Wright edges past Searle to clinch Players Championship Finals title

Peter Wright claimed the Players Championship Finals title for the first time after a thrilling 11-10 win over Ryan Searle in the final in Minehead.

The world number two secured his fifth major ranking title in dramatic fashion as he denied Searle a famous first triumph on the televised stage.

Searle had battled back from 10-8 down to force a decider after Wright had bust 129 in the 19th leg before missing three match darts.

The Somerset star piled on the pressure with a 177 to leave 24 against the throw in the deciding leg, but only for Wright to produce a nerveless 62 checkout to seal the £100,000 top prize.

“It’s the only final I’ve never played in – I enjoyed it,” said Wright.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game against Ryan; it’s taken a little while for him to settle and show what he can do on TV. He’s an immense player.

“In the second half of the match I was going at Ryan’s pace and I was thinking ‘I’m running out of energy here’. I took a breather and lucky enough I got through.

“The guys who normally do well in this tournament do okay in the next one so it’s nice to do well in this one.

“Obviously, I’ve got to back my big mouth up because I said I’m going to win the Worlds, so I’ve got to get back on the practice board and make sure I’m sharp. I believe I will be World Champion come January 3.”

Wright had cruised past Jonny Clayton 11-6 in the Semi-Finals, having also defeated reigning and six-time champion Michael van Gerwen 10-6 in the Quarter-Finals earlier in the day.

The first ten legs of the final all went with throw as the pair were locked at five apiece before Searle secured the first break after the second interval.

Wright, though, broke back immediately in leg 12 with a 96 checkout and took out 141 to extend his lead to 8-6.

Three missed darts at doubles from ‘Snakebite’ in leg 15 allowed Searle a reprieve as he cleaned up 96 to stay in touch, before landing double one to restore parity at eight-all.

Wright then won back-to-back legs to move to the verge of victory before incredibly busting 129 then missing double six at the second attempt, allowing Searle in to take out 103 and stay alive.

Wright missed a third match dart in the following leg and Searle landed double ten for a 13-darter to set up a grand-stand finish at 10-10.

World Matchplay champion Wright kicked off the decider with a maximum before Searle set up double 12 after a 177, but he was never afforded a match dart as the Scot coolly converted double 16 to seal victory.

A memorable weekend for Searle saw him twice survive match darts in the first two rounds and edge out Daryl Gurney 10-9 in the Quarter-Finals, before ending the charge of Brendan Dolan in the Semi-Finals.

“I’d have felt like I robbed that game if I’d have won it at the end there,” admitted Searle. “Fair play to Peter, he took out the double and he fully deserved that.

“I learned a lot from this experience and we move forward from here.”

Searle’s run to the final sees him move into the top 16 on the PDC Order of Merit for the first time going into next month’s World Championship at Alexandra Palace.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS & SPECIALS (18+)

Players Championship Finals 2021 Day Three Results

Sunday November 28

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
Jose de Sousa 4-10 Brendan Dolan
Daryl Gurney 9-10 Ryan Searle
Peter Wright 10-6 Michael van Gerwen
Jonny Clayton 10-3 Vincent van der Voort

Evening Session

Semi-Finals
Brendan Dolan 6-11 Ryan Searle
Peter Wright 11-6 Jonny Clayton

Final
Peter Wright 11-10 Ryan Searle

Players Championship Finals 2021 Day Three preview and order of play | Final eight collide in Minehead

The final eight face off for the right to claim the 2021 Players Championship Finals title in Minehead on Sunday.

The penultimate major tournament of the season has provided drama, upsets and controversy over the last two days and is now set for an unmissable conclusion across two sessions.

With play having been held across two stages simultaneously, the focus now reverts solely to the Main Stage as the players aim to defy the tricky conditions in their quest to land the £100,000 top prize.

The pick of the afternoon’s Quarter-Finals sees world number two and three collide as Peter Wright takes on rival Michael van Gerwen.

The pair last met in a TV major in July’s World Matchplay, with Wright running out a 17-10 winner with a stunning 110 average to reach the final before going on to clinch the title.

Runner-up in the Grand Slam seven days ago, Wright is looking to claim this trophy for the first time and has defeated Keane Barry, Adrian Lewis and Damon Heta in close-run contests so far this weekend.

His controversial comeback win over Lewis ended with the two-time World Champion confronting Wright on stage, before later accusing the Scot of being “a cheat”.

