NINE-DART HERO VAN GERWEN WINS 888.com EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
The world number one^s amazing October continued as he claimed the £55,000 first prize and followed up his World Grand Prix triumph a fortnight ago and a Players Championship title last Sunday with victory for a third successive weekend.
Van Gerwen had seen off Justin Pipe and Brendan Dolan as he won through to Sunday^s final stages, but hit top gear with a 111 average in his 10-5 quarter-final win over Dave Chisnall.
The World Champion then hit the fourth televised nine-dart finish of his career as he came from 2-0 down to defeat van Barneveld 11-6 in the semi-finals.
Van Gerwen^s moment of perfection came in the seventh leg when, trailing 4-2, he opened the leg with a 177 and then landed a 180, before finishing 144 with two treble 20s and double 12 for a fourth televised nine-darter - earning himself a £5,000 bonus.
He went on to finish 161 and 100 during the remainder of the contest as he took eight of the final nine legs to power into the final against Jenkins.
Van Gerwen continued that form at the start of the final by taking the opening five legs without reply, breaking throw twice and taking out a 167 finish in the process.
Jenkins hit two 180s as he hit back to win the next three legs, but van Gerwen hit a maximum of his own as he halted the revival in the ninth leg as he set off on a run of five successive legs to move 10-3 up.
Van Gerwen missed one dart for the title in the next as Jenkins posted tops to keep the game alive, but van Gerwen landed two 10s in the 15th leg before hitting tops to claim his first European Championship title.
"It^s a fantastic trophy to win and a very special moment for me," said van Gerwen. "I^m really happy with how I played throughout the tournament, and the nine-darter was special.
"I^ve never won this tournament before, so it means a lot to me. A couple of years ago I could only have dreamed about this, but now it^s a reality and a lot of it has to do with confidence and I know I can do a lot of good things at the moment.
"To win the World Championship and the European Championship in the same year is fantastic."
The defeat means that Jenkins has now lost nine major televised finals during his stellar career, with the 51-year-old having to settle for the £25,000 runner-up prize.
Jenkins enjoyed wins over Scottish duo Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton on the opening two days of the event, before defeating Stephen Bunting in Sunday afternoon^s quarter-finals.
He then overcame Mervyn King 11-8 during a semi-final in which he came from 3-2 down to lead 6-3 before holding onto that cushion to book his place in the decider, but once again fell narrowly short of a maiden major title.
"It^s obviously disappointing to lose but I^m happy with the way I played this weekend and to reach the final," said Jenkins. "I had a tough draw and I beat some good players.
"I suppose it^s the same old story with losing the final but to reach another major final is a feather in my cap. A lot of top players have never made one major final, let alone nine, so I can^t be too disappointed.
"I always go up there and give it 100 percent, but Michael^s great - he doesn^t seem to miss and if you miss, he jumps on you. This, though, could set me up really well for the rest of the year now."
Van Barneveld defeated world number four Peter Wright in Sunday afternoon^s quarter-finals to reach the last four for the second time in the event, but was full of praise for his Dutch rival after van Gerwen^s stunning semi-final fightback.
"I can^t say I^m disappointed because I had Simon Whitlock in the first round, Vincent van der Voort, Peter Wright and then Michael," said van Barneveld, who had worn glasses in competition for the first time during the event.
"Michael^s phenomenal at the moment and hit a nine-darter and a 161 - everything goes in for him and in the second half of our game he was nearly perfect. He^s an amazing player."
King^s run over the weekend, which saw him pick up wins over Christian Kist, Ronny Huybrechts and Jelle Klaasen, was his best in the history of the European Championship.
However, he admitted: "I ran out of steam against Terry and didn^t have enough in the tank, and the better player won. I^m pleased with how I played during the weekend and I want to keep this form going now."
Van Gerwen will be aiming to continue his incredible run of success next weekend when he competes alongside his rivals in the PDC^s top 16 in The Unibet Masters at Edinburgh^s Royal Highland Centre.
Tickets for the ITV4-televised event are still available, and can be purchased online at pdc.seetickets.com or by calling 0844 871 8807, or bought online through www.secc.co.uk.
888.com European Championship
Sunday October 26
Terry Jenkins 11-8 Mervyn King
Michael van Gerwen 11-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 21 legs
Michael van Gerwen 11-4 Terry Jenkins
Best of 21 legs
Terry Jenkins v Mervyn King
1-0 - Jenkins finishes double ten to win the opening leg.
2-0 - The Ledbury ace doubles his lead, hitting a 180 before posting double 16 to break throw.
2-1 - Jenkins misses tops for a 120 finish, and King lands double 16 to hit back.
2-2 - King levels with a 14-darter, finishing double 16 once more.
2-3 - Jenkins fires in a second 180, but misses five darts at doubles to allow King back in to break with a 116 checkout on tops.
