MvG takes out Auckland

The final night of the 2018 Auckland Darts Masters saw Michael van Gerwen put his name on the title for first time.
In the semi finals Raymond van Barneveld upped his game from the previous round to put Simon Whitlock to the sword by ten games to five.
Both players had held throw early until the fifth leg when van Barneveld broke his opponent after Whitlock failed to convert 142. It looked as though it was a blip in the Wizard’s game though as he went on to break straight back. He could not consolidate in the next leg, though, as Barney checked out 130 for his second lead of the match. Both players then held throw for the next three legs before a 71 check out gave the Dutchman a second break.
Whitlock stole the 12th leg with a 116 check out only for Barney to beat it by two, checking out 118 in the 13th leg. A 121 finish, on the bull, put van Barneveld a leg away from the final and with a 12 darter in the next leg he was through.
In the second semi final Michael van Gerwen came out of the blocks at full speed. He broke his opponent in the second leg and before long had secured a second break of throw. The fifth leg was even more of a step up as MvG left 170 after nine darts. He secured that check out with the required bullseye. He then followed it up in the next leg with a 164 check out. At 6-0 up he then left 170 but this time missed the conversion, although he still won the leg.
After the break MVG moved to an 8-0 lead before Wright won two legs in succession. Van Gerwen then stopped the mini revival with a 68 check out to move within a leg of the final. He failed to convert a 160 in the next leg and Wright stepped up to secure his required 46 check out. The 13th leg was a bridge too far for Wright though and van Gerwen picked up his tenth leg to set up an all Dutch final.
The final itself looked to be going the way of van Gerwen’s semi as he came out of the blocks at full throttle once more. A ten dart start on throw was then followed by a break against the van Barneveld throw. Both players had opportunities in the next leg but it was van Gerwen who took a 3-0 lead. Both players then held throw as MvG took a 4-1 lead into the first break and then secured the next two legs to seemingly secure an impenetrable 6-1 lead.
A third 180 in three legs gave Barney an opportunity in the eighth leg and when van Gerwen missed a dart at tops for the leg his opponent pounced to secure the leg with a double five. He then collected another two legs to close in to 6-4 at the second break. That break came at the perfect time for van Gerwen as he came back out to win two straight legs before checking out 156 and restoring his five leg lead.
Van Gerwen moved to within a leg of the match when he punished van Barneveld for missing a double 16 check out and even though he could not take out another 170 finish, his opponent could not secure the required check out and eventually MvG hit tops for the match.
A glorious edition of the Auckland Darts Masters had finished with a new name on the winner’s trophy, a name etched on many a darts trophy around the world, Michael van Gerwen.