Champions League Thriller – MVG Has Antidote to Snakebite Surge.

Michael van Gerwen claimed the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts title for the first time with an incredible 11-10 comeback win over Peter Wright in Sunday’s final in Leicester.

PADDY POWER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OF DARTS 2019
PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG: FINAL MICHAEL VAN GERWEN WINS

Dutchman Van Gerwen followed up last week’s World Grand Prix triumph in Dublin by taking the £100,000 Champions League title, lifting a specially-commissioned belt after winning five matches across the weekend.

The success sees Van Gerwen complete a “Green Sweep” of PDC Premier televised events, with the Champions League having been the only gap in his amazing roll of honour.

Van Gerwen topped Group A at the Morningside Arena with wins over James Wade, Michael Smith and Gary Anderson, before edging past Gerwyn Price 11-10 in an outstanding semi-final.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
SEMI-FINAL GERWYN PRICE V MICHAEL VAN GERWEN

A dramatic final also went all the way, with Wright missing three match darts when leading 10-7 before the Dutchman reeled off four straight legs to claim glory.

“It’s incredible for me,” said Van Gerwen. “This tournament was on my bucket list and it’s a really important one for me to win.

“This was a phenomenal weekend for me with a high standard of darts. Peter put me under pressure and I made it difficult for myself in the final.

“I missed a few darts on doubles here and there and I shouldn’t have put myself in that position, but Peter missed a couple of clear darts to win the game and I took great advantage of that.

“I played well all the way through the weekend and did everything I had to do. I averaged over 100 in every match but I know I can improve and there’s more in the tank.

“It gives me a lot of confidence because we have lots of big events coming up. It’s nice to have so many tournaments on the calendar and I love to perform on stage, especially when I’m playing well and winning.”

Van Gerwen’s success maintained his record of never having lost a televised final to Wright, bringing back memories of the 2017 Premier League final where the Scot also missed match darts.

“When Peter had those three darts clear at double 12 I thought it was over, but then with the last dart he turned around and was looking really nervous and I stepped in,” said Van Gerwen.

“In the Premier League final he missed darts to beat me and it happened again tonight. You can see with how he threw his [match] darts that he’s worried about beating me and he’s nervous, and that’s a compliment to me.

PIC: LAWRENCE LUSTIG
RUNNER UP PETER WRIGHT

“Peter’s a phenomenal player and everyone knows that. We’re going to have a lot more finals.”

“Michael won this one but I’ll get him back next time,” said Wright. “This is done and dusted now and I’ll move on to next week and the European Championship.”

Wright pushed Van Gerwen all the way in a final of the highest quality, with the Scot taking out a 156 finish in leg two only to see his rival respond with a 154 checkout to lead 2-1.

Van Gerwen also held a 3-2 cushion before four straight legs moved Wright into a 6-3 advantage before the Dutchman hit back to trail 6-5 and 8-6 as the tension increased.

A 136 finish from Van Gerwen cut the gap to one leg again at 8-7, but Wright held his nerve on tops in the next two legs to move to the brink of glory at 10-7.

Three misses at double 12 allowed Van Gerwen to save the game before a 92 checkout reduced the arrears to 10-9 before double 16 took the game to a deciding leg.

Van Gerwen was first to a finish and landed double 16 once again to complete a 14-darter as he wrapped up an amazing victory.

Price had won his Group B decider against Gurney 10-6 to win through to the last four on his Champions League debut but was unable to claim his first career win over Van Gerwen with his agonising last four reverses.

“I’m gutted that I lost but I pushed Michael all the way,” said Price, the reigning Grand Slam of Darts champion. “I thought I played pretty well but he showed why he’s World Champion because he never gave up.

“I was confident coming into it and I just need the rub of the green now.”

Smith had landed a 170 checkout as he defeated James Wade 10-8 to move into the last four from Group A on Sunday afternoon, but the World Championship runner-up was unable to recover from seeing Wright move 7-0 up in their semi-final.