Van Gerwen, meanwhile, has come through a tough section of the draw to remain in the running for a magnificent seventh Players Championship Finals title.

The defending champion, whose last major ranking title came in this event 12 months ago, began by defeating Kevin Doets 6-3 before replicating that result against Raymond van Barneveld and going on to defeat Gary Anderson 10-6.

Van Gerwen has been vocal in his criticism of the playing conditions this weekend, branding them as “absolutely ridiculous”, but will now look to channel that frustration into retaining his title and gaining revenge on Snakebite.

The opening match of the afternoon sees top seed Jose de Sousa take on former World Grand Prix finalist Brendan Dolan.

De Sousa, the 2020 Grand Slam champion, is appearing at this stage of the competition for the first time, having seen off Devon Petersen, Darius Labanauskas and William O’Connor.

The Portuguese star, however, has not averaged below 94 in each of his outings so far and will be determined to raise his game against the in-form Northern Irishman.

Dolan sensationally dumped out world number one Gerwyn Price on the main stage last night to reach the Quarter-Finals of this event for the first time in eleven appearances.

Winner of a ProTour event this season, Dolan is bidding to reach his first major ranking Semi-Final since the 2012 European Championship.

Local hero Ryan Searle faces 2018 Players Champion Daryl Gurney in what promises to be a high-scoring thriller.

Searle, who is provisionally ranked 20 in the PDC Order of Merit as things stand, edged out Simon Whitlock and Ryan Joyce in last-leg deciders before defeating Rob Cross 10-7 on Stage Two.

The number five seed is looking to reach his first PDC major Semi-Final, having lost in the Quarter-Finals of the World Grand Prix last month.

Gurney, one of only two former champions left standing in the field, has marked a timely return to form this weekend with wins over Alan Soutar, Michael Smith and James Wade – averaging 104 in the latter contest.

Jonny Clayton steps up his pursuit of a fifth televised title of the year with a show-down against a resurgent Vincent van der Voort.

Clayton, the reigning Premier League and World Grand Prix champion, averaged below 90 in his early wins over Alan Tabern and Scott Mitchell, before averaging 96 in a nail-biting 10-9 success over Luke Humphries last night.

Van der Voort, meanwhile, is into his first Quarter-Final at this venue since 2014, having seen off Jelle Klaasen, Andy Boulton and Danny Noppert all on Stage Two.

The action gets under way from 1pm GMT, with Quarter-Final matches to be contested over the best of 19 legs and Semi-Finals and final best of 21.

WATCH THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Players Championship Finals 2021 Day Three Schedule

Sunday November 28

Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)

Quarter-Finals
Jose de Sousa v Brendan Dolan
Daryl Gurney v Ryan Searle
Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
Jonny Clayton v Vincent van der Voort

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

Semi-Finals
De Sousa/Dolan v Gurney/Searle
Wright/Van Gerwen v Clayton/Van der Voort

Final

Plus
PDC World Youth Championship final

Van Gerwen blasts “ridiculous” playing conditions in Minehead

Michael van Gerwen has branded the playing conditions at the Players Championship Finals as “ridiculous” as he battles the freezing temperatures in Minehead.

Reigning and six-time Players Championship Finals winner Van Gerwen continued the defence of his title by booking his place in the Quarter-Finals on Saturday, but slammed the playing conditions inside the main arena.

The UK has been hit by strong winds and icy temperatures in recent days, and the seaside resort of Minehead has been no exception, with the vast tent-style arena proving a tough environment for the players to perform in.

Van Gerwen began the day by defeating former World Cup winning teammate Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 in the Second Round and ended it with a 10-6 win over rival Gary Anderson in the Last 16, averaging 95 in both matches.

The world number three then let rip in his post-match television interview, fuming: “At the end of the day it’s a good win, but the conditions we’re playing in at the moment are absolutely ridiculous.

“If you look at the performances of the top players, no one is hitting their A game because the conditions for us as players are not very good.

“It’s quite cold, there is a lot of wind and that doesn’t do you any favours. It doesn’t make you a better player.

“Then you’re trying too hard, you want to do better and you make it really difficult for yourself.

“It’s not about testing myself, it’s trying to compete against the conditions.

“The standard of this tournament has not been good enough and that’s to do with the conditions we have to play in here.

“No one is allowed to say anything, no one has the balls to say anything, but I say it.”

