Daryl Gurney clinched his maiden PDC title with a brilliant victory over Kim Huybrechts in Players Championship Seven at the Barnsley Metrodome on Saturday afternoon. ‘Super-Chin’ produced a string of stunning displays to scoop the £10,000 winner’s cheque and become the seventh different Players Championship winner this year.
In the absence of both Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, many players sensed an opportunity, however it was Gurney who produced the goods to win his maiden PDC crown. The 31-year-old averaged 104.88 to record a fine 6-3 win over ‘The Hurricane’, with his winning legs coming in 11, 15, 14, 12, 14 and 14 darts.
The Belgian drew first blood in the final with a 14-dart hold, but this sparked ‘Super-Chin’ into action. Gurney levelled proceedings with a clinical 90 kill, before capitalising on missed doubles from ‘The Hurricane’ to break. Huybrechts posted visits of 180 and 174 before missing three darts at double, as Gurney pegged D4 for a 15-dart break.
The Northern Irishman cemented his advantage with an impressive 14-dart hold and a third straight leg, before crashing in a brilliant 112 finish for a double-break and a commanding 4-1 cushion.
Huybrechts was staring down the barrel, but Gurney provided the Belgian with a lifeline after spurning three clear darts for a 5-1 lead. Huybrechts capitalised by pinning D8 to stop the rot, before reducing the arrears to 4-3 with a 15-dart hold via D10.
‘The Hurricane’ then kicked off the eighth leg with his fourth maximum as he attempted to restore parity at four apiece, but Gurney displayed admirable composure to respond. He fired back instantly with a maximum of his own, before dispatching a nerveless two-dart 76 kill for a 14-dart leg, to move to the brink of victory.
The Northern Irishman was closing in on a poignant victory and he landed a maximum for the third leg in succession to seize complete control. Huybrechts was unable to leave a finish after 12 darts, and Gurney rounded-off a magnificent win with a 14-darter via D5, which prompted the Derry ace to sink to his knees in jubilation.
Gurney had performed superbly to reach his maiden Players Championship Final, and he held his nerve to clinch the title. The Northern Irishman opened up with victory over Martin Schindler, before surviving a valiant fightback from Vincent Kamphuis to book his place in round-three, where he edged out Cristo Reyes in a high-quality affair.
‘Super-Chin’ then produced a fine performance to dump out Simon Whitlock in the last 16, which secured his fifth victory over ‘The Wizard’ in his last six attempts. In the quarter-finals, Gurney survived one match dart to defeat exciting Irish ace Steve Lennon in a pulsating last-leg shootout, to set up a showdown with an in-form Gerwyn Price.
The Welshman continued his impressive form to reach the last four, after defeating Warrick Scheffer, Ron Meulenkamp, Zoran Lerchbacher, Andy Hamilton and Mensur Suljovic. However, Gurney ended his four-match losing run against ‘The Iceman’ to record a brilliant 6-4 triumph and reach his first ever Players Championship Final.
Huybrechts also acquitted himself impressively to reach his first Pro Tour final since September. He kicked off his campaign with a comfortable 6-3 win over Scotland’s Jim Brown, before edging out James Richardson in a nervy deciding-leg. ‘The Hurricane’ later defeated his Belgian compatriot Mike De Decker 6-2 to ease into round-four.
Huybrechts then averaged over 106 to whitewash eight-time major winner James Wade and set up a quarter-final clash with top seed Peter Wright. Snakebite had won seven of their previous eight meetings, but the Belgian maintained his fine form to dump out the Scot and book a semi-final showdown with Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena.
Wattimena produced the goods to record a place in just his second PDC semi-final. He whitewashed Mick Todd in round-one, before defeating Dave Chisnall, Robert Thornton, Kyle Anderson and Benito van de Pas to reach the last four, but Huybrechts produced a clinical display to record a hard-fought 6-3 victory.
However, there were a number of seeded players to depart in the opening rounds. Ryan Meikle produced a terrific display to dump out Raymond van Barneveld in round-one, to avenge his last 16 defeat against RvB in Players Championship Six. Meikle spurned twelve match darts earlier in the contest, but regained his composure to prevail 6-4.
Joe Cullen and Stephen Bunting were other high-profile seeds to suffer opening round defeats, each losing 6-3 to Mickey Mansell and Jimmy Hendriks respectively. Meanwhile, Jelle Klaasen’s struggles continue, as the injury-plagued Dutchman was thrashed 6-1 by Scott Taylor at the same stage.
Players Championship Three winner Rob Cross was also beaten at the first time of asking by Ronny Huybrechts, whilst recent Pro Tour winners Adrian Lewis and Alan Norris were condemned to surprise second-round defeats by Zoran Lerchbacher and Aden Kirk respectively.
Elsewhere, former World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton enjoyed a welcome return to form to reach the last 16 of a Pro Tour event for the first time since February 2016. ‘The Hammer’ came through qualification for the German Darts Open last night and this inspired the Stoke star to produce some stunning performances on Saturday.
Hamilton recorded successive whitewash wins over Craig Gilchrist and Ronny Huybrechts to breeze into round-three, where he then recorded an emphatic 6-2 triumph over Aden Kirk. However, Hamilton’s incredible run was finally thwarted by UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price in the last 16.
Jimmy Hendrik’s impressive start to 2017 continues, after the Dutchman reached round-four on Saturday afternoon. Hendriks is one of a select few players to have cashed in all seven Players Championship events so far this year, and he claimed the scalps of Stephen Bunting and Mervyn King before losing to second seed Mensur Suljovic.
