Premier League Darts: Michael van Gerwen secures semi-final spot
Last Updated: 03/05/13 7:03am
Michael van Gerwen became the first man to book a Premier League play-off spot after beating Andy Hamilton 7-4.
Spectacular in previous rounds, the Dutchman looked set to produce more fireworks as he hit a 180 on just his second visit to the oche and raced into a 2-0 lead.
However, needing just a point to progress to the semi-finals, Van Gerwen couldn't keep the pace up and Hamilton levelled at 2-2 and again at 3-3.
But responding to the noisy 7,000 crowd at the Echo Arena, league leader Van Gerwen pulled clear again at 5-3 and, when Hamilton missed two darts at tops in leg nine, he pounced to go 6-3 in front and secure the point he needed to make the play-offs.
Van Gerwen's double three meant any hopes 'The Hammer' had of reaching the semis were gone and, although Hamilton won the 10th, MVG closed out the match 7-4 with a double 10.
A 10th win from 15 matches means Van Gerwen is in pole position to finish top of the table. Asked what it would mean to him, he said later: "It's something special because no-one did it before apart from (Phil) Taylor."
In the night's second match, Simon Whitlock kept his play-off hopes alive with a superb 7-4 success against James Wade.
Whitlock moved 2-0 up in his must-win match and then took out 126 with two treble-19s and double-6 for a 3-1 advantage.
Another ton finish kept the Aussie in the driving seat at 4-2 and despite a nervy 10th leg going the way of Wade after both men fluffed chances at doubles, Whitlock checked out on 116 - his fourth three-figure finish of the night - to win 7-4.
Whitlock told Sky Sports: "This means everything to me, I love playing in the Premier League, I do my best every week and I never give up."
Wade suffered a second defeat on the night when losing 7-2 to Hamilton in the final game and he now faces an uphill battle to make the semi-finals.