NZ Darts Masters: Michael van Gerwen beats Raymond van Barneveld to claim inaugural title in Hamilton

The world's best darts player Michael van Gerwen celebrates another victory.
The world's best darts player Michael van Gerwen celebrates another victory. Photo credit: Getty

Dutch superstar Michael van Gerwen has won the New Zealand Darts Masters title, with a dominant 8-1 win over Raymond van Barneveld in the final at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton. 

In a repeat of the corresponding final in Auckland last year which van Gerwen also won, the world number one was at his clinical best in the 61st competitive between the pair, averaging 97.41 in the decider while converting 57 percent of his finishes. 

Van Gerwen raced out to a 5-0 lead before van Barneveld finally got a leg on the board, but that didn't bother the Dutch sharpshooter who went onto win the next three legs to claim a comfortable win in front of 4000 fans. 

The 30-year-old said he was pleased to win after his “crap” first-round performance on Friday night as he came within a dart of being knocked out by Kyle Anderson.

"I am so happy to win this title in Hamilton, it has been a phenomenal tournament and the crowd has been amazing," said Van Gerwen. 

"I told my wife before I left three weeks ago, I am going to win two of the three events whilst I’m away and I’m so happy to have done that.

"Mentally I am the strongest player, I know how good I am and no bad game will ever change that. 

"I can never be perfect all the time, I am not a robot but I know how strong I am and I know I am the best right now."

While it was a triumph for van Gerwen, it was heartbreak for van Barneveld who has lost in three of the five finals which have been staged in New Zealand since the World Series started here in 2015. 

Van Barneveld was chasing his first televised title since winning the Premier League in 2014. 

"To play a final against Raymond is always an honour. Raymond has been good for darts, like Maradona was good for football but now Messi has taken over.

It’s the same in darts now," Van Gerwen added. 

Despite the loss, Van Barneveld spoke of his pride after the final.

"How can you be sad when the crowd is so amazing? I am so thankful for this crowd and I’m sorry I couldn’t say goodbye with the title."

"I have had an amazing week and I just want to say thank you to the PDC and all the staff for making this a fantastic trip.

"There is a lot left to play for this year so it is time to go home, rest and get ready for the rest of the year."

Van Gerwen beat Gary Anderson 8-5 and Rob Cross 8-3 to reach the final, while van Barneveld overcame Daryl Gurney 8-6 and James Wade 8-5 to reach the final.

Earlier in the quarter-finals, New Zealand's Ben Robb fell short in an epic encounter against Cross, which the Englishman won 8-3.

Robb played well throughout, but poor finishing allowed Cross to build a healthy lead, which the Cantabrian couldn't overcome.

"I felt like he dictated the game," Robb told Newshub. "I didn't play that bad, but he capitalised on his chances, and that shows why he is a world champion.

"I'm happy because I'm a part-time player, I have to go back to work on Monday, and I created chances against a world champion so I can hang my head high knowing that.

"I'm gutted I lost, but I'm heading in the right direction, which I'm pleased about." 

Robb reached the quarter-finals after beating Simon Whitlock 6-4 in the first round, avenging last year's defeat to 'The Wizard'. 

"My Facebook was going crazy, with everyone tagging me in stuff. It's good for New Zealand Darts, and if I can help grow the game, then I'm proud of that. 

"A guy who is a part-time player gets to play the words best to see if he can cut it with the best, and I feel like I can do that."

Robb, who works as a drain layer in Canterbury hopes his form continues for the rest of the year.

"I feel like I need one more year on the local circuit, with some more big events and get better before going to Q-School in 2021.

"But my goals for the rest of the year is to be number one on the Dart Players New Zealand circuit, get that World Cup spot for next year and try to qualify for the world championships.

NZ Darts Masters Day Two at a glance: 



James Wade 8-4 Peter Wright

Raymond van Barneveld 8-6 Daryl Gurney

Michael van Gerwen 8-5 Gary Anderson

Rob Cross 8-3 Ben Robb


Raymond van Barneveld 8-5 James Wade

Michael van Gerwen 8 v 3 Rob Cross


Raymond van Barneveld 1 v 8 Michael van Gerwen