Michael van Gerwen landed the first televised nine-darter for over 12 months en route to reaching the last eight at the Players Championship Finals, as Raymond van Barneveld also progressed to the quarter-finals at the Butlin’s Minehead Resort on Saturday.
Van Gerwen fired in a sensational nine-dart finish to edge out Adrian Lewis, before producing a high-quality display to see off James Wade and continue his bid for a fifth Players Championship Finals crown in an action-packed double session.
‘The Green Machine’ landed the perfect leg – the first televised nine-darter for over 12 months – in the eighth leg of his clash against Lewis. This saw him open up a 5-3 cushion but ‘Jackpot’ rallied to force a decider, only for the Dutchman to sink a nerveless 72 finish in the decider to prevail.
This set up a showdown with nine-time major winner Wade in the last 16, after the left-hander breezed past Ricky Evans 6-1 earlier in the afternoon. ‘The Machine’ averaged 102.01 and crashed in seven maximums against MvG, but it wasn’t enough to dethrone the world No 1.
Wade established an early 3-1 advantage and led 6-5 at one stage, but Van Gerwen put on the afterburners in trademark style. The three-time world champion won the final five legs in 14, 13, 14, 11 and 17 darts to triumph with a 105.96 average, eight maximums and a 38% doubling success rate.
Van Gerwen will lock horns with Mervyn King for the third time in a major televised event this season, after ‘The King’ rolled back the years to overcome Dave Chisnall and Rob Cross respectively.
King fended off a late rally from Chisnall in round-two, with the five-time major finalist reducing the arrears from 5-2 to 5-4, only for King to extinquish his hopes with a clinical 14-darter in leg 10.
Despite this, the 2010 finalist produced a vintage display against world No 2 Cross, averaging 105.09, hammering in eight maximums and boasting a 56% checkout success rate to cap off a majestic display. ‘Voltage’ simply had no answer and King fittingly wrapped up the win with a delightful 131 finish.
Elsewhere, Van Barneveld secured a place in his first televised ranking quarter-final since the 2018 World Championship with dominant wins over Joe Cullen and Glen Durrant on Saturday, having dumped out 12th seed Nathan Aspinall in his opener.
Van Barneveld reeled off four consecutive legs from 3-2 down to prevail with a 98.37 and a 50% checkout success rate against ‘The Rockstar’ to set up a showdown against three-time BDO world champion Glen Durrant, who survived two match darts to defeat Max Hopp in his second round tie.
‘Duzza’ kicked off the contest with a clinical 105 kill before Barney enjoyed a remarkable sequence of seven straight legs, despite Durrant missing double 12 for a 9-darter in leg seven. The Teessider never recovered and RvB kept his cool to complete an emphatic 10-3 win with a 96.91 average.
Van Barneveld will play World Grand Prix semi-finalist Chris Dobey for a place in the last four, after ‘Hollywood’ defeated James Wilson and John Henderson in convincing fashion.
Wilson shocked fourth seed Peter Wright on Friday evening but he couldn’t replicate that performance against the Premier League contender, as Dobey whitewashed ‘The Jammie Dodger’ with a 94.93 average and an impressive 67% on the doubles.
Henderson defeated Simon Whitlock in round two and led 5-2 against Dobey as he closed in on a second ranking TV quarter-final, but Dobey responded magnificently; reeling off eight legs on the spin to progress with a 95.21 average, three 180’s and 37% on the doubles.
Top seed Gerwyn Price is through to the last eight at the Players Championship Finals for the first time, courtesy of comprehensive wins over former World Youth champion Keegan Brown and major winner Mensur Suljovic.
Price made a blistering start to Saturday’s action, affording the Isle of Wight ace just two darts at double en route to a 6-0 win. Suljovic’s progress was less serene, as he survived a match dart for the second straight game to battle past World Series finalist Danny Noppert.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t a case of third time lucky for ‘The Gentle’, who was swept aside by a ruthless Price. ‘The Iceman’ averaged 101.88, registered five maximums and converted 53% of his attempts at double to record a 10-4 success at the expense of the Austrian.
Price will meet former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting for a semi-final spot, as ‘The Bullet’ fired in two ton-topping averages to reach his second televised quarter-final of 2019. He accounted for eighth seed Jose De Sousa in the afternoon session, before thrashing Ryan Meikle in the last 16.
His clash against De Sousa was a high-quality affair, with the Portuguese averaging 102.76 to Bunting’s 104.62. However, De Sousa missed 12 darts at a double and Bunting crashed in six 180’s in a brutal barrage of scoring to run out a 6-3 winner.
Meikle followed up his shock whitewash over ninth seed Jonny Clayton with a hard-fought victory against Darius Labanauskas, but he was blown away by a brilliant Bunting. The St Helen’s star averaged 107.03, posted five 180’s and hit 48% of his double attempts to storm through to Finals Day.
Ian White claimed the scalps of Vincent van der Voort and Michael Smith to move one win away from reaching a first televised PDC semi-final. ‘The Diamond’ has lost nine previous TV quarter-finals but he faces William O’Connor on Sunday – with the Irishman competing in his first.
White enjoyed some good fortune against former UK Open finalist Van der Voort, surviving a match dart in a dramatic deciding-leg. Both men rattled in four maximums, but the Stoke-on-Trent star held his nerve to seal the deal with a 94.20 average.
There was no fortune required as he faced practice partner Michael Smith however. ‘Bully Boy’ – fresh from a win against Brendan Dolan, was rendered helpless against a sparkling Diamond, who averaged 107.46 and missed just five darts at double en route to a convincing 10-4 triumph.
O’Connor has broken new ground in Minehead, seeing off Krzysztof Ratajski and Gabriel Clemens to set up his tussle against White. O’Connor impressed against ‘The Polish Eagle’, winning five of the remaining six legs to stun the third seed with a 96.02 average.
The World Cup finalist then defied a 102.20 average from ‘German Giant’ Clemens to close out a 10-7 win. O’Connor raced into a 4-0 lead but Clemens fought back valiantly. Nevertheless, ‘The Magpie’ converted 50% of his attempts at double which was instrumental in his success.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2019 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Saturday November 23
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Keegan Brown
James Wade 6-1 Ricky Evans
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Danny Noppert
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Luke Woodhouse
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Chris Dobey 6-0 James Wilson
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Joe Cullen
Rob Cross 6-4 Jamie Hughes
John Henderson 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Ryan Meikle 6-5 Darius Labanauskas
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Jose De Sousa
Ian White 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
William O’Connor 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Glen Durrant 6-5 Max Hopp
Mervyn King 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Michael Smith 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Best of 11 legs
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Gerwyn Price 10-4 Mensur Suljovic
Michael van Gerwen 10-6 James Wade
Raymond van Barneveld 10-3 Glen Durrant
Mervyn King 10-4 Rob Cross
Stephen Bunting 10-2 Ryan Meikle
William O’Connor 10-7 Gabriel Clemens
Chris Dobey 10-5 John Henderson
Ian White 10-4 Michael Smith