Gary Anderson leads the way on the Players Championship Order of Merit after completing a magnificent double in Barnsley over the weekend. ‘The Flying Scotsman’, who clinched the UK Open title just over a week ago, defeated Peter Wright and Jeffrey de Zwaan in the respective finals to take his tally of titles in 2018 to four.
This extends Anderson’s unbeaten run to 22 games and the two-time world champion will be hoping to continue his form in next weekend’s Players Championship double-header in Milton Keynes. However, world number one Michael van Gerwen will be returning to the fray next weekend.
‘The Green Machine’ won the opening two Players Championship events last month, but didn’t feature in Barnsley over the weekend due to exhibition commitments. Anderson and Van Gerwen are way out in front at the top of the Order of Merit, but Ryan Joyce, who won a PDC Tour Card back in January, sits in third place.
The former BDO star reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals on the opening weekend, before winning three matches this weekend to take his tally to £6,750. World number two Peter Wright is up to fourth after reaching his first ranking final of the season on Saturday, where he was unceremoniously whitewashed by a rampant Anderson.
Recent UK Open finalist Corey Cadby is level with Wright in fourth place, despite the fact that he didn’t feature in either events over the weekend. Cadby reached the final of Players Championship Two to accrue £6,000, but he returned home to Australia after his UK Open exploits ahead of his wedding on March 18th.
Dave Chisnall, a semi-finalist in Players Championship Four, sits in sixth position on £6,250, whilst young Dutch star Jeffrey de Zwaan continued his impressive start to 2018 by reaching his second Pro Tour final of the year on Sunday, although for the second time in as many months, he was thwarted by ‘The Flying Scotsman’.
James Wade suffered back-to-back first-round exits in Barnsley over the weekend, but he remains in eighth position after reaching the final of Players Championship One- his first appearance in a ranking final in over twelve months.
Stoke star Ian White is in ninth despite registering the solitary win over the recent two days of action in Barnsley, whilst two-time world champion Adrian Lewis makes up the top ten after reaching the semi-finals of Players Championship Four, where he squandered three match darts to defeat Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Simon Stevenson occupies 11th position after claiming the scalps of Daryl Gurney and Steve Beaton over the weekend, whilst former BDO star Danny Noppert is tied with Stevenson on £5,000. The Dutchman is quickly acclimatising to life in the PDC and registered a brilliant 6-2 win over Peter Wright in the opening-round of Sunday’s event.
Former World Youth champion Keegan Brown and reigning world champion Rob Cross are tied on £4,750, ahead of Jeffrey de Graaf, who reached his first ever Pro Tour semi-final on Saturday. The Dutchman currently sits on £4,500, level with World Grand Prix semi-finalist John Henderson and Premier League star Gerwyn Price.
Former Lakeside champion Stephen Bunting and World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis make up the top 20 alongside Jan Dekker and Darren Webster, whilst Premier League star Michael Smith, who sits joint top of the table alongside Van Gerwen, makes up the top 32 along with the likes of Kim Huybrechts and Benito van de Pas.
However, there are a number of established stars who have struggled to make an impression in the four Players Championship events held thus far. World Youth champion Dimitri van den Bergh and two-time PDC major winner Robert Thornton occupy 51st and 58th positions respectively, both on £2,000.
Elsewhere, 60th to 63rd on the Order of Merit is made up of Players Championship Finals runner-up Jonny Clayton, Auckland Darts Masters winner Kyle Anderson, nine-time major finalist Terry Jenkins and World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney.
Nevertheless, there are currently a host of big names outside the top 64 who would miss the cut for the Players Championship Finals in Minehead if the standings remained the same. The veteran duo of Steve Beaton and Mervyn King are in 75th and 77th positions respectively, on £1,500.
King is joined in 77th position by Premier League star Simon Whitlock, whilst three-time world champion John Part, who reached the UK Open quarter-finals just over a week ago, sits in 80th place on £1,000, alongside former Players Championship Finals winner Paul Nicholson.
Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic and five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld are in 86th and 92nd respectively, although both have missed two of the four events, and Van Barneveld will not be competing in Milton Keynes next weekend.
Former Lakeside world champions Mark Webster and Christian Kist are tied in 96th on just £500, whilst four-time major finalist Justin Pipe has yet to register any prize money on the Players Championship Order of Merit, having suffered four successive first-round exits in Barnsley.
Credit: Burton DeWitt