Freemium Day 14: A Deadly Darting Duo!

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Issue 512 proclaimed the three time success, at the World Cup of Darts, of the Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis partnership. Scroll down for more on our free ‘Lock-Down’ offer:

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Ones to Watch – The Surge! Too Hotty To Handle?

Today’s ‘One to Watch’ is a sprint rather than a marathon. Darts World’s ‘Resident Coach’ often refers to destructive darts. He also (repeatedly), states that outlasting, or surviving, ‘The Surge‘ and retaining your own composure is the key to many a famous win.

A fantastic example of ‘The Surge‘ was produced by Scott Waites during his group match against Adrian Lewis in 2010. It is one of the most destructive starts, to a high profile game, you will ever see:

Scott Waites demonstrates ‘The Surge’

Coach’s Comments:

It is clear that Scott has decided to pour his focus into this match. Pay attention, to his body language, and manner, during the ‘warm-up’ phase. Adrian is doing his usual relaxed, laughing and joking, routine, whilst Scott looks as if he is psyching himself up to burst from the gates!

Too-Hotty then reals off three big finishes. The 161 in leg two is the important, but the third a 137 finished on d10 is utterly destructive. Although the commentators concentrate on the back-to-back twelve dart legs, Lewis is denied three clear darts at 18, which he surely would have hit. This completed the most often seen example of ‘The Surge’. Three quick legs involving a Hold-Break-Hold (HBH) pattern.

From this point on you can see, despite his, Bristow/Taylor like, bravado, Jackpot’s resistance crumbling.

Scott eases the intensity off, a little, at the end of leg three a smile to the crowd, a shake of the head and a drink of water. Following the HBH simply sharing the next two, on throw, gives the ‘Surger’ 4 out of 5 legs. Although, Waites lost leg four, it was clear that Adrian was trying, much too hard, and as a result, all his natural weapons were not helping.

Returning after the break Waites could afford to stay within himself and force Lewis to find more. Thus the four, from five, are secured and Too Hotty moves 4-1 up, in the first too five. Although Scott falls for trying, too hard, to wrap it up quickly, the cushion he has earned from one of the best timed destructive spells, ensures he is able to survive a mini Lewis comeback and close out the match. He went on to win the event!

Some players seem naturally able too surge at the right time. This ability both enables faster wins, due to fewer legs played and easier ones due to lack of resistance.

MVG ‘s record setting Premier League game against Micheal Smith is another superb example. Smith is reduced to being a practice partner and not a very good one.

Had Jackpot retained more of his own game earlier who knows? Next time we will look at how to survive such an onslaught!

Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen

Nine Dart Nuggets: Who’s Missing? Who Stands Out and Who Dominates?

Since the start of the 2020 season there has been much comment on the regularity of 9-Dart Legs. These perfect moments are one of darts unique features and, as such, they are the source of much discussion. While looking into them we came across a few nuggets of 9-dart news that were too good not to share:

Lewis & Barney Head HappyBet German Darts Masters UK Qualifiers
Lewis & Barney – Twenty Perfect legs between them. Pic: L Lustig

Nine: How many times Nine?

Competitive and authenticated 9-dart legs have been struck by 131 different players between today in 1976 and 2020. Only thirty-six players have done it more than once. fifteen three-plus times and The Power, MVG and Jackpot are alone in the ‘double figures club’.

Eight: Oatcakes are the Key.

Stoke-on-Trent is the ‘official’ home of the nine dart hitter! Potteries natives, and adopted sons, have collected over forty perfect legs between them. Phil Taylor (21) Adrian Lewis (11) Ian White (5) and Andy Hamilton (3) lead the line for ‘The Potters’.

Seven: Nowt for the Count.

A glaring ommission?

Missing from the list are a number of legends both past and present. Ted Hankey, for example, has not recorded a ‘niner’. Less surprising are those who rose to fame before John Lowe’s breaking of the bogey. Martin Adams does not seem to have claimed a perfect moment despite multiple world and major titles.

Six: One Shot John?