Van Gerwen, whose most recent major ranking title came in this event in Coventry 12 months ago, will now face rival Peter Wright in the Quarter-Finals on Sunday afternoon.

The Dutchman vented his frustration at not being able to perform to his optimum as a result of the baltic conditions.

He added: “It’s not about me winning the game. I didn’t feel comfortable, Gary didn’t feel comfortable and a lot of the other players are not feeling comfortable. That’s not what you want.

“You have to deal with the circumstances, I know it makes it difficult, but on the other side when you winning games that’s the most important thing.

“But still, it makes you a little bit angry and I don’t like things like that.

“It’s a big tent, they can put 20 heaters in here.

“The weather is quite bad over here so it’s quite windy, you can’t do anything against that and venues like this aren’t really prepared for that.

“They keep playing here in winter time, we play here in March when the weather’s normally bad as well and now at the end of November.

“Let us play here in the summer or something, then it’s a bit different.

“I know it’s the same for everyone, but you want to show the crowd your best performance and when you’re not able to, you can blame yourself but this is nothing to do with myself, it’s to do with the circumstances.”

WATCH THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Dolan dispatches Price at the Players Championship Finals as Van Gerwen continues title defence

Brendan Dolan pulled off a sensational Third Round scalp of Gerwyn Price on an incident-filled Day Two of the Players Championship Finals in Minehead.

Four sessions of action took place across two stages on another hectic day at Butlins Minehead Resort, with 32 players whittled down to just eight by the end of play.

Having defeated Ritchie Edhouse 6-3 in the Second Round earlier in the day, Dolan recorded one of the most notable results of his career by dispatching the world number one 10-8.

The former World Grand Prix finalist punished a staggering 27 missed darts at doubles from an out of sorts Price as he sealed his spot in Sunday’s Quarter-Finals.

“Gezzy was nowhere near his best tonight, I’m no fool,” admitted Dolan.

“But when it came down to it at the end of the match I held my nerve so I have to be happy with that.

“I want to thank my wife, she’s my biggest supporter. In my darkest times she’s put me back on the right path.”

Dolan will now face top seed Jose de Sousa after he came through a last-leg decider with Darius Labanauskas in Round Two before defeating William O’Connor 10-7 to reach the Last Eight for the first time.

The pick of the Quarter-Final ties will see reigning and six-time champion Michael van Gerwen face world number two Peter Wright.

Van Gerwen recorded victories over two icons of the sport – Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson – while Wright came back to win a feisty affair with Adrian Lewis, before battling past Damon Heta.

Van Gerwen’s 6-3 win over his former World Cup winning team-mate Van Barneveld saw him average 95.6 with 60 per cent on the doubles, before defeating rival Anderson 10-6 with another 95 average.

The defending champion then hit out at the playing conditions in the main arena in his post-match interview, which he described as “absolutely ridiculous.”

Wright’s win over Lewis ended with a confrontation between the two players on stage, with security having to separate the pair.

The incident appeared to have been sparked by a disagreement over a loose floorboard on the stage, and after Wright played down proceedings, Lewis took to social media to accuse the Scotsman of “cheating.”

Meanwhile, Jonny Clayton continued his quest for a fifth televised title of the year by edging out Luke Humphries 10-9 in a high-quality Last 16 tie, having earlier whitewashed Scott Mitchell 6-0.

Humphries hit back from 8-4 down to force a decider, only to miss two match darts and allow the Welshman off the hook to clinch a dramatic victory.

Clayton will now face Vincent van der Voort – who prevailed in a last-leg shoot-out against Andy Boulton before defeating fellow Dutchman Danny Noppert 10-7 with a 98.5 average.

Daryl Gurney continued his resurgent run by posting a 104.3 average in his 10-7 win over James Wade, having earlier survived an astonishing ten match darts from Michael Smith in an eventual 6-5 win.

Local hero Ryan Searle battled back from 5-1 down to beat Ryan Joyce 6-5 in the afternoon session before getting the better of European Champion Rob Cross 10-7 in the evening.

