Gary Anderson recovered from the disappointment of losing in the final of Players Championship 13 to claim glory just 24 hours later at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan on Sunday afternoon.
The world number two was beaten by an inspired Steve Beaton in the final of yesterday’s event, but ‘The Flying Scotsman’ overcame Ian White in Sunday’s final, to seal the 20th Players Championship title of his career.
Anderson produced a dominant display to ease past ‘The Diamond’ in Sunday’s final, averaging 100.01 to record an emphatic 6-1 victory. He also piled in two maximums and converted 60% of his attempts at double to round-off his third Pro Tour victory of 2017 thus far.
The two-time world champion kicked off proceedings by pinning D8, having wired the bullseye for a 170 outshot in the preceding visit. The Scot then doubled his tally after following up his first maximum with a clinical 84 kill to complete an 11-dart break, before extending his lead to 3-0 with a 15-dart hold via D9.
White opened his account on D8, but he was unable to reduce the arrears further as Anderson powered on to victory. The world number two picked out D12 for a 13-darter, having posted his second maximum in the previous visit. He then dispatched a classy 118 outshot to move to the cusp of victory, before pegging tops to seal the title.
Reflecting on his third Players Championship title of 2017, Anderson told Dan Dawson: “These tournaments are hard work, so it’s really good to get the win. Steve was fantastic yesterday and it was my turn today. I love it when the old boys stand up and show everyone what we can do. We are still doing the business and the young guys aren’t quite there yet.”
Nevertheless, it wasn’t all plain-sailing for the Scot. He began his campaign with a nerve-jangling deciding leg over Mickey Mansell, before defeating Harry Robinson 6-4 for the second day in succession. Anderson then followed this up with successive 6-2 wins over Kyle Anderson and Dirk van Duijvenbode respectively, to clinch his spot in the last eight.
In the last eight, Anderson faced Hampshire ace Richard North, who produced another fine showing on Pro Tour. North, who secured his maiden PDC Tour Card at this year’s Q-School, defeated Mick McGowan, Cristo Reyes, James Wade and Jamie Bain to reach the quarter-finals, before succumbing 6-1 to an imperious Anderson.
The two-time world champion then faced a showdown with Rob Cross in the last four, as Cross sealed his second semi-final spot of the weekend. He overcame Paul Rowley, Andy Jenkins, Antonio Alcinas, Mensur Suljovic and Daryl Gurney to reach the semi’s, but he was denied his third Pro Tour title of the year, as Anderson triumphed 6-4 in a thriller.
On the other side of the draw, Ian White continued his good form to reach his second Players Championship final in as many months. ‘The Diamond’ was edged out by Rob Cross in the final of Players Championship 10 in Milton Keynes last month, but he was unable to severely trouble a rampant Scot in Sunday’s final.
White kicked off proceedings with a battling 6-4 victory against Simon Stevenson, before dropping just five legs in his next three matches, as he stormed past the trio of Warrick Scheffer, Josh Payne and Gerwyn Price. This set up a quarter-final clash against talented Dutchman Jeffrey de Zwaan, who enjoyed his best Pro Tour showing for over 18 months.
De Zwaan claimed the scalps of Joe Cullen, Steve Lennon, David Pallett and Kim Huybrechts to reach the quarter-finals and claim £2,500 in prize money, but he was denied a place in the last four after surrendering a 5-2 cushion against the Stoke star, who reeled off four consecutive legs to dump out the Dutchman.
In the semi-finals, White saw off the challenge of former PDC major winner Robert Thornton. ‘The Thorn’ whitewashed Sven Groen in round-one, before defeating Mark Barilli, Martin Schindler, Darren Webster, Vincent van der Voort. However, he was denied a place in his second Players Championship final of 2017, as White triumphed 6-3.
However, there were also a number of early big-name casualties in Wigan. Saturday’s winner Steve Beaton was beaten in round-one by Spanish star Antonio Alcinas, whilst Benito van de Pas suffered his second straight first-round exit, this time against a resurgent Steve Hine.
Jelle Klaasen suffered another early exit as he lost out to his compatriot Yordi Meeuwisse, whilst Stephen Bunting, Mervyn King and Joe Cullen also departed the tournament at the first-round stage. Elsewhere, top seed Peter Wright was beaten 6-3 in round-three by an impressive Vincent van der Voort.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Players Championship 14