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World of Sport

02nd Jan 2024

Scott Williams explains how he knew Michael van Gerwen was ‘off’ before the match even started

Niall McIntyre

Scott Williams had said that he knew from their practice round on Monday night that Michael van Gerwen wasn’t fully at the races for their World quarter final.

The non-seeded Englishman defeated Mighty Mike 5-4 to advance to the semi-finals, blowing the competition wide open in the process.

The 33-year-old was a rank outsider heading into the last eight clash, with van Gerwen having played some of his best stuff up to this stage of the tournament, but Williams was un-daunted.

The confident Lincolnshire thrower showed no signs of nerves in taking the first set and he celebrated his fine start with typical charisma.

His 1-0 gesture in the direction of van Gerwen would most likely have been avoided by other players, for fear of poking the bear, but speaking to journalists after the game, Williams said he felt he had to mix it with the Dutch-man. He said it was part of the plan ‘to give it back to him.’

“I love that stage,” said Williams.

“He has such a presence and he makes it tough up there, but if I give it back to him…people are scared of him on that stage, because he’s such a threat up there but I wasn’t going to let that happen today, and I didn’t,” he said.

Williams says he has the utmost respect for van Gerwen, describing him as the best thrower of his generation, but he knew from early doors on Monday night that the three-time champ wasn’t on top form.

“I could kind of tell (he wasn’t himself) while we were doing the practice in the little practice room we have,” said Williams.

“He was always just that little bit off constantly. As soon as the crowd got involved, that was when I started playing my darts.

“Michael is the best player of our generation. But he wasn’t the Michael van Gerwen you guys have seen over the last two or three games.”

Some Dutch journalists at the venue attributed van Gerwen’s off-colour showing to a stomach cramp, though this wasn’t confirmed as he didn’t fulfil his post-match media duties.

Williams now advances to Tuesday night’s semi-finals, where he’ll take on fellow Englishman Luke Humphries.

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