MICHAEL VAN GERWEN retained the SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts title with a superb 16-8 win over James Wade in Sunday night's final at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, claiming an untouchable 24th tournament win of 2016. The Dutchman's incredible year continued with yet another televised triumph as he pocketed £102,500 for his imperious nine days in Wolverhampton, where he has won seven matches in total.Van Gerwen had won through to the final with a sensational display as he outlasted Peter Wright 16-10 in a high-quality semi-final, averaging 111.17 and hitting a huge 17 maximums in the process, his most ever in a Grand Slam match.He then overcame a slow start in the final - as Wade opened up an early 3-1 lead with the aid of a 112 finish to break throw - by storming to victory by winning ten of the final 13 legs.A 104 finish helped the Dutchman to level as he claimed five straight legs to move 6-3 up, with Wade punishing missed doubles from his rival to cut the gap to one before van Gerwen took another five without reply.That run featured key finishes of 94, 70 and 127 as he moved 11-5 up, with Wade taking out 76, double ten and a 14-darter to hit back only to be stopped in his tracks by a 136 checkout as van Gerwen moved 12-8 up.
Finishes of 94, double five and double eight edged him to the brink of victory, and a sixth 180 of the contest helped to set up double 16 to complete another memorable victory."This is the best feeling you can have, to win a tournament," said van Gerwen. "It was a difficult final and I had to work hard, so it's fantastic."James is a fantastic player and he made it difficult but I'm really glad I won this trophy. I think I proved that I can still win when I'm not 100 percent, but it's not how you win a trophy, just that you win it."I think I was the best player and I did the right things at the right moments. In the groups I wasn't really tested, but after that I played better and better."I've won most of the tournaments this year and I love winning. I feel confident and I feel good, and I just want to compete and play as well as possible in any tournament I play."
Wade, who defeated Gary Anderson 16-14 in a tight semi-final earlier in the day, pocketed £50,000 as the runner-up as he reached the final in Wolverhampton for a second time, only to see history repeated as he was defeated in the decider."Michael is the best player in the world at the moment and I didn't give him a game," said Wade. "I was very poor in the final."Losing semi-finalist Wright had claimed five victories during the week and knocked out six-time champion Phil Taylor in a superb quarter-final on Friday, but was left frustrated after losing out to van Gerwen in a 16th successive match."I couldn't find my throw today and I couldn't find the pitch or the happy medium pace, and it felt totally different to the game against Phil where I was so comfortable," said Wright."If you want to win this tournament you have to be averaging 111 like Michael. I don't think I played well all week either apart from the match against Simon Whitlock."The next step for me is to stick with these darts and keep working hard with these darts. Six months down the line they will be like gloves for me and people will have to watch out."I'll pick myself up and get ready for next week now in Minehead and hopefully it will be a different story."Next weekend sees the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals take place at the Butlins Minehead Resort in Somerset, as 64 players compete for £400,000 in prize money live on ITV4.