Peter Wright was crowned 2019/20 William Hill World Darts Champion for the first time after an outstanding final victory over Michael van Gerwen at London’s Alexandra Palace on New Year’s Day.
The flamboyant Scotsman finally achieved his darting destiny with a 7-3 success, six years to the day since losing out to Van Gerwen in his previous final appearance.
Wright won the first two sets of the final and never fell behind, winning three crucial sets in last leg deciders before sealing glory in a high-quality contest on double ten.
“I can’t quite believe it,” said an emotional Wright, who moves up to second in the PDC Order of Merit.
“I thought about giving up before I reached the final six years ago but this shows that you should never give up on your dreams.
“Michael is an excellent champion and deserves everything he has won but it was my turn and it feels brilliant.
“I’ve worked so hard on finding the right darts, the right throw and the right mentality and it all came together at the right time.
“I am really proud of myself and really grateful for everybody that has helped me become World Champion.”
Van Gerwen tasted defeat in the sport’s showpiece game for just the second time after failing to claim crucial set-deciding legs throughout the match.
The Dutchman landed 16 180s and averaged 102.88 but Wright’s 55% double success rate proved to be an important factor.
“Of course it hurts a lot to lose this final but the credit goes to Peter,” said the gracious world number one.
“He played a great tournament and was better than me in the biggest moments and I think he deserved to win in the end.
“I can only blame myself for missing at important moments but I will work hard to come back stronger from this.”
Wright, who averaged 102.79, took the first set in a decider by landing double top at the first attempt – but only after Van Gerwen had missed a dart at the bullseye for a 170 checkout.
The Scotsman crucially broke his opponent’s throw in the second leg of set two with a 12-darter before doubling his lead on tops.
Van Gerwen announced his presence in the final with a dominant third set, in which he used just 37 darts to complete a whitewash.
Wright kicked off the fourth set by producing the game’s highest checkout of 140 – but missed the opportunity to restore a two-set lead when he missed a dart at double top to take out 102, allowing Van Gerwen to land double eight to level up the match.
The Dutchman was made to pay for six missed darts at double to lead the fifth set, which Wright went on to take 3-1 with the aid of a 10-darter and a set-sealing 96 finish.
It was Wright’s turn to complete a whitewash set as he produced a brace of 81 checkouts, followed by an 80 finish to regain a two-set cushion.
An 84 checkout on the bullseye saw Van Gerwen take a 2-1 lead in the seventh set, which he immediately sealed with a ruthless 11-darter.
Wright came from 2-1 behind to win the following set in an edgy deciding leg, in which Van Gerwen missed a dart a tops for parity before the Scot pinned double 16 to increase his lead to 5-3 in sets.
The Dutchman missed two darts to close the gap in the pivotal fifth leg in the ninth set and Wright punished by taking out 70 to move three sets ahead.
Depsite a missed attempt at double 12 for a nine-darter by Van Gerwen, the tenth set proved to be the last one as Wright sunk double ten to win it 3-1 and seal the ultimate glory in darts.
Wright and Van Gerwen will now look ahead to the 2020 Unibet Premier League after being included in the nine-player field.
Wednesday January 1 (1900 GMT)
Best of 13 sets
Peter Wright 7-3 Michael van Gerwen