Old Stoneface may have fired the starting gun, hitting the his TV nine darter in 1984, but did not register another. Despite playing at the highest level for another twenty years, after picking up £100,000 for being the first, John Lowe only features once. Perhaps the drop in prize money was too big!

Duzza holds a special place in the 9-Dart annals. Pic: Christopher Dean

Five: On a Pair.

Glen Durrant has a unique claim. He and Claire Stainsby hit the 9-Dart doubles leg during the British international Open in 2013. Glen also appears, solo, in our list. Thus Duzza, is the only person to have officially recorded perfect legs as part of a pair and whilst standing alone!

Four: The Iceman Not Yet Cometh.

Gerwyn Price is the highest ranked player not to have made his mark on the 9-Dart bedpost. The Welshman famously hit a ‘unofficial 9-darter’ between sessions during a televised match in 2019 but he has yet to hit one in the heat of battle.

Unicorn Darts is voted Best Darts Brand 2016
Perfect Darts? Unicorn seem to dominate the 9-Dart stats.

Three: Chasing Unicorns.

Unicorn darts can easily claim the greatest success rate, and barrel style, even a casual look at the table reveals that the first TV 9-darter, the first live UK 9 darter, the first Ally Pally and many more were completed by Unicorn men. Taylor, Barney, Jackpot, Wade, Anderson and White have hit many with their Unicorn barrels. A rough count gives them over 50 of darts great moments.

Two: Original & Unique.

Kyle Anderson stands out from other players toward the top of the list. The Australian has hit 6 ‘niners’, in his relatively short career, placing him seventh overall . He is yet to win a major trophy or even reach the final. He has claimed only a single Pro Tour level win and has not troubled the elite rankings in terms of the top ten, or even top sixteen,and is currently ranked outside the top forty. It should be remembered that he is only 32 years old, and may well have more to come.

Even with new arrows MVG hits a perfect note

One: Mighty Impressive!

MVG appears set to blow a hole in most of these stats. He is still only thirty, and at the peak of his powers, but has already hit the youngest TV ‘niner’ and the first World Championship one with a varied the route (he went T19 on his 6th dart). Micheal heads most lists, for total 9-darters hit, and has already added a couple more in recent times. The fact he has hit one, or more, with his new weapons should bode well for those wishing to see records broken and new ground struck.

9 Dart Stats, all events from 1976-2020, courtesy of:

Player’s Championship 2020 (1) – Full Report & Results.

Gary Anderson claimed the first PDC ranking title of 2020 with victory at Player’s Championship 1 in Barnsley on Saturday.


Anderson defeated Canada’s Jeff Smith 8-4 in the final to get his 2020 campaign off to a perfect start following an injury-ravaged 2019.

The two-time World Champion was in fine form all day, hitting four ton-plus averages, including a 107.5 against Christian Bunse in the first round.

After a win over Simon Whitlock, a 104.4 average saw Anderson defeat rival Gerwyn Price for the second time in a week, which he followed up with a 106.1 to overcome Rob Cross and reach the quarter-finals.

There, the Scottish World Cup winner beat Joe Cullen 6-2 before averaging 102.2 to claim a 7-3 win over Adrian Lewis in the semi-finals.

The final saw Anderson race into a 6-2 lead before Smith, who was competing in his first Players Championship event since 2013, fought back to trail 6-4.

However, two-time World Champion Anderson was not to be denied and he went on to pick up his first PDC ranking title since the 2018 World Matchplay.

“It’s been a while since I won something, but I’ve got the hunger back,” Anderson revealed.

“I want to get back to how I was throwing before [injury], I don’t mind if I win or lose, but as long as I throw them how I used to then I’ll be alright.

“I still have work to do, but it’s not a bad start.”

The first of 30 Players Championship events in 2020 saw two nine-dart finishes hit, both in the first round, by Northern Ireland’s Mickey Mansell and Dutchman Mike van Duivenbode.

The day was also a significant one for another Dutch youngster, Maik Kuivenhoven, who reached his first PDC ranking quarter-final.

Sunday will see the second day of the ProTour double-header take place, with live streaming on PDCTV.

