MVG Sent Packing by Doubtless Dolan

Red Dragon Darts

Brendan Dolan pulled off a famous World Matchplay upset over defending and three-times champion Michael van Gerwen, conquering the Dutchman 10-7 on the Winter Gardens stage.

Things were not following the script early on, with Dolan opening up an early 2-0 lead.

Much has been made of MvG’s recent dental surgery, but a stellar string of performances in Poland seemed to dismiss any concerns of a knock-on effect.

A confident leg on throw made it 3-0, before van Gerwen closed out in 16 darts.

Awry doubling and setup shots plagued Michael in the following leg, as he fell to 4-1 behind.

A 12 darter capped off by a showpiece 132 checkout was more similar to the imperious levels the Dutchman has become known for.

But it was not to prove a turning point. Dolan converted an opportunity at double 16 for 47 to win the next leg, the match now at 5-2.

A 17 dart leg from MvG proved enough to get the better of Dolan. But in the next leg opportunities came again and went missing for Dolan. A valuable break for the defending champion.

The reset button had been well and truly pressed by the end of the second mini-session, a 137 to go 5-5 reestablishing expectations.

A 140 out of the blocks from Dolan helped him on his way to a 75 out, before a maxi to begin leg 12 piled the pressure on MvG’s throw. Van Gerwen found something, the smallest of margins in the double 14 bed after two missed darts.

If it was ever in doubt, van Gerwen was in trouble, and a 76 out in 15 darts sent Dolan 7-6 in front.

A missed double-double on 19 left an opportunity in Brendan’s lap, an opportunity not to be scoffed at. Crucially, it was one taken with a double 16, to leave him two away.

A 134 did not pay off for MvG, neither did his unconventional choice at double 7 to finish it off. The History Maker cleaned up.

Now 9-6 up, the Northern Irishman had ample opportunities to finish the win. A hold of throw from MvG followed.

A slight scoring slip-up for Dolan exposed the cracks and frustration began to flow. It is a position from which MvG has frequently flourished, but flourish he did not.

Dolan had been sensible and assured, leaving 24. He may have had to move around the board, ending up on double 3, but he made it.

The defending champion and joint favourite out. The History Maker making history again.

After the match, Brendan said to Darts World: “I just tried to take things one leg at a time as I knew the winning line was getting closer.”

“I thought he was getting a lot better but I just needed to keep my nose in front. Even if you are a throw ahead of him, he still has to do it.”

“I believed in myself and I just tried to stay calm. It was a competitive game but I stood up to do it so I am happy with myself.”


Images: Taylor Lanning / PDC

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