Chris Dobey secured his first PDC ranking title at Players Championship 18 in Coventry with a dramatic 8-7 victory over…
Chris Dobey secured his first PDC ranking title at Players Championship 18 in Coventry with a dramatic 8-7 victory over Jose De Sousa in the final.
Dobey, who had lost in four previous finals, survived eight missed match darts from De Sousa before getting over the line in a nail-biting decider.
The £10,000 top prize moves the Bedlington ace into the provisional qualification places for the Betfred World Matchplay, having started the week more than £8,000 adrift of the final spot.
“To finally get a title means the world,” said Dobey. “I’m happy with today – I’ve played solid all day.
“I’ve played in local competitions and last-leg deciders have been my game, and I’ve proven it today. I was down and out against Willie Borland, same against Stephen Bunting.
“I don’t think I’ve ever lost against Jose – I’ve got a great record.
“I’ve never been so nervous in my life going for those doubles [at the end of the final]. They weren’t far away but he missed doubles, he probably should have won but I’ve done it now.
“I’ve had the experience of being in finals before but I haven’t got over that winning line.
“I’ve said for a long time now that once I get that first one then hopefully I can get some more under my belt.”
Dobey dropped just two legs in wins over Jeff Smith and Luke Humphries – averaging over 105 in his opener – and had to come through a deciding leg against William Borland to reach the Last 16.
There, he defeated Premier League champion Jonny Clayton 6-3, before edging out Monday’s winner Stephen Bunting and Dutchman Maik Kuivenhoven 6-5 and 7-6 respectively with averages of 105.6 and 107.3.
Dobey raced into a 3-0 lead in the final in just 43 darts but De Sousa found his range as legs of 11, 11, 12 and 14 darts saw him level at four-all.
Dobey edged back in front on double ten, but the Grand Slam champion levelled again by finishing 96 and then produced a 12-darter to break throw and lead for the first time at 6-5.
Dobey replied with a maxumum and double two, but saw De Sousa move 7-6 up with a clinical 122 checkout to move to the brink of a fourth title of 2021.
However, the Portuguese star missed double 18 and three darts at double nine in the next leg as Dobey saved the game on double eight, before De Sousa saw a dart at the bull for a 170 finish in the decider also go begging.
Dobey then missed two match darts at tops, but De Sousa was off-target with three more attempts – this time at double 15 – to hand the Bedlington ace a reprieve, which he grabbed on tops.
De Sousa had come from 6-4 down in the Semi-Finals against Ryan Searle to claim the last three legs, surviving three missed match darts from the Englishman and taking out 152 and 107 to book his spot in the decider.
He also defeated Darius Labanauskas in a deciding leg, but dropped just a total of six legs in other wins over Mervyn King, Steve Lennon, Jelle Klaasen and Adam Gawlas.
Searle and Kuivenhoven were narrow Semi-Final losers, while King and Bunting were joined in the Quarter-Finals by Scott Mitchell and Croatia’s Boris Krcmar – who recorded a memorable win over World Champion Gerwyn Price along the way.
Players Championship 18 also featured the rare achievement of nine-dart finishes from both players in the same match as Danny Noppert and then Martin Atkins landed perfect legs in their Second Round tie – which Dutchman Noppert won 6-3.
Wednesday sees the 128-player field return for Players Championship 19 at the Coventry Building Society Arena from 12pm BST.
