Mickey Mansell claimed his maiden PDC title after defeating two-time world champion Adrian Lewis 6-4 in the final of Players Championship Eight at the Barnsley Metrodome on Sunday afternoon.
The Northern Irishman produced some dazzling displays en route to glory; dropping just eleven legs across his seven matches to scoop the £10,000 winner’s prize. Lewis was a big favourite ahead of the final, but for the second day in succession, ‘Jackpot’ was beaten at the last hurdle.
The final was a hard-fought affair, but Mansell’s nerve held as he prevailed with a 97.90 average, to seal the biggest win of his career to date. The 44-year-old drew first blood in the final with a 13-dart hold on D12, before Lewis followed up a maximum by pegging tops to level inside 12 darts.
Mansell regained the initiative with a tidy 69 checkout, before ‘Jackpot’ hit back via D10. The Northern Irishman then converted a clinical 80 kill for the fifth successive hold of throw, before firing in a timely maximum to pressure Lewis’ throw. However, the two-time world champion held his nerve; dispatching a classy 83 outshot to make it 3-3.
Nevertheless, a crucial moment came in the seventh leg. Both players were sat on 100 and Mansell drifted into the treble one with his first dart. Yet he recovered magnificently; finding the treble 19 before pinning tops to deny Lewis an opportunity to break.
The dominance on throw continued as the Stoke star replied by sinking D4 for the eighth straight hold, but Mansell remained rock-solid. He completed a nerveless 76 outshot for a 15-dart hold to move to the brink of victory, before capitalising on two missed darts from Lewis to convert a 58 checkout in two darts which clinched the title.
It was an incredible day for the Northern Irishman, who was ranked 76th in the world before play. He now rises ten places to 66th and becomes the 70th individual winner of a Pro Tour event. He made a blistering start to his campaign; dropping just one across his opening four matches.
He kicked off by recording impressive whitewash victories over Kim Huybrechts and Gary Eastwood, before thrashing Alan Norris 6-1. Mansell later recorded his third whitewash victory of the afternoon; averaging 98 to dispatch Robert Thornton, who had dumped out fellow Scot Gary Anderson in the previous round.
‘The Clonoe Cyclone’ then faced Gerwyn Price in the last eight, after the Welshman returned to form in Barnsley following his elimination from the Premier League on Thursday. Despite this, Mansell’s magnificent run continued, as he defeated ‘The Iceman’ 6-3 to reach his first Players Championship semi-final since 2010.
This set up a semi-final clash against former Pro Tour winner Josh Payne, who defeated Jamie Caven. Martin Schindler, Andrew Gilding, Max Hopp, Toni Alcinas to reach the last four. However, Mansell averaged 94 to defeat Payne 6-3, before producing a clinical display to stun Lewis in Sunday’s final.
The Northern Irishman reflected: “I know I can play well but the problem is consistency, everyone here can beat everyone else but it’s consistency that separates the top guys from the rest. For Adrian to make the final today after doing it yesterday is amazing and it shows what champions are made of.
“Believe it or not but I think the best game I played was the first one against Kim, it set me up for the rest of the day, I put him under pressure and thought that was the best I played all day.
“I’ve had some great results against the top players before so I’ve got the experience and I’ve got that mentality that I know I can beat them. I’ve been struggling, theres no point saying anything different but it would have been great to say I made the final but to win it over all the amazing players is incredible.”
Although Lewis was denied a first PDC title since April 2017, it a very positive weekend for the two-time world champion, who accrued £12,000 in prize money after reaching back-to-back finals at the Barnsley Metrodome.
Lewis faced Jeffrey de Zwaan in the opening-round, in a repeat of Saturday’s semi-final. The 33-year-old ran out a 6-2 winner, before defeating Germany’s Gabriel Clemens by the same scoreline. This set up a third-round showdown against Development Tour winner Luke Humphries, in which Lewis prevailed 6-3 with a 104.40 average.
‘Jackpot’ then defeated former World Youth champion Keegan Brown 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals, where he faced James Wilson. ‘The Lethal Biscuit’ also reached the quarter-finals of Saturday’s action, but Lewis ran out an emphatic 6-2 winner to set up a last four clash against Premier League star Simon Whitlock.
‘The Wizard’ has struggled on the Pro Tour circuit so far this year, but he defeated Jason Cullen, Darren Johnson, Michael Barnard, Ryan Joyce and Mark Webster to reach his first ranking semi-final of the year, before succumbing 6-1 to an inspired Lewis, who averaged 105 to reach yet another Pro Tour final.
Saturday’s winner Michael Smith was thrashed 6-2 in the second-round by World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis, whilst top seed Peter Wright was beaten at the same stage by Raymond van Barneveld in an absolute thriller.
Van Barneveld returned to form after a difficult few days to reach the last 16, defeating James Richardson, Wright and Steve West. Nevertheless, the five-time world champion produced his best performance against ‘Snakebite’; averaging 106.90 and dispatching 67% of his attempts at double to claim his third win against the Scot in 2018.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson was edged out by his fellow countryman Robert Thornton in round-three, whilst World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney suffered a surprise second-round exit against eventual quarter-finalist Toni Alcinas.
Eight-time major winner James Wade also suffered a second-round defeat to former BDO star Danny Noppert, whilst world champion Rob Cross was forced to pull out of today’s event due to illness. The full list of results from today’s action can be viewed below: https://www.pdc.tv/node/7690
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC