Kicking off the evening session in Gottingen, we had an abundance of talent on show with some of the Worlds best players battling it out in the last European Tour event of 2018. The opening match of the session was tipped to be an epic, and it clearly lived up to it’s billing. The World no.1 Michael van Gerwen faced off with the no.9 seed Daryl Gurney in what was a replay of their recent World Grand Prix semi-final meeting.
It was definitely one of the greatest matches that we’ve ever witnessed on the European Tour, MvG ran out a 6-2 winner in what was a ruthless display from the World’s best player. Gurney had left 63 in the first leg after a great leg, only for Van Gerwen to pile in a monstrous 156 finish. Van Gerwen followed that two stunning legs which were won in 11 and 13 darts for a 3-0 lead. Gurney responded however in great fashion as he produced a fantastic 121 finish to reduce the deficit to 3-1. In the fifth leg came the defining moment in the match, Gurney piled in back-to-back maximums to kick of the leg as he set up a two-dart combination to move within a leg of MvG, only for the World no.1 to pile in a sensational 161 finish to crush Gurney’s hopes of closing in on Van Gerwen. The Green Machine sealed the victory with another superb finish as he produced a sumptous 145 finish to complete a superb victory. As the averages suggest, it was a blockbuster of a match despite the scoreline. despite being on the losing side, Gurney averaged 107.11 compared to Van Gerwen’s 105.39.
In the second quarter-final, Michael Smith came up against Dave Chisnall in what was a repeat of their World Matchplay clash, both players won their previous matches by a 6-0 scoreline, and it was set to be a fantastic match. Smith was ruthless in his play as he went on to record a 6-2 victory over his good friend ‘Chizzy’. Smith averaged 12 points more than Chisnall over the course of the match, and his all-round game was very impressive as he dominated the match from start-to-finish. Smith’s 101 finish for a 12-dart leg was the killer for Chisnall as ‘Bully Boy’ moved 4-1 ahead. in the end, Smith averaged 102.78 in another impressive display as he set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with the World no.1 Michael van Gerwen.
Richard North’s quest for a first PDC ranking ranking title took a positive turn as he saw off Jelle Klaasen in a mightily impressive 6-3 victory for the Hampshire-based ace. North got off to a great start as he moved into a 2-0 lead early on, and despite missing doubles to gift Klaasen the third leg, he went on to reel off three legs without reply to move 5-1 ahead. Klaasen showed his class despite being four legs behind as he produced the best leg of the tournament as he pulled out a ten-dart leg to reduce the deficit to 5-2. North confirmed the win as he picked out D5 just seconds after Klaasen missed a dart at D20 in a 120 attempt to stay alive in the match. In terms of the averages, Klaasen actually averaged slightly more than North as he recorded a 99.21 compared to North’s 96.09, but North had five more darts at a double than his opponent. North was content in his post-match interview as he stated that he’s playing with no pressure as his target for the weekend was to qualify for the European Champion, and he’s done that already.
In the final quarter-final, the no.3 seed and reigning World Champion Rob Cross came up against the no.6 seed James Wade. It was the World Champ who started off the brightest out of the pair as he raced into a 2-0 lead, but you can never write off James Wade who came firing back superbly as he reeled off five legs on-the-spin with only one of those five legs won over 15-darts. And, Wade sealed a 6-3 victory as he picked out D20 for a superb 14-dart leg. And, what a comeback it was from ‘The Machine’ as he recovers superbly, and he’s still a massive shout for winning this event.
European Darts Trophy – Semi-Finals (Best of 13 legs)
Michael van Gerwen – Michael Smith
Richard North – James Wade