AWARDS TREBLE FOR VAN GERWEN AS TAYLOR SCOOPS TOP HONOUR
The seventh PDC Annual Awards Dinner saw the stars of the sport gather at the world-famous Dorchester hotel to celebrate the achievements of the past 12 months.
Stoke legend Phil Taylor, who claimed his 16th Ladbrokes World Darts Championship title on Tuesday night, was named as the PDC Player of the Year following another hugely successful 12 months.
Taylor also won the McCoy^s Premier League Darts, Betfair World Matchplay and Cash Converters Players Championship Finals titles during the past 12 months, hit three nine-dart finishes and partnered Adrian Lewis to World Cup of Darts glory as he maintained his position as the world number one.
"It^s a wonderful honour to receive this award," said Taylor, who dedicated his trophy to retiring referee Bruce Spendley.
"With the brilliant performances of so many players in the last year, it means a huge amount to me to be named as the Player of the Year."
Darts^ shooting star Michael van Gerwen, meanwhile, capped an incredible year by winning the Young Player of the Year, PDPA Player of the Year and Fans^ Player of the Year titles.
The 23-year-old Dutch ace won the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix, reached the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship final, claimed seven PDC ProTour titles and hit three nine-darters, including at the World Matchplay and World Championship, in his rise to fourth in the PDC Order of Merit.
Van Gerwen claimed 54 percent of the votes in an online poll of PDC fans, while he was also a landslide winner of the PDPA Player of the Year title following a vote amongst his fellow players.
"It^s been a fantastic year for me and to win three awards means a lot to me," said van Gerwen. "I^ve had a great World Championship and to win these awards is great, but I^m looking forward too to 2013.
"For the players to vote for me as their Player of the Year is amazing, and I also thank all the fans who voted for me too for the Fans^ Player of the Year Award."
Dean Winstanley, who capped a brilliant debut year on the PDC circuit with a run to the semi-finals of the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts and a nine-darter at the World Championship, was named as the Best Newcomer after winning a Tour Card at Qualifying School last January.
"It^s been a great experience coming over to the PDC this year," said Winstanley. "I^m proud of what I^ve done and I^ve had great backing from my family, my sponsors and my management, and I can^t thank them enough."
Dave Chisnall was named as the Best PDC ProTour Player after winning £65,400 in prize money in the PDC^s non-televised events last year, including five event victories.
Taylor, Winstanley and van Gerwen were joined on stage by Simon Whitlock, Gary Anderson and Wes Newton to receive gold pin badges in recognition of their televised nine-dart finishes during 2012.
Nine other players - Ian White, Steve Farmer, Richie Burnett, Raymond van Barneveld, Michael Smith, Kim Huybrechts, Colin Lloyd, Mark Webster and Connie Finnan - joined them on stage to receive silver pin badges in recognition of nine-dart finishes in PDC ProTour events as they joined the PDC Nine-Dart Club.
Van Barneveld also received the award for the PDC Televised Performance of the Year for his victory over van Gerwen in the Grand Slam of Darts final, as the Dutch star won his first major individual title for five years at Wolverhampton.
The night also saw a special award presented to referee Bruce Spendley, who was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame to recognise three decades of service to the sport, following his retirement after the World Championship final.
PDC Annual Awards - Award Winners
PDC Hall of Fame
Inductee: Bruce Spendley, to recognise over three decades of service to the sport of darts.
Best PDC ProTour Player
Winner: Dave Chisnall, with £65,400 prize money won and five tournament victories.
PDC Televised Performance of the Year
Winner: Raymond van Barneveld, for the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts final against Michael van Gerwen.
Winner: Dean Winstanley, who won a Tour Card in January and reached the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts semi-finals and hit a nine-darter in the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.
Fans^ Player of the Year
Winner: Michael van Gerwen, who took 54% of the vote in an online poll of 16 players.
PDPA Player of the Year
Winner: Michael van Gerwen, who took the majority of the vote of players in the Professional Darts Players Association.
Presentation of Gold and Silver Pin Badges to players who have achieved a perfect nine-dart finish on the PDC circuit.
Gold Pin Badges (Televised Nine-Darters)
Phil Taylor, Simon Whitlock, Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen, Wes Newton, Dean Winstanley
Silver Pin Badges (Nine-Darters on PDC ProTour)
Ian White, Michael van Gerwen, Steve Farmer, Richie Burnett, Raymond van Barneveld, Simon Whitlock, Michael Smith, Kim Huybrechts, Colin Lloyd, Mark Webster, Wes Newton & Connie Finnan
Young Player of the Year
Winner: Michael van Gerwen, the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix champion and Ladbrokes World Championship finalist.
PDC Player of the Year
Winner: Phil Taylor, the winner of the Cash Converters World Cup of Darts, the McCoy^s Premier League Darts, the Betfair World Matchplay, the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals and the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.