WATCH THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Players Championship Finals 2021 Day Two Results

Saturday November 27

Afternoon Session

Main Stage
Callan Rydz 5-6 James Wade
Rob Cross 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Ryan Meikle 2-6 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Martin Schindler
Jonny Clayton 6-0 Scott Mitchell
Dimitri Van den Bergh 2-6 Danny Noppert

Stage Two
Andy Boulton 5-6 Vincent van der Voort
Ryan Searle 6-5 Ryan Joyce
Michael Smith 5-6 Daryl Gurney
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Ritchie Edhouse
Damon Heta 6-2 Gabriel Clemens
Ross Smith 5-6 Luke Humphries
William O’Connor 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jose de Sousa 6-5 Darius Labanauskas

Evening Session

Third Round

Main Stage
Peter Wright 10-8 Damon Heta
Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Gary Anderson
Gerwyn Price 8-10 Brendan Dolan
Jonny Clayton 10-9 Luke Humphries

Stage Two
Ryan Searle 10-7 Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney 10-7 James Wade
Jose de Sousa 10-7 William O’Connor
Vincent van der Voort 10-7 Danny Noppert

Adrian Lewis brands Peter Wright a “cheat” after Players Championship Finals confrontation

Adrian Lewis has branded Peter Wright a “cheat” following their heated clash at the Players Championship Finals in Minehead on Saturday.

The two former World Champions had to be separated by security on stage after squaring off following a frosty Second Round encounter.

Wright recovered from 3-0 down to snatch a 6-5 victory and was confronted by a furious ‘Jackpot’ at the end of the match.

The pair exchanged words before referee Kirk Bevins and a member of security intervened and escorted the players off stage.

The incident appeared to have been sparked by a disagreement over a loose floorboard on the stage, but Wright was quick to play down proceedings in his post-match interview on ITV.

“I said there must have been a loose board at the back, but you get that. It works loose like that,” said Wright.

“But we were just discussing Christmas cards and who has got to send the first one.

“Adrian is an amazing player. I love him to bits. He’s not a double World Champion for nothing. I’d like to see him back in the Premier League where he belongs.

“We need a little bit of heating up there, that might help. It got nice and warm up there.”

Lewis then took to social media shortly afterwards to give his version of events, accusing ‘Snakebite’ of deliberate tactics when trailing the match.

Lewis tweeted: ‘Thanks for all your support this weekend. Learning curve about trust today occurred. Onto the Worlds now.

‘I honestly did nothing wrong, even I was bewildered with what was going on and trying to process it whilst trying to concentrate on my darts, so at the end of the game I wanted to find out what was his problem because I didn’t have a clue what was going on.

‘He said to me there was a loose floorboard and I found it! So my response to him was ‘you took me out my rhythm, you had a game plan’, and as world number two it’s disgraceful and you’re nothing but a cheat.

‘He knew what he was doing as soon as I went 3-1 up he started muttering things and shaking his head at me which put me in a situation that made me feel uncomfortable.

‘The people who I fall out with always have to be the ones apologise because they know I’m not a cheat, never have been, never will be!

‘Trouble does seem to follow me around, I can’t deny it, but its only because I’m a genuine person who wears my heart on my sleeve and people try to take advantage of that. I will always speak my mind!

‘For those saying I’m a sore loser, this, that and the other, I’m the best loser because I say it exactly as it is I don’t try hide anything. I say what I see.

‘Peter will say nice things about me in the interview as he knows I’ve done nothing wrong and he’s bang out of order.’

In 2012, Lewis became embroiled in a disagreement with James Wade over an apparent loose floorboard during their meeting in the Premier League.

The Stoke star was fine £3,000 and given suspended ban after clashing with Jose Justicia in a Players Championship event in 2018.

It is not yet clear as to whether the DRA will take action against either player over the incident in Minehead.

Wright now faces Australia’s Damon Heta in the Last 16 on Saturday evening.

WATCH THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Players Championship Finals 2021 Day Two preview and order of play | Moving day in Minehead

The 2021 Players Championship Finals field will be whittled down from 32 players to just eight following Saturday’s double session in Minehead.

The opening day of the season’s penultimate major saw 32 matches held across two stages at the Butlins Minehead Resort as a clutch of big names suffered early exits.

The world’s top 12 ranked players, however, remain in the running as the tournament enters its business end on Day Two.

The afternoon session plays host to the Second Round ties across two stages, before the winners return for the Last 16 in the evening.

The stand-out tie of the Last 32 features the renewal of the Dutch rivalry between multiple World Champions Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld.

The first competitive meeting between the pair since 2019 sees defending champion MVG looking to remain on course for seventh Players Championship Finals crown in an event he has dominated in recent years.

