Van Gerwen captures Auckland crown

Michael van Gerwensecured his first World Series title of the year as he beat Raymond van Barneveld 11-4 to win the 2018 Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB and Burger King. 

In a scintillating display of darts at the Trusts Arena, Van Gerwen was at his imperious best as he beat Peter Wright and then compatriot Van Barneveld on the way to the title. 

Dropping just seven legs across the two games, and 13 in the tournament as a whole – Van Gerwen was back to his brilliant best after four televised tournaments without a win.

In the final, the two-time World Champion began the game in style holding throw in ten-darts to set the tone for the remainder of the encounter.

The world number one quickly raced in to a 6-1 lead, barely breaking a sweat as he edged closer to the title.

Van Barneveld was then able to produce a comeback of sorts, breaking the throw to close the gap to two legs, giving the Dutch legend hope.

This seemed to inspire Van Gerwen though, who went on to win five consecutive legs, which included a 156 finish on his way to the crown.

“I’m delighted to win this title for the first time,” said Van Gerwen after his impressive victory.

“There have been a few tournaments since I have won and I know I don’t need to send any messages but sometimes it is nice to let everyone know who is boss.

“The standard of darts is getting better and better on this side of the world and it is important for the sport that it keeps growing,” added the 29-year-old.

“Now we head to Melbourne and it’s another chance for me to pick up a title, I feel good and ready to go.”

Raymond van Barneveld was appearing in his second Auckland Darts Masters Final after losing out in the decider to Adrian Lewis in 2015.

The five-time World Champion was aiming to win his first World Series of Darts event but ran in to an inspired MVG in the final.

“He’s ruining everything for us, he keeps winning everything,” joked Van Barneveld after the match.

“I felt better in the final than I did in the semi but when Michael gets on a roll you can’t stop him”

Earlier on in the evening Van Gerwen dispatched Peter Wright to book his place in the final, beating the Scot 10-3.

The Premier League Champion hit back-to-back 170 and 164 finishes in the middle of the match with the Dutchman ending the clash with an average of 102.76.

Van Barneveld secured his spot in the final with a convincing 10-5 win over Simon Whitlock.

The 51-year-old produced an average of 102.79 in an impressive performance.

The final was a step too far for Van Barneveld though as the world number one claimed the title and cemented his reputation as the world’s best player.

The World Series returns on August 10-12 in Melbourne at the Hisense Arena before the tour Down Under concludes in Brisbane on August 17-19. 

Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB & Burger King
Sunday August 5 (6pm)

Simon Whitlock 5-10 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 10-3 Peter Wright
Best of 19 legs

Raymond van Barneveld 4-11 Michael van Gerwen
Best of 21 legs

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