Score for show, double for dough. The old saying rings true in the PDC with 501 being the prevailing format for the world’s biggest tournaments, and over the years we’ve seen some infamous cases of double trouble that has cost players huge titles or changes a players entire career trajectory.
We all know about Mike Gregory’s missed double to win the world title or Jocky Wilson missing double 18 for the first nine darter in televised history back in 1983, but we’re going to look at the most crucial misses from the last 10 years.
So, we’re going to have a go at ranking of the biggest missed double opportunities in modern darting history.
Michael van Gerwen vs Rob Cross (2018 PDC World Championship Semi-Final)
Cross vs MVG at Alexandra Palace has to go down as one of the greatest games of darts we’ve ever seen at any tournament.
Cross, the relative newcomer was vying for a place in a world final at the first time of asking, while the Dutchman was desperate to set up a showdown with Phil Taylor in what would be The Power’s final bow.
With the game tied a five sets each, the two still couldn’t be separated as the final set went into overtime.
Van Gerwen finally got his chance to put Cross away, he was 5-4 up in the leg and he’d left 70 to break throw, and win the match.
The treble 18 was pinned, but the world number one, missed double 8 three times, before missing double 4 twice, Cross took out 52 to send it into a sudden death leg.
MVG then missed the bull, while Cross hit a 25, earning the throw in the final set that he would go onto win.
Peter Wright vs Michael van Gerwen (2017 Premier League Final)
For the longest time Peter Wright couldn’t beat Michael van Gerwen in a major final.
The Scot had tried and failed on three occasions by the time he met the Dutchman at the O2 in 2017, and this time it looked as though it was going to be different.
Snakebite had worked himself into a 10-9 lead, and he’d left 32 after nine darts.
He had one hand on the title, with three clear darts at double 16, he came inside with the first before missing double 8 twice.
Fortunately, van Gerwen couldn’t tidy up the 92 that he had left, but Wright squandered another three at double 8, and from there on MVG did what he does best and won the Premier League 11-10.
James Wade vs Adrian Lewis (PDC World Championship semi-final 2012)
James Wade may never get a better opportunity to win a world title than the opportunity he was presented with back in 2012.
The Machine had a relatively easy run to the semis, beating three unseeded players, before overcoming 27th-seed John Part in the quarter finals.
A clash with Adrian Lewis was set up in the last four, and he knew that if he could overcome Jackpot he’d be favourite for the title with 17th-seed Andy Hamilton awaiting him in the final.
All seemed to be going to plan, he raced into a 5-1 lead, and despite being pegged back to 5-2 he was still in a comfortable position.
At 2-2 in the eighth, Wade had the throw, and he’d left 108 for the match.
He went the unconventional route of T5, T19, D18, but the double 18 was missed, and Lewis cleaned up 98.
From there on, Wade didn’t win another leg, while Jackpot would beat Hamilton in the final to claim his second world title.
Noel Malicdem vs Peter Wright (2020 PDC World Championship second round)
Peter Wright was a worthy world champion this year, but it all could have ended so differently for him.
In 2018 and 2019 he was fell at the first hurdle losing to both Jamie Lewis and Toni Alcinas respectively, and it almost happened for a third year in a row.
Filipino arrowsmith Noel Malicdem put on one hell of a showing against Wright taking the game to a fifth and final set, and it looked as though Snakebite was once again going to capitulate as he went 2-0 down in the decider.
Malicdem squandered a huge chance to win 3-0 after failing to get a dart at double, despite having six from 96, but he wouldn’t make the same mistake in the next leg.
Malicdem went off 140, 180 before hitting 60 to leave 121.
Wright hit a vital 162 to pressurise, but Malicdem still managed to hit the treble 20 and single 11 to give himself a shot at the bull to eliminate the former UK Open winner.
The shot at the bull was missed, and Wright cleaned up the 140 checkout, forcing the final set into overtime, and the rest was history as the Scot beat everyone in his path to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time.
Who knows who would have won the world title this year had Malicdem pinned the bullseye at the vital moment.
Michael van Gerwen vs James Wade (2013 PDC World Championship semi-final)
Another world semi-final involving James Wade, but this time it wasn’t a double that decided the fate of the match that we’re talking about.
Van Gerwen was playing some of the best darts we’d ever seen in this match, and it seemed almost inevitable that a nine-darter was on its way.
The Dutchman duly obliged, throwing a perfect leg in the fifth set, but what was to follow was something we’d never seen before, and may never see again.
After hitting the nine, van Gerwen went off with another 180, before firing in another three treble 20s.
141 was left for back to back televised nine darters, T20 flew in, T19 followed, but Mighty Mike missed the double 12 to make history the like of which we may never see again.
In the end this missed double didn’t affect the match too much, Wade would actually go on to win that set, but if MVG had hit back to back perfect legs, we’d be talking about undoubtedly the greatest moment in the history of the sport.