MVG Jolts 9-Dart Josh

Michael van Gerwen defied a spectacular nine-darter from Josh Rock to win one of the greatest games in Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts history on a thrilling Thursday night in Wolverhampton.

Van Gerwen continued his bid for a fourth Eric Bristow Trophy with an inspired display at the Aldersley Leisure Village, as the quarter-final line-up was finalised on another bumper night of action.

However, the evening’s headline act saw Van Gerwen average 107 and land four ton-plus checkouts to close out a breathless 10-8 victory over Rock, despite the Northern Irishman crashing in eight 180s and hitting the fifth nine-darter in Grand Slam history.

Rock’s nine-dart leg was the first at this event since Dimitri Van den Bergh achieved perfection in 2018, but it wasn’t enough to topple an imperious Van Gerwen, who produced the performance of the tournament to prevail.

Van Gerwen drew first blood with a 124 checkout on the bull, before Rock produced his moment of magic in leg two – following up back-to-back-180s with a spectacular 141 checkout to raise the roof.

Rock sustained an ankle injury celebrating his nine-dart exploits, although he continued his relentless assault on the treble 20, edging 3-2 ahead despite a 115 average from the Dutchman.

The 21-year-old was completely unfazed by the blistering barrage unleashed by Van Gerwen, who converted a 110 checkout to level at five apiece following another gripping five-leg spell.

The pair exchanged 11-dart holds as the sensational standard continued, but Van Gerwen struck the decisive blow in leg 15, taking out a brilliant 142 finish on double 11 to break throw and lead 8-7.

The three-time champion then pinned double four to move to the brink of victory, and although Rock sank double two to stay alive, Van Gerwen kept his cool to wrap up proceedings via double ten.

“I like to have battles and I like to have good games,” reflected the three-time World Champion, who is eyeing his first Grand Slam success since 2017.

“Josh Rock is a phenomenal player and we’re going to hear much more about him very soon, but I had to dig deep today.

“This is the best I have played in a long time and I had to, because when you’re up against a player of this calibre, you have to produce the right things at the right moments.”

The quarter-final action gets back underway on Friday night in Wolverhampton, as two-time semi-finalist Michael Smith meets Masters champion Joe Cullen, before reigning three-time champion Gerwyn Price plays 2012 winner Raymond van Barneveld.

Click here to view results and match stats

Thursday, November 17 (1900 GMT)

4x Second Round Matches

Nathan Aspinall 10-6 Jermaine Wattimena

Alan Soutar 10-8 Jonny Clayton

Michael van Gerwen 10-8 Josh Rock

Luke Humphries 10-8 Ross Smith

Friday, November 18 (1900 GMT)

2x Quarter-Finals

Michael Smith v Joe Cullen

Raymond van Barneveld v Gerwyn Price

Best of 31 legs

Saturday, November 19 (1900 GMT)

Nathan Aspinall v Alan Soutar

Michael van Gerwen v Luke Humphries

Best of 31 legs

—–ENDS—–

Images: Taylor Lanning / PDC

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