See full Players Championship 1 results in the Match Centre.

Players Championship 1
Saturday February 8
Last 16

Brendan Dolan 6-5 Ross Smith
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-3 Steve Brown
Peter Wright 6-3 Conan Whitehead
Jeff Smith 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Adrian Lewis 6-1 Darren Webster
Steve Beaton 6-1 Mickey Mansell
Gary Anderson 6-2 Rob Cross
Joe Cullen 6-1 Nick Kenny

Brendan Dolan 6-3 Maik Kuivenhoven
Jeff Smith 6-5 Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Steve Beaton
Gary Anderson 6-2 Joe Cullen

Jeff Smith 7-2 Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson 7-3 Adrian Lewis

Gary Anderson 8-4 Jeff Smith


Clayton Closes MVG’s Masters Reign. 2020 Ladbrokes Masters: Night One.

Jonny Clayton sensationally ended Michael van Gerwen’s five-year reign as champion on the opening night of the 2020 Ladbrokes Masters in Milton Keynes on Friday.


Van Gerwen was previously undefeated in 20 games on the Marshall Arena stage, but Welsh number two Clayton’s superior doubling accuracy ensured the world number one’s campaign got off to the worst possible start.

Clayton flew out of the traps, landing a 116 finish to open up a 3-0 lead, only for Van Gerwen – using a new set of darts – to wrestle his way back into the contest at 5-5.

Not at his clinical best, Van Gerwen was unable to take a stranglehold on the game as Clayton won the next four legs, including a stunning 92 checkout using double 16 and double top, to go one away from victory at 9-5.

After former Players Championship Finals runner-up Clayton missed a dart at bullseye for a 121 finish to win the match, Van Gerwen found the same target to save his skin with a roof-raising 164 checkout.

However, the reprieve was short-lived for the Dutchman as the following leg saw Clayton find a third-dart double ten to pile the misery on Van Gerwen, who lost his World Championship crown to Peter Wright on New Year’s Day.

I’m one very happy Welshman! It’s a brilliant feeling I’ve got right now,” said Clayton, reflecting on one of his finest victories on a televised stage.

“When you play Michael you know what to expect and I went into the game knowing how well I’ve played against him in the past.

“I know the game is there for me, it’s just a case of showing it more consistently and hopefully this is the start of big things to come from me this year.

“I’m going to enjoy my day off tomorrow by watching Wales in the rugby and look forward to Sunday, who knows how far I could go? To beat the best player in the world is a massive step for me.”

Clayton is now set to meet Nathan Aspinall in Sunday afternoon’s quarter-finals, after the UK Open and US Masters champion enjoyed a winning Masters debut by brushing aside James Wade 10-4.


A scrappy start to the game saw both players struggle to produce their best form, before world number eight Aspinall won the last six legs without reply to seal a comfortable passage through.

“I won the game but I wasn’t happy with my performance,” admitted Aspinall, the world number eight.

“It was a tough game to play and it’s the first game back after a break. I felt flat and I couldn’t get into my normal rhythm, and James didn’t get into the match.

“Two years ago I’d have lost a match like that, but I dealt with the situation and came out on top.

“I felt like I had a good few legs in the middle and my scoring was okay, but it was my debut in and I’ve got through it, so I can prepare for Sunday now.”

Number five seed Michael Smith got his year off to a high-quality start with a 101.85 average in an impressive 10-6 win over Mensur Suljovic in the opening game of the tournament.

After Suljovic took the opening two legs, Smith won the next five to take charge of the contest, only for the Austrian number one to fight back and go within two legs at 8-6.

However, Smith maintained his composure, taking out 113 to move to the brink of victory before firing in an 11-dart leg to advance to the quarter-finals for a third time.

“I’m feeling good, it’s about time I finished well!” said Smith, who landed six 180s and missed just seven double attempts.

“It’s a great way to start my year off on the back of a disappointing end to 2019.

“I feel like a little kid who’s just started playing again, I’m really looking forward to playing all the time.

“A loss there would’ve set me back so I’m glad I put in a decent average and performance to put me through to Sunday.”


