Michael van Gerwen produces masterclass to win Cazoo Players Championship finals

Michael van Gerwen landed a nine-dart finish on his way to a stunning seventh Cazoo Players Championship Finals title on Sunday night as he defeated Rob Cross 11-6 in an incredible final.

The Dutchman claimed a fifth televised title of 2022, and a third ranking triumph on the big stage, with another extraordinary success at Butlin's Minehead Resort.

Van Gerwen followed up his early-round wins over Ryan Meikle, Cameron Menzies and Dimitri Van den Bergh earlier in the weekend with three stellar displays on Sunday to scoop the £100,000 top prize.

He averaged over 100 in both his 10-7 quarter-final defeat of fellow countryman Danny Noppert and a dominant 11-5 success against Luke Humphries to book his spot in the final.

There, he delighted a packed Butlin's crowd with a sensational nine-darter, a 170 checkout and a 142 finish on his way to claiming the title for a seventh time in ten years.

Van Gerwen broke down in tears as he dedicated the win to his daughter Zoe, and said: "My daughter was watching every game and said 'Daddy, are you coming home with a big trophy again?'.

"I said if I win the trophy again it's going to be yours, so that's why I wanted to win it.

"I'm here to win tournaments - I love winning, I love performing on the stage and to produce something extra, something special in a final like this, gives me a lot of energy.

"It was a special game of darts - I think we both played well and we had to dig really deep, both of us.

"I managed to hit a nine-darter and 170 finish when it mattered but overall I think Rob Cross played a phenomenal game and the game had everything.

"I know I'm capable of a lot more but you also have to be realistic and to win this trophy again, for the seventh time, means a lot to me."

Van Gerwen's nine-darter came in the third leg of the final, opening with a 177 and then landing a 180 before finishing 144 on double 12 to achieve the feat for the second time in the event.

He also produced legs of 12 and 11 darts to move 6-2 up, with both players having six perfect darts in other legs during a heavy-scoring opening to the decider.

Cross had opened the final with a 13-dart leg and also posted two 14-darters, but found himself 7-3 down as Van Gerwen fired in a 12-darter - which featured another two 180s - to move four legs from the title.

Cross returned from the break with three successive legs to cut the gap to one leg - but crucially the Hastings ace missed two darts at double 16 to level in leg 14.

Van Gerwen ruthlessly stepped in to pounce with a 170 checkout, and took out 70 to restore breathing space at 9-6 before powering in a 142 checkout and double 16 to seal the title in style.

Cross followed up an excellent 10-3 quarter-final defeat of Dirk van Duijvenbode, where he averaged over 104 and missed just six darts at a double, with an 11-7 semi-final win over Jonny Clayton.

The 2018 World Champion was appearing in his first televised final for over a year, but had to settle for the £50,000 runner-up cheque.

"It's been an amazing weekend but it was Michael's night," said Cross. "Mike was phenomenal.

"Once I started to find my feet and find a few 180s, it could have been a little bit different but I missed chances and missed doubles.

"I really enjoyed this weekend and there are positives to take - I'll move on to the World Championship."

Humphries reached a second successive televised semi-final with a clinical 10-3 quarter-final win over Joe Cullen, while Clayton matched that scoreline in the last eight against Callan Rydz to continue his best run since September.

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