Van Gerwen, whose last major ranking title came at this event in Coventry 12 months ago, overcame young debutant Kevin Doets in Round One, and now faces a resurgent RVB – playing without pressure as he looks to head to Ally Pally on a high.

Van Barneveld, four times a quarter-finalist in this event, produced one of the most notable performances of the opening round as he averaged 104 in a 6-1 rout of Maik Kuivenhoven, and is now eyeing his biggest win since rejoining the circuit at the start of the year.

The Main Stage also features an unmissable show-down between former World Champions Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis.

Having lost in the final of the Grand Slam last week, Wright came into this event licking his wounds, but began brightly with a 99 average in defeating emerging star Keane Barry on Friday night.

Lewis, bidding to return to the world’s top 32 in order to be seeded in Monday’s World Championship draw, started superbly with a 97 average in a 6-3 win over Kim Huybrechts in his first televised tournament since the UK Open back in March.

Two Premier League stars collide as reigning European Champion Rob Cross faces the man who defeated him to win his first major title at the UK Open here in 2019 – Nathan Aspinall.

World number one Gerwyn Price is looking to follow up his third Grand Slam title by securing this piece of silverware for the first time, and he takes on Germany’s Martin Schindler in a repeat of their Group Stage meeting in Wolverhampton last week.

Two players who pulled off dramatic deciding leg victories on Day One go head-to-head as Gary Anderson faces Ryan Meikle.

Anderson came from 4-0 down to stun Stephen Bunting, while Ipswich left-hander Meikle took out 116 in the decider to dispatch Dirk van Duijvenbode on Stage Two with a sensational 108.7 average.

UK Open champion James Wade kicks off the afternoon’s Main Stage action with a tie against World Matchplay quarter-finalist and two-time ProTour event winner – Callan Rydz.

Jonny Clayton, runner-up here in 2017, looks to start afresh after missing 18 darts at doubles in a scrappy win over Alan Tabern when he comes up against former Lakeside Champion Scott Mitchell.

World Matchplay runner-up Dimitri van den Bergh, who missed the recent Grand Slam due to a positive Covid test, is out to make up for lost time and faces a tricky Second Round test against World Grand Prix semi-finalist Danny Noppert.

Stage Two sees top seed Jose de Sousa take on Lithuanian ace Darius Labanauskas – who knocked out last year’s beaten finalist Mervyn King in Round One.

Michael Smith, semi-finalist at the Grand Slam a week ago, faces a crunch clash with 2018 Players Championship Finals winner Daryl Gurney – who has dropped to 23rd in the Order of Merit.

World number 12 Krzysztof Ratajski takes on William O’Connor – who defied a staggering ten 180s from Chris Dobey to prevail in a deciding leg on Friday.

UK Open finalist Luke Humphries takes on Players Championship event winner Ross Smith, while Andy Boulton – conqueror of Joe Cullen in Round One – meets former UK Open runner-up Vincent van der Voort.

Fifth seed Ryan Searle, who has tasted success on the ProTour this season, faces in-form Ryan Joyce – who reached the knock-out stages of the recent Grand Slam.

Australian number two Damon Heta takes on German number one Gabriel Clemens, while history-maker Brendan Dolan meets Ritchie Edhouse – who knocked out Dave Chisnall in Round One.

The action gets under way from 12.45pm GMT, with Second Round matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs and Last 16 ties best of 19.

WATCH THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Players Championship Finals 2021 Day Two Schedule

Saturday November 27

Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)

Main Stage
Callan Rydz v James Wade
Rob Cross v Nathan Aspinall
Ryan Meikle v Gary Anderson
Peter Wright v Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Gerwyn Price v Martin Schindler
Jonny Clayton v Scott Mitchell
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Danny Noppert

Stage Two
Andy Boulton v Vincent van der Voort
Ryan Searle v Ryan Joyce
Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney
Brendan Dolan v Ritchie Edhouse
Damon Heta v Gabriel Clemens
Ross Smith v Luke Humphries
William O’Connor v Krzysztof Ratajski
Jose de Sousa v Darius Labanauskas

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

Third Round

Main Stage

4x Matches (TBC)

Stage Two
4x Matches (TBC)

Van Barneveld and Van Gerwen set up Players Championship Finals clash

Raymond van Barneveld produced a vintage display on his return to the Players Championship Finals to set up a Second Round show-down with Michael van Gerwen in Minehead.

