Mighty Michael van Gerwen admitted it was “insane” after wrapping up his hat-trick of William Hill World Championship titles.
The Dutch juggernaut mowed down Michael Smith with a barrage of big scores and perfect timing to win the biggest-ever darts prize of a cool £500,000 at the Ally Pally last night.
MvG roared into a 4-0 lead and while Bully Boy did rally to drag himself back into the match to halve that deficit, the World No.1 was always in control.
Van Gerwen said: “It’s the best feeling you can have. I work for so long but I have maybe had a difficult year. I played good but not as well as I could have done.
“But to win this trophy at the end of the year is phenomenal, there’s nothing higher for me after this. It’s insane, it means a lot to me.
“I was a little bit nervous of course, my body was pumping. I wanted to do better than what I did tonight. But Michael is a phenomenal player and I didn’t want to give him anything.
“It was a difficult game but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how you win, that’s the most important thing.
“He always makes it hard for me, he’s a good player and one day he will lift this trophy as well. He’s got so much talent is his body it’s unbelievable. I’m really glad I could stop him today.”
MvG drew first blood with the first set but only after Smith had fought back from 2-0 down to force a decider.
It was soon 2-0 and suddenly Smith was already in deep trouble as MvG romped to another rapid set win and quite frankly looked unstoppable.
Smith then missed four set darts at double 12 in the decider of set four and that seemed like a pivotal moment as MvG punished him to make it 4-0.
The big moments were all being pounced on by the ruthless MvG.
Then suddenly hope for Smith. The fifth set went to a decider and the St.Helens ace produced a sensational 124 finish to break Van Gerwen’s throw and grab his first set - and the Ally Pally went wild.
Smith was on fire with a magnificent 127 and 124 finishes both on the bull and then tops for a whitewash set and the set deficit was halved.
Alarm bells were ringing. But MvG sensed the danger and strangled the hope with a solid set to increase his lead to 5-2 and stay in the comfort zone.
Then Smith blew perhaps his last hope. He missed three darts to win the eighth set and that saw MVG move into a hugely commanding 6-2 lead.
Bully Boy had missed darts to win four of the last five sets. Van Gerwen had simply produced immaculate timing and turned the screw.
Smith won the ninth set but that was only putting off the inevitable as MvG landed double 16 to seal his hat-trick.
Smith, who picked up £200k, said: “I just didn’t get going but I still had the chances. I lost 7-3 but if I’d taken those chances it could have been 5-5. I’m more annoying at myself.
“I kept looking at that trophy and kept thinking that ‘belongs to me’ and I think I tried way too much.
“It’s my first one and I guarantee it won’t be my last and I will lift that trophy.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)