Van Gerwen knocks out Littler on way to third Premier League win in a row

  • Dutchman beats Aspinall in night four finale
  • Littler beat Wright 6-5 in quarters before falling by same score

Michael van Gerwen is seeking further glory after earning his third successive Premier League Darts victory with a 6-4 win over Nathan Aspinall. The Dutchman beat Gerwyn Price and teenager Luke Littler to secure a spot in the final, where the seven-time Premier League champion came from behind to beat Aspinall.

Aspinall started brightly, winning two successive legs but was left to rue missed doubles which had troubled him throughout the evening as Van Gerwen hit a 10-dart break on his way to leading 5-2.

Although Van Gerwen needed one leg to win, Aspinall clawed his way back and nearly took him to a decider in the 10th leg, but missed double 16. The Dutchman made no mistake finding double 18 to wrap up victory and hopes to put himself in a comfortable position in the upcoming weeks.

He told a post-match press conference: “I think it was really big of course to win another Premier League night it’s match three, it’s hard. “I think I had a tough draw tonight this night, to win the first game against Gezzy then Luke Littler then of course Nathan Aspinall in the final, it wasn’t easy, but of course you still have to do it. Then to make it actually happen is always a great feeling.

“Of course you want to make yourself as comfortable as possible but I think with this win I can look forward next week but that’s what I want to do. I want to make sure I put myself in a comfortable position, make sure I do the damage again and make sure I get more points, that’s the only thing I can do.”

After beating Price in the quarter-finals, Van Gerwen edged to the final with a 6-5 victory against Littler in the final four. The teenager beat Peter Wright 6-5 in the quarter-finals in a close encounter that went the distance to set up a final-four clash against the world number two, where Littler piled on the pressure.

Van Gerwen missed six match darts allowing “the Nuke” to take it to a decider, but the Dutchman kept his composure in the final leg, hitting a 90 finish to win. He now leads the standings by eight points and believes he has a different mindset in his approach this year.

“When you play the best players you have to play the best game, you have to perform and have to win,” he added. “Of course over so many weeks you’re going to have bad days, you’re going to have good days, but overall you need to make sure you keep your momentum going and that’s what I’m doing at the moment.

“I think I have a different mindset now, I’m going to look week-by-week, don’t put myself in the same position last year. Last year was another week, I wasn’t really there mentally and I’ve changed that this year.”

Thursday was Aspinall’s first Premier League final of the season following victory over Rob Cross in the semi-finals. After narrowly beating Michael Smith 6-5 in the quarter-finals, the Asp faced a tough test against Cross, where missed doubles allowed “Voltage” to get his foot back into the game. His struggles on the outer ring saw him miss three match darts before Cross missed double 16 and Aspinall made no mistake to wrap the game up with the following dart.

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Luke Littler hits nine-darter on way to Players Championship debut triumph

  • Littler beats Ryan Searle in final on his first Pro Tour appearance
  • Gerwyn Price forfeits match over ‘pathetic conditions’ at venue

Teenage darts sensation Luke Littler has won the opening Players Championship event of the season, hitting a nine-darter on the way to a stunning victory on his debut in the competition.

After landing the nine-dart finish against Michele Turetta in one of the earlier rounds, 17-year-old Littler dug deep to beat Ryan Searle 8-7 in a thrilling final. Despite Searle edging the averages by 111.71 to 109.64, Littler won the deciding leg in Wigan to capture the £15,000 winner’s purse and a first PDC Pro Tour ranking title.

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Stephen Bunting credits hypnotist for his revival after winning Masters title

  • Bunting beat Michael van Gerwen 11-7 to secure PDC darts title
  • World No 16 opens up on mental health issues caused by slump

Stephen Bunting has opened up on his mental health issues and revealed how working with a hypnotist has helped to turn his career around.

The 38-year-old won his first televised PDC title on Sunday in the Masters, beating Michael van Gerwen 11-7 in the final in Milton Keynes. Bunting’s previous biggest career title came in 2014, when he won the BDO world championship.

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