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Brilliant Baxter Denies Lewis To Claim ProTour Victory

The popular 'Rocket' celebrates a return to form (credit: Lawrence Lustig/ PDC)
Ronnie Baxter continued his recent resurgence by beating World Champion Adrian Lewis 6-3 in the final to win Saturday's Players Championship event in Birmingham.

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The Rocket came out on top in a heavy scoring battle to defeat Jackpot in the final and secure the £6,000 first prize at the NIA Community Hall. 

The Blackpool ace showed strong form throughout the event in wins over Steve Grubb, Dennis Smith, Joe Cullen, James Hubbard and Peter Hudson to reach the semi-finals, where he hit back from 4-1 down to defeat Wes Newton.

Baxter could have taken a 6-4 win only to miss his chance to win the game as Newton forced a decider, before the world number five missed two darts for victory himself in the final leg as his local rival prevailed.

He then raced into a 3-0 lead against Lewis in the final, aided by back-to-back 13 dart finishes before Lewis traded 180s with the Blackpool star to win the fourth in the same manner.

Lewis also hit a 180 in leg five, but missed the bull and two darts at double eight to hit back as Baxter finished double ten to lead 4-1.

Jackpot produced a superb 11-darter to win his second leg, but another miss on the bullseye allowed Baxter to follow up another 180 with a third-dart double five to move a leg away from the win.

The pair also traded maximums in the eighth leg as Lewis produced a 14-darter to keep the match alive, but Baxter's sixth 180 of the game pushed him clear in the next before he landed double ten for victory.

Baxter finished the final with an average of 100.55, hitting six 180s plus a 174 and a 171, while Lewis hit four maximums and averaged 105.79.

The victory means Baxter is set for a return to his home venue at upcoming World Matchplay next month as he cements his place among the current top 16 qualification places.

Lewis' run saw him reach the final of a ProTour event for the first time since March 2011, as he earned £3,000 prize money on the day.

The world number two picked up wins over Mark Hylton, Dean Winstanley, Justin Pipe, Stuart Kellett, Mark Walsh and Colin Lloyd to reach the final - finishing 81 on the bullseye in the deciding leg against Kellett and 126 on the bull to seal a 6-4 win over Walsh.

Lloyd's semi-final place aids his World Matchplay challenge, with his run to the last four including wins over Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld, which saw the Essex ace take out 101 to defeat the Dutchman 6-5.

Newton followed up his run to the quarter-finals of the Speedy Services UK Open last week by reaching the semis in Birmingham, earning a last four spot with a narrow win over Simon Whitlock.

Peter Hudson reached the quarter-finals for the first time on the PDC ProTour with his run to the last eight, which included a victory over UK Open champion Robert Thornton.

The event saw a remarkable comeback from Norfolk's Andrew Gilding in the first round, as he came from 5-0 down against Barrie Bates to take victory, while youngster Michael Smith hit five 12-dart legs in a whitewash over Darren Johnson in round two.

Sunday will see the second and final non-televised Players Championship of the weekend take place in the NIA Community Hall from 12pm.

Players Championship 7 Results

First Round
Justin Pipe (1) Bye
Jeff Smith 6-5 Arron Monk
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Mark Hylton (32)
Dean Winstanley 6-4 Gareth Cousins
Terry Jenkins (16) 6-1 Alan Tabern
Stuart Kellett 6-2 Mark Dudbridge
Peter Wright (17) 6-1 William O'Connor
Darren Webster 6-5 Mike Veitch
Mark Webster (8) 6-1 Stephen Hardy
Matthew Edgar 6-4 Matt Clark
Mark Walsh (25) 6-3 Paul Barham
Nigel Heydon 6-3 Andy Relf 
Michael van Gerwen (9) 6-1 Adam Smith-Neale
Nick Fullwell 6-3 Steve Evans 
Richie Burnett (24) 6-1 Reece Robinson
Sam Hill 6-1 Ian Moss 
Raymond van Barneveld (5) 6-5 John Bowles
Mark Jones 6-2 Ian Jopling
Brendan Dolan (28) 6-4 Devon Petersen
Tony Littleton 6-4 Liam Kelly 
Dennis Priestley 6-3 Vincent van der Voort (12) 
Jamie Lewis 6-4 Richie Howson
Colin Lloyd (21) 6-5 Prakash Jiwa
Mark Frost 6-4 Ryan Harrington
Gary Anderson (4) 6-1 Chris Thompson
Alex Roy 6-3 James Richardson
Co Stompe (29) 6-4 John Henderson
Steve Farmer 6-1 Paul Rowley
John Part (13) 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Gareth Pass 6-5 Magnus Caris
Jamie Caven (20) 6-4 Darren Whittingham
Chris Aubrey 6-4 Josh Jones
Dave Chisnall (2) Bye
Wayne Jones 6-1 Steve Brown 
Robert Thornton 6-5 Scott Rand (31)
Roland Scholten 6-5 John Scott 
Terry Temple 6-5 Kevin Painter (15) 
Peter Hudson 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Mervyn King (18) 6-2 Michael Mansell
Scott Coleman 6-1 Jack Hill 
Ronnie Baxter (7) 6-2 Steve Grubb
Dennis Smith 6-5 Daniel Starkey
Ian White (26) 6-2 Mick Todd
Joe Cullen 6-4 Joe Murnan
Paul Nicholson (10) 6-0 Shaun Griffiths
Andrew Gilding 6-5 Barrie Bates 
James Hubbard 6-4 Andy Smith (23) 
Jerry Hendriks 6-5 Matt Padgett 
Simon Whitlock (6) 6-2 Keegan Brown
Jim Walker 6-1 Paddy Meaney
Andy Hamilton (27) 6-1 Johnny Haines
Keith Stephen 6-1 Les Wallace
Ted Hankey 6-2 Colin Osborne (11) 
Steve Hine 6-2 Antonio Alcinas 
Kim Huybrechts (22) 6-1 Adrian Gray
Kevin Dowling 6-1 Damien Sherwood 
Wes Newton (3) 6-3 Kurt Van De Rijck
Gino Vos 6-3 Mareno Michels
Brian Woods 6-5 Denis Ovens (30) 
Ross Smith 6-4 Tony West 
Steve Beaton (14) 6-2 Steve Maish
Kevin McDine 6-2 Gary Butcher
Michael Smith (19) 6-4 Michael Barnard
Darren Johnson 6-2 Dave Ladley 

