It was a pleasure and a privilege to part of the Sky Sports TV team that covered this superb event and to witness the supreme skill, tenacity and ability of this current crop of high quality darts players.
There was a growing chorus of support for Michael van Gerwen as the week progressed and his dart throwing to knock out Phil Taylor was simply sensational. His odds dropped further as he produced a master class against Dean Winstanley. It would have been difficult for any experienced darts player to cope with the barrage but, to his great credit, Dean, who was playing darts that would have beaten most opponents, did not buckle and, even in defeat, won over a host of new followers.
There were those who thought that the final would see the crowning of a new standard bearer for Dutch darts as Raymond van Barneveld’s recent record in the big tournaments was far from impressive and he looked drained after his semi-final win in the afternoon.
However Barney, displaying a resilience not seen of late and playing at a pace that suited him, kept finding the big trebles and those all-important doubles to finish. For all his power-throwing the young pretender was unable to wrest the initiative from his more experienced compatriot and Barney deservedly took the match to thunderous applause.
It was great to see Barney back to winning ways in a big tournament and to see just how high the standard has become of late. The 23-year-old Michael van Gerwen defeated Phil Taylor in style in the final of The Player’s Championship in Barnsley last weekend and also accounted for reigning World Champion Adrian Lewis. Dave Chisnall, another winner last weekend, has also been a regular winner on the circuit and no-one will want to be drawn against him.
It looks all set for a cracking World Championship!