World number one Michael van Gerwen was crowned the Lookers Nissan Darts Masters champion after a 5-2 victory over Peter Wright in Sunderland on Friday night.
The 2014 World Champion entertained a sell-out crowd at the Nissan Sports and Leisure Complex as he prevailed in a high-quality field, which included the likes of Wayne Mardle and Vincent van der Voort.
Van Gerwen, who has won 25 tournaments this year, continued his ruthless streak of success as he powered past ‘Snakebite’ Wright, hitting four 180s in the final.
The Dutchman said: “I had seen this event as good preparation before the big one (World Championships) later in the month.
“I feel great and I hope I can continue this great form. This has been a fantastic year for myself.”
When asked about performing at Sunderland, he said: “I’m here to entertain the crowds and want to play as well as possible and show my qualities on not just the big stages.”
The exhibition event, staged by Modus management, saw the Sunderland crowd being highly entertained with darts legends Wayne ‘Hawaii 501’ Mardle and the ‘King of Bling’ Bobby George taking part in a one-leg shoot outs against challengers.
Mardle was drawn to face MvG in the semi-final, while Peter Wright faced ‘The Dutch Destroyer’ Vincent van der Voort.
Van Gerwen overcame Mardle 5-2, which included a 164 checkout in the second leg. However, three missed darts from MvG allowed Mardle back into the match, hitting double top to reduce the deficit. Two 180s from Mardle sparked wild celebrations from the fans as he raced around the hall with delight.
Mardle, a former World Championship semi-finalist, said: “These events are great fun and playing with these professionals is not a daily occurrence. Hopefully this gets portrayed into the audience who seem to have had a great time.”
In the seventh leg, The Green Machine was too far ahead for Mardle to catch him and van Gerwen hit double four for a place in the final to face Wright after the Scotsman came from 3-1 down to win in a deciding leg 5-4.
Van der Voort began the quickest, as the fastest darts thrower in the world took the opening leg at D5.
A 65 checkout from Snakebite saw him draw level before a straightforward D16, followed by a 72 checkout. Wright produced some world-class finishing with a 95 checkout. He went one better in the next leg with two D20s to complete his checkout of 80.
Van der Voort continued to pressure his opponent with an important 180, but Wright held his nerve with only one dart to hit double top once again.
Two 180s in a row from Wright in the deciding leg gave Wright a comfortable advantage and, despite missing two darts at a double, struck D16 to progress.
The final was a repeat of the 2014 World Championship final. MvG started the strongest, hitting the first 180 of the match before taking the first leg.
Wright also struck a 180 of his own before landing a crucial D5 on his final dart in hand.
A missed D18 in the third leg from Wright allowed van Gerwen to punish his opponent with a D18 of his own.
The Dutchman took the fourth and fifth leg with a 180 in each of them. Wright managed to claw his back to 4-2 after both men had missed six darts at a double.
Michael van Gerwen won the match in emphatic style, hitting 180, 140, and 128 before checking out 53.