VAN GERWEN COMEBACK STUNS LEWIS
VAN GERWEN COMEBACK STUNS LEWIS AS TAYLOR POWERS PAST WRIGHT
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN produced a thrilling comeback to defeat Adrian Lewis 9-6 in the second round of Cash Converters Players Championship Finals on Saturday night, as Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld set up another Anglo-Dutch clash in the quarter-finals at the Butlins Minehead Resort.
Van Gerwen and Lewis produced yet another thrilling contest as the Dutch ace showed a return to his brilliant best by averaging 107 and winning the game's final six legs without reply.
Lewis, who hit seven 180s in the game and average led 2-0 and 6-3 as he put himself in pole position, only for a miss at double top in the tenth leg to prove crucial.
Van Gerwen stepped in to finish 77 on the same bed, hit double ten, levelled with an 11-darter and then moved ahead for the first time with double top, before taking out 124 and 112 in the next two legs to complete a superb fightback.
"It was a great game to play in and it was fantastic for the crowd, but it was also very important for me to win this match," admitted van Gerwen, who has not won a tournament since June despite being a regular in the latter stages of events.
"This performance showed that I'm back to my best and I needed this after the last couple of months, so it's good for my confidence.
"Adrian played really well but the tenth leg was massive because to be 7-3 or 6-4 behind is a big difference, and from there I played really well and hit some great finishes.
"I'm really looking forward to Sunday now and if I can keep playing like this then I could beat anyone."
Raymond van Barneveld will hope to replicate van Gerwen's success in a great Anglo-Dutch rivalry when he plays Phil Taylor in Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals, after they both progressed through the last 16 to thrill a capacity crowd in Minehead.
Van Barneveld was again taken all the way to a deciding leg before he prevailed against Robert Thornton - although the Scot almost produced a dramatic comeback of his own.
Van Barneveld led 6-4 and 8-6 only to miss three match darts in each of the next two legs as Thornton took the game all the way, but the Scot missed three match darts of his own in the decider as tops put the Dutchman through.
"It always seems to be exciting with me," admitted van Barneveld. "Last night it was 6-5 with Mervyn King and tonight was 9-8 with Robert - I'd love to have a comfortable win but I never make it easy for myself.
"I got the win and that's what you want, even though I wasn't at my best again tonight. I thought I'd lost my chance in the final leg but I was so determined to win and I'm glad I did."
Reigning champion Taylor, meanwhile, was back to his imperious best as he defeated number three seed Peter Wright 9-3, averaging 107.85 and dominating the game from the start.
He won the first three legs without reply, and thought Wright hit back to trail just 4-2 at one stage, Taylor pulled clear before sealing victory with a sensational 143 checkout.
"I'm really pleased with that and I'm happy with my average and my performance - but I had no choice but to do that because Peter's a tough cookie to beat and playing really well at the moment," said Taylor.
"He let me in early on and I took advantage, but it was a battle and that's set me up for the rest of the tournament now.
"I'm excited about tomorrow and I'd love to win the title again, but I'm not looking past the quarter-final with Raymond because it will be a good scrap.
"I love playing against him and it will be a tough game. He's not in the best place at the moment because he's struggling and experimenting with his darts, but he's got to go out there and do a job on me.
"I'm enjoying everything at the moment and not putting myself under pressure, and it's a great place to be."
Gary Anderson was the night's other winner as he defeated Jelle Klaasen 9-5 to win through to the quarter-finals in Minehead for a second successive year, where he will play Justin Pipe on Sunday afternoon.
The Scot opened up a 2-0 lead early on and never relinquished the advantage, with Klaasen cutting the gap to one leg with a 135 checkout in the seventh leg, but Somerset-based Anderson pulled away to progress to a clash with his Taunton rival.
"My darts weren't quite right tonight so I'm pleased to get through," said Anderson. "I'd rather play well and lose than play shabby darts and win, and it annoys me but I've got a chance to put it right on Sunday.
"It will be a good game against Justin and we'll have a laugh and make a good game of it. We know each other so well and have practiced together a lot, and he's come on leaps and bounds in the last two years."
Pipe, the world number 11, remains on course to at least match last year's run to the semi-finals in Minehead following his 9-4 win over Jamie Caven earlier on Saturday.
Newton took out 141 and hit five 180s in his 9-3 win over Steve Beaton, while Andy Hamilton and Ian White also won to set up an all-Stoke quarter-final.
Hamilton sealed a 9-3 victory over Brendan Dolan with a fine 160 checkout, while White dropped only two legs in a comprehensive victory against Terry Jenkins, winning the game's first seven legs without reply in his best televised display since joining the PDC circuit full-time.
Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals will be followed by the semi-finals and final at the Butlins Minehead Resort on Sunday evening, as the winner of the event's £60,000 first prize is found.
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Saturday November 30
Brendan Dolan 3-9 Andy Hamilton
Terry Jenkins 2-9 Ian White
Jamie Caven 4-9 Justin Pipe
Steve Beaton 3-9 Wes Newton
Jelle Klaasen 5-9 Gary Anderson
Robert Thornton 8-9 Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright 3-9 Phil Taylor
Michael van Gerwen 9-6 Adrian Lewis
Sunday December 1
Afternoon Session (12.45pm)
Michael van Gerwen v Wes Newton
Ian White v Andy Hamilton
Gary Anderson v Justin Pipe
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor
Played in draw bracket order
Best of 17 legs
Evening Session (7pm)
Best of 19 legs
Best of 21 legs
Jelle Klaasen v Gary Anderson
0-1 - Anderson hits a 162 score to leave 32, and hits a nerve-settling double 16 at the first time of asking.
