'Mighty Mike', aka Michael van Gerwen won his second World Grand Prix darts' title in Dublin on Sunday, defeating another previous winner James ("The Machine") Wade in the final. The alternative format of a double to start and a double to finish had seemed to suit Wade throughout the tournament, as he had recorded a nine dart finish earlier in the week and also surprised many by knocking out defending champion Phil Taylor in the quarter final. However, van Gerwen was in determined mood and the PDC World Champion and current World number one came out on top 5-3 to regain the crown he had won in 2012 and pocket a "mighty" cheque for £100,000 in the process.
Wade was the quicker starter, taking the first set 3-1 as the Dutchman paid for missing doubles in the decisive fourth leg, despite having checked out a 13-darter earlier. Van Gerwen hit back in the second set, the highlight being a 12-dart finish as his form returned to its usual level, as he took the set on the deciding leg. "The Machine" went ahead in the match again in the third set, including a 117 finish in one leg, but was pegged back to 2 sets all when van Gerwen took the fourth set.
From 2-2 it became 3-3 as the next two sets were shared and included some tense moments for both players. The fifth set in particular could have gone either way , as van Gerwen led 2 legs to 1 before Wade forced the decisive fifth leg. The Englishman then recorded scores of 180 and 177 to leave a double ten finish, but three missed darts later it was van Gerwen instead who took the set with a clinical 110 outshot. Wade did not seem too worried by losing that set though, hitting a 141 checkout in a sixth set that he took 3-1.
The decisive moments in the overall match were saved for set seven. Wade looked to be in command as he established a 2-0 lead thanks to some solid finishing and had three darts to take the set in the third leg, only to miss them all. His classy opponent took advantage as he hit double top to narrow the gap, then clinched the next two legs in style to edge ahead 4-3 in the match.
Sensing the end was in sight, the number one seed then moved through the gears in the eighth set and a double top finish saw him take it 3-0 and hence the title was his once more.
Despite ultimately losing the final, Wade should still be pleased with his week's efforts. After recording the memorable nine-darter in the second round, he defeated his nemesis Taylor in the quarters (a win that should give him confidence for future battles against "The Power" during the season) and then came back from the dead in the semi finals at 3-1 down to sneak a victory over the Scotsman Gary Anderson 4-3.
Van Gerwen seemed happy to continue his winning form to maintain his status as the top player in the game at present, his comfortable straight sets win over Stephen Bunting in the semi final perhaps saving him extra emotional and physical energy for the final. #CelebritiesPerhaps the abiding memory of the week though will be that second round match between Wade and Robert Thornton, in which history was made as both players achieved what is classed as 'perfection' in the game of darts as they each hit nine-dart finishes.