Daryl Gurney defeated Ricky Evans 8-6 to seal German Darts Championship glory and clinch his maiden European Tour title on a thrilling day of action in Hildesheim on Sunday evening.
The Northern Irishman has enjoyed an impressive resurgence in the Premier League over recent weeks and he maintained his fine form to claim his fourth PDC title; which propels him to a career high of third in the world.
He kicked off his campaign with a thumping 6-1 win over Andy Boulton on Saturday night, before reeling off six successive legs from 2-0 down to dump out world number two Rob Cross in the last 16; averaging 94.97 and converting 50% of his attempts at double in the process.
In the last eight, Gurney fought back from 5-4 down to edge out former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting in a nervy last-leg decider, after ‘The Bullet’ had claimed the scalps of Dimitri Van den Bergh and Ian White earlier in the tournament.
This set up a semi-final showdown against Adrian Lewis, who averaged 110 in defeating Joe Cullen, before easing past Peter Wright in the last eight. Gurney stormed into a 6-2 lead but ‘Jackpot’ reeled off three legs on the spin to reduce the arrears to 6-5, only for ‘Super Chin’ to fire in a 13-dart leg to triumph with a 100.31 average, six 180s and 47% on the doubles.
Ricky Evans awaited in the final, but Gurney fended off an impressive fightback from the 28-year-old to scoop the £25,000 winner’s prize and clinch his first ranking title since November’s Players Championship Finals, averaging 98.32 and crashing in five maximums.
The two-time PDC major winner established an early 3-0 lead in Sunday’s showpiece, but it could have been very different, as Evans squandered opportunities at double in all three legs. ‘Rapid Ricky’ opened his account on double 16 after Gurney had missed the same target for a 102 kill, but the Northern Irishman regained his three-leg cushion inside 13 darts.
The Premier League ace extended his advantage to 5-1 via tops, but Evans fought back impressively. He conjured up a classy 128 kill on the bullseye to break back, before registering back-to-back 14-dart legs to reduce the arrears to the solitary leg.
Evans missed one dart at tops for a 112 finish which would have levelled proceedings and Gurney pinned the same target to restore his advantage, but the Kettering ace responded with a clinical 70 outshot, before capitalising on five missed darts at double by ‘Super Chin’ to restore parity at six apiece.
The final essentially became a best of three legs contest, but experience paid dividends as Evans was denied a first senior PDC title. Gurney completed a 14-dart hold on double 16 to move to the brink of victory, before converting a nerveless 96 checkout to seal the deal after ‘Rapid’ had spurned one dart at tops to force a decider.
However, it was a very positive weekend for the former Development Tour winner, who produced a series of fine displays to secure a spot in his second European Tour final. Evans won a scrappy opener against Robert Thornton on Friday, before dumping out Mensur Suljovic to confirm his spot in Finals Day.
The former World Youth champion then sealed his progression to the quarter-finals with his third 6-4 win of the weekend; averaging 101.68, piling in five maximums and converting 43% of his attempts at a double to account for former European Tour winner Mervyn King.
In the last eight, Evans faced Darren Webster, who edged out James Wade in a titanic last 16 tussle. ‘The Machine’ landed a stunning nine-darter – the eighth of his professional career, but it wasn’t enough to topple ‘The Demolition Man’, who averaged 101.68 to Wade’s 105.64.
However, Evans survived two match darts as he recovered from 5-3 down to reach the last four, reeling off the last three legs in 11, 14 and 17 darts. This set up a semi-final clash against Keegan Brown, who had seen off Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price en route, but the Kettering ace ran out a 7-3 winner; averaging 98.63 and boasting a 54% checkout success rate.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2019 German Darts Championship
Sunday March 31
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Peter Wright 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Joe Cullen
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Rob Cross
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Ian White
Darren Webster 6-5 James Wade
Ricky Evans 6-4 Mervyn King
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Jonny Clayton
Keegan Brown 6-0 James Wilson
Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 BST)
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Peter Wright
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Ricky Evans 6-5 Darren Webster
Keegan Brown 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Daryl Gurney 7-5 Adrian Lewis
Ricky Evans 7-3 Keegan Brown
Daryl Gurney 8-6 Ricky Evans