However, Peter Wright’s wait for a Players Championship title in 2017 continues. Snakebite has already clinched six PDC titles this year, but a Players Championship crown has eluded him thus far. The Scot was top seed in the absence of MvG and Anderson, but fell to a quarter-final loss against eventual finalist Huybrechts.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Players Championship Seven
Saturday April 8, Barnsley Metrodome
Peter Wright (1) 6-3 Jan Dekker
Peter Hudson 6-4 Ted Evetts
Andy Boulton 6-5 John Henderson (32)
Kirk Shepherd 6-4 Robert Owen
Steve West (16) 6-3 Lee Bryant
John Bowles 6-2 Brian Woods
Steve Beaton (17) 6-3 Richie Burnett
Mark Barilli 6-4 Wes Newton
Kim Huybrechts (8) 6-3 Jim Brown
James Richardson 6-4 Chris Quantock
Mike De Decker 6-3 Darren Webster (25)
Scott Darbyshire 6-3 Matt Clark
James Wade (9) 6-1 Jamie Lewis
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Terry Roach
Christian Kist (24) 6-3 Jim Walker
Maik Langendorf 6-4 Richie Corner
Benito van de Pas (5) 6-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan
John Michael 6-3 Terry Temple
Josh Payne (28) 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Jonathan Worsley 6-0 Richard North
Michael Smith (12) 6-3 Yordi Meeuwisse
Andy Jenkins 6-4 Peter Jacques
Jonny Clayton 6-4 James Wilson (21)
William O’Connor 6-4 Adam Hunt
Dave Chisnall (4) 6-2 Ritchie Edhouse
Jermaine Wattimena 6-0 Mick Todd
Robert Thornton (29) 6-1 Jamie Caven
Mark Walsh 6-2 Andy Parsons
Mickey Mansell 6-3 Joe Cullen (13)
Keegan Brown 6-3 Antonio Alcinas
Kyle Anderson (20) 6-4 Ross Twell
Jamie Bain 6-4 Devon Petersen
Mensur Suljovic (2) 6-1 John Norman Jnr
Mark Webster 6-3 Steve Hine
Harry Robinson 6-2 Robbie Green (31)
Paul Nicholson 6-3 Madars Razma
Jimmy Hendriks 6-3 Stephen Bunting (15)
Haruki Muramatsu 6-4 Ryan Palmer
Mervyn King (18) 6-5 Sven Groen
Stuart Kellett 6-3 Diogo Portela
Alan Norris (7) 6-3 Colin Roelofs
Aden Kirk 6-2 Prakash Jiwa
Ronny Huybrechts (26) 6-4 Rob Cross
Andy Hamilton 6-0 Craig Gilchrist
Gerwyn Price (10) 6-4 Warrick Scheffer
Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Darron Brown
Adrian Lewis (23) 6-2 Stephen Burton
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-2 Ricky Williams
Ian White (6) 6-4 Bryan De Hoog
Steve Lennon 6-5 Matthew Dennant
Ryan Meikle 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld (27)
Kevin Painter 6-4 Simon Preston
Scott Taylor 6-1 Jelle Klaasen (11)
Berry van Peer 6-5 Darren Johnson
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3 Chris Dobey (22)
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Simon Whitlock (3) 6-3 Ray Campbell
Mick McGowan 6-2 Tony Newell
Justin Pipe (30) 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Ricky Evans 6-3 Dennis Smith
Cristo Reyes (14) 6-4 Joe Murnan
David Pallett 6-3 Paul Rowley
Daryl Gurney (19) 6-3 Martin Schinder
Vincent Kamphuis 6-4 Ronnie Baxter
Peter Wright 6-5 Peter Hudson
Andy Boulton 6-3 Kirk Shepherd
Steve West 6-5 John Bowles
Mark Barilli 6-3 Steve Beaton
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 James Richardson
Mike De Decker 6-4 Scott Darbyshire
James Wade 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Maik Langendorf 6-2 Christian Kist
Benito van de Pas 6-2 John Michael
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Jonathan Worsley
Michael Smith 6-2 Andy Jenkins
Jonny Clayton 6-5 William O’Connor
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Robert Thornton 6-1 Mark Walsh
Keegan Brown 6-0 Mickey Mansell
Kyle Anderson 6-2 Jamie Bain
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Mark Webster
Paul Nicholson 6-2 Harry Robinson
Jimmy Hendriks 6-2 Haruki Muramatsu
Mervyn King 6-2 Stuart Kellett
Aden Kirk 6-4 Alan Norris
Andy Hamilton 6-0 Ronny Huybrechts
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Ron Meulenkamp
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Steve Lennon 6-5 Ian White
Kevin Painter 6-2 Ryan Meikle
Scott Taylor 6-2 Berry van Peer
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-5 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Mick McGowan
Justin Pipe 6-4 Ricky Evans
Cristo Reyes 6-1 David Pallett
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Vincent Kamphuis
Peter Wright 6-3 Andy Boulton
Steve West 6-3 Mark Barilli
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Mike De Decker
James Wade 6-5 Maik Langendorf
Benito van de Pas 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Michael Smith 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Robert Thornton
Kyle Anderson 6-5 Keegan Brown
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Paul Nicholson
Jimmy Hendriks 6-4 Mervyn King
Andy Hamilton 6-2 Aden Kirk
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Zoran Lerchbacher
Steve Lennon 6-1 Kevin Painter
Scott Taylor 6-3 Jeffrey de Graaf
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Justin Pipe
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Cristo Reyes
Peter Wright 6-3 Steve West
Kim Huybrechts 6-0 James Wade
Benito van de Pas 6-4 Michael Smith
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Kyle Anderson
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Jimmy Hendriks
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Andy Hamilton
Steve Lennon 6-2 Scott Taylor
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Peter Wright
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Mensur Suljovic
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Steve Lennon
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Kim Huybrechts