never going to hit that last dart. He’s too nervous. That’s what I thought, and If I didn’t do it then I’d never do it.”
And he did, running off with four straight legs to finishing the wilting Wright.
“He bottled it. I think he’s scared of me. He’s done it before in the Premier League when he had darts to win it.
“The players get nervous when they can beat me. I take that as a compliment.”
Wright had built three-leg leads twice in the opening two sessions of the 21 leg finale too, going blow-for-blow with MVG’s scoring and finishing better. But the Dutchman showed why he’s the world’s number one though as he battled back to make it 8-7 with a devastating 136 finish,
He’s now completed the set of darts Major titles – this is just the fourth Champions League and MVG had never claimed the title.
But all belt-holders have to defend them eventually. See you next year Mike.