Michael van Gerwen claimed his biggest title in over three years after he won the World Matchplay after an epic battle with Gerwyn Price at the Winter Gardens.
The Dutchman, who has recently had arm surgery, has had a dip in form over recent years since winning a third World Championship crown in 2019, but looked back to his best after an 18-14 victory over Price in Blackpool.
He had to come from behind as, despite a three-dart average of 101, he struggled finishing legs off, which allowed world number one Price to lead for the majority of the final.
But, helped by 15 180s, Van Gerwen found his range and came back to win the last five legs and claim a third Matchplay title.
The tone for the match was set early on as Price enjoyed a dream start, racing into a 4-0 lead thanks to Van Gerwen’s poor finishing.
The Dutchman missed his first nine double attempts and Price took advantage by cleaning up.
Van Gerwen’s level remained and he had a chance for a stunning nine-dart finish only to miss the double 12, though he did convert the double six on his next visit to get the board.
A 160-checkout helped him break Price’s throw in the next leg and he soon had the chance to level at 4-4 but missed six more doubles as Price capitalised.
That continued to be the trend as more missed attempts at the outer ring saw Price take a four-leg lead at 9-5, only for a 140-checkout from Van Gerwen to again peg him back.
Van Gerwen forced Price to have some of his own medicine by pinching a break back with an 81 checkout and he soon levelled the match at 12-12.
It was not until the 29th leg that the three-time world champion finally went ahead for the first time in the match, breaking Price’s throw with a 130 finish.
There was no looking back from there as another 114 finish on Gerwen’s throw tightened his grip on the match, which was sealed in a fitting manner, with a 121 checkout.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.