Dave Chisnall defeated Daryl Gurney 8-6 to clinch his second PDC title of the season and triumph in Players Championship Seven at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan on Saturday afternoon.
The St Helen’s star ended his 18-month wait for a ranking title in February and he maintained his impressive start to 2019 to scoop his second title in as many months and close in on a return to the world’s top ten.
Gurney led for large periods of the final but squandered a multitude of opportunities in the closing stages, as Chisnall held his nerve to seal the £10,000 winner’s prize and his 14th PDC ranking title, with a tournament average of 101.22.
‘Chizzy’ kicked off his campaign with an emphatic 6-1 win over Davy van Baelen, before posting averages of 104.3 and 102.7 to record convincing wins over Ritchie Edhouse and Stephen Bunting respectively.
Chisnall faced world number two Rob Cross for a place in the quarter-finals and for the third time this year, ‘The Yellow Peril’ came out on top; averaging an incredible 108.4 to defeat Cross 6-3.
The 38-year-old then faced Vincent van der Voort, with the Dutchman appearing in his first Pro Tour quarter-final for 18 months. However, Chisnall ran out a convincing 6-3 winner, before producing a sublime 109.1 average to defeat Mark McGeeney 7-2 in the semis, as ‘The Gladiator’ enjoyed the best day of his PDC career to date.
Despite this, ‘Chizzy’ was forced to come from behind against Gurney in a topsy-turvy tussle. Chisnall defeated the Premier League star in the season-opening Masters in Milton Keynes and he repeated the feat this afternoon to prevail with a 99.4 average.
The Northern Irishman drew first blood on tops, before doubling his lead on double five after some errant doubling from the five-time major finalist. Chisnall fired in back-to-back 13-dart legs to level, but Gurney regained the lead on double 16.
The Englishman replied with a 15-dart hold on double 18, but ‘Super Chin’ regained his two-leg buffer courtesy of successive 15-dart legs. However, Chisnall responded superbly; conjuring up a 12-dart break on tops to reduce the arrears to 5-4.
The world number 11 then restored parity at five apiece with a clinical 119 kill on the bullseye after Gurney almost took out a 158 finish, although the high-quality continued as the pair traded 13-darters to bring the scores level at 6-6.
Gurney had the advantage of throw which appeared to be decisive, but the key moment came in leg 13, as the two-time PDC major winner squandered EIGHT darts at double. Chisnall capitalised by nailing tops, before following up his seventh 180 with a 14-dart hold on double five to triumph.
Gurney was left to rue a missed opportunity, but it was a welcome return to form for the world number five, who was appearing in his first Pro Tour final since September. The 32-year-old has struggled in the Premier League over recent weeks, but he produced a string of fine displays on Saturday.
The reigning Players Champion began his campaign with a comprehensive 6-2 win over Niels Zonneveld, before averaging 102.7 to edge out UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall in round-two. Gurney then battled past Yordi Meeuwisse 6-4 to reach round-four, where he saw off Keegan Brown in convincing fashion.
In the last eight, Gurney withstood an inspired fightback from Players Championship One finalist Jermaine Wattimena to triumph in a last-leg decider, before denying Gerwyn Price a third consecutive Players Championship title in the semi-finals – running out a 7-2 winner to claim just his second career victory over the Welshman.
Elsewhere, a host of high-profile names suffered early exits in Wigan, as Peter Wright and Michael Smith were beaten in round-one by Robert Marijanovic and Ryan Joyce respectively. Top seed Ian White also lost his opener against an in-form Jamie Hughes.
Gary Anderson’s first Pro Tour appearance of 2019 ended with a second-round exit against Vincent van der Voort, after the two-time world champion had whitewashed Gary Eastwood in his opener.
James Wade, Adrian Lewis and Simon Whitlock all suffered surprise defeats to Arron Monk, Keegan Brown and Mike van Duijvenbode in round-two, whilst Raymond van Barneveld was beaten at the same stage by Price in an all-Premier League clash.
Three-time Lakeside world champion Glen Durrant bowed out in the third round against Cross, but ‘Voltage’ was unable to claim a first PDC title of the season after losing out to an inspired Chisnall in round-four.
World number one Michael van Gerwen did not feature at the Robin Park Tennis Centre after withdrawing from this weekend’s double-header on Friday, whilst World Matchplay finalist Mensur Suljovic was also absent.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Players Championship 7
Saturday March 16, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Ross Smith
Mark McGeeney 6-3 Chris Dobey
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Rob Cross
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Josh Payne
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Ricky Evans
Ryan Searle 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Keegan Brown
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Mark McGeeney 6-5 Ron Meulenkamp
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Ryan Searle
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Dave Chisnall 7-2 Mark McGeeney
Daryl Gurney 7-2 Gerwyn Price
Dave Chisnall 8-6 Daryl Gurney