Players Championship 18 Results
Tuesday July 6
José de Sousa 6-2 Adam Gawlas
Jelle Klaasen 6-2 Mike De Decker
Martin Lukeman 6-1 Madars Razma
Steve Lennon 6-5 David Evans
Rob Cross 6-1 Simon Whitlock
Darius Labanauskas 6-4 Matthew Edgar
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Boris Koltsov
John Henderson 6-0 Geert Nentjes
James Wade 6-4 Karel Sedlacek
Jim McEwan 6-4 Bradley Brooks
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Nick Kenny
Jamie Hughes 6-3 John Brown
Devon Petersen 6-4 Gary Blades
Josh Payne 6-2 Peter Hudson
Mervyn King 6-3 Wayne Jones
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Gordon Mathers
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Peter Jacques
Andy Hamilton 6-2 John Michael
Ryan Searle 6-2 Matt Jackson
Andy Boulton 6-1 Niels Zonneveld
Rusty-Jake Rodriguez 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Chas Barstow 6-2 Keane Barry
Gabriel Clemens 6-1 Jon Worsley
Kevin Doets 6-0 Steve West
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Martin Schindler
Ted Evetts 6-3 Darren Webster
Kim Huybrechts 6-0 Jermaine Wattimena
Ricky Evans 6-3 Max Hopp
Danny Noppert 6-1 Derk Telnekes
Martin Atkins 6-2 Eddie Lovely
Keegan Brown 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Boris Krcmar 6-1 Ryan Murray
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-4 Joe Cullen
Adam Hunt 6-4 Lisa Ashton
Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Brett Claydon
Luke Woodhouse 6-1 Justin Pipe
Florian Hempel 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Luc Peters 6-0 Robert Thornton
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Harald Leitinger
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Alan Soutar
Gary Anderson 6-5 Jake Jones
Geert De Vos 6-5 Ross Smith
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-1 Berry van Peer
William Borland 6-1 Krzysztof Ratajski
Alan Tabern 6-4 Mark McGeeney
Luke Humphries 6-1 Glen Durrant
Chris Dobey 6-1 Jeff Smith
Mickey Mansell 6-5 Peter Wright
Danny Baggish 6-4 Ciaran Teehan
Jason Heaver 6-5 Ryan Joyce
Jesus Noguera 6-3 Krzysztof Kciuk
Steve Beaton 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Jack Main 6-5 Andrew Gilding
Ian White 6-2 James Wilson
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-1 Aaron Beeney
Michael Smith 6-2 Martin Thomas
Joe Murnan 6-5 Steve Brown
Callan Rydz 6-0 Sean Fisher
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Damon Heta 6-3 José Justicia
Lewis Williams 6-0 Michael Rasztovits
William O’Connor 6-5 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Scott Mitchell 6-1 Jason Lowe
José de Sousa 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
Steve Lennon 6-4 Martin Lukeman
Darius Labanauskas 6-5 Rob Cross
John Henderson 6-1 Dave Chisnall
James Wade 6-2 Jim McEwan
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Devon Petersen 6-1 Josh Payne
Mervyn King 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Andy Hamilton
Ryan Searle 6-2 Andy Boulton
Chas Barstow 6-2 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Kevin Doets
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Ted Evetts
Ricky Evans 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Danny Noppert 6-3 Martin Atkins – *Both players hit a nine-darter*
Boris Krcmar 6-3 Keegan Brown
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-4 Adam Hunt
Martijn Kleermaker 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Luc Peters 6-5 Florian Hempel
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Ritchie Edhouse
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Gary Anderson
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4 Geert De Vos
William Borland 6-2 Alan Tabern
Chris Dobey 6-2 Luke Humphries
Danny Baggish 6-5 Mickey Mansell
Jesus Noguera 6-5 Jason Heaver
Jack Main 6-4 Steve Beaton
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-4 Ian White
Michael Smith 6-1 Joe Murnan
Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Callan Rydz
Damon Heta 6-1 Lewis Williams
Scott Mitchell 6-3 William O’Connor
José de Sousa 6-2 Steve Lennon
Darius Labanauskas 6-5 John Henderson
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 James Wade
Mervyn King 6-4 Devon Petersen
Ryan Searle 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Chas Barstow 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Ricky Evans
Boris Krcmar 6-5 Danny Noppert
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-2 Martijn Kleermaker
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Luc Peters
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Zoran Lerchbacher
Chris Dobey 6-5 William Borland
Jesus Noguera 6-4 Danny Baggish
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-4 Jack Main
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Michael Smith
Scott Mitchell 6-4 Damon Heta
José de Sousa 6-5 Darius Labanauskas
Mervyn King 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Ryan Searle 6-3 Chas Barstow
Boris Krcmar 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Chris Dobey 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-2 Jesus Noguera
Scott Mitchell 6-5 Ron Meulenkamp
José de Sousa 6-1 Mervyn King
Ryan Searle 6-0 Boris Krcmar
Chris Dobey 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-5 Scott Mitchell
José de Sousa 7-6 Ryan Searle
Chris Dobey 7-6 Maik Kuivenhoven
Chris Dobey 8-7 Jose De Sousa