PETER WRIGHT was the width of a wire from retaining the European Darts Open but admitted he was happy after “struggling” recently.
Snakebite missed out narrowly to Michael van Gerwen 8-7 at the Ostermann Arena in Leverkusen after relinquishing a 5-1 lead.
The Scot, who has lost his last three Premier League matches 7-1, was back on form but left to rue a missed bullseye for the match on Sunday night.
He said: “I've been struggling big time, and to take seven legs off Michael van Gerwen - the best player there is at the moment - makes me very happy.
“I thought the bullseye to win was going in, I was ready to shake his hand but it wasn’t to be.”
The £25,000 title takes Van Gerwen’s tally of European Tour wins up to a staggering 21 since his first victory in 2013.
Premier League leader MVG, who takes on Raymond van Barneveld in Belfast on Thursday, needed all his grit to recover from an awful start against Wright.
He said: “I love the European Tour tournaments - all the people coming to watch all the time is phenomenal, I’m just glad to win.
“I played terrible in the first part of the game, I missed lots of doubles and needed to improve. Luckily for me I did exactly that and it was enough to clinch the win.
“I love these titles, the crowd were fantastic and really gave me a lift throughout.”
Wright is aiming to end his woeful run of PL form against Simon Whitlock in Belfast, and was in cruise control in the final at 5-1 up.
But an 11-dart leg for Van Gerwen, the best of the final, closed the gap to three at 5-2 and seemed to give him belief as Wright wobbled - and it was soon 5-5.
World No 2 Wright, to his credit, then regained his cool and broke back with an excellent 81 checkout to lead 6-5 and move two away from the title.
Another hold with an under-pressure 78 checkout put Wright on the brink of retaining his European Darts Open title at 7-5.
But then agony for Wright as he wired the bullseye to clinch the title, allowing MVG to close the gap to one with a 13-dart finish.
Van Gerwen then stepped up to land his ninth 180 of the final on the way to a 12-dart leg as he restored parity at seven-all to force a deciding leg.
Throwing for the title, the Dutchman stayed consistent on the trebles as he rounded off the victory with another 13-dart leg - finished on double 16 with Wright requiring the same target.
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)