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.
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
Chris Dobey brought Fallon Sherrock’s historic PDC World Championship debut to a halt with a 4-2 victory in Round Three on Friday, while Nathan Aspinall knocked out Gary Anderson to progress to the Quarter-Finals.
Sherrock had taken the tournament by storm prior to the Christmas break, following up her ground-breaking First Round win over Ted Evetts with a sensational scalp of eleventh seed Mensur Suljovic.
The 25-year-old, however, saw her quest for a hat-trick of wins in her debut PDC World Championship campaign ended by world number 22 Dobey – who reeled off three consecutive sets from 2-1 down to prevail.
Sherrock got off to the perfect start by landing a 77 finish to take the opening set 3-1 after six missed darts at doubles from Dobey.
Checkouts of 104 and 96 were not enough to prevent Dobey from taking the second set, but an undeterred Sherrock produced a stunning 142 checkout on her way to regaining a 2-1 overall advantage.
That was as good as it got for Sherrock, however, as two-time major semi-finalist Dobey found top gear to drop just one more leg and end the contest with a 101 average and eleven 180s.
“Without a doubt that is one of the hardest and biggest wins of my career,” said Dobey.
“I said I wanted a test and I got it, Fallon threw absolutely everything at me so I take my hat off to her.
“It was hard to be the person to put Fallon out because I wanted to see her do well like everyone else.
“I want to see Fallon go on and keep making a name for herself but I’m here to earn a living for my family.”
Sherrock admitted: “Chris played really well at the end and I couldn’t keep up with him.
“I’ve loved every minute of this experience. The crowd were incredible again, I loved the way they were so supportive.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it before but hopefully I will in the future.
“I hope this journey can continue, I’m going to Q School in January where I hope to win a Tour Card and I’ve also got the World Series event in New York to look forward to in June.”
Meanwhile, UK Open champion Aspinall advanced to the Quarter-Finals at Ally Pally for the second year running courtesy of a 4-2 win over two-time World Champion Anderson.
A tight contest began with the Scotsman winning the opening set, but after he strayed into double 15 when requiring 20 in the deciding leg of set two, Aspinall punished with double 16 to level.
The next two sets were shared, before set five continued the trend of going to a fifth leg, as Aspinall held his nerve on double four to go 3-2 up in sets.
Aspinall landed his 11th 180 of the match in the sixth set which he won, without the need for a deciding leg, on double ten to move within a win of back-to-back World Championship Semi-Final appearances.
“To beat Gary Anderson, a legend of the sport, on the World Championship stage means the world to me,” admitted Aspinall.
“It’s an indescribable feeling and these are the moments you play darts for.
“I had a great run here last year, followed by a strong 2019 but I’ve not had the best last couple of months so I’m delighted to see my game shine through.
“There was definitely pressure on myself coming into this tournament, there were a lot of people backing me to win it and I take confidence from that.”
Aspinall is joined in the Quarter-Finals by reigning champion Michael van Gerwen, who continued his title defence as he swept aside Stephen Bunting 4-0 in a dominant display.
The world number one averaged 104 as he struck seven 180s and landed a 130 checkout on his way to a seventh Quarter-Final berth in his last eight World Championship outings.
Glen Durrant, a three-time televised semi-finalist in his maiden year in the PDC, continued his dream debut at Alexandra Palace with a hard-fought 4-2 win over world number six Daryl Gurney.
Three-time Lakeside Champion Durrant twice led in sets, only for dogged Northern Irishman Gurney to fight back on both occasions to level the contest at 2-2.
With Gurney throwing first in the deciding leg of set five, Durrant produced a timely 180 followed by a 62 checkout in two darts to regain the advantage.
Gurney looked to have recovered with a break of throw to lead 2-1 in set six, only for Durrant to land a 109 checkout, his fourth ton-plus finish of the match, before sealing victory with a 13-dart leg.
There was no such drama for Gerwyn Price, as the world number three enjoyed a straightforward passage to the last 16 with a comprehensive 4-0 whitewash of John Henderson.
Welshman Price survived a scare from William O’Connor in his opening match, but the two-time Grand Slam of Darts champion roared back in style with an eye-catching 104.2 average.
Price’s next assignment will see him come up against Simon Whitlock, who reached the last 16 for the first time in six years with a 4-1 win over Mervyn King.
Former semi-finalist King enjoyed a perfect start, winning the first five legs before Whitlock stopped the rot and won three legs in a row to level at 1-1 in sets.
Whitlock once again won the deciding leg in set three to take a 2-1 lead, and the Australian number one proceeded to land a 148 checkout on his way to winning the last two sets.
Friday December 27
Simon Whitlock 4-1 Mervyn King
Daryl Gurney 2-4 Glen Durrant
Fallon Sherrock 2-4 Chris Dobey
Gerwyn Price 4-0 John Henderson (RD3)
Gary Anderson 2-4 Nathan Aspinall (RD4)
Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Stephen Bunting (RD4)
Fallon Sherrock aims to extend her ground-breaking debut run in the PDC World Championship by putting Chris Dobey to the sword in Round Three at Alexandra Palace on Friday.
Sherrock has stolen the show at this year’s William Hill World Championship and is likely to be the stand-out story of the tournament regardless of what happens from here on in.
The 25-year-old sent shockwaves through the sporting world when she became the first woman to defeat a man in a PDC World Championship courtesy of her deciding-set triumph over Ted Evetts, before backing it up with a sensational 3-1 scalp of world number 11 Mensur Suljovic.
The 2015 women’s world finalist has made headlines worldwide and has been thrust into the limelight as a new trailblazer for women’s sport, but has taken it all in her stride so far.
Sherrock has already secured the biggest pay-cheque (£25,000) ever picked up by a female darts player but will not be content to stop there and will hope to feed off the vociferous support of the Ally Pally crowd in a bid to made headlines once again.
She is now looking to pick up from where she left off by pulling off what would be another monumental upset when she takes on world number 22 Dobey.
Sherrock’s stunning finishing (68.75%) proved the undoing of Suljovic, and any repeat performance could spell danger for Dobey – who will also be forced to contend with 3,000 fans rooting for his opponent.
Like Evetts and Suljovic, Dobey enters the contest as huge odds-on favourite and will look to shake off any early nerves with an assured start in the first two sets.
The Bedlington ace, who made his Premier League debut as a ‘Contender’ in February before going on to reach two major Semi-Finals this season, is bidding to reach the Last 16 at Ally Pally for the second successive year.
Dobey averaged 96.3 in a 3-2 victory over Ron Meulenkamp in his opener and now faces a test different to anything he will ever have experienced on a televised stage previously.
The 29-year-old is renowned for his consistent scoring power and composure under pressure and will look to press home those traits over the extended format, with Sherrock having previous never contested a match beyond the best of five sets.
This will be the first competitive meeting between the two, with either world number six Daryl Gurney or three-time BDO World Champion Glen Durrant awaiting the winner in the Last 16.
The match gets underway from around 3.45pm GMT and will be contested over the best of seven sets, best of five legs per set.
A tie-break will be in operation, where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches 5-5, the 11th leg will be sudden-death.