Mitchell 'pleased' with UK Open showing after bowing out in thriller against world number two Van Gerwen
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.
‘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: “I 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: “I 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: “You 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: “I 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.”