Keegan Brown ends seven-year title drought at Players Championship 23

Keegan Brown ended a seven-year wait for a PDC ranking title at Players Championship 23 in Barnsley, narrowly defeating Nathan Aspinall 8-7 in the final.

Having claimed Wednesday’s title, Aspinall was chasing back-to-back victories at the Barnsley Metrodome, but was to be denied by a resurgent Brown.

Brown had led 2-0 and 6-4 in the final, only for Aspinall survive missed match darts in leg 11 and take out 170 to level at six apiece.

He then converted double two to move ahead, but Brown hit back to force a deciding leg and went on to seal the title on double ten.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Brown. “Nathan’s a champion, he’s a fighter but I thought to myself to stick with him, you get a chance with anyone.

“I think I’ve got luck on my side. I felt confident and it’s a long time since I felt confident.”

Brown had knocked out World Champion Peter Wright with a 7-4 success in the Semi-Finals, and also defeated Jose de Sousa, Darren Webster, Luc Peters, Danny Baggish and Chris Dobey along the way.

The Isle of Wight star’s only previous senior PDC title had come in 2015 at a Players Championship in Coventry, but Thursday’s win eases the pressure he was facing about potentially losing his Tour Card at the end of the year.

“Never give up,” he added. “I can’t tell you how many times over the last two years I wanted to pack it all away. My sponsors had faith in me, I kept plodding along and here we are.

“It’s been awful, but darts is a marathon, not a sprint and you have to keep plugging away. I wanted to save my Tour Card and it’s the only time I’ve ever probably believed in myself.”

Aspinall averaged 103 in wins over Rusty-Jake Rodriguez and Andrew Gilding, before edging through a tight Semi-Final with Ted Evetts in a deciding leg.

World Youth Champion Evetts – who turned 25 on Wednesday – enjoyed his best run of the year as he overcame reigning UK Open champion Danny Noppert in one of five wins.

Wright overcame Michael Smith in a repeat of the World Championship final during his run to the last four, while Smith was joined by Alan Soutar, Shaun Wilkinson and Dobey in the Quarter-Finals.

The day also featured a nine-darter from Jack Main, but it was not enough to avert a First Round defeat at the hands of Rob Cross.

The 128-player field will return to action for Players Championship 24 from midday on Friday.

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Players Championship 23 Results

Thursday August 4

First Round
Karel Sedlacek 6-4 Luke Humphries
Scott Waites 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-5 Keane Barry
Ricardo Pietreczko 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Kevin Doets 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Alan Soutar 6-4 Scott Mitchell
Steve Lennon 6-1 Daryl Gurney
Bradley Brooks 6-2 Florian Hempel
Danny Noppert 6-1 Jake Jones
Gian van Veen 6-2 Devon Petersen
Ian White 6-1 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Mervyn King 6-5 Danny van Trijp
Adam Gawlas 6-5 Joe Cullen
Ted Evetts 6-4 Peter Hudson
Martin Lukeman 6-4 Andy Boulton
Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-3 Eddie Lovely
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Jon Worsley
Rusty-Jake Rodriguez 6-3 Glen Durrant
Nathan Rafferty 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Brian Raman 6-5 Geert De Vos
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Adam Hunt
Jimmy Hendriks 6-4 William O’Connor
Andrew Gilding 6-3 John O’Shea
John Brown 6-4 Damian Mol
Rob Cross 6-4 Jack Main – *Main hits a nine-darter*
Kevin Burness 6-5 Berry van Peer
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Mensur Suljovic
Cameron Menzies 6-5 Martijn Kleermaker
Darius Labanauskas 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Shaun Wilkinson 6-3 Ritchie Edhouse
Jose Justicia 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Geert Nentjes 6-4 Gordon Mathers
Michael Smith 6-4 Josh Rock
Jeff Smith 6-3 Nick Fullwell
Scott Williams 6-2 Luke Woodhouse
Max Hopp 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Martin Schindler 6-3 William Borland
Niels Zonneveld 6-4 Danny Jansen
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Tony Martinez
Joe Murnan 6-4 Steve Beaton
David Pallett 6-3 Ryan Searle
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-2 Connor Scutt
Richie Burnett 6-4 Ricky Evans
George Killington 6-4 Mickey Mansell
Peter Wright 6-4 Robert Owen
Lee Evans 6-2 Jason Lowe
Radek Szaganski 6-5 Madars Razma
Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Matt Campbell
Gerwyn Price 6-4 James Wilson
Ross Montgomery 6-4 Steve West
Danny Baggish 6-1 Simon Whitlock
Ryan Joyce 6-0 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Keegan Brown 6-2 Jose de Sousa
Darren Webster 6-1 Jason Heaver
Gary Anderson 6-1 Stephen Bunting
Luc Peters 6-4 Stephen Burton
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Jules van Dongen
Brett Claydon 6-4 Kenny Neyens
Jim Williams 6-4 Ross Smith
Mike De Decker 6-4 John Henderson
Jamie Clark 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Boris Krcmar 6-5 Jim McEwan
Chris Dobey 6-4 Boris Koltsov
David Evans 6-4 Lewy Williams

