Callan Rydz claimed his third PDC ranking title courtesy of a nail-biting 8-7 win over Dave Chisnall in the final of Players Championship 19 in Barnsley.
Rydz had made his breakthrough with two ranking titles in 2021 before reaching the World Championship Quarter-Finals at Alexandra Palace as he broke into the world’s top 32.
The Bedlington ace, however, had endured some difficult moments during the past 18 months and had dropped 29th in the Order of Merit.
The 25-year-old came through the field at the Barnsley Metrodome on Sunday in the first of three consecutive Players Championship events to end his drought.
The £12,000 prize money also strengthens his chances of qualifying for next month’s World Grand Prix, moving him into the provisional qualification places.
“I’ve been awful this year, but in this last month I’ve been using new darts and they went alright today,” revealed Rydz.
“I’ve always thought about slowing down, sometimes I was a little bit too quick for myself, but it’s worked for me today.
“Today I didn’t play fantastic all day, but I was hitting the right shots at the right time. It’s baby steps for me, and today was a big step.”
Rydz admitted that missing the recent World Matchplay had been a blow as he struggled for form and confidence – but that advice from World Champion Michael Smith has aided his resurgence.
“Michael tells me all the time that setbacks are there to make you stronger, and this last couple of years have been a big setback,” he added.
“Some of the advice I didn’t normally listen to, I’ve started listening to and I think I’m turning into a little bit of a better person.”
Rydz produced some sparkling displays during his run to the final, defeating both Gabriel Clemens and James Wade with ton-plus averages.
He also saw off two-time World Champion Peter Wright, reigning European Champion Ross Smith, Mervyn King and Robert Owen before overcoming top seed Chisnall for the title.
Finishes of 108 and 118 helped Rydz to open up a 4-1 lead against Chisnall in the final, and he also held a 6-3 advantage before the gap was reduced to one leg.
Rydz took the 12th to move a leg away from the title, only for Chisnall to win back-to-back legs with checkouts of 100 and 73 as he kept his hopes alive – but a 75 finish on tops saw the youngster close out a memorable triumph.
Chisnall had been aiming to claim his third ranking title of the year after winning through to the final, having been victorious in a brace of European Tour events earlier this year.
He was in superb form through six wins on his way to the final, with UK Open champion Andrew Gilding being defeated 6-4 before he averaged almost 106 in a quarter-final win over Joe Cullen and 103 in the Semi-Finals against Ryan Joyce.
Players Championship 15 runner-up Joyce fell one game short of reaching his second final of 2023, while decorated star Wade’s five wins saw him reach a second semi-final of the year.
Scottish thrower Cameron Menzies enjoyed a remarkable day, averaging 114.5 as he saw off Rob Cross and over 104 and 106 respectively in wins over Mike De Decker and Gian van Veen in his best run for four years on the ProTour.
He was joined in the Quarter-Finals by Ross Smith, Joe Cullen and Brendan Dolan.
Gerwyn Price’s bid to win a third straight Players Championship title was ended in the first round as he lost out to fellow Welshman Jim Williams, despite a 106.5 average, while World Champion Michael Smith went down to Van Veen in Round Two.
Meanwhile, Vincent van der Voort landed a nine-darter during his first round tie with Radek Szaganski, although his perfect leg to force a decider came in vain as the Polish ace prevailed 6-5.