Smith will meet 2013 Masters runner-up Adrian Lewis in the last eight after he defeated Rob Cross 10-5 in the battle of the former World Champions.

Both players struggled to find their range for the majority of the contest, but it was Lewis who managed to find more trebles over the course of the match to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in three years.

“We were waiting for each other to kick in I think and neither of us were happy with how we played, but I’m through,” said Lewis, who also sealed victory with an 11-darter.

“I’ve been practising hard and I will try to put things right, especially with my finishing because my doubles deserted me at times.

“Consistency has let me down in the last 18 months and tonight was a prime example, but I know that if I click on Sunday then I could win this.”

Saturday will see the four remaining last 16 ties take place, as Peter Wright faces Joe Cullen in his first outing as World Champion.

Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson takes on Ian White, world number three Gerwyn Price meets Simon Whitlock and Daryl Gurney faces Dave Chisnall.

The tournament will be broadcast live on ITV4 in the UK, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2020 Ladbrokes Masters
Friday January 31
First Round

Michael Smith 10-6 Mensur Suljovic
Nathan Aspinall 10-4 James Wade
Jonny Clayton 10-6 Michael van Gerwen
Adrian Lewis 10-5 Rob Cross

Saturday February 1 (1900 GMT)
First Round

Daryl Gurney v Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson v Ian White
Peter Wright v Joe Cullen
Gerwyn Price v Simon Whitlock

Sunday February 2
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)

Adrian Lewis v Michael Smith
Jonny Clayton v Nathan Aspinall
Price/Whitlock v Anderson/White
Wright/Cullen v Gurney/Chisnall

Evening Session (1900 GMT)

First Round – Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals – Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals – Best of 21 legs
Final – Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner £60,000
Runner-Up £25,000
Semi-Finalists £17,500
Quarter-Finalists £10,000
First Round Losers £5,000
Total £200,000

The Devonshire Discussion – Time to Expand the Darting Safe Space?

The Exclusion Zone around and behind the Oche has been in place for some time now. It is usually clearly marked for major events and especially those on TV. A different colour carpet/flooring is used in order to remove and doubt and make it clear to the referee and watching officials.

Jackpot is a master at the art of close combat darts!
Pic: PDC

Whilst it’s been one of the better ideas that’s been introduced in the PDC over the years, we still see times where a player will celebrate, which they should rightly do, but the opponent is usually stood right on the edge of the exclusion zone, more often than not a big toe is in there. Adrian Lewis is a superb exploiter of the zone, although the DRA have disagreed at times!

The speed and fluency of many in the modern game can mean that it is almost seemless between throws. It is highly unlikely that both players are within the designated spaces 100% of the time during any match.

The Iceman has been known to get under the skin of opponents.

Subsequently the two darters can get too close for comfort and this can cause friction and change a game when there’s no need for it. It is possible that this is what causes a build up of tensions between differing types of player or personality. Gerwyn Price vs Gary Anderson for example or Daryl Gurney vs Simon Whitlock at the WGP a couple of years ago.

Also slightly increasing the size of the zone at the back of the Oche can only help when players retrieve their darts from the board, will cut down on avoiding flying arrows too.

Eric & the other’ Founding Fathers’ did not require exclusion zones, they imposed their own!

Others at Darts World seem to feel that that darts has become more and more sanitised and that the over regulation of the playing space and clamping down on players expressing themselves is an example of snowflakery and risks eliminating one of darts key variables. The psychological combat element is and always has been a strong element of the game. No Safe Spaces seems to be their mantra!

What do you think? Let us know your view in the comments or @Darts_World Perhaps tell tell Andrew direct @A_Devonshire

Addition content by DW staff (italicised)

Featured Pic – PDC L Lustig

Sherrock Reigns as Queen of Ally Pally.


Fallon Sherrock stunned the sporting world again as she knocked Mensur Suljovic out of the William Hill World Championship with a monumental bullseye finish on Saturday.


Four days after making history as the first woman to win a match in the sport’s most prestigious tournament with her victory over Ted Evetts, Sherrock claimed another victory thanks to an incredible display of doubling at Alexandra Palace.

