Magical Michael's Minehead Glory

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN was crowned as the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals winner for a second time as his incredible run of form continued with a fourth successive televised title during November.

The Dutchman has dominated the past month with some brilliant displays as he won the European Championship, Grand Slam of Darts and World Series of Darts Finals titles, and scooped the £65,000 winner's prize at the Butlins Minehead Resort to add to that list.

Van Gerwen was simply unstoppable throughout the weekend, seeing off Keegan Brown and Vincent van der Voort to reach Sunday's third day before powering past Dave Chisnall 10-7 and then overcoming Daryl Gurney 11-2 in the semi-finals.

He then proved too strong for his great rival Lewis in the final to win back the title he previously claimed in 2013 by seeing off another Stoke superstar, Phil Taylor.

On that day van Gerwen had to hit back from behind for victory, but after twice putting together a run of three successive legs to pull clear of his opponent the Dutchman was never in a similar position.

Lewis did lead by taking the final's opening leg, but van Gerwen hit a 180 in an 11-darter to level and finished double 16 to break throw for a 2-1 lead.

Lewis responded with a superb 118 finish, but van Gerwen landed a 180 in taking the next for another break, before punishing one miss from the Stoke ace in each of the next two legs as a brace of double ten finishes moved him 5-2 up.

Lewis capitalised on three misses at double 16 from van Gerwen to take the eighth leg on double 12 before landing tops to pull back to 5-4 but he missed tops for a 119 finish to level as van Gerwen hit double ten to edge away.

Finishes of double nine and double six in the next two legs saw van Gerwen pull out to 8-4, with Lewis' 102 finish - after the pair traded 180s - being followed by a 117 checkout from his rival as the world number one took a 9-5 lead.

Van Gerwen added another 180 and double 12 to move to the brink of victory, with Lewis stepping in to punish two missed match darts by finishing a brilliant 147 checkout, but three misses in the next allowed the Dutchman in on double six for the win.

The triumph is van Gerwen's second of the year at the Butlins Minehead Resort in Somerset, following March's UK Open triumph, and his 18th in a PDC event during an imperious 2015.

"I'm really glad to have this title back, absolutely over the moon," said van Gerwen. "It was difficult to get the win but I'm really glad I did.

"Adrian's a fantastic player but I was the better player in this game and I just want to keep this form going now because I'm playing really well."

Lewis had been denied by Gary Anderson in the Players Championship Finals decider 12 months ago, and despite hitting three ton-plus checkouts in the final was left to rue another loss, saying: "It was one of those nights.

"I missed a couple of doubles early doors and let Michael in a few times. The 147 to save the match was a massive shot to save the match but then I kicked in with 42 to start the next leg.

"I've got to reflect on a good weekend because it's the first final I've reached in the ranking majors this year."

Lewis had raced past Austria's Mensur Suljovic 11-1 in his semi-final, taking the opening eight legs without reply and finishes of 116 and 103 on his way to the decider.

He had also defeated Simon Whitlock 10-7 in Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals, and took home £35,000 as the runner-up to consolidate his position as number five in the world rankings.

While Suljovic's inspired quarter-final win over Ian White saw him reach his second major semi-final in the space of two months - following his run at October's World Grand Prix - Gurney was appearing in the last four on TV for the first time.

The Northern Irish ace had seen off 2012 runner-up Kim Huybrechts and reigning champion Gary Anderson to progress to Sunday's final stages, and overcame Dutch youngster Benito van de Pas 10-5 in the quarter-finals.

Semi-Finals Round-Up
Adrian Lewis raced past Mensur Suljovic to reach the final, dropping only one leg in an 11-1 rout of the Austrian ace, who was unable to repeat the form which had taken him to his second major semi-final in the space of two months.

The tone for the game was set when Suljovic missed three darts at doubles in the opening leg and two in the second, with Lewis capitalising thanks to checkouts of 78 and 75, both on double 12, to take immediate command.

Lewis then broke again on double ten and landed double eight before punishing two further misses from Suljovic to win a fifth successive leg.

Lewis, last year's runner-up in Minehead, took out 116 as he continued his march, and though Suljovic hit a 180 in the seventh, another two misses at tops allowed the Stoke ace in to finish 62 on double 16.

Lewis hit a 180 and double ten to win his eighth leg and landed two maximums in the next, only to be punished for his own missed doubles as Suljovic produced a fine 96 checkout to get off the mark on double 14.

Lewis, though, restored his cushion with a superb 103 checkout in the tenth leg, after the pair traded 180s, before he landed a maximum and an 85 finish for a 12-darter and tops to wrap up the win.

Michael van Gerwen's charge towards a second Cash Converters Players Championship Finals triumph continued with an 11-2 semi-final win over Daryl Gurney, which the top seed capped with a 170 checkout.

Northern Ireland's Gurney hit back from an early 2-0 deficit to level, landing three 180s in the opening four legs and finishing 80 and a 14-darter to stay in touch with the world number one.

Van Gerwen landed a 180 in a 14-darter to edge back ahead, and took out 84 on the bull and 74 to take charge, despite two further 180s from Gurney, at 5-2.

Van Gerwen hit 180s in the next two legs as tops and double 18 moved him 7-2 up, before three missed doubles from Gurney proved costly as double eight gave him a six-leg lead.

Gurney landed a 180 in the 11th leg, but double nine moved van Gerwen into a 9-2 lead, before he punished a missed bull from the Northern Irish ace to win a tenth leg, and the killer blow came with a spectacular 170 checkout to seal the win.

Quarter-Finals Round-Up
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN turned on the style as he won a high-scoring quarter-final with a 10-7 win over Dave Chisnall, as he continues his bid to reclaim the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals title.

