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.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG : GARY ANDERSON IN ACTION

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

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

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

Final
Gary Anderson 8-4 Jeff Smith

ENDS

Grand Slam – Webster, Lewis & Clemens Amongst Final Qualifiers.

Former finalist Robert Thornton, two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis and local star Jamie Hughes headlined the eight qualifiers for the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts on Monday night.

Jamie Hughes added another chapter to an impressive 2019. Hughes claimed a qualifier spot at the Grand Slam.
PIC: LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND JAMIE HUGHES IN ACTION

Thornton was the 2013 runner-up to Phil Taylor in Wolverhampton, and will make his first appearance in the cross-code tournament since 2016 after a superb showing to qualify.

The Scot averaged 106 to defeat Max Hopp in his opening game, before then defeating Spain’s Cristo Reyes and Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena to secure his place in next week’s event.

Stoke star Lewis, a big-stage winner in the UK Open, European Championship and World Cup alongside his double Alexandra Palace triumph, will make his first Grand Slam appearance for three years after winning through the qualifier.

After picking up wins over Madars Razma and Terry Temple, Lewis averaged 100 as he overcame Steve West 5-3 in their decider.

Brendan Dolan will also play in his first Grand Slam of Darts since 2016 as he continued his return to form by following up two Players Championship wins this year by qualifying.

Dolan continues a fine run of recent results.
PIC; LAWRENCE LUSTIG BRENDAN DOLAN IN ACTION

The Northern Irish ace saw off Dirk van Duijvenbode, Devon Petersen and Joe Cullen before averaging a huge 112 in a 5-1 win over Arron Monk in their decider.

Tipton’s Jamie Hughes will follow up his 2016 and 2017 appearances in the event with a third tilt at glory in front of his home fans at the Aldersley Leisure Village.

Hughes saw off Vincent van der Meer, Benito van de Pas, Alan Tabern and Darius Labanauskas to qualify, losing just six legs across his four matches.

Ross Smith – who recently defeated Michael van Gerwen in the European Championship – averaged over 100 in wins over Stephen Bunting and Niels Zonneveld as he secured a first Grand Slam appearance since 2013.

German Darts Masters finalist Gabriel Clemens will make his Wolverhampton debut after also averaging over 100 on two occasions, against Harry Ward and Jonny Clayton, before seeing off Ricky Evans 5-3 in their decider.

Darren Webster overcame Justin Pipe and Matt Clark in deciding legs as he qualified for the first time in two years in an encouraging return to form after dropping out of the world’s top 16 during an injury-hit year.

Ryan Harrington will make his Grand Slam of Darts debut after a 12-darter in the deciding leg of his tie with James Wilson earned him a spot in Wolverhampton.

The son of former World Matchplay champion Rod, the 29-year-old is a four-time UK Open qualifier who made two European Tour appearances during 2019.

The draw for the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts will be made on Tuesday lunchtime, with the 32 players being drawn into eight groups of four for the round-robin phase.


The Grand Slam of Darts will be held from November 9-17 at the Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton. For tickets, please see ticketmaster.co.uk and pdc.seetickets.com.

2019 Grand Slam of Darts

PDC Tour Card Holder’s Qualifier

Final Matches

Gabriel Clemens 5-3 Ricky Evans

Ryan Harrington 5-4 James Wilson

Robert Thornton 5-3 Jermaine Wattimena

Brendan Dolan 5-1 Arron Monk

Jamie Hughes 5-3 Darius Labanauskas

Darren Webster 5-4 Matt Clark

Ross Smith 5-0 Niels Zonneveld

Adrian Lewis 5-3 Steve West

Full results can be seen in the Match Centre at https://www.pdc.tv/tournament/2019-grand-slam-darts-qualifier


ENDS

MVG Smudged Out of European Champs! Ross Smith Triumphs in Last Leg Thriller.

Michael van Gerwen suffered a shock defeat to Ross Smith on a dramatic opening night of the 2019 Unibet European Championship which also saw reigning champion James Wade knocked out by Jonny Clayton.

MVG Smudged out by Ross Smith!
PDC Europe, Kais Bodensieck

Having lifted the World Grand Prix and Champions League titles in back-to-back weekends, top seed Van Gerwen came into the tournament as a red-hot favourite to land a fifth European Championship title in six years in Göttingen.

However, his plans were derailed by Smith, who produced one of the finest performances of his career, holding his nerve to come through a last-leg decider and claim a famous 6-5 victory.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d be experiencing a night like this from where I was a couple of years ago,” said Smith, who took a break from the sport in 2017.

“I made the decision to just keep on going with my career in darts and tonight it all came together.

“I’ve been preparing for this game for two weeks in my outdoor cabin, just focussing on playing the board rather than Michael.