The 25-year-old sensation converted 69 percent of her double attempts in a 3-1 triumph over Suljovic, the 11th seed, which she sealed with a 86 checkout on the bull.

“I can’t believe it,” said Sherrock, who will return on Friday December 27 to take on Chris Dobey in round three.

“I’ve knocked out one of the best players in the world and it has given me the best feeling in the world.

“I was so happy when that bullseye went in. It was an amazing moment for me and I’ll be jumping around when I get home.

“I felt so comfortable and I really enjoyed it – I just want to get up there and play again.”

Suljovic looked like he had taken control from the start when he won the first two legs but successive finishes of 81, 131 and 70 saw Sherrock steal set one.

She then added checkouts of 104 and 64 to make it five legs on the spin but it was Suljovic’s turn to come from behind as he won the next three legs to level the match.

The Austrian took the the first two legs in the third set but Sherrock hit back again, winning the next three with the aid of an 11-darter that began with back-to-back 180s for her second time in the tournament.

Suljovic took a 2-1 lead in the fourth set before Sherrock took out 68 to level and, after her opponent missed a dart at tops to force a fifth set, she punished him in style with a clinical 88 finish on the bull.

Dimitri Van den Bergh posted the highest average of the event so far as he breezed past Josh Payne in the final match of the second round.


The Belgian star completed a straight sets victory with a three-dart average of 103.81, hitting three 180s and a 124 checkout in an impressive start to his campaign.

“I gave my best and I’m glad to be through,” said the two-time PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion.

“A couple of months ago I was really struggling but I have found some belief and I took it on stage tonight.”

Daryl Gurney made light work of Justin Pipe as the former World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals winner completed a 3-0 win.

Pipe took the first leg with a 104 checkout but Northern Ireland’s number one reeled off nine of the next ten legs to progress.

“He took out the 104 but there was no catching me after that,” said Gurney. “I’ve been working on my throw and made a small correction which seems to have helped.

“I know I’m going to be in for a real battle in the next match so I’ll come back ready for that.”

Gurney will take on Glen Durrant in the third round after the Alexandra Palace debutant eased past Australia’s Damon Heta without losing a set.

The three-time Lakeside Champion added the tournament’s sixth 170 finish in a solid PDC World Championship debut.

Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis won a thrilling battle against Spain’s Cristo Reyes, coming back from two sets down to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Lewis narrowly missed double 12 for a nine-darter as he rallied back from the brink to move into the third round, where he will play Darren Webster.

“If I play like I did in the last few sets then I’ll be fine but if I play like I did in the first two then I’ll be in trouble,” said Lewis, the 2011 and 2012 Ally Pally champion.

“If I can almost hit a nine-darter it shows that I’m playing pretty well and I feel like I can carry that form on.”

Simon Whitlock eased past Harry Ward with a straight sets success, in which the Australian number one dropped just two legs.

Former World Championship finalist Whitlock will face Mervyn King in round three as he bids to reach the last 16 for the first time in six years.

“I’ve been practising harder than ever for this,” said Whitlock, the runner-up a decade ago. “I’ve put in around 100 hours on the board at home in the last six weeks and I feel like that made all the difference today.”

Ryan Searle’s 101.54 average is currently the second highest of the 2019/20 World Championship so far as he defeated Steve West by three sets to nil.

Devon darter Searle won every set 3-2 to book his place in the last 32, where he will take on two-time World Champion Gary Anderson.

Seigo Asada completed a great escape to stun Keegan Brown, who won the first seven legs of their dramatic tie before falling to a tie-break defeat against the Japanese ace.

World Cup semi-finalist Asada took the final set 4-2 with a match-winning 11-darter to set up a third round meeting with Peter Wright.

Sunday sees the third round begin with 12 players competing across two sessions, including defending champion Michael van Gerwen up against Ricky Evans and UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall’s tie with Krzysztof Ratajski.