Van Gerwen averaged over 107 following a superb display, hitting eight 180s, three 177 scores and a 174, while Chisnall landed seven 180s, a brilliant 132 finish and averaged 105.51 in reply but ultimately paid for missed doubles.

The heavy scoring began in the opening leg as van Gerwen fired in a 177 before Chisnall hit a 180, and the Englishman punished three missed doubles to finish double eight to lead.

Van Gerwen levelled, following a pair of mises at double eight by Chisnall, before the pair traded checkouts of 76 and 87 - as the Dutchman hit the bull - to remain locked at two-all.

Van Gerwen then hit his second 180 before capitalising when Chisnall was unable to finish 139, as an 81 finish saw him break before he took out 80 for a two-leg lead at 4-2.

Chisnall took two of the next three to stay in touch, but van Gerwen hit scores of 177 and 180 as he finished a 12-darter to regain his two-leg cushion.

The pair then hit three maximums in a key 11th leg, with Chisnall providing two only to miss three darts at doubles as van Gerwen broke on double eight for a 7-4 lead.

Chisnall responded by taking out a crowd-pleasing 132 finish with two bullseyes and double 16, only to miss darts at double 16 and eight in the next - after the pair traded 180s - as van Gerwen hit double ten to regain his lead.

Double 18 saw Chisnall punish four misses from van Gerwen in the next as he hit back on double 18, but a trio of misses from the Premier League semi-finalist cost him as the Dutchman hit the same bed to move 9-6 up.

Chisnall took out 81 to punish a missed match dart from van Gerwen in the next, but when he was unable to take out 110 in the 17th leg, the world number one hit double 18 to seal victory.

Daryl Gurney won through to his first major televised semi-final with a 10-5 defeat of Benito van de Pas, as he followed up Saturday's memorable defeat of reigning champion Gary Anderson with another fine display.

Van de Pas has also impressed in reaching his first quarter-final, but saw Gurney's mid-game surge of four successive legs prove crucial in turning the game around.

After van de Pas took the opening leg on double 18, Gurney capitalised on a missed double ten to level before moving 2-1 up, only for the Dutchman to hit 180s in the next two as he edged 3-2 ahead.

Gurney landed a 180 in a 14-darter to level, and bounced back from five misses in leg seven by hitting 180 and 140 to open the next as a 13-darter levelled at four-all.

Gurney then finished double four, a two-dart 96 finish and double six to extend his run to four straight legs as he moved 7-4 up, and after van de Pas hit back on tops he added another 13-darter to move 8-5 up.

Double eight extended the lead to four legs, and Gurney then sealed his semi-final spot against van Gerwen on double nine.

Mensur Suljovic won through to his second major semi-final - both within the space of two months - with a superb 10-6 defeat of Ian White to continue the Austrian's bid for a maiden major title.

Suljovic continued his fine finishing as he took an early 3-1 lead and moved 8-4 up before closing out the win to deny White a spot in the last four.

Tops in the opening leg saw White lead, but that would be the only time he would hold the advantage as Suljovic punished missed doubles in the next two to finish 72 and double 18 to break as he moved 2-1 up.

A brilliant 139 checkout, hitting treble 20, treble 19 and double 11 in a tricky combination, saw him move two legs clear, with White repying on double 12 before seeing his opponent finish 117 on double top to move 4-2 up.

White hit double 16 and tops to win two of the next three as he cut the gap to 5-4, but Suljovic landed a 180 as he took the tenth leg before finishing a key 116 to break before posting double 16 as he moved 8-4 up.

White again won two out of three legs as he stayed in the hunt at 9-6, but another clinical double 16 finish saw Suljovic seal the win and his semi-final place.

Adrian Lewis overcome some dodgy doubling to secure a semi-final tie with Suljovic with a 10-7 defeat of Simon Whitlock, whose best run in a ranking major for 18 months was ended at the hands of the Stoke ace.

Whitlock shared the game's first ten legs - and led 5-4 at one stage - but saw Lewis' more clinical finishing in the latter stages prove crucial.

Although Lewis took out early legs of 13, 14 and 13 darts he only led 3-2 after Whitlock capitalised on missed doubles, and the Australian followed a 180 with double ten in leg six before the pair traded checkouts of 70 to remain locked at four-all.

Whitlock added another 180 in the ninth leg, and capitalised on four further misses from Lewis to break throw on tops and move 5-4 up, leading for the second time in the game.

Lewis took out 100 with two double tops to hit back, landed double two to move back in front and 64 on double 16 for another break to open up a 7-5 lead,

Whitlock's 112 checkout saw him respond and the Australian then fired in another maximum as he looked for to level, but five misses allowed Lewis in for an 8-6 lead.

Lewis then hit a 180 and took out 64 on tops to move 9-6 up, and though Whitlock responded by finishing 82, double eight saw the Stoke ace seal victory and a last four place.

Van Gerwen is now the 4/11 favourite to lift the title with Titanbet.co.uk , the official betting partner of the tournament, while Lewis is 7/2 second favourite, Suljovic 9/1 and Gurney the 16/1 outsider.

Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Afternoon Session
Quarter-Finals
Mensur Suljovic 10-6 Ian White
Adrian Lewis 10-7 Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen 10-7 Dave Chisnall
Daryl Gurney 10-5 Benito van de Pas
Best of 19 legs

Evening Session
Semi-Finals
Mensur Suljovic 1-11 Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen 11-2 Daryl Gurney
Best of 21 legs

Final
Michael van Gerwen 11-6 Adrian Lewis
Best of 21 legs

PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship Final
Max Hopp 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Best of 11 legs