Untouchable van Gerwen claims top Pryamids prize

Michael van Gerwen sees off the challenge of Andy Jenkins
Michael van Gerwen sees off the challenge of Andy Jenkins
Charlie Jackson. Picture: Keith Woodland

Rowling writes an easy final chapter in victory

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MICHAEL van Gerwen warmed up for the prestigious PDC World Championship by claiming Untouchables glory in front of a packed Pyramids Centre.

The 23-year-old, who is second-favourite behind 15-times winner Phil Taylor to claim darts’ biggest prize, stormed to victory at the popular event as a capacity 750 crowd were treated to a star-studded Saturday evening.

Van Gerwen defeated Cosham’s Andy Jenkins 4-1 in his first match and whitewashed Waterlooville-based Simon Whitlock 4-0, before holding off the challenge of world No3 James Wade 5-3 in the final.

And the triumphant Dutchman, who claimed his first PDC title at the Dublin World Grand Prix in October, will now be hoping to seal a double at Alexandra Palace, when the World Championship gets under way this Friday.

Play at The Untouchables began with Petersfield Academy talent Harry Annals facing five-times world champion Raymond Van Barneveld in a qualifier for a place in the last eight.

But last year’s runner-up, Barney, proved a class above the youngster, whose spirited display ended in a 4-0 loss.

The game of the quarter-finals saw Whitlock come from behind to record a hard-fought 4-3 win over Arron Monk, who led 2-0 and 3-2 and missed a dart at double top for victory.

Wade then defeated crowd favourite Co Stompe 4-0, before Vincent van de Voort saw off Van Barneveld 4-3 to join van Gerwen in the last four.

Local interest ended as European champion Whitlock was convincingly beaten by van Gerwen, before runner-up Wade edged van de Voort 4-3.

And the final proved to be a real crowd-pleaser, as the in-form van Gerwen powered to victory to claim the 2012 title.

Afterwards, event organiser Jason Thame expressed his delight with the evening’s entertainment.

He said: ‘I’m very pleased with the night and, from the feedback I have received, I’m led to believe that everybody who came had a good time.

‘People enjoy themselves because they are able to come out for a Saturday night and watch a high-quality evening of darts whilst having a drink and a sing, as well as interacting with the players.

‘Recently, the professional game has gone to another level and at other events you can’t meet and have your pictures taken with the players, but we give people that opportunity.’

Thame added that plans for a fourth year of The Untouchables were already under way.

‘This is the third time we have run the event and it gets better year after year,’ he said.

‘We are already planning next year’s event.’

Meanwhile, van Gerwen will return to the Pyramids in Southsea on June 20, 2013, to compete in a tri-nations tournament which will also involve the likes of Ted Hankey.