Gilding hits gold to win the 2023 PDC UK Open
On Sunday, Andrew Gilding defeated Michael van Gerwen 11-10 to win his first televised title in a thrilling Cazoo UK Open final at Butlin’s Minehead Resort.
Gilding, who was competing in his first televised final, came back from 9-7 down to deny Van Gerwen a fourth UK Open title, surviving a match dart in a dramatic deciding leg to win the £110,000 top prize.
The 52-year-old was defeated in the UK Open semi-finals by Van Gerwen in 2015, but the Suffolk star avenged that defeat in spectacular fashion, lifting the coveted title in front of a capacity crowd of 5,000 fans.
Van Gerwen produced a magnificent 135 finish on the bull to take an early 2-0 lead in Sunday’s showpiece, only for Gilding to reel off four consecutive legs to take the lead.
The contest’s topsy-turvy nature continued as Van Gerwen responded with four straight legs of his own to reclaim control, converting a brilliant 130 checkout on the bull to restore his buffer at 6-4.
Gilding rallied from 9-7 down to re-establish parity, but the three-time World Champion responded with a stunning 170 checkout to move a leg away from glory.
Gilding, on the other hand, was unfazed, pinning double 12 to force a last-leg decider, where he conjured up a brilliant 13-darter on tops to seal a famous victory.
“I can’t believe it,” admitted Gilding, who had lost all six of his previous meetings against Van Gerwen.
“I didn’t expect to win that game. I played steady all weekend, but I didn’t feel like I played particularly brilliant darts.
“The crowd were absolutely amazing. I have been practising more, working hard and it’s paying off. Now I’ve got to win all of these major titles!”
Gilding’s remarkable victory propels him into the world’s top 25, and his exploits this weekend have also earned him a spot in the Grand Slam of Darts in November.
Earlier in the day, he cruised to the semi-finals with a 10-4 win over Germany’s number two Martin Schindler, matching his run to the last four in 2015.
Gilding then defeated Czech youngster Adam Gawlas in the semi-finals, winning six of the final seven legs to claim an 11-6 victory.
Meanwhile, Van Gerwen was left disappointed after falling just short of a fourth UK Open title, despite looking dominant for much of the 158-player event.
On Friday, the 33-year-old defeated Dave Chisnall, as well as his compatriot Martijn Kleermaker and 2021 runner-up Luke Humphries, to reach the last eight.
On Finals Day, the Dutchman defeated Premier League rivals Nathan Aspinall and Dimitri Van den Bergh to earn a spot in Sunday’s showpiece.
Van Gerwen averaged 99 and landed nine 180s to defeat 2019 winner Aspinall 10-6 in the last eight, before overcoming 28 missed double darts to win his ninth straight match against Van den Bergh in the semi-finals.
“To play games like this are always difficult. Andrew had nothing to lose and I think he played really well,” conceded Van Gerwen, who was forced to settle for the £50,000 runner-up prize.
“I think I made many mistakes and I know that, but I’m the only one to blame and fair play to Andrew.
“At this moment I can’t find many positives. I’m here to win tournaments and when you don’t do that it’s disappointing.
“It is painful for me. It hurts. Everybody knows what I’m like, but I will take it on the chin. Credit to Andrew. He had a phenomenal tournament.”
2023 Cazoo UK Open
Sunday March 5
Andrew Gilding 10-4 Martin Schindler
Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Nathan Aspinall
Adam Gawlas 10-8 Rob Cross
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-2 Richie Burnett
Andrew Gilding 11-6 Adam Gawlas
Michael van Gerwen 11-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Andrew Gilding 11-10 Michael van Gerwen