Players Championship Finals 2019 Day One: Afternoon Session preview and order of play

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 02 Dec 2019
Petersen pulled off a remarkable win over White at Ally Pally in 2018 (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
The penultimate televised tournament of the season gets underway in Minehead on Friday afternoon with a host of high-profile names aiming to avoid an early exit.
The £500,000 major features 64 players battling it out in a culmination of the 30 Players Championship events held during the course of the season.
Play in the early rounds will be held across two stages, with main stage matches televised and matches from Stage Two streamed exclusively live online.
Glen Durrant kicks off his quest to reach a fourth consecutive major Semi-Final with a clash against his former BDO adversary Scott Baker on the main stage.
Durrant reached the Last Four of last week’s Grand Slam to add to his Semi-Final appearances on his World Matchplay and World Grand Prix debuts and will look to continue that success here.
World ranked 99, Baker – who also secured a PDC Tour Card in January – has struggled for form despite an encouraging start to the year, racking up just £14,500 in prize money.
Baker gave ‘Duzza’ his toughest test en route to winning a third straight BDO world title at Lakeside in January, recovering from three sets down to force a decider before the Teessider eventually prevailed.
World Championship and World Matchplay finalist Michael Smith aims to kick-start his charge by defeating German number three Martin Schindler for the second successive tournament.
Smith came from 4-2 down and survive match darts as he edged past the 2018 World Youth finalist 5-4 in the Group Stage in Wolverhampton and will be wary of a potential backlash from the 23-year-old.
Dimitri van den Bergh, who secured his second successive World Youth Championship title here 12 months ago, kicks off the day’s play against world number 19 Stephen Bunting in a closely-match encounter.
Portugal’s Jose De Sousa, a winner of two Players Championship events in a sensational debut season, starts out against James Richardson – quarter-finalist on the ProTour back in June.
Max Hopp aims to assert himself as Germany’s number one with a strong end to the season, but faces a tricky opener against former Lakeside Champion Jelle Klaasen – a player also bidding to recapture his brilliant best form after a lengthy spell in the shadows.
Jeffrey De Zwaan, a Players Championship event winner in May, takes on former European Champion Simon Whitlock in one of the stand-out ties of the afternoon.
World number ten Ian White takes on South African star Devon Petersen in a televised event for the first time since their Last 64 epic at the World Championship which saw Petersen prevail in a fifth set decider before embarking on a superb run to the Last 16 to retain his Tour Card.
World Grand Prix semi-finalist Chris Dobey looks to maintain his fine run of form when he meets Spain’s number one – Cristo Reyes – twice a quarter-finalist on the ProTour this year.
World Grand Prix finalist Dave Chisnall, who has reached at least the Quarter-Finals of his last four televised tournaments, aims to sustain his sublime big stage form by dispatching Matthew Edgar – who is vying to reach Round Two of this event at the third time of asking.
Ricky Evans, who climbed into the world’s top 32 for the first time after reaching the Quarter-Finals of the European Championship, takes on darting stalwart Steve Beaton – an ever-present in this competition since it began a decade ago.
Harry Ward, who claimed his first PDC ranking title on the ProTour earlier this season, faces Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas – who reached the final of Players Championship 15 back in May.
Mervyn King, runner-up to Paul Nicholson in 2010, faces a tough opening test against Taunton’s Justin Pipe, while two-time ranking event winner this season – Brendan Dolan – faces UK Open quarter-finalist and Grand Slam qualifier Ross Smith.
World Series Finals runner-up Danny Noppert takes on Ryan Searle – who reached the Last 16 of the World Championship last December, as former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown plays granite Stoke thrower Andy Boulton and crowd favourite John Henderson starts out against World Championship quarter-finalist Ryan Joyce.
The action gets underway from 1pm GMT, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs.

Players Championship Finals 2019 Match Schedule

Friday November 22
First Round
Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)
Main Stage
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Stephen Bunting
Jose de Sousa v James Richardson
Glen Durrant v Scott Baker
Max Hopp v Jelle Klaasen
Chris Dobey v Cristo Reyes
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Simon Whitlock
Michael Smith v Martin Schindler
Ian White v Devon Petersen
Stage Two
Harry Ward v Darius Labanauskas
Justin Pipe v Mervyn King
Brendan Dolan v Ross Smith
John Henderson v Ryan Joyce
Keegan Brown v Andy Boulton
Steve Beaton v Ricky Evans
Danny Noppert v Ryan Searle
Dave Chisnall v Matthew Edgar