Sunday September 3
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Darius Labanauskas
Matt Campbell 6-1 Devon Petersen
Luke Woodhouse 6-5 Brian Raman
Danny van Trijp 6-5 Richie Burnett
Jose De Sousa 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-3 Kevin Burness
Andrew Gilding 6-2 Lee Evans
Robert Grundy 6-5 Nathan Rafferty
Joe Cullen 6-4 Josh Payne
Lewis Williams 6-5 Graham Hall
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Luc Peters
Radek Szaganski 6 -5 Vincent van der Voort
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Tony Martinez
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Adam Warner
Dylan Slevin 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Vladimir Andersen 6-1 Robbie Knops
Jim Williams 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Owen Bates 6-5 Callum Goffin
Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 Steve Beaton
Jimmy Hendriks 6-4 Jamie Clark
Nick Fullwell 6-5 Martin Schindler
Ryan Joyce 6-4 Keane Barry
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Ross Montgomery
Scott Waites 6-1 John O’Shea
Richard Veenstra 6-4 Josh Rock
Ricky Evans 6-2 Shaun Wilkinson
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Mickey Mansell
Jules van Dongen 6-3 Damian Mol
Danny Noppert 6-4 Karel Sedlacek
Kevin Doets 6-3 Joe Murnan
Jeffrey Sparidaans 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Jacques Labre 6-5 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Damon Heta 6-1 Darren Webster
George Killington 6-4 Florian Hempel
Andy Boulton 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Arron Monk 6-4 Bradley Brooks
Ross Smith 6-4 Jeff Smith
Ricardo Pietreczko 6-2 Jose Justicia
Rusty-Jake Rodriguez 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Cam Crabtree 6-5 John Henderson
Ryan Meikle 6-1 Jonny Clayton
Robert Owen 6-5 Nick Kenny
Berry van Peer 6-2 Chris Dobey
Martin Lukeman 6-4 Steve Lennon
Peter Wright 6-4 Boris Krcmar
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-4 Jurjen van der Velde
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Niels Zonneveld
Callan Rydz 6-4 Mervyn King
Ian White 6-5 Luke Humphries
Ronny Huybrechts 6-5 Ted Evetts
William O’Connor 6-4 Madars Razma
Connor Scutt 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Ryan Searle 6-5 James Wilson
Geert Nentjes 6-2 Keegan Brown
James Wade 6-1 Adam Gawlas
Owen Roelofs 6-3 Danny Jansen
Rob Cross 6-1 Graham Usher
Stephen Burton 6-1 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Cameron Menzies 6-3 Mike De Decker
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-5 Scott Williams
Michael Smith 6-5 Alan Soutar
Gian van Veen 6-1 Jamie Hughes
Martijn Kleermaker 6-5 Gary Anderson
Adam Smith-Neale 6-3 Daniel Klose
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Matt Campbell
Danny van Trijp 6-2 Luke Woodhouse
Jose De Sousa 6-5 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Andrew Gilding 6-2 Robert Grundy
Joe Cullen 6-2 Lewis Williams
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Radek Szaganski
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Michael van Gerwen
Vladimir Andersen 6-4 Dylan Slevin
Owen Bates 6-5 Jim Williams
Jimmy Hendriks 6-4 Ritchie Edhouse
Ryan Joyce 6-4 Nick Fullwell
Scott Waites 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Ricky Evans 6-4 Richard Veenstra
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Jules van Dongen
Kevin Doets 6-5 Danny Noppert
Jacques Labre 6-4 Jeffrey Sparidaans
George Killington 6-0 Damon Heta
Arron Monk 6-3 Andy Boulton
Ross Smith 6-2 Ricardo Pietreczko
Rusty-Jake Rodriguez 6-5 Cam Crabtree
Robert Owen 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Berry van Peer 6-1 Martin Lukeman
Peter Wright 6-5 Krzysztof Kciuk
Callan Rydz 6-4 Gabriel Clemens
Ronny Huybrechts 6-1 Ian White
Connor Scutt 6-0 William O’Connor
Ryan Searle 6-3 Geert Nentjes
James Wade 6-4 Owen Roelofs
Rob Cross 6-3 Stephen Burton
Cameron Menzies 6-4 Maik Kuivenhoven
Gian van Veen 6-3 Michael Smith
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Adam Smith-Neale
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Danny van Trijp
Andrew Gilding 6-3 Jose De Sousa
Joe Cullen 6-1 Raymond van Barneveld
Vladimir Andersen 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
Owen Bates 6-2 Jimmy Hendriks
Ryan Joyce 6-3 Scott Waites
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Ricky Evans
Kevin Doets 6-5 Jacques Labre
Arron Monk 6-2 George Killington
Ross Smith 6-3 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Robert Owen 6-5 Berry van Peer
Callan Rydz 6-2 Peter Wright
Ronny Huybrechts 6-4 Connor Scutt
James Wade 6-5 Ryan Searle
Cameron Menzies 6-2 Rob Cross
Gian van Veen 6-4 Martijn Kleermaker
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Joe Cullen 6-1 Vladimir Andersen
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Owen Bates
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Kevin Doets
Ross Smith 6-5 Arron Monk
Callan Rydz 6-4 Robert Owen
James Wade 6-5 Ronny Huybrechts
Cameron Menzies 6-5 Gian van Veen
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Joe Cullen
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Callan Rydz 6-4 Ross Smith
James Wade 6-4 Cameron Menzies
Dave Chisnall 7-2 Ryan Joyce
Callan Rydz 7-4 James Wade
Callan Rydz 8-7 Dave Chisnall
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