Ian White clinched his first PDC title for over 18 months after claiming a dramatic deciding-leg victory over Dave Chisnall at Players Championship Six in Milton Keynes on Sunday afternoon.
‘The Diamond’ last claimed a ranking title back in July 2016, but the 47-year-old produced a series of quality displays to claim the eighth PDC title of his career and pocket the £10,000 winner’s prize.
The Stoke-on-Trent star had reached two semi-finals in 2018 thus far, but went two steps better at the Arena MK to become the third player to taste Players Championship success so far this season.
However, White had to survive a match dart in a dramatic finale against Chisnall, who fought back from 4-2 to lead 5-4, only to relinquish that advantage. It was a game of fine margins, but the Stoke star prevailed with a 97.57 average, five maximums and a 43% checkout success rate.
‘Chizzy’ had the advantage of throw in the final, but White secured an immediate break of throw via D10, after the former Premier League star had spurned five darts at a double. White then doubled his lead with a clinical 65 kill for a 15-dart hold, before Chisnall halved the deficit with a classy 124 checkout on the bull.
White regained his two-leg buffer after following up his second maximum with a 90 outshot to hold inside 12 darts, but ‘The Yellow Peril’ responded by crashing in his first maximum and completing an 11-darter on tops to reduce the arrears to 3-2.
Chisnall then squandered two darts at tops to level at three apiece, as White pegged D4 to move 4-2 ahead. Nevertheless, the St Helen’s star completed a 13-dart hold via D8, before punishing a slack leg on throw from ‘The Diamond’ to level up proceedings at four apiece.
Suddenly Chisnall had the momentum and he secured his third straight leg with a 14-dart hold on D18 to move to the cusp of glory. However, this topsy-turvy tussle took yet another twist in the latter stages.
White kicked off the tenth leg with his fourth maximum, but missed darts at tops to force a decider. Despite this, he was handed a reprieve as Chisnall missed the bull for a 130 match-winning finish and he took full advantage
Stoke’s number one returned to pin D10 at the first time of asking to force a decider, in which ‘Chizzy’ had the advantage of throw, but he couldn’t make it count. Chisnall started the leg with visits of 44 and 60 and White pounced; firing in his fifth maximum and pegging tops to complete a brilliant victory with a 14-dart break of throw.
White’s eighth PDC title sees him remain in 13th position on the PDC Order of Merit, but he now closes to within £5,000 of five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld, and he’ll be confident of using this as a springboard for the rest of his season.
White kicked off his campaign with a 6-3 win over Luke Woodhouse, before whitewashing Maik Langendorf to book his spot in round-three. He then averaged 99.20 to defeat former World Youth champion Keegan Brown 6-1, before dispatching eight-time major winner James Wade 6-1 to seal his spot in the quarter-finals.
White then eased past John Henderson 6-2, to set up a semi-final showdown against Mervyn King, who claimed victories over Robert Owen, Alan Tabern, Kyle Anderson, George Killington and Dimitri van den Bergh. However, ‘The Diamond’ prevailed 6-3 in a nervy semi-final affair, converting a crucial 136 kill en route to victory.
In the top half of the draw, Dave Chisnall reached his first PDC ranking final since appearing in a Players Championship Final in Milton Keynes just under a year ago. Despite this, the St Helen’s star was denied a 13th ranking title in agonising fashion; having missed a dart at bullseye for a 6-5 victory.
Chisnall eased to a 6-2 win over former World Youth champion Arron Monk in his opening tie, before registering 6-4 and 6-3 victories over Peter Jacques and Cristo Reyes respectively to book his place in the last 16. ‘Chizzy’ then saw off an in-form Ricky Evans to seal his quarter-final berth; averaging 102.70 to round-off a 6-2 triumph.
In the last eight, the four-time major finalist faced his fellow St Helen’s star Stephen Bunting, who enjoyed a much-needed return to form in MK. However, he was unable to overcome ‘The Yellow Peril’ who averaged 104.70 to defeat the former Lakeside champion 6-3.
Chisnall then faced James Wilson for a place in the final, as he defied six maximums from ‘The Lethal Biscuit’ to prevail in a dramatic deciding-leg. Wilson defeated Ritchie Edhouse, Ron Meulenkamp, Jelle Klaasen and the Premier League duo of Daryl Gurney and Rob Cross to reach the last four, before spurning one match dart against ‘Chizzy’.
Indeed, it was a day of upsets in Milton Keynes, as a number of high-profile stars were condemned to early exits. Premier League star Gerwyn Price suffered his second opening-round exit of the weekend as he was beaten 6-4 by World Youth finalist Josh Payne, whilst Michael Smith was surprisingly beaten 6-3 by Irishman Jason Cullen.
There were also a plethora of established names who fell at the second-round stage. Two-time world champion Gary Anderson was beaten 6-4 by Ricky Evans, who took out finishes of 106, 62, 118 and 150 to reel off four consecutive legs from 4-2 behind to stun ‘The Flying Scotsman’.
Peter Wright and Simon Whitlock suffered round-two exits for the second straight day after losing to Jan Dekker and Madars Razma, whilst Mensur Suljovic was convincingly beaten by Jeffrey de Zwaan. Elsewhere, two-time world champion Adrian Lewis was thrashed 6-1 by World Youth champion Dimitri van den Bergh at the same stage.
Meanwhile, Michael van Gerwen’s 23-match unbeaten run in Players Championship Events was ended by his fellow countryman Jermaine Wattimena in round-three. Van Gerwen had triumphed in all three of the Players Championship events he’d featured in during 2018, but he was punished for several missed doubles by ‘The Machine Gun’.
In other news, Steve Hine landed a magical nine-dart finish in his first-round clash against World Grand Prix semi-finalist John Henderson, although it proved to be a bittersweet day for ‘The Muffin Man’, who was beaten 6-4 by the amiable ‘Big Hendo’. The full list of results can be viewed here: https://www.pdc.tv/node/7684
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC