Ryan Joyce claimed his maiden PDC title on day two of the Summer Series, fighting back from 7-3 down and surviving multiple match darts to defeat Dave Chisnall in Thursday’s showpiece in Milton Keynes, to put himself on the brink of qualification for the World Matchplay later this month.
The former World Championship quarter-finalist had not progressed beyond the last 16 of any ranking event in 2020 prior to the Summer Series, but ‘Relentless’ lived up to his nickname to trouser the £10,000 top prize and put himself firmly in the picture for a World Matchplay debut.
The 34-year-old underlined his intentions by posting a 101 average in defeating former world finalist Andy Hamilton in round one, before dumping out World Youth champion Luke Humphries, which he followed with a 103 average in a 6-4 success against fellow Geordie Chris Dobey.
Joyce kept his campaign alive with a last-leg win over Gerwyn Price’s conqueror Madars Razma in the last 16, rallying from 5-3 down and firing in legs of 11 and 14 darts in the closing stages to set up a quarter-final clash against his North-East rival Glen Durrant.
The Premier League leader landed a 170 finish in leg five but for the second straight day he suffered a last eight exit and Joyce marched on – easing past two-time world champion Gary Anderson 7-3 in the last four to reach his first PDC ranking final.
Chisnall was left to rue missed opportunities as he was denied a 16th PDC title, but it was another positive day for the world No 10, who recorded convincing wins over Aaron Beeney and Jamie Lewis for the loss of just five legs to advance to the last 32.
The five-time major finalist then prevailed against Dutch trio Benito van de Pas, Maik Kuivenhoven and Martijn Kleermaker to reach the semi-finals. Chisnall claimed 6-4 wins over Van de Pas and Kuivenhoven, before averaging over 102 to complete an emphatic victory over Kleermaker.
‘Chizzy’ faced world No 6 Nathan Aspinall in the last four, but ‘The Asp’ was unable to claim his third Players Championship crown of the season. The Stockport star cut a frustrated figure throughout and Chisnall duly capitalised to close out a hard-fought 7-5 triumph.
Chisnall’s experience earned him the favourite tag against Joyce and he started positively, following up a 78 combination with a clinical 84 kill for a 12-dart hold. Joyce cut the deficit to 3-2 with a 13-dart hold followed by a 78 finish of his own, only for Chisnall to restore his buffer.
The St Helen’s star reeled off three consecutive legs to lead 6-2 and after the pair traded holds, Chisnall was just one leg away from glory. Nevertheless, Joyce displayed remarkable brinkmanship to produce an unlikely fightback.
‘Relentless’ posted successive legs of 15, 15 and 13 darts to reduce the arrears to 7-6, before capitalising on four missed match darts from Chisnall in the penultimate leg to pin tops and force a deciding leg, in which he had the advantage of throw.
Chisnall secured the early initiative courtesy of back-to-back 140’s, but Joyce piled in a timely maximum followed by a visit of 138 to leave tops after 12 darts, and after ‘Chizzy’ was unable to hit the bull, the unheralded Geordie returned to mop up double 10 to wrap up the biggest win of his career.
Wednesday’s winner Michael van Gerwen was dumped out in round three, as he suffered his second successive defeat against compatriot Maik Kuivenhoven. Kuivenhoven led 5-2 before spurning four match darts, only to fire in a 14-dart hold in the decider to dethrone ‘Mighty Mike’.
World champion Peter Wright – beaten by Van Gerwen in yesterday’s final – progressed to the quarter-finals before losing 6-2 to Premier League colleague Nathan Aspinall – his fourth defeat in five games against the former UK Open champion.
It was another high-quality afternoon of action at the Marshall Arena, with Simon Whitlock, Jamie Hughes, Jose De Sousa and Ron Meulenkamp all suffering opening round defeats despite posting ton-plus averages.
Michael Smith was another surprise first-round casualty, whilst Ian White, Mensur Suljovic and Rob Cross all departed in round two, despite White and Suljovic averaging 113 and 107 respectively in their openers.
Wednesday’s semi-finalist Krzysztof Ratajski succumbed to talented Dutchman Martijn Kleermaker in the third round, as top seed Gerwyn Price, two-time world champion Adrian Lewis, world No 7 Daryl Gurney and Van Gerwen all bowed out at the same stage.
Thursday’s event featured 127 players, with Eddie Lovely having withdrawn from the remainder of the PDC Summer Series for family reasons.
Ryan Hogarth has travelled to Milton Keynes, and will replace Lovely for the final three days of the Summer Series should he provide a negative result to the Covid-19 test, and the action continues on Friday, with another £75,000 in prize money on offer.
Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
PDC Summer Series Day Two (Players Championship Ten)
Thursday July 7, Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Madars Razma
Glen Durrant 6-1 Niels Zonneveld
Gary Anderson 6-1 Gabriel Clemens
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Martin Atkins
Peter Wright 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 James Wade
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Jason Lowe
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Maik Kuivenhoven
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Glen Durrant
Gary Anderson 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Peter Wright
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Martijn Kleermaker
Ryan Joyce 7-3 Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall 7-5 Nathan Aspinall
Ryan Joyce 8-7 Dave Chisnall