Second Round
Karel Sedlacek 6-4 Scott Waites
Ricardo Pietreczko 6-3 Maik Kuivenhoven
Alan Soutar 6-5 Kevin Doets
Bradley Brooks 6-1 Steve Lennon
Danny Noppert 6-4 Gian van Veen
Mervyn King 6-3 Ian White
Ted Evetts 6-1 Adam Gawlas
Martin Lukeman 6-5 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Rusty Rodriguez
Brian Raman 6-2 Nathan Rafferty
Jimmy Hendriks 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Andrew Gilding 6-1 John Brown
Rob Cross 6-4 Kevin Burness
Jamie Hughes 6-1 Cameron Menzies
Shaun Wilkinson 6-5 Darius Labanauskas
Geert Nentjes 6-4 Jose Justicia
Michael Smith 6-1 Jeff Smith
Scott Williams 6-5 Max Hopp
Niels Zonneveld 6-4 Martin Schindler
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Joe Murnan
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-3 David Pallett
George Killington 6-4 Richie Burnett
Peter Wright 6-5 Lee Evans
Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Radek Szaganski
Ross Montgomery 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Danny Baggish 6-3 Ryan Joyce
Keegan Brown 6-3 Darren Webster
Luc Peters 6-5 Gary Anderson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Brett Claydon
Jim Williams 6-4 Mike De Decker
Boris Krcmar 6-4 Jamie Clark
Chris Dobey 6-4 David Evans
Losers: £750

Last 32
Ricardo Pietreczko 6-3 Karel Sedlacek
Alan Soutar 6-2 Bradley Brooks
Danny Noppert 6-3 Mervyn King
Ted Evetts 6-4 Martin Lukeman
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Brian Raman
Andrew Gilding 6-1 Jimmy Hendriks
Rob Cross 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Shaun Wilkinson 6-0 Geert Nentjes
Michael Smith 6-1 Scott Williams
Niels Zonneveld 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
George Killington 6-5 Krzysztof Kciuk
Peter Wright 6-3 Ron Meulenkamp
Danny Baggish 6-5 Ross Montgomery
Keegan Brown 6-2 Luc Peters
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Jim Williams
Chris Dobey 6-3 Boris Krcmar
Losers: £1,250

Last 16
Alan Soutar 6-4 Ricardo Pietreczko
Ted Evetts 6-5 Danny Noppert
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Shaun Wilkinson 6-4 Rob Cross
Michael Smith 6-1 Niels Zonneveld
Peter Wright 6-4 George Killington
Keegan Brown 6-2 Danny Baggish
Chris Dobey 6-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Losers: £2,000

Quarter-Finals
Ted Evetts 6-2 Alan Soutar
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Shaun Wilkinson
Peter Wright 6-3 Michael Smith
Keegan Brown 6-4 Chris Dobey
Losers: £3,000

Semi-Finals
Nathan Aspinall 7-6 Ted Evetts
Keegan Brown 7-4 Peter Wright
Losers: £4,000

Final
Keegan Brown 8-7 Nathan Aspinall
Winner: £12,000
Runner-up: £8,000

Keegan Brown takes on extra NHS shifts to help during Coronavirus pandemic

Keegan Brown has stepped in to work extra shifts for the NHS on the frontline of the battle against Coronavirus.

Brown balances life as a PDC professional with his day job as a medical lab assistant in blood services on the Isle of Wight.

With the darts calendar having been decimated for at least the next month and with the NHS stretched to capacity, the 27-year-old has offered to up his shifts in an effort to help ease the strain.

Brown continues to work in the lab but revealed in a recent interview that his tasks have become more varied due to the spread of Covid-19 and working in the only hospital on the island.

The world number 30 is continuing to make time for practice in between shifts in preparation for the return of PDC competition.

The 2014 World Youth Champion reached the Quarter-Finals of the most recent Players Championship event a fortnight ago, defeating Rob Cross along the way.

Brown began playing darts at the age of nine and was playing in men’s county league games for the Isle of Wight at the age of 13.

He featured in the 2011 World Youth Championship, losing out to Michael van Gerwen, before joining the main PDC circuit in 2012.