The final of the 2019/20 William Hill World Darts Championship sees world number one Michael Van Gerwen bidding to retain his crown against Scotsman Peter Wright at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Reigning champion Van Gerwen and former runner-up Wright both claimed 6-3 wins in their semi-finals, to set up a repeat of the 2013/14 showdown, which Van Gerwen won 7-4 to lift the first of his three World Championship titles.
Darts’ biggest event will reach its climax on New Year’s Day as Van Gerwen and fifth seed Wright go head-to-head for the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy and the £500,000 winner’s prize.
All the pre semi-final talk had been of the final everyone craved, dutchman Van Gerwen up against number three seed Gerwyn Price. But Snakebite showed his class by outplaying Price in every area – notably hitting seven more 180’s and missing fewer doubles than the man from the Valley’s.
Van Gerwen was far from his imperious best in his semi-final against Aspinall, even seeing himself lose the seventh set without registering a leg. Aspinall however, couldn’t match Van Gerwen’s scoring power on the trebles, enabling Van Gerwen to throw himself to victory despite, by his own admission, knowing that he can do better.
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
PDC World Championship Final
Alexandra Palace, London 1st January 2020
Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Darts from 7:15PM
So what to make of the final? Plenty will look at Van Gerwen’s final form of three wins and a defeat on the biggest stage of all and think he’s home and hosed. And they may well be correct. But Wright can do something that Aspinall couldn’t, and that’s match Van Gerwen’s power on the trebles. A look at the tournament averages of 98.30 for Snakebite versus MVG’s 99.16 confirms this.
For Van Gerwen to admit he knows he can play better, there’s enough doubt to suggest he won’t have everything his own way. These two have met each other eight times this year with Van Gerwen winning six of them. But three of those defeats for Wright were by the odd set, and two of the other three were in the shorter format of the Premier League, which MVG won comfortably.
This points to Wright being well positioned to give Van Gerwen something to think about, over the much longer format than the regular Thursday night crash-bang-wallop throw off. Whether the trophy will be heading to West Lothian on New Year’s Day, remains to be seen. But Wright can certainly go very close, so the 5/6 on the handicap with Snakebite getting 2.5 sets looks a bet that could get the new decade off to a winning start.
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