3-3 - The roles are reversed as Jenkins punishes King for his misses by taking out 120.
4-3 - Jenkins finishes a third-dart double 13 to move back ahead.
5-3 - Double 16 sees Jenkins win a third successive leg.
6-3 - Jenkins moves three legs clear by hitting tops, after King misses double 16 for a 105 checkout.
6-4 - Jenkins sets up a possible nine-darter by opening the leg with two 180s, but misses a seventh treble 20 and eventually loses the leg as King returns from missing the bull for a 121 finish by taking out double four to win his first leg in five.
7-4 - Jenkins takes out 56 on tops to regain his cushion.
7-5 - King hits back on double 12.
8-5 - Jenkins follows a 180 with a 100 checkout for a sparkling 11-darter.
9-5 - Tops sees Jenkins move two legs away from victory.
9-6 - King is given a reprieve from a miss at tops when Jenkins misses three doubles to win the leg, allowing the Norfolk thrower back in on double five to respond.
9-7 - Double eight sees King claim another leg.
10-7 - Tops moves Jenkins to the brink of a ninth major final in his career.
10-8 - Jenkins lands his sixth 180, but misses four match darts - at double 19 and eight - to allow King in to keep alive his hopes on double two.
11-8 - A seventh maximum of the game pulls Jenkins clear of King, and he seals his place in the decider by taking out 122 on the bull.
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
0-1 - van Barneveld lands a nerve-settling 180 in the opening leg as he breaks on double eight.
0-2 - The Dutchman doubles his lead by finishing double six.
1-2 - van Gerwen misses six darts at doubles, but van Barneveld is unable to make him pay as he misses two darts at double 18, allowing the World Champion to get off the mark on double two.
1-3 - van Gerwen lands a first maximum, but van Barneveld is first to a finish as he returns from missing the bull for a 161 checkout to land double eight.
2-3 - Double 16 sees van Gerwen hit back to within a leg.
2-4 - van Barneveld regains his two-leg lead, despite a 180 from van Gerwen.
3-4 - MICHAEL VAN GERWEN HITS A NINE-DARTER! Van Gerwen opens the leg with 177 and lands a 180 before taking out 144 with two treble 20s and double 12 to win his third leg of the game.
3-5 - van Gerwen opens the eighth leg with another 180, but van Barneveld finishes double 16 to regain his two-leg lead.
4-5 - Double 18 sees van Gerwen hit back.
5-5 - The World Champion fires in a 180 before levelling the game with a sensational 161 finish.
6-5 - Double 16 moves van Gerwen ahead for the first time.
7-5 - van Gerwen fires in a 180 before taking out 100 in two darts to move two legs clear.
7-6 - van Barneveld finishes 107 on double 14 to pull back to within a leg.
8-6 - van Barneveld lands his second 180, but van Gerwen posts double eight as he regains his cushion.
9-6 - Double four sees van Gerwen pull clear.
10-6 - van Gerwen opens the leg with 180 and 140 before landing tops to move to the brink of victory.
11-6 - van Gerwen hits an eighth 180 of the game to open the leg, and adds a ninth before sealing his place in the final.
Michael van Gerwen v Terry Jenkins
1-0 - van Gerwen wins the opening leg by finishing 65 on double four.
2-0 - The World Champion breaks throw by finishing 78 on tops.
3-0 - van Gerwen is given a reprieve for missed doubles when Jenkins misses three darts to break back, allowing the Dutchman in on tops to win a third leg.
4-0 - van Gerwen hits a 180 and is again let off for three misses as Jenkins is unable to land one dart at tops, with double ten seeing the number one seed break throw again.
5-0 - The Dutchman^s charge continues as he powers home a 167 checkout.
5-1 - Jenkins lands a 180 before finishing double ten to get his first leg on the scoreboard.
5-2 - Another maximum and tops helps Jenkins secure a break of throw.
5-3 - van Gerwen fires in a 180, but misses the bull to finish 121 as Jenkins takes out 67 on tops to continue his revival.
6-3 - van Gerwen lands his third maximum of the game before posting tops to stem Jenkins^ fightback.
7-3 - Double 14 sees van Gerwen edge clear of his rival once more.
8-3 - Tops sees van Gerwen move to three legs away from the eighth major title of his career.
9-3 - van Gerwen finishes double eight to continue his charge towards victory with a fourth successive leg.
10-3 - Jenkins hits his third 180 of the game, but misses a dart at tops as double nine moves van Gerwen to the brink of the title.
10-4 - van Gerwen misses double 18 for a 114 finish to claim the win, and Jenkins posts tops to keep the game alive.
11-4 - The pair open the 15th leg with 180s before van Gerwen lands another maximum and tops to seal his triumph in style.