Dutch invasion to topple King
There might not be any of the world’s top 16 involved, the two men might not be the two most fashionable of finalists, but in many ways this is a final worth looking forward to more than any for some time.
It is reminiscent of the 2011 World Championship final between Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson, someone was getting their name on a major trophy for the first time, be it the young talent or the older campaigner who inexplicably hadn’t won anything yet and few could choose between the two. As Michael van Gerwen and Mervyn King prepare to square-off in the final of the World Grand Prix in Dublin, it seems very much like that famous night at the Alexandra Palace.
As youth prevailed back in 2011, the bookies expect the same to happen in Ireland as Mike has truly proved his Might over the week in rampaging through to his first televised final in the PDC and is rated at around 4/5 to pocket the £100,000 winner’s cheque.
Merv has of course experienced nights like this before over his long career, but they have not always been enjoyable occasions. The four biggest finals of his darting life have ended up with his hands on the trophy just once, in the World Masters back in 2004, twice a losing BDO World Finalist and a loss in the Premier League final leaves him without a great record in showpiece events.
There is serenity about the King now that has not been seen before though and couldn’t be more different to the maniacal despot of a King that was seen snarling at crowds in the Premier League three years ago. His heart-warming tweets about how much he is loving life give the impression that win or lose then he won’t despair, he’ll just go home to his wife and dogs and love life some more. This pressure-free attitude is the perfect accompaniment to performing in a major final and something that van Gerwen in his pumped up youthful exuberance won’t be able to draw upon.
The Dutchman has proved over this week that he belongs in the top 10 in the world rankings though as his vanquished foes of Lloyd, Lewis, Hamilton and Newton reads as a who’s who of darts over recent years. His 5-1 rout of Wes Newton averaging over 95 in the semis was probably the highlight of his run to the final and means one of two things, he is peaking at the right time or he has just peaked a night too early. Unfortunately for the King it probably means the former and he is ready to unleash another hammering on Sunday evening.
A Grand Prix final hasn’t been closer than 6-3 since it became a race to six in 2007 and although this has the potential to be as tight as any before, history is often a good guide and if van Gerwen is going to win, he should do with a bit of a cushion.
Michael van Gerwen (-1.5) @ 6/5 with sportingbet
• Expect an epic semi-final
• Warrior in for a battle
• Van Gerwen to hit the Jackpot
• Power to remove Thorn from side
• Lewis to start with a bang
• Unstoppable force meets immovable Wizard
• What a difference a weekend makes
• Taylor still the man to overpower