Day Ten will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Darts channel and through NOW TV in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

William Hill World Darts Championship

Saturday December 21

Afternoon Session

4x Second Round

Seigo Asada 3-2 Keegan Brown (Second Round)

Simon Whitlock 3-0 Harry Ward (Second Round)

Ryan Searle 3-0 Steve West (Second Round)

Adrian Lewis 3-2 Cristo Reyes (Second Round)

Evening Session

4x Second Round

Daryl Gurney 3-0 Justin Pipe (Second Round)

Glen Durrant 3-0 Damon Heta (Second Round)

Fallon Sherrock 3-1 Mensur Suljovic (Second Round)

Dimitri Van den Bergh 3-0 Josh Payne (Second Round)

Sunday December 22

Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)

3x Third Round

Jonny Clayton v Stephen Bunting

Darius Labanauskas v Max Hopp

Nathan Aspinall v Krzysztof Ratajski

Evening Session (1900 GMT)

3x Third Round

James Wade v Steve Beaton

Kim Huybrechts v Danny Noppert

Michael van Gerwen v Ricky Evans

Third Round: Best of seven sets

Written by Chris Murphy

William Hill Offer £100k for Double 9 Darter.

A huge £100,000 bonus is on offer should any player create history with TWO nine-dart finishes at the 2019/20 William Hill World Darts Championship.

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

A record-breaking year has seen 47 nine-dart finishes achieved on the PDC circuit worldwide during 2019, most recently with the only televised perfect leg by Michael van Gerwen at the Players Championship Finals.

Seven players have previously hit nine-darters at Alexandra Palace, but nobody has recorded two in the same World Championship.

A massive £100,000 prize is on offer should any player achieve that feat over the next three weeks, with this year’s event beginning on Friday December 13 and running through to the final on New Year’s Day.

“The standard of top-level darts has continued to soar this year and that’s been evident in the record number of nine-darters across the circuit,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.

“The World Championship is the perfect stage for bringing the best out of players, and this £100,000 bonus for two nine-darters is another huge incentive for a player to make history at Ally Pally.”

Phil Taylor is the only player who has previously achieved two nine-darters in one televised event, with both coming in the 2010 Premier League final.

Raymond van Barneveld achieved the first nine-darter at Alexandra Palace a decade ago, and is joined by Adrian Lewis in having achieved perfection twice in World Championship history.

Michael van Gerwen, Dean Winstanley, Terry Jenkins, Kyle Anderson and Gary Anderson are the other players who have achieved a nine-darter at Alexandra Palace – with Van Gerwen having been one dart away from hitting back-to-back perfect legs.

* Should two or more players break new ground by achieving two nine-dart finishes, the bonus would be shared on a pro-rata basis. For example, if two players were to each hit two nine-darters, at any stage during the event, they would receive £50,000 each. There is no additional bonus or priority given to players achieving three or more nine-darters, or for the order in which nine-darters are hit.


MVG Stuns Lewis with 9 Dart Leg.

Micheal Van Gerwen announced a return to his best, with a superb 9 dart leg, in his match against Adrian Lewis this afternoon.


MVG often turns on the style against players of a similar speed and fluency to himself and today was no exception. Leading 4-3, but with Lewis not out of it, Micheal hit a maximum 180 to get the leg under-way. He opted for 177 with his second throw, hitting t19 last dart. Two T20s and a smooth D12 finished it off in style.

The Butlins crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy their brief glimpse of perfection. This was Micheals 6th televised 9 dart leg and followed the path he set down early. He was both the youngest player to hit one and the first to do so without going 180, 180 with the first two turns.

Some observers had commented on the world number one seeming sub-par, in recent months, and wondered if the improvement of other players, such as Gerwyn Price had increased the pressure on the 30-year-old Dutchman.

It seems that MVG is keen to get back to winning way at the business end of the 2019 season.

Woodhouse Triumphs as Wright Bows Out – Player Championship Finals Under Way.

Luke Woodhouse enjoyed a dream big-stage debut at the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals with a brilliant 6-5 win over Daryl Gurney as the tournament began in Minehead on Friday, where Peter Wright was also knocked out.

