Michael van Gerwen wins his 6th Premier League title on an epic night in Berlin
On an unbelievable night of action at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin on Monday, Michael van Gerwen defeated Joe Cullen in an epic final to win his sixth Cazoo Premier League title.
The Dutchman, on the other hand, held his cool to hit a 13-darter and equal Phil Taylor’s six Premier League titles, as he wins his first PDC Premier event in almost 18 months.
“ I have been going through a really tough time, so to win this title means a lot to me,” reflected an emotional Van Gerwen, who eased past James Wade 10-4 in the semi-finals.
“I’m a happy man. Joe Cullen was phenomenal in that final. What a day. I’m over the moon.
“Of course I am going for more titles now. To have won this trophy here in Berlin is amazing.
“This last 18 months has hurt me. I know what I’m capable of, but this crowd in Germany today, they were absolutely sensational. I think they were a credit to the sport.”
Back-to-back legs from the Yorkshireman restored parity, only for Van Gerwen to reclaim his two-leg lead at 5-3 with a 12-dart break.
Cullen cut the deficit to 7-6 with a sensational 141 finish in leg nine, and a polished 114 finish in leg 11 ignited a run of three consecutive legs for the Masters winner.
Van Gerwen seemed to deliver the critical blow in leg 19, scoring a spectacular 92 kill to break throw in 12 darts and move one leg closer to glory.
Cullen came back in 13 darts to force a decider, but it was the Dutchman who came out on top with double 14, having survived a match dart the previous time around.
“Michael is a fantastic player and a fantastic champion, but I am absolutely gutted,” admitted Cullen, who was bidding to become the third successive debutant to be crowned Premier League champion.
“I cannot believe I’ve lost, but credit to Michael, he is a great guy and a wonderful champion.
“I think the second leg cost me, missing three at 32 for a break of throw. I’m absolutely devastated.”
Cullen had earlier in the evening thwarted Jonny Clayton’s bid for back-to-back Premier League titles with an incredible show of power scoring.
Cullen surged to a 6-0 lead over the reigning champion before winning 10-4, averaging nearly 101 and slamming in 11 maximums – tying the tournament record for 180s in a single set.
Van Gerwen defeated 2009 winner Wade by the same score in the second semi-final to seal his place in a record-equaling seventh Premier League final.
The first six legs of the last four match were split, but Van Gerwen stormed back to win seven of the last eight, pulling away from Wade and winning with a 99 average and six 180s.
Van Gerwen, who is now recovering from arm surgery in the Netherlands, earned a total of £305,000 during the Premier League season, with three consecutive wins giving him a £30,000 extra on top of the £275,000 top prize.
Cullen, on the other hand, won £125,000 as runner-up and an additional £20,000 in bonus prize money.
Clayton’s four night wins during the season increased his £85,000 prize money to £125,000, while Wade took home £105,000 after a good season.
Cazoo Premier League Play-Offs
Monday June 13
Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
Joe Cullen 10-4 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Joe Cullen
Semi-finalists: £85,000 each
Fifth in league table: £75,000
Sixth in league table: £70,000
Seventh in league table: £65,000
Eighth in league table: £60,000
Nightly winner bonus: £10,000 x16