DEAN Winstanley’s superb run in the Grand Slam of Darts ended in brave semi final defeat against the blistering Michael van Gerwen.
The Conisbrough thrower looked set to be on the wrong end of a near whitewash after losing nine of the opening ten legs to the on form Dutchman.
But Winstanley produced a strong fight and matched van Gerwen over the next three sessions before falling to a 16-8 defeat in Wolverhampton.
Van Gerwen took the first five legs before Winstanley got off the mark with a welcome double top.
But he could not stop the confident Dutchman’s flow as he raced into a 10-1 lead in the first to 16 contest.
Winstanley teased a fightback with three successful legs in a row, demonstrating big scoring to rival van Gerwen.
The youngster moved three legs closer to the finish line before Winstanley won another three in a row to take the score to 13-7.
The two exchanged legs, Winstanley landing a fine 116 check out.
But this only delayed the inevitable as van Gerwen took the last two legs to secure a 16-8 triumph and book an all Dutch final against Raymond van Barneveld, the five time world champion.
Van Barneveld ultimately triumphed 16-14 for his first major television win in five and a half years.
The run to the semi final saw Winstanley continue his fine first year in the PDC which has seen him almost certainly seal a place at next month’s World Championships.