Worcestershire’s Woodhouse, 31, produced the most memorable display of his career as he came from 3-1 and 5-3 down to see off Gurney, who missed two match darts in leg nine before watching on as his opponent took out 71 in the decider.

A two-time UK Open qualifier previously, Woodhouse was appearing in front of the TV cameras for the first time but was left celebrating a breakthrough moment against the world number six.

“I’m lost for words – I’m so happy,” said Woodhouse, ranked 71st on the PDC Order of Merit. “It’s massive for me. It was daunting and it took me a couple of legs to get into the game.

“I just wanted to stick in there with him and hope that if he missed a few doubles I could take my chance, and that’s what happened. He didn’t play as well as he usually does and I took advantage of that.

“I don’t fear anybody and on my day, if I click, I really think I can beat anybody. It’s amazing to win my first game on TV – it was almost an out-of-body experience!”

Woodhouse’s win means that he now faces Gabriel Clemens in round two on Saturday afternoon, after the German thrower saw off Mark McGeeney 6-4.

World number seven Wright, meanwhile, also paid for missing match darts as he let a 5-3 lead slip against James Wilson before the Huddersfield ace took the deciding leg.

Wilson will now meet Chris Dobey, who landed a 164 checkout in a comfortable 6-1 win over Spain’s Cristo Reyes.

Michael van Gerwen landed a 170 checkout but had to overcome a scare from Luke Humphries before taking a 6-3 win to open his challenge for a fifth Players Championship Finals title.

Van Gerwen took out the maximum finish on his way to a 4-0 lead, only for Humphries to hit back to 4-3 – but the World Youth Championship finalist crucially missed two darts to level.

The World Champion capitalised to move 5-3 up before sealing victory with a 95 finish which featured two double 19s, ending the game with an average just above 100.

“It wasn’t my best performance but I had some nice finishes in there and a win is a win,” said Van Gerwen. “I did some good things early on but I wasn’t 100 percent focused, so I have to concentrate on myself and play better in the next game.”

Van Gerwen now resumes his rivalry with Adrian Lewis, who came from 6-4 down to win 6-4 against Josh Payne in their first-round tie.

Grand Slam of Darts winner Gerwyn Price – the number one seed for this event – averaged 102 in a strong showing as he defeated Mickey Mansell 6-3, and he now plays Keegan Brown, after the former World Youth Champion saw off Andy Boulton by the same scoreline.


Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld began his penultimate tournament before retirement with a superb 99 average as he overcame UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall 6-2.

“My form is there and I can do better than this but I feel confident,” said the veteran Dutchman. “Nathan has had a great year so I was warned and he’s a phenomenal player but I play the board.


“There’s no pressure on me and every single round is a bonus, so I just want to play as well as I can. I’m practising well and I believe in myself and everyone knows that if I play my game I can beat anyone in the world.”

Van Barneveld now meets Joe Cullen, who swept past Australia’s Kyle Anderson with a 6-2 victory which was sealed with a 121 finish.

World number two Rob Cross dropped just two legs as he defeated Ron Meulenkamp to set up a second round tie with Jamie Hughes, who was a 6-3 winner against another Dutchman, Jermaine Wattimena.

Second seed James Wade defied two ton-plus finishes from Ted Evetts before taking out 104 to seal a 6-4 win over the youngster, and the left-hander now plays Ricky Evans after the Kettering ace’s narrow 6-5 defeat of Steve Beaton.

World Championship finalist Michael Smith enjoyed a 6-1 win over Martin Schindler and now plays Brendan Dolan, who won by the same scoreline against Ross Smith in their first round tie.

Simon Whitlock produced a rousing comeback from 3-0 down to defeat Dutch prospect Jeffrey de Zwaan, who made a sensational start to their first-round contest.

However, Whitlock finished 88 and 148 in successive legs to begin his fightback, before edging to a 6-5 win in a deciding leg.

Whitlock’s second-round opponent, John Henderson, was another narrow winner as he survived missed match darts from Ryan Joyce, who was unable to convert three chances for victory in the deciding leg of their clash.