Reigning champion Anderson saw his title defence end with three Group A defeats after he went down 10-4 to Van Gerwen in their tie, with the Dutchman coming from 2-0 down with finishes of 140 and 146.

Sunday, October 20

Afternoon Session

Peter Wright 10-8 Rob Cross (Group B)

Gerwyn Price 10-6 Daryl Gurney (Group B)

Michael van Gerwen 10-4 Gary Anderson (Group A)

Michael Smith 10-8 James Wade (Group A)

Evening Session

Semi-Finals

Peter Wright 11-5 Michael Smith

Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Gerwyn Price

Final

Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Peter Wright

League Tables

Group A

NamePlayedWonLostLeg DiffPoints
Michael van Gerwen330+126
Michael Smith321+14
James Wade312-32
Gary Anderson303-100

Group B

NamePlayedWonLostLeg DiffPoints
Peter Wright330+76
Gerwyn Price321+74
Daryl Gurney312-32
Rob Cross303-110

ENDS

Champions League of Darts – Paddy Power Event Preview

The 2019 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts takes place at the Morningside Arena in Leicester this weekend, as Gary Anderson looks to defend his title.

PADDY POWER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OF DARTS
PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG PETER WRIGHT V ROB CROSS PETER WRIGHT IN ACTION

Two action-packed days of darts will be broadcast live on BBC Sport in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

The fourth edition of the Champions League will see the event staged in Leicester for the first time, with the top eight players in the world doing battle for £250,000 in prize money. 

The eight stars are split into two groups of four for the round-robin phase over the opening three sessions, before the top two from each group progress to compete in the semi-finals and final.

Saturday October 19 will see the opening eight group stage matches played across two sessions, before Sunday October 20 sees the final group stage games played in the afternoon, followed by the semi-finals and final in the evening.

The biggest crowd prize in world sport will also be on offer at the event, with a £100,000 reward from sponsors Paddy Power to shared evenly amongst the Leicester crowd if a player hits a nine-dart finish.

Just over 12 months ago, Anderson joined Phil Taylor and Mensur Suljovic on the Champions League roll of honour, and the Scot will open his defence against Michael Smith in his first Group A game.

“After being off the tour for six months because of my back this year I find that I’m a bit nervous again now when I’m on stage,” Anderson told Paddy Power.

PADDY POWER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OF DARTS
PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG Gary ANDERSON

“I used to be terrible for nerves on stage at the start of my career. You just get used to being on there after a while.

“Things like the Premier League help, because you’re constantly on the stage, week-in and week-out with big crowds, so you just don’t think about it as much. It becomes part and parcel of being a pro.

“But after having that break I feel a bit twitchy about it. It’s like learning again.”

Anderson defeated his World Cup-winning partner Peter Wright in last year’s final, and the colourful Scot is determined to go one better this time out.

“It was disappointing to get so close and not win, but my match in the semi-final against Michael van Gerwen totally drained me,” Wright admitted.

“I was well behind him and fought back to get through to the final and then only had a short break before I was back on again.

“I’m fed up of having all these runner-up prizes, I want that winner’s trophy in 2019.”

World Champion Van Gerwen will be out to win the tournament for the first time and complete his collection of titles in PDC Premier televised tournaments.

Since being runner-up to Taylor in the inaugural Champions League in 2016, the world number one has not reached the final since, something he is eager to put right in Leicester after winning last week’s World Grand Prix.

“I’ve never won this tournament before so it’s an important tournament. It’s one on my bucket list so I need to make sure I keep my focus,” said Van Gerwen, who will get his campaign underway against James Wade.

“I’m very happy with how I played in the World Grand Prix and I was delighted to win that, and I want to keep that form going. 

PADDY POWER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OF DARTS
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG MICHAEL VAN GERWENN

“I’m professional and I don’t want to let myself down or my fans. I feel good, I’m a winner and I want to win every tournament that I play in.”

After Saturday’s evening session, Daryl Gurney will have his head shaved in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Care charity, with over £10,000 in donations already received.

