Brendan Dolan continued his remarkable revival by winning Players Championship 29 in Barnsley on Monday, as Peter Wright set a new record for the highest ever recorded average in a broadcast match.
Dolan ended his five-year wait for a title at Players Championship 22 in August and ‘The History Maker’ secured his second title in as many months with a battling 8-6 victory over top seed Ian White in the day’s showpiece.
The Northern Irishman kicked off Monday’s action with a comfortable win over David Pallett, before edging out Mark Webster in a last-leg decider – averaging 104.90 in the process.
The former World Grand Prix finalist then recorded consecutive 6-2 wins over John Henderson and Callan Rydz to set up a quarter-final showdown against Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price.
Dolan produced another dazzling display to down the Welshman, averaging 104.80 en route to another 6-2 success, before edging out record-breaker Wright in a last-leg shootout to confirm a place in Monday’s final.
The opening six legs of the final all went with throw, as Dolan took out majestic 136 and 161 checkouts to hold. The former World Cup semi-finalist then sank double three to secure the game’s first break of throw in leg seven, which he backed up with a clinical 108 kill to establish a 5-3 lead.
Dolan extended his winning sequence to four legs to move to the cusp of victory at 7-3, but ‘The Diamond’ fired in three consecutive 15-dart legs to threaten an inspired comeback and reduce the arrears to 8-6. However, Dolan recovered to land a 14-darter and scoop the £10,000 top prize.
“I can still do it, I played quality darts today at the right times and I think I deserved any luck I got,” said Dolan, who now has six PDC titles to his name. “The one in Hildesheim was more of a relief, whereas today I came into it with more belief that I could win having done it recently.
“When you’ve not been winning for five years your confidence is not so high and winning in Hildesheim has drastically changed that. In my head today I was determined to add money to my ranking to give me shot of qualifying for the 2020 World Matchplay and World Grand Prix.“
“I’ve missed those two events for the last three years and it’s killed me not being there, so hopefully next year I will be,” he added.
Although Dolan deservedly claimed the plaudits for his triumph, Peter Wright also played a starring role in proceedings, averaging an astonishing 123.50 in his quarter-final whitewash win over Krzysztof Ratajski -the highest ever recorded in a live broadcast darts match.
The previous record broadcast average was 123.40, set by Michael van Gerwen in a 7-1 defeat of Michael Smith in the 2016 Premier League, but Wright’s performance just usurped MvG’s record, with Snakebite’s winning legs coming in 14, 13, 11, 11, 12 and 12 darts.
Ron Meulenkamp was another star performer on Monday – defeating the likes of Jamie Hughes, Daryl Gurney and Dave Chisnall to reach his sixth Pro Tour semi-final, but he was unable to reach a first final – losing 7-5 to White in a high-quality affair.
There were a number of high-quality performances produced at the Barnsley Metrodome, with Jose De Sousa averaging 114.50 in a 6-3 win over Ritchie Edhouse, which also saw Edhouse register a brilliant 106.70.
Dave Chisnall continued from where he left off at the World Grand Prix – averaging 110.90 in a 6-4 success over a resurgent Alan Norris, whilst Meulenkamp averaged 108.40 to defeat Chisnall in a thrilling last eight tussle.
There were a number of high-profile absentees however, with Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross, James Wade, Gary Anderson, Mensur Suljovic, Nathan Aspinall and Raymond van Barneveld among the players opting out of this week’s double-header.
Tuesday’s Players Championship 30 will be the final PDC ProTour event of 2019, after which the top 32 players on the one-year rolling ProTour Order of Merit will provisionally qualify for the 2019/2020 William Hill World Darts Championship, excluding players who will qualify as one of the top 32 players on the main PDC Order of Merit.
Places at November’s Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals will also be on the line, as the top 64 players on the Players Championship Order of Merit at the conclusion of Players Championship 30 will qualify for the Minehead event.
Players Championship 29
Monday October 14
Ian White 6-5 Jose De Sousa
Joe Cullen 6-4 Joe Murnan
Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Devon Petersen
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Callan Rydz
Peter Wright 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Michael Smith
Ian White 6-1 Joe Cullen
Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 6-0 Krzysztof Ratajski
Ian White 7-5 Ron Meulenkamp
Brendan Dolan 7-6 Peter Wright
Brendan Dolan 8-6 Ian White