Alan Norris claimed his first ever PDC title at the Players Championship Event 18 in Dublin, but Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen both played a starring role at the Citywest, by hitting 9-darters earlier in the day.
However, Norris deserves the plaudits after a tournament victory that should secure his spot in the remaining majors of 2015. He has been plagued by inconsistency in his PDC career thus far, but he’s enjoyed a real upturn of form in recent months; recently reaching the quarter-finals of the European Darts Open in Dusseldorf.
However, he came through a field of high-quality players in Dublin this afternoon, and produced arguably his best performance in the final, where he dismantled Kim Huybrechts 6-1 with a stunning 108 average!
Norris came through difficult early contests; beating Matt Clark 6-4, before overcoming Dutch star Vincent van der Voort by the same scoreline. He then secured his place in the last 16 with an excellent 6-3 victory over Mervyn King.
He faced Michael Smith in the last 16 and continued his flawless record against Bully-Boy. Norris has won all three of their meetings; which is a very impressive statistic given Smith’s consistency on the Pro Tour.
Norris eased past Darren Webster 6-1 in the quarter-finals with a 103 average, before claiming his biggest scalp of the afternoon in the semis, in the shape of World Champion Gary Anderson. The Scot averaged 104, but Norris was clinical and claimed a 6-4 win, with a 101 average.
He then faced Huybrechts in the final, after the Belgian had stunned Phil Taylor 6-5 in the semi-finals. However, the Hurricane was blown away by ‘Chuck’, who was averaging 120 as he romped into a 4-0 lead.
The former Lakeside finalist continued to hit the T20 with relentless proficiency, before closing out victory in the seventh leg. Norris’ talent is undeniable and it’s fantastic to see him fulfilling his potential in the PDC.
Elsewhere, Phil Taylor was again thwarted in the semi-finals, as he was edged out by Kim Huybrechts 6-5. Taylor dropped just five legs in his opening five matches en route to the last four. He whitewashed Brendan Dolan 6-0 for the second day in succession, before he again thrashed Stephen Bunting 6-1, this time in the last 16.
The Power was imperious and closed out victory against the Bullet with a stunning 9-darter and a 110 average. Although he’ll be disappointed to have not clinched the title today; his form looks ominous heading into the World Grand Prix.
Elsewhere, Michael van Gerwen also hit a perfect 9-darter in his last 32 clash against Raymond van Barneveld, as he came from 5-2 down to beat the 5-Time World Champion 6-5 in a remarkable contest.
Van Barneveld was averaging around 118 after 7 legs, before MvG hit a 144 finish to stay in the contest, which he then followed up with a 9-darter!
With van Gerwen still trailing 5-4, he continued his scintillating form, completing his comeback with 11 and 12 darters in the remaining two legs. Van Barneveld will be wondering quite how he was beaten, but he appears in good form heading into tomorrow’s tantalising first-round clash against Adrian Lewis.
Van Gerwen failed to follow up his win over his compatriot, as he was shocked 6-4 by Andy Hamilton in the last 16. Hamilton was clinical and capitalised on an under-par Dutchman. The World Number 1 failed to post a single maximum and missed a few opportunities he would usually take.
Elsewhere, yesterday’s finalists Dave Chisnall and Ian White both suffered last 64 exits, as they were beaten 6-1 by Darren Webster and Christian Kist respectively. Adrian Lewis was also humbled by the same scoreline, as exciting German Max Hopp overwhelmed Jackpot.
James Wade and Peter Wright were both first-round casualties at the Citywest today. Wade was beaten 6-3 by St Helen’s man Eddie Dootson, despite the Machine averaging 103. Wright was beaten 6-3 by the rejuvenated Robbie Green, whose form has significantly improved since overcoming his shoulder injury.
This sets up the World Grand Prix superbly. MvG and Taylor both signalled their intent with 9-darters on the same day; Gary Anderson enjoyed a fine run to the semi-finals, whilst Dave Chisnall and Ian White have both cemented their claims as genuine challengers with an excellent weekend’s showing. Let the darting drama commence!