Andrew Gilding stuns Michael van Gerwen in UK Open final to win his first major at the age of 52

Andrew Gilding pulled off one of the biggest upsets in darts history when he defeated Michael van Gerwen 11-10 in the UK Open final to become a big winner at the age of 52.

Goldfinger was a massive 200/1 underdog early in the tournament this weekend, but he used his Midas touch at Minehead to poke fun at those odds and earn his biggest-ever payday of £110,000, which saw him up moves up to 24th place in the world.

His previous best performance at a televised event was a run to the semi-finals of the UK Open in 2015, but other than that he had never progressed as far as a quarter-finals, while he also spent a couple of seasons away from the PDC tour, after losing his card in late 2018.

Gilding eventually won him back at Q School in early 2021, and despite having two strong seasons to climb the leaderboard and qualify for several of the biggest events, he was yet to win a title despite removing three finals reached from the cameras.

So when he was down 8-5 in a race to 11 against a player who has won 62 televised titles and 148 overall during his legendary career, few would have given him a chance to recover. But he showed such a cold finger to bring it back to 9-9 before opening the 20th leg with a 180 straight after MVG hit a 170 checkout to take a 10-9 lead.

Gilding kept his nerve to force a crucial leg, which he pinched with a double top to drive the 5,000 crowd crazy.

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“I can’t believe it,” admitted Gilding, who has lost all six of his previous encounters against Van Gerwen.

“I didn’t expect to win this game. I played consistently throughout the weekend but didn’t feel like I played particularly brilliant darts.

“The audience was absolutely fantastic. I’ve practiced more, worked hard and it’s paying off. Now I have to win all these big titles!”

Van Gerwen was understandably the hot favorite going into the final based on reputation alone, but he had also displayed superb darts throughout the tournament to beat Dave Chisnall, Martijn Kleermaker, Luke Humphries, Nathan Aspinall and Dimitri Van den Bergh with a tournament average of the just below that was 100.

On Gilding’s route, he defeated Darren Webster, Ricky Evans, Luke Woodhouse, Brendan Dolan, Martin Schindler and Adam Gawlas before winning gold against the biggest name of them all.

He averaged 95.46 compared to MVG’s 96.74 and hit seven thumb-raising 180s while his 40.7% finishing was more clinical than his opponent’s 32.3%.

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