0-2 - The Scot takes out 60 on tops to double his advantage.
1-2 - Klaasen hits tops with his third dart to get off the mark.
1-3 - Anderson wins a key leg as Klaasen makes a meal of finishing 74, missing six darts at doubles to allow the Scot back on double eight.
2-3 - Klaasen takes out 71 on tops to hit back.
2-4 - Anderson regains his cushion by hitting tops.
3-4 - Klaasen hits a 180 and finishes 135 on the bullseye to win a sparkling leg.
3-5 - Anderson lands his first maximum of the game to leave 58, and hits tops at the first time of asking to win the eighth leg.
3-6 - The Scot breaks throw on double top.
4-6 - Klaasen breaks back immediately, capitalising on misses at double eight and four from Anderson by finishing 86 with a bullseye, double 18 combination.
4-7 - A third successive leg goes against the darts as Anderson hits another 180 and takes out 61 on double 18.
5-7 - Anderson opens with a 180 but pays the price for missing five darts at doubles as Klaasen steps in to post double 18 to break back again.
5-8 - Anderson initially misses tops for a 114 finish, before punishing
5-9 - Double 16 sees Anderson win through to the quarter-finals for a second successive year in Minehead.
Robert Thornton v Raymond van Barneveld
1-0 - Thornton hits tops to win the game's opening leg.
1-1 - van Barneveld wins the second to level.
1-2 - The Dutch ace breaks throw on double eight to move ahead.
1-3 - van Barneveld lands his first 180 and takes out 28 to win a third straight leg.
2-3 - Thornton wins his first leg in four by pinning double 16.
2-4 - van Barneveld finishes double 16 to regain his two-leg advantage.
3-4 - van Barneveld is off-target on double 12 and Thornton reduces the gap to one leg once again on tops.
4-4 - Thornton breaks by taking out 80 on tops to level.
4-5 - The pair trade 180s, but Thornton misses two darts at double 13 and van Barneveld finishes 74 on double 16 to break back to regain the lead.
4-6 - van Barneveld takes out 86 with a single four, bullseye, double 16 combination.
5-6 - Thornton hits double ten to reply once more.
6-6 - Thornton breaks by hitting double ten to level the game.
6-7 - van Barneveld edges a dramatic leg on double four, with both players missing doubles before the Dutchman breaks to move back in front.
6-8 - Both players are initially unable to finish 76, with van Barneveld returning to land double 18 to move to the brink of victory.
7-8 - van Barneveld misses three match darts at double 19, and tops keeps Thornton in the contest.
8-8 - Thornton hits a 180 to leave 86, but misses the bullseye to allow van Barneveld back in - only for the Dutchman to miss three darts at tops as double four sends the game into a decider.
8-9 - van Barneveld snatches victory from the jaws of defeat in a dramatic decider, hitting a 180 to leave 97 only to see Thornton miss the bull for a 126 finish, and the Scot returns to miss further darts at double 16 and eight to complete his comeback before van Barneveld hits tops to move into the quarter-finals.
Peter Wright v Phil Taylor
0-1 - Taylor opens the game with two 140s and a 180 before landing double 16 for an 11-darter to take the first leg.
0-2 - Wright misses two darts at double eight to hold throw as Taylor initially misses his chance to break, before landing double four for a two-leg lead.
0-3 - Tops sees Taylor win a third successive leg.
1-3 - Taylor opens with a 180, but misses the bull for a 167 finish and two further darts at double eight as Wright lands double four with his third dart as he gets off the mark.
1-4 - Taylor takes out 41 to regain his three-leg cushion.
2-4 - Taylor misses the bull for a 161 finish, and Wright hits tops to respond.
2-5 - The reigning champion pins double 16 to move three legs clear again.
3-5 - Wright is first to a finish, hitting a 180, and a 177 from Taylor comes in vain as he watches the Scot hit double eight.
3-6 - Taylor scores 180 and 171 in successive throws before landing double two for a 14-darter.
3-7 - Taylor pins double 19 to move two legs away from the quarter-finals.
3-8 - Double ten moves Taylor to the brink of victory.
3-9 - Taylor seals victory in brilliant style with a 143 checkout, ending the game with a 107.85 average.
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
0-1 - Lewis hits tops to secure an immediate break of throw.
0-2 - Lewis finishes 88 on double seven to double his lead.
1-2 - van Gerwen holds throw to win his first leg.
1-3 - Lewis opens with a 180 and finishes 84 on double 12.
2-3 - Tops sees van Gerwen pull back to within a leg of his rival.
2-4 - van Gerwen misses the bull for a 121 finish to break as Lewis moevs two legs clear again.
3-4 - van Gerwen lands a 180 and takes out 130 to hit back.
3-5 - Lewis edges away, hitting two 180s in the leg and being given a reprieve when van Gerwen fails to punish his three misses at tops.
3-6 - Lewis hits a 180 and finishes 53 for a three-leg lead.
4-6 - Lewis misses tops, and van Gerwen hits the same bed to complete a 77 combination.
5-6 - van Gerwen hits double ten to reduce the gap to one leg.
6-6 - The pair trade 180s as van Gerwen breaks on tops to level.
7-6 - Double top sees the Dutchman win a fourth successive leg as he moves ahead for the first time.
8-6 - The pair again land a maximum apiece, with Lewis missing double 16 to take out 121 only to see van Gerwen take out 124 on the bull to move to the edge of victory.
9-6 - Both players hit 180s, and Lewis sets up tops only for van Gerwen to take out 112 on double 16 to seal a superb comeback.