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Mighty Mike Produces Masterclass To Claim Glory In Birmingham

Michael van Gerwen continues his rampant form so far this year (credit: Lawrence Lustig/ PDC)
Michael van Gerwen produced a series of stunning displays culminating in a 6-1 defeat of Simon Whitlock in the final to win Sunday's Players Championship event in Birmingham.

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The young Dutchman followed up February's triumph in a UK Open qualifier in Crawley by taking the £6,000 first prize at the NIA Community Hall, cruising past a host of big names en route to taking the title.

Having been pushed all the way to an 11th leg in his first round game with John Bowles, van Gerwen then saw off Welsh youngster Jamie Lewis and Mark Walsh before enjoying a 6-3 win over double World Champion Dennis Priestley to reach the quarter-finals.

Van Gerwen then powered past in-form Justin Pipe 6-1 with a near-109 average and defeated last weekend's UK Open champion Robert Thornton 6-2 with another fine display in the semis.

He continued the form in the final against Whitlock, winning the first five legs without reply to leave the Australian reeling, including a 78 finish and an 11-darter to break throw twice, along with a 96 finish for a 14-darter which featured his second 180 of the game.

Whitlock landed his second maximum in leg six before taking out 73 to keep the game alive, but a missed bullseye in the next leg allowed van Gerwen to step in and seal the triumph on double 16.

"It feels great," said van Gerwen, the world number 35. "It's the third ProTour event I've won since I joined the PDC and I played some good darts today.

"I'm very happy to have won and it should help me qualify for the World Grand Prix as well as the World Matchplay, which is great," added the 23-year-old. 

Whitlock enjoyed his first run to a ranking final since October 2010 with his display in Birmingham, as he maintained the form which saw him reach the Premier League final last month.

He dropped only three legs in wins over Roland Scholten and Mark Dudbridge before seeing off Premier League rival Andy Hamilton 6-3 to reach the last 16.

After surviving an 11-leg battle with Andy Smith, Whitlock then defeated Mervyn King 6-1 in the quarter-finals and Wes Newton 6-3 in the semis as he earned £3,000 prize money on the day.

Robert Thornton followed on from his historic UK Open win with a run to the semis, earning him £2,000, prize money that could prove crucial in earning him a World Matchplay place through the ProTour Order of Merit.

Newton was a semi-finalist for the second successive day as he completed a strong weekend's form in Birmingham, which included a narrow quarter-final win over Darren Webster, sealed by a 95 finish on the bullseye in the deciding leg.

Steve Beaton's run to the last eight also helped his chances of earning a World Matchplay qualifying spot, and he was joined in the quarter-finals by Pipe, King and Webster.

Webster, who is competing on the circuit this year as an Associate Member after missing out on a Tour Card in January, continued his impressive return to the professional ranks by reaching his second quarter-final of the year.

Priestley was joined by two other former World Champions, Raymond van Barneveld and Richie Burnett, in losing out at the Last 16 stage, alongside Dave Chisnall, Premier League star Kevin Painter, Andy Smith, Richie Howson and John Henderson.

World Champion Adrian Lewis was defeated by Pipe in the third round, while world number four Gary Anderson lost out at the same stage to Thornton, who repeated his victory from last week's UK Open against his Scottish rival.

Just two more Players Championship events remain before the cut off for the 2012 World Matchplay is made.

