Michael van Gerwen claimed a record-equalling sixth Premier League Darts title courtesy of a thrilling 11-10 victory over Joe Cullen…
Michael van Gerwen claimed a record-equalling sixth Premier League Darts title courtesy of a thrilling 11-10 victory over Joe Cullen in the final in Berlin on Monday.
Van Gerwen denied a heartbroken Cullen in one of the greatest finals in Premier League history, surviving one missed match dart at double 16 from the debutant before sealing victory.
The Dutch superstar ended a three-year wait for Premier League glory, equalling Phil Taylor’s record tally of six titles in the process.
The 33-year-old scoops a Premier League record £275,000 top prize to add to his £30,000 in weekly bonuses during the league phase.
“I’ve been going through a really tough time, so to win this title means a lot to me,” reflected an emotional Van Gerwen.
“I’m a happy man. Joe Cullen was phenomenal in that final. What a day. I’m over the moon.
“Of course I am going for more titles now. To have won this trophy here in Berlin is amazing.
“This last 18 months has hurt me. I know what I’m capable of, but this crowd in Germany today, they were absolutely sensational. I think they were a credit to the sport.”
Cullen drew first blood in the final with an 11-darter, but after spurning three darts to break throw in leg two, he saw Van Gerwen seize the early initiative with a run of three straight legs.
The Masters champion responded with back-to-back legs to restore parity, only for Van Gerwen to restore a two-leg cushion at 5-3 courtesy of a 12-dart break.
Cullen reduced the arrears with a spectacular 141 checkout in leg nine, and a clinical 114 finish in leg 11 sparked a run of three straight legs for the Yorkshireman – who edged 7-6 in front.
The next five legs all went with throw, before Van Gerwen appeared to strike the decisive blow in leg 19, converting a sensational 92 kill to break throw in 12 darts and move one leg away from glory.
The drama continued as Cullen comfortably broke back in 13 darts to force a decider, but it was the Dutchman who claimed the spoils via double 14, having survived a match dart on the wire of double 16 in the previous visit.
“Michael is a fantastic player and a fantastic champion, but I am absolutely gutted,” admitted Cullen, who was bidding to become the third debutant in as many years to be crowned Premier League champion.
“I can’t believe I’ve lost, but credit to Michael, he is a great guy and a wonderful champion.
“I think the second leg cost me, missing three at 32 for a break of throw. I’m absolutely devastated.”
Earlier in the evening, Cullen produced an astonishing display of power scoring to thwart Jonny Clayton’s bid for back-to-back Premier League titles.
Cullen stormed into a remarkable 6-0 lead against the reigning champion before closing out a resounding 10-4 victory, averaging almost 101 and crashing in 11 maximums – equalling the record for 180s in a Premier League match.
In the second Semi-Final, Van Gerwen defeated 2009 champion Wade by the same scoreline to book his place in a record-equalling eighth Premier League decider.
The opening six legs of the last four contest were shared, but a blistering burst from Van Gerwen saw him win seven of the last eight to pull away from Wade and triumph with a 99 average and six 180s.
Van Gerwen will now return to the Netherlands for surgery on an arm injury which will rule him out of next week’s World Cup of Darts.
Premier League Darts Play-Off Results
Monday June 13
Joe Cullen 10-4 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Joe Cullen
— Live Darts (@livedarts) June 13, 2022