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Mitchell 'pleased' with UK Open showing after bowing out in thriller against world number two Van Gerwen

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Scott Mitchell taking on Michael van Gerwen at the UK Open (picture: PDC)
Scott Mitchell taking on Michael van Gerwen at the UK Open (picture: PDC)

BRANSGORE darts ace and former world champion Scott Mitchell had darts legend Michael van Gerwen on the ropes before the world number two staged a dramatic comeback to win their PDC UK Open clash 10-8, writes Toby Foster.

β€˜Scotty Dog’ Mitchell, who won the BDO World Championship in 2015, let out a roar of emotion as he went 8-7 up against defending champion Van Gerwen in their round four match.

However, the former world number one and three-time world champion managed to find an extra gear in the home stretch to seal a narrow victory despite Mitchell looking the superior player until coming unstuck in the final three legs of the contest.

50-year-old Mitchell, who switched to the PDC last January, hit five 150s and averaged 95.05 in a superb performance which saw him battle back to take an 8-7 lead after trailing 6-4.

Mitchell began the fourth round match in impressive form by winning the opening leg before hitting an impressive 117 to take a 2-0 lead.

The Dutch darts star, known as the Green Machine, fought back to level the scoreline, but Mitchell threw a 102 finish to edge ahead 3-2 at the first break in play.

Van Gerwen appeared to have seen off Mitchell after winning four straight legs to storm into a 6-3 lead. However, Mitchell rallied superbly, narrowing the scores to 6-4 at the second break before levelling the match at 6-6.

The two former world champions exchanged holds of throw before Mitchell secured his third 100-plus checkout of the match to go 8-7 ahead in the race to 10 legs.

Mitchell, said: β€œI was 6-4 down after the second break, so to get from there to 8-7 up, especially when the viewing nation had probably thought Michael was going to head off into the sunset, was pleasing for me.”

With an upset on the cards, the three-time UK Open winner showed his pedigree to win the next three legs to secure a narrow victory.

Mitchell added: β€œI think it was a case of Michael improving and me having a dip in performance. My two 60 scores on my throw at 8-8 was costly; although he had a good leg, it took 14 darts to go 9-8. That was a big turning point.

Van Gerwen, who lost 11-5 in the semi-final to Luke Humphries, complimented Mitchell’s performance in his post-match interview: β€œYou know what he’s capable of, and you know what he can do. I think he played well at the beginning of the game.”

The Bransgore farmer and freelance landscape gardener secured second and third-round victories against Welsh teenage prospect Lewis Williams – who shocked Van Gerwen in a Super Series competition last month –and veteran thrower Andrew Gilding. The wins set up a televised clash with Van Gerwen, whose seven-year reign as world number one came to an end earlier this year.

Mitchell added: β€œI felt comfortable and really solid in both of the earlier matches, the first was tough, but my experience gave me the edge, I believe. It’s always great to win games, and I’d practised well going into the UK Open, so I’m pleased I managed to get that better game out there.”

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