Gary Anderson continued his magnificent form by whitewashing both Rob Cross and Peter Wright to secure the Players Championship Three title at the Barnsley Metrodome on Saturday afternoon.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ triumphed at last weekend’s UK Open in Minehead to win the first ranking major of the new season, and Anderson produced the goods once more in Barnsley to win his third title of 2018- following on from his success in UK Open Qualifier Four last month.
Anderson had lost just one of his last seven meetings against his fellow countryman Wright and he produced another fine display to defeat Snakebite in Saturday’s final; averaging 101.30, landing the solitary maximum and converting 43% of his attempts at a double to complete a 6-0 thrashing.
Anderson demonstrated his intent by kicking off proceedings with a maximum, before breaking throw with a 13-darter on D10. He then doubled his lead after Wright spurned four darts at D12 to level, before conjuring up a classy 90 kill on the bullseye to secure a precious double-break.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ moved 4-0 ahead after Wright failed to take out 96, before moving to the brink of victory courtesy of a clinical two-dart 76 combination for a 14-dart break. Wright had the opportunity to avert the whitewash but his doubling woes continued as he missed two more at D16, which enabled Anderson to complete the rout on D10.
The two-time world champion was in sensational form throughout the day; finishing with a combined 101.70 average across all seven matches to scoop the £10,000 winner’s prize. Nevertheless, he was almost dumped out in the opening round; having to reel off five consecutive legs from 5-1 behind to edge out Terry Jenkins.
The world number four then registered successive 6-4 victories over Gary Eastwood and Simon Stevenson, to set up a last 16 clash against world champion Rob Cross- who had sealed his place in round-four with victories over Matthew Edgar, Dimitri van den Bergh and Mario Robbe.
Anderson had won the pair’s previous four meetings and he produced another terrific display to dispatch ‘Voltage’ in six straight legs. The Scot averaged 108.70, landed two maximums, converted 75% of his attempts at double and conjured up three bullseye finishes- including a majestic 170 outshot in the third leg.
Anderson then claimed a hard-fought 6-3 win over a resurgent Steve Hine in the quarter-finals, to set up a semi-final showdown against World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis, who landed a spectacular nine-darter in round-two; en route to recording his best showing of 2018 to date.
The Welshman defeated Diogo Portela, Adam Hunt, Stephen Bunting, Danny Noppert and Joe Cullen to reach the last four, but he was beaten 6-3 by an imperious Anderson, who averaged 109.70, piled in two maximums and registered visits of 177 and 171 to seal his place in the final.
In the top half of the draw, top seed Peter Wright returned to form to reach his first final of the new season. ‘Snakebite’ kicked off his campaign with a scrappy 6-3 win over Chris Quantock, before edging out Steve Lennon in a deciding-leg in round-two, after the Irishman had averaged 111 in his first-round demolition of Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Wright claimed another deciding-leg win over quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena, before averaging 98 to whitewash Darren Webster 6-0 and book his spot in the last eight. The Scot then faced Brendan Dolan, appearing in his first Pro Tour quarter-final since August; averaging 100.50 to close out a 6-3 victory.
In the last four, the world number two took on Jeffrey de Graaf, who was featuring in his first ever PDC Pro Tour semi-final. The Dutchman claimed the scalps of Robert Marijanovic, Luke Woodhouse, Daryl Gurney, Jelle Klaasen and Richard North, before succumbing 6-3 to Wright, who averaged a solid 97.10 to prevail.
Nevertheless, whilst two of the world’s top four featured in the final, there were a number of early big-name casualties in Barnsley. The Dutch duo of Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld are not in attendance this weekend, but eight-time major winner James Wade was whitewashed 6-0 in the opening round by Ricky Evans.
Adrian Lewis was also dumped out in the opening round. The two-time world champion failed to come through either of last night’s European Tour qualifiers and he was beaten 6-4 by Stephen Burton, who incidentally defeated ‘Jackpot’ in the second those qualifiers just 24 hours earlier.
Premier League star Simon Whitlock was also beaten at the first hurdle after spurning six match darts to defeat Ritchie Edhouse, whilst Kim Huybrechts was beaten convincingly by UK Open semi-finalist Robert Owen. The full list of results can be viewed here: https://www.pdc.tv/node/7681
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC