Players Championship 11 Report!

Wright Gurney 2017

Peter Wright bounced back from his Premier League heartbreak to clinch his first Players Championship title of 2017, with victory over Daryl Gurney in Players Championship 11 at the Arena MK on Saturday afternoon.

Wright saw his hopes of Premier League glory dashed at the O2 Arena on Thursday evening, as he surrendered a 7-2 lead and squandered six match darts against Michael van Gerwen; falling to an agonising 11-10 defeat. However, he returned to winning ways in Milton Keynes to secure his eighth ranking title of the season.

Wright faced Daryl Gurney in Saturday’s final, in a repeat of their UK Open semi-final clash earlier this year. Yet once again, Snakebite claimed the spoils. The Scot averaged 97.62, landed three maximums and converted 35% of his attempts at double to fend off a valiant fightback from Gurney, who averaged 97.45 and crashed in four 180’s.

The world number three won the opening four legs without reply with legs of 13, 14, 15 and 14 darts, before punishing two missed darts from Gurney to peg D16 and establish a 5-0 cushion. Wright appeared poised to record a whitewash victory, but the Northern Irishman displayed impressive resolve to fight back.

Gurney opened his account via D16, before capitalising on two missed match darts from Snakebite to convert an 80 kill and double his tally. ‘Super-Chin’ then sealed his third straight leg with a 14-dart hold and suddenly Wright was facing the prospect of surrendering another handsome lead in a final.

Nevertheless, the UK Open champion maintained his composure admirably; defying late resistance from Gurney to sink D5 with his last dart in hand to close out victory. This propels Wright to the top of the Players Championship Order of Merit at the halfway stage- just above Gurney, who was denied a second Pro Tour title in as many months.

As top seed, Wright received a bye through to round-two, after Max Hopp was absent due to travel issues. The world number three faced Joe Murnan in his opening match and survived a major scare; Murnan fought back from 5-2 down to force a decider, but Snakebite dispatched a nerveless 71 checkout to progress with a 15-dart hold.

Wright then dropped just three legs in defeating Vincent van der Voort and Ryan Searle, after Searle had earlier beaten James Wade and Steve Beaton. In the last eight, Snakebite then faced Jeffrey de Graaf, who was appearing in his first Pro Tour quarter-final of 2017. Nevertheless, the Scot was too strong and ran out a convincing 6-2 winner.

However, Wright’s best performance of the day came in his semi-final clash against Rob Cross- who continues to go from strength-to-strength. Cross defeated Matthew Edgar, Devon Petersen, Cristo Reyes, Michael Smith and Jonny Clayton to reach the last four, but he was denied a second Players Championship title of 2017 by an inspired Scot.

The world number three landed a majestic 10-dart leg, four 12-darters and a 14-darter to complete a 6-3 victory with an astonishing 120.70 average- Wright’s highest in PDC competition. Cross averaged 109.20 himself as the opening six legs were shared, but Snakebite won the final three without reply; with one leg including seven perfect darts.

On the other side of the draw, Daryl Gurney continued his fine form to reach his third Players Championship Final of the year. The Northern Irishman dropped just six legs in his opening three matches, where he dumped out Dennis Smith, Matt Clark and Josh Payne respectively.

In the last 16, ‘Super-Chin’ then came from 5-4 behind to edge out Dave Chisnall in a thrilling last-leg shootout, to set up a quarter-final clash against Simon Whitlock. Gurney had won eight of their previous ten meetings and maintained that dominant head-to-head record by virtue of an emphatic 6-1 triumph over ‘The Wizard’.

In the last four, Gurney faced Andy Boulton, who performed superbly to reach his maiden PDC ranking semi-final. Boulton recorded wins over Joe Cullen, Ron Meulenkamp, Steve Hine, Bryan de Hoog and second seed Mensur Suljovic to secure £3,000 in prize money, before he succumbed 6-2 to a clinical Gurney in the last four.

Elsewhere, it was a disappointing day for a number of big-name stars. James Wade’s underwhelming floor form continued as he was beaten in the opening round by an impressive Ryan Searle, whilst Wade’s fellow Premier League star Adrian Lewis suffered a deciding-leg defeat to the veteran John Bowles at the same stage.

Recent Players Championship finalist Robert Thornton was thrashed in the opening round by Richie Corner, whilst Joe Cullen, James Wilson, Christian Kist, Darren Webster and Justin Pipe were among other seeds to depart at the first hurdle.