Mensur Suljovic came from 5-3 down to deny Kim Huybrechts in a decider, and the Austrian now plays Dutchman Danny Noppert, who won four straight legs from 5-2 down against Ryan Searle before taking the victory.

Suffolk left-hander Ryan Meikle enjoyed the biggest win of his young career by whitewashing Jonny Clayton, the 2017 Players Championship Finals runner-up, in an impressive victory.

The four-time Development Tour event winner’s second-round opponent will be Darius Labanauskas, with the Lithuanian having edged out Harry Ward 6-5 in their opener.

Dave Chisnall hit back from 2-1 down to reel off five straight legs in his 6-2 win over Matthew Edgar and he now plays Mervyn King, who averaged 100 in his narrow 6-5 success over Justin Pipe.

Portugal’s Jose De Sousa, a two-time Players Championship event winner in 2019, enjoyed a winning debut by defeating James Richardson 6-3, and he now plays Stephen Bunting after the St Helens ace’s 6-2 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh.

Lakeside Champion Glen Durrant overcame Scott Baker 6-2 to set up a tie with Max Hopp, who defied a 170 finish from Jelle Klaasen in a 6-3 victory.

Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski punished Steve Lennon for 16 missed doubles in a 6-1 win which sets up a tie with another Irish ace, William O’Connor, after the World Cup finalist defeated Steve West 6-4.

Ian White was a 6-4 winner against South Africa’s Devon Petersen and now plays Dutchman Vincent van der Voort, who won by the same margin against former World Youth Champion Arron Monk.

Saturday’s play at the Butlin’s Minehead Resort sees the second round and third round split across two sessions, before the £500,000 tournament concludes on Sunday.

2019 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals

Friday November 22

Afternoon Session

First Round

Main Stage

Stephen Bunting 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh

Jose de Sousa 6-3 James Richardson

Glen Durrant 6-2 Scott Baker

Max Hopp 6-3 Jelle Klaasen

Chris Dobey 6-1 Cristo Reyes

Simon Whitlock 6-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan

Michael Smith 6-1 Martin Schindler

Ian White 6-4 Devon Petersen

Stage Two

Darius Labanauskas 6-5 Harry Ward

Mervyn King 6-5 Justin Pipe

Brendan Dolan 6-1 Ross Smith

John Henderson 6-5 Ryan Joyce

Keegan Brown 6-3 Andy Boulton

Ricky Evans 6-5 Steve Beaton

Danny Noppert 6-5 Ryan Searle

Dave Chisnall 6-2 Matthew Edgar

Evening Session

First Round

Main Stage

Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Steve Lennon

Gerwyn Price 6-3 Mickey Mansell

James Wade 6-4 Ted Evetts

Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Kim Huybrechts

Luke Woodhouse 6-5 Daryl Gurney

Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Luke Humphries

James Wilson 6-5 Peter Wright

Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Nathan Aspinall

Stage Two

Ryan Meikle 6-0 Jonny Clayton

Joe Cullen 6-2 Kyle Anderson

Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Arron Monk

Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Mark McGeeney

Adrian Lewis 6-4 Josh Payne

William O’Connor 6-4 Steve West

Jamie Hughes 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena

Rob Cross 6-2 Ron Meulenkamp

Saturday November 23

Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)

Second Round

Main Stage

Gerwyn Price v Keegan Brown

James Wade v Ricky Evans

Mensur Suljovic v Danny Noppert

Luke Woodhouse v Gabriel Clemens

Adrian Lewis v Michael van Gerwen

James Wilson v Chris Dobey

Raymond van Barneveld v Joe Cullen

Jamie Hughes v Rob Cross

Stage Two

Simon Whitlock v John Henderson

Ryan Meikle v Darius Labanauskas

Jose De Sousa v Stephen Bunting

Ian White v Vincent van der Voort

Krzysztof Ratajski v William O’Connor

Glen Durrant v Max Hopp

Dave Chisnall v Mervyn King

Michael Smith v Brendan Dolan

Best of 11 legs

Evening Session

Schedule TBC

Four matches per stage across two stages