“If you play Michael you lose, it’s as simple as that. He’s the best player in the world by a mile so if you start thinking about beating him then you won’t.

“You’ve just got to play the dartboard and that’s what I did tonight. I showed everyone how well I know I can play.”

Ross ‘Smudger’ Smith
PDC Europe, Kais Bodensieck

With both players averaging over 110 at 3-3, Smith threw a 14-dart leg to hit the front for the first time and go within touching distance of a huge upset.

Van Gerwen kept his cool exterior and kept up his usual high standard to take the match to a deciding leg.

With the world number one waiting on 88, Smith produced a stunning 114 checkout when he needed it most to seal his first-ever win against Van Gerwen.

An unpredictable night also saw Wade’s reign as European Champion ended by Welshman Clayton, who produced a scintillating display to whitewash Wade 6-0.

A dominant display from Clayton saw him end the contest with a 111.33 average, hitting six doubles from eight attempts to become the first player in the tournament’s history to knock out the reigning champion in round one.

“I know I’ve got the game, it’s just about being consistent and confidence is key in darts,” Clayton explained.

“I’m so happy with how I played tonight, it’s a massive step in the right direction for me.

“I knew what I had to do and it went well. I know James didn’t play to his best at all but that’s when you’ve got to take your chances and that’s what I did.”

Simon Whitlock proved too strong for Adrian Lewis in the battle of the former European Champions, averaging just under 100 in a convincing 6-1 win.

Dave Chisnall and Joe Cullen also impressed in their victories against Dimitri Van den Bergh and Mervyn King respectively, while Rob Cross sealed his passage to round two in style with a 154 checkout to end Darren Webster’s fightback.

Daryl Gurney claimed a hard-fought 6-4 win over William O’Connor in the final game of the evening and Ricky Evans survived two match darts to make it a Unibet European Championship debut to forget for Glen Durrant with a 6-5 triumph over the World Matchplay semi-finalist.

Friday will see the remaining eight first round games take place in the afternoon session, before Thursday’s winners return to the stage in the evening session for the start of round two.

Thursday October 24
Evening Session
First Round

Joe Cullen 6-2 Mervyn King
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Ricky Evans 6-5 Glen Durrant
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Adrian Lewis
Rob Cross 6-3 Darren Webster
Jonny Clayton 6-0 James Wade
Ross Smith 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Daryl Gurney 6-4 William O’Connor

Friday October 25
Afternoon Session (1245 local time, 1145 BST)
First Round

Jamie Hughes v Jermaine Wattimena
Keegan Brown v Stephen Bunting
Krzysztof Ratajski v Chris Dobey
Nathan Aspinall v Steve Beaton
Mensur Suljovic v Vincent van der Voort
Ian White v Michael Smith
Peter Wright v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Gerwyn Price v Ted Evetts

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Second Round

Joe Cullen v Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney v Simon Whitlock
Dave Chisnall v Jonny Clayton
Ross Smith v Ricky Evans

Saturday October 26
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Second Round

Suljovic/Van der Voort v Ratajski/Dobey
White/M Smith v Brown/Bunting
Price/Evetts v Aspinall/Beaton
Wright/De Zwaan v Hughes/Wattimena

Sunday October 27 (1245 local time, 1145 BST)
Afternoon Session
Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
Semi-Finals & Final

ENDS

Unibet Odds For European Championship 2019

Event Sponsors Unibet has MVG as a 6/4 favourite in their pre-event betting odds. This seems a little short to us at dartsworld.com. MVG is always the player to beat at major events. However, it should be remembered that he can have first-round wobbles, especially to strong-minded lesser-known players.

Darts World contributor JR Lott thinks there is very good value elsewhere in the field;

“Rob Cross seems to have rediscvovered his matchwinning skills and 8-1 looks very nice”.

PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
ROB CROSS IN ACTION

Unibet European Championship Odds

Outright Winner

6/4 Michael van Gerwen

8/1 Rob Cross

9/1 Peter Wright

12/1 Gerwyn Price

14/1 Mensur Suljovic

16/1 Nathan Aspinall, Daryl Gurney

18/1 Glen Durrant, Michael Smith

22/1 Dave Chisnall, Krzysztof Ratajski, Ian White

28/1 James Wade

33/1 Chris Dobey, Jeffrey de Zwaan

50/1 Adrian Lewis

80/1 Joe Cullen, Jamie Hughes, Jermaine Wattimena, Dimitri Van den Bergh

100/1 Stephen Bunting, Jonny Clayton, Mervyn King, Simon Whitlock

150/1 Keegan Brown, William O’Connor, Vincent van der Voort

200/1 Steve Beaton, Ricky Evans, Darren Webster

250/1 Ted Evetts

300/1 Ross Smith

Odds courtesy www.unibet.co.uk and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.