World number one Michael van Gerwen withdrew from the original list of entries after his Premier League triumph, whilst five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld was absent through illness. Elsewhere, Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor, Jelle Klaasen and Gerwyn Price were the other high-profile absentees in Milton Keynes.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Players Championship 11
Saturday May 20, Arena MK, Milton Keynes
First Round
Peter Wright (1) Bye
Joe Murnan 6-3 Scott Taylor
Darren Johnson 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena (32)
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Diogo Portela
Ryan Searle 6- 4 James Wade (16)
Ted Evetts 6-2 Brian Woods
Steve Beaton (17) 6-3 William O’Connor
Prakash Jiwa 6-5 Ricky Williams
Alan Norris (8) 6-1 Craig Gilchrist
Richard North 6-1 Ryan Meikle
Ronny Huybrechts (25) 6-3 Matthew Dennant
Simon Stevenson 6-4 Andy Hamilton
Ian White (9) 6-1 Terry Roach
Mike De Decker 6-5 Jan Dekker
Aden Kirk 6-3 Darren Webster (24)
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3 Andy Jenkins
Michael Smith (5) 6-4 Jim Brown
Adam Hunt 6-4 Jamie Bain
Robbie Green (28) 6-2 Peter Hudson
Tony Newell 6-5 RIchie Burnett
Cristo Reyes (12) 6-2 Mick Todd
Jamie Lewis 6-1 Kevin Painter
Rob Cross (21) 6-2 Matthew Edgar
Devon Petersen 6-4 Mick McGowan
Benito van de Pas (4) 6-5 Stephen Burton
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4 John Part
Jonny Clayton (29) 6-3 Michael Barnard
Andrew Gilding 6-3 David Pallett
Stephen Bunting (13) 6-4 Darron Brown
Ricky Evans 6-3 Scott Darbyshire
Mark Walsh 6-4 James Wilson (20)
Robert Owen 6-4 Mark Barilli
Mensur Suljovic (2) Bye
Peter Jacques 6-1 Simon Preston
John Henderson (31) 6-3 Yordi Meeuwisse
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 Sven Groen
Mervyn King (15) 6-1 Berry van Peer
John Michael 6-3 James Richardson
Kyle Anderson (18) 6-4 Wayne Jones
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Jonathan Worsley
Kim Huybrechts (7) 6-1 John Norman Jnr
Bryan de Hoog 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Chris Quantock 6-3 Justin Pipe (26)
Michael Rasztovits 6-3 Paul Nicholson
Andy Boulton 6-5 Joe Cullen (10)
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Wes Newton
Steve Hine 6-2 Christian Kist (23)
Harry Robinson 6-5 Kirk Shepherd
Dave Chisnall (6) 6-0 Ryan Palmer
Jimmy Hendriks 6-5 Stuart Kellett
Chris Dobey (27) 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Paul Harvey 6-0 Terry Temple
Daryl Gurney (11) 6-3 Dennis Smith
Matt Clark 6-5 Paul Rowley
Richie Corner 6-2 Robert Thornton (22)
Josh Payne 6-5 Antonio Alcinas
Simon Whitlock (3) 6-3 Ross Twell
Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 Jamie Caven
Mark Webster (30) 6-5 Martin Schindler
Mickey Mansell 6-2 Alan Tabern
Keegan Brown 6-4 Steve West (14)
Steve Lennon 6-2 Lee Bryant
John Bowles 6-5 Adrian Lewis (19)
Vincent Kamphuis 6-4 Ronnie Baxter

Second Round
Peter Wright 6-5 Joe Murnan
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Darren Johnson
Ryan Searle 6-4 Ted Evetts
Steve Beaton 6-1 Prakash Jiwa
Richard North 6-2 Alan Norris
Simon Stevenson 6-3 Ronny Huybrechts
Mike De Decker 6-3 Ian White
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-5 Aden Kirk
Michael Smith 6-1 Adam Hunt
Richie Burnett 6-5 Robbie Green
Cristo Reyes 6-5 Jamie Lewis
Rob Cross 6-4 Devon Petersen
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4 Benito van de Pas
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Ricky Evans
Robert Owen 6-5 Mark Walsh
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Peter Jacques
John Henderson 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Mervyn King 6-2 John Michael
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Bryan de Hoog 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Michael Rasztovits 6-5 Chris Quantock
Andy Boulton 6-2 Ron Meulenkamp
Steve Hine 6-5 Harry Robinson
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Jimmy Hendriks
Chris Dobey 6-5 Paul Harvey
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Matt Clark
Josh Payne 6-4 Richie Corner
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Ritchie Edhouse
Mickey Mansell 6-1 Mark Webster
Steve Lennon 6-3 Keegan Brown
John Bowles 6-0 Vincent Kamphuis

Third Round
Peter Wright 6-2 Vincent van der Voort
Ryan Searle 6-5 Steve Beaton
Simon Stevenson 6-5 Richard North
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-4 Mike De Decker
Michael Smith 6-1 Richie Burnett
Rob Cross 6-3 Cristo Reyes
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Zoran Lerchbacher
Robert Owen 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 John Henderson
Kyle Anderson 6-1 Mervyn King
Bryan de Hoog 6-5 Michael Rasztovits
Andy Boulton 6-5 Steve Hine
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Chris Dobey
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Josh Payne
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Mickey Mansell
Steve Lennon 6-1 John Bowles

Fourth Round
Peter Wright 6-1 Ryan Searle
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3 Simon Stevenson
Rob Cross 6-3 Michael Smith
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Robert Owen
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Kyle Anderson
Andy Boulton 6-4 Bryan de Hoog
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Steve Lennon

Peter Wright 6-2 Jeffrey de Graaf
Rob Cross 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Andy Boulton 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Simon Whitlock

Peter Wright 6-3 Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Andy Boulton

Peter Wright 6-3 Daryl Gurney

Prize Fund
Winner £10,000
Runner-Up £6,000
Semi-Finalists £3,000
Quarter-Finalists £2,250
Last 16 £1,500
Last 32 £1,000
Last 64 £500
Total £75,000

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