Gurney will be joined in Group B by World Matchplay champion Rob Cross, Wright and Welshman Gerwyn Price, who will be making his debut in the event.

A limited number of tickets for the 2019 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts are available from SeeTickets and the Morningside Arena.

2019 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts

Schedule of PlaySaturday October 19Afternoon Session (1315 BST start)
4x Group Matches
Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright (Group B)
Rob Cross v Gerwyn Price (Group B)
Michael Smith v Gary Anderson (Group A)
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade (Group A)

Evening Session (1830 BST start)
4x Group Matches
Afternoon session’s winning players face each other, and losing players face each other

Sunday October 20Afternoon Session (1315 BST start)
4x Group Matches
Remaining group matches

Evening Session (1830 BST start)
Semi-Finals
Final

Format
Group stage matches – Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals and Final – Best of 21 legs

Prize fund
Winner – £100,000
Runner-up – £50,000
Semi-finalists – £25,000
Third in group – £15,000
Fourth in group – £10,000
Total – £250,000

Paddy Power Champions League of Darts OddsOutright Winner
Michael van Gerwen – Evens
Gary Anderson – 7/1
Rob Cross – 7/1
Peter Wright – 10/1
Gerwyn Price – 10/1
Daryl Gurney – 12/1
James Wade – 14/1
Michael Smith – 14/1

Anderson To Kick Off Champions League Vs Smith.

Gary Anderson will open his defence of the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts against Michael Smith when the BBC-televised tournament begins on Saturday October 19.

PADDY POWER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OF DARTS 2018
PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG / PDC

The £250,000 Champions League of Darts, to be held at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on October 19-20, sees the world’s top eight players competing across two days.

The eight stars are split into two groups of four for the round-robin phase over the opening three sessions, before the top two from each group progress to compete in the semi-finals and final.

A tasty Group A sees reigning champion Anderson joined by World Champion Michael van Gerwen, World Championship finalist Michael Smith and reigning European Champion James Wade.

The opening ties, in the afternoon session on Saturday October 19, include Anderson’s clash with Smith as the reigning champion comes up against his former protege.

Van Gerwen will meet Wade in another high-profile clash, in a repeat of the 2019 Masters final earlier this year which the Dutchman won in Milton Keynes.

Group B also features a mouth-watering line-up, with the tournament’s opening fixture seeing former World Grand Prix winner Daryl Gurney take on 2018 Champions League finalist Peter Wright.

World Matchplay champion Rob Cross then plays 2018 Grand Slam of Darts winner Gerwyn Price in the second Group B tie, with that pair having also met in last weekend’s International Darts Open final in Germany as the Welshman took European Tour glory.

Saturday night’s second group games see the afternoon session’s winning players face each other and the losing players battle to stay in the event, before the group stage concludes with the remaining fixtures on Sunday afternoon.

The BBC-televised Champions League has proven hugely popular since being introduced in 2016, with Phil Taylor and Mensur Suljovic winning the title in the opening two years before Anderson’s success 12 months ago.

Tickets for the 2019 Champions League of Darts are available from SeeTickets and the Morningside Arena.

2019 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts

Schedule of Play

Saturday October 19

Afternoon Session (1230 BST Start)

4x Group Matches

Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright (Group B)

Rob Cross v Gerwyn Price (Group B)

Michael Smith v Gary Anderson (Group A)

Michael van Gerwen v James Wade (Group A)

Table Seat Tickets £26

Tiered Seat Tickets £21

Evening Session (1830 BST Start)

4x Group Matches

Afternoon session’s winning players face each other, and losing players face each other.

Table Seat Tickets £31

Tiered Seat Tickets £26

Sunday October 20

Afternoon Session (1230 BST Start)

4x Group Matches

Remaining group matches.

Table Seat Tickets £26

Tiered Seat Tickets £21

Evening Session (1830 BST Start)

Semi-Finals

Final

Table Seat Tickets £31

Tiered Seat Tickets £26

Tickets are sold subject to standard PDC Terms & Conditions as displayed at www.pdc.tv/tickets.

ENDS