Players Championship 8 Results
Sunday June 17, NIA Community Hall, Birmingham

First Round
Justin Pipe (1) Bye
Kevin McDine 6-3 Ted Hankey
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Mark Hylton (32) 
Joe Cullen 6-5 Andrew Gilding 
Vincent van der Voort (16) 6-2 John Scott
Matt Clark 6-4 Ian Jopling
Kevin Painter (17) 6-5 Johnny Haines
Ian Moss 6-4 Andy Relf 
Mark Webster (8) 6-1 Paul Barham
Dennis Priestley 6-3 Barrie Bates
Ian White (25) 6-0 Michael Mansell
Alex Roy 6-4 Stuart Kellett 
Michael van Gerwen (9) 6-5 John Bowles
Jamie Lewis 6-3 Jeff Smith
Mark Walsh (24) 6-5 Les Wallace
James Hubbard 6-4 Dave Ladley
Gary Anderson (5) Bye
Adrian Gray 6-5 Paul Rowley 
Ross Smith 6-5 Co Stompe (28)
Robert Thornton 6-3 Mick Todd
Colin Lloyd (12) 6-2 Arron Monk
Steve Brown 6-4 Joe Murnan 
Richie Burnett (21) 6-5 Nigel Heydon
Mark Frost 6-2 Matt Padgett
Raymond van Barneveld (4) Bye
Matthew Edgar 6-2 Mareno Michels
Denis Ovens (29) 6-1 Mark Jones
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Daniel Starkey
Steve Beaton (13) 6-2 Antonio Alcinas
Devon Petersen 6-5 Keith Stephen
Terry Temple 6-1 Peter Wright (20) 
Scott Coleman 6-2 Ryan Harrington
Dave Chisnall (2) Bye 
Alan Tabern 6-1 Gareth Cousins
Dennis Smith 6-5 James Richardson (31) 
Steve Grubb 6-3 Liam Kelly 
Mervyn King (15) 6-0 Paddy Meaney
Darren Whittingham 6-3 Tony Littleton
Michael Smith (18) 6-4 William O'Connor
Kevin Dowling 6-2 Darren Johnson 
Simon Whitlock (7) 6-1 Roland Scholten
Mark Dudbridge 6-4 Gino Vos
Andy Hamilton (26) 6-4 Tony West
Shaun Griffiths 6-4 Steve Maish
John Part (10) 6-3 Wayne Jones
Kurt Van De Rijck 6-4 Magnus Caris 
Andy Smith (23) 6-5 Gareth Pass
Sam Hill 6-3 Mike Veitch 
Ronnie Baxter (6) 6-4 Prakash Jiwa
Gary Butcher 6-5 Peter Hudson
Richie Howson 6-2 Brendan Dolan (27) 
Nick Fullwell 6-3 Chris Thompson
Colin Osborne (11) 6-4 Steve Evans
Dean Winstanley 6-5 Steve Farmer 
Andy Jenkins 6-5 Kim Huybrechts (22)
Darren Webster 6-0 Chris Aubrey 
Wes Newton (3) Bye 
Stephen Hardy 6-2 Adam Smith-Neale 
Scott Rand (30) 6-4 Keegan Brown
Michael Barnard 6-5 Jim Walker
Terry Jenkins (14) 6-3 Steve Hine 
John Henderson 6-2 Reece Robinson
Brian Woods 6-4 Jamie Caven (19) 
Jerry Hendriks 6-5 Damien Sherwood

Second Round
Justin Pipe 6-2 Kevin McDine
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Joe Cullen
Matt Clark 6-1 Vincent van der Voort 
Kevin Painter 6-4 Ian Moss
Dennis Priestley 6-5 Mark Webster
Ian White 6-2 Alex Roy
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Jamie Lewis
Mark Walsh 6-4 James Hubbard
Gary Anderson 6-2 Adrian Gray
Robert Thornton 6-3 Ross Smith
Steve Brown 6-2 Colin Lloyd 
Richie Burnett 6-1 Mark Frost
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Denis Ovens 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
Steve Beaton 6-4 Devon Petersen
Terry Temple 6-0 Scott Coleman
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Alan Tabern
Dennis Smith 6-3 Steve Grubb 
Mervyn King 6-2 Darren Whittingham
Michael Smith 6-3 Kevin Dowling
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Mark Dudbridge
Andy Hamilton 6-1 Shaun Griffiths
John Part 6-2 Kurt Van De Rijck
Andy Smith 6-3 Sam Hill
Ronnie Baxter 6-1 Gary Butcher
Richie Howson 6-2 Nick Fullwell
Dean Winstanley 6-3 Colin Osborne 
Darren Webster 6-2 Andy Jenkins
Wes Newton 6-3 Stephen Hardy
Michael Barnard 6-5 Scott Rand 
John Henderson 6-3 Terry Jenkins
Brian Woods 6-2 Jerry Hendriks
Losers £200

Third Round
Justin Pipe 6-2 Adrian Lewis 
Kevin Painter 6-5 Matt Clark 
Dennis Priestley 6-5 Ian White
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Mark Walsh
Robert Thornton 6-4 Gary Anderson 
Richie Burnett 6-1 Steve Brown 
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Denis Ovens
Steve Beaton 6-5 Terry Temple
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Dennis Smith
Mervyn King 6-2 Michael Smith
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Andy Hamilton
John Part v Andy Smith
Richie Howson 6-3 Ronnie Baxter 
Darren Webster 6-2 Dean Winstanley 
Wes Newton 6-1 Michael Barnard
John Henderson 6-2 Brian Woods
Losers £400

Fourth Round
Justin Pipe 6-3 Kevin Painter
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Dennis Priestley
Robert Thornton 6-0 Richie Burnett
Steve Beaton 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Mervyn King 6-4 Dave Chisnall 
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Andy Smith
Darren Webster 6-2 Richie Howson 
Wes Newton 6-1 John Henderson
Losers £600

Quarter-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Justin Pipe
Robert Thornton 6-2 Steve Beaton
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Mervyn King 
Wes Newton 6-5 Darren Webster 
Losers £1,000

Semi-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Robert Thornton
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Wes Newton
Losers £2,000

Final
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Simon Whitlock
Winner £6,000
Runner-Up £3,000

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Mighty Mike Produces Masterclass To Claim Glory In Birmingham

Michael van Gerwen produced a series of stunning displays culminating in a 6-1 defeat of Simon Whitlock in the final to win Sunday's Players Championship event in Birmingham.

Read more »