Second Round
Justin Pipe 6-4 Jeff Smith
Adrian Lewis 6-1 Dean Winstanley
Stuart Kellett 6-4 Terry Jenkins 
Peter Wright 6-3 Darren Webster
Mark Webster 6-1 Matthew Edgar
Mark Walsh 6-3 Nigel Heydon
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Nick Fullwell
Richie Burnett 6-3 Sam Hill
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Mark Jones
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Tony Littleton
Jamie Lewis 6-5 Dennis Priestley 
Colin Lloyd 6-4 Mark Frost
Gary Anderson 6-2 Alex Roy
Co Stompe 6-1 Steve Farmer
John Part 6-3 Gareth Pass
Jamie Caven 6-2 Chris Aubrey
Wayne Jones 6-1 Dave Chisnall 
Robert Thornton 6-4 Roland Scholten
Peter Hudson 6-2 Terry Temple 
Mervyn King 6-1 Scott Coleman
Ronnie Baxter 6-1 Dennis Smith
Joe Cullen 6-5 Ian White 
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Paul Nicholson 
James Hubbard 6-2 Jerry Hendriks
Simon Whitlock 6-0 Jim Walker
Andy Hamilton 6-2 Keith Stephen
Ted Hankey 6-2 Steve Hine
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Kevin Dowling
Wes Newton 6-2 Gino Vos
Ross Smith 6-1 Brian Woods 
Steve Beaton 6-3 Kevin McDine
Michael Smith 6-0 Darren Johnson
Losers £200

Third Round
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Justin Pipe 
Stuart Kellett 6-4 Peter Wright 
Mark Walsh 6-4 Mark Webster 
Richie Burnett 6-3 Michael van Gerwen 
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Colin Lloyd 6-4 Jamie Lewis 
Gary Anderson 6-2 Co Stompe
Jamie Caven 6-1 John Part 
Robert Thornton 6-3 Wayne Jones
Peter Hudson 6-3 Mervyn King
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 Joe Cullen
James Hubbard 6-5 Andrew Gilding 
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Andy Hamilton
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Ted Hankey 
Wes Newton 6-1 Ross Smith
Michael Smith 6-3 Steve Beaton 
Losers £400

Fourth Round
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Stuart Kellett
Mark Walsh 6-2 Richie Burnett
Colin Lloyd 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld 
Gary Anderson 6-4 Jamie Caven 
Peter Hudson 6-3 Robert Thornton 
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 James Hubbard
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Wes Newton 6-3 Michael Smith
Losers £600

Quarter-Finals
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Mark Walsh
Colin Lloyd 6-1 Gary Anderson
Ronnie Baxter 6-1 Peter Hudson 
Wes Newton 6-5 Simon Whitlock 
Losers £1,000

Semi-Finals 
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Colin Lloyd
Ronnie Baxter 6-5 Wes Newton
Losers £2,000

Final
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 Adrian Lewis 
Winner £6,000
Runner-Up £3,000
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Brilliant Baxter Denies Lewis To Claim ProTour Victory

Ronnie Baxter continued his recent resurgence by beating World Champion Adrian Lewis 6-3 in the final to win Saturday's Players Championship event in Birmingham.

Read more »