A rejuvenated Van Barneveld displayed the form which led him to a Players Championship title in February as he swept aside fellow Dutchman Maik Kuivenhoven 6-1 on the opening day of the season’s penultimate major.

The five-time World Champion averaged 104 on the Main Stage as he eased into Saturday’s Last 32 – where he will face another fellow countryman in MVG.

“Michael and I always have amazing games,” said Van Barneveld. “But Michael is world number three and I’m number 74 so I have nothing to lose, I’m looking forward to it.

“Of course I will be trying to win, and it’s a short format so let’s see how it goes.

“I was very happy with my game tonight. There’s nothing better than playing well in front of a big crowd.”

Van Gerwen overcame young debutant Kevin Doets 6-3 with a 97 average and 75 percent on the outer ring as he kicked off the defence of his title in comfortable fashion.

“I know Raymond is a good player, I’m going to have to put the pressure on him,” said Van Gerwen.

“But there’s no reason why I can’t do that. I feel ready for this game and I’m looking forward to putting on a good performance for the fans and for myself.

“I didn’t play my best tonight but never felt in any danger.”

An early upset on the Main Stage at the Butlins Minehead Resort saw world number 55 Andy Boulton knock out sixth seed Joe Cullen in a last-leg decider.

Cullen had produced a spectacular 170 checkout to send the contest all the way, but only for Boulton to break back and clinch victory with a 100.8 average.

Adrian Lewis returned to winning ways on the televised stage as he overcame another fellow Players Championship Finals runner-up Kim Huybrechts 6-3 with the aid of two ton-plus finishes.

Lewis will now face Peter Wright in Round Two after the recent Grand Slam finalist dispatched Irish youngster Keane Barry 6-4 in a high quality encounter which saw both players average 99.

Ryan Searle held his nerve to edge out Simon Whitlock in a last-leg shoot-out, while Martin Schindler pulled off an impressive scalp of Ian White on Stage Two.

Lats year’s beaten finalist Mervyn King went down 6-4 to Lithuanian ace Darius Labanauskas, while Dimitri van den Bergh returned to winning ways after missing the recent Grand Slam as he saw off Latvia’s Madars Razma 6-3.

The evening session saw former finalist Gary Anderson pull off a remarkable comeback from 4-0 down to snatch a 6-5 victory over Stephen Bunting.

World number one Gerwyn Price recovered from a slow start as he reeled off five consecutive legs to defeat Jason Lowe 6-3 and kick-start his quest for back-to-back major titles in the space of seven days.

Jonny Clayton came through a pedestrian contest to defeat Alan Tabern 6-4 in a match which saw both players miss 18 darts at doubles.

Ipswich left-hander Ryan Meikle produced a stunning 116 checkout in the deciding leg to edge out Dirk van Duijvenbode with a sensational 108.7 average to the Dutchman’s 105.

Players Championship event winner Callan Rydz thrashed an out of sorts Mensur Suljovic 6-1 on Stage Two, while William O’Connor defied a staggering ten maximums from Chris Dobey by taking out 64 to prevail in a deciding leg.

Ritchie Edhouse claimed an impressive 6-4 scalp of 2016 finalist Dave Chisnall, as Luke Humphries took out 109 to seal a 6-4 win over Jason Heaver, having trailed 3-1.

European Champion Rob Cross will face world number ten Nathan Aspinall on Saturday, with both of whom enjoying comfortable wins over Jermaine Wattimena and Jeff Smith respectively.

The Second round ties will be played across two stages in the afternoon session on Day Two, with the winners returning for the Last 16 in the evening.

WATCH THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Players Championship Finals 2021 Day One Results

Friday November 26

First Round

Afternoon Session

Main Stage
Ryan Searle 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Ron Meulenkamp
Michael Smith 6-3 William Borland
Joe Cullen 5-6 Andy Boulton
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Madars Razma
James Wade 6-1 Ricky Evans
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Jeff Smith
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Kim Huybrechts

Stage Two
Scott Mitchell 6-5 Martijn Kleermaker
Ryan Joyce 6-4 Luke Woodhouse
Martin Schindler 6-3 Ian White
Mervyn King 4-6 Darius Labanauskas
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Chas Barstow
Ross Smith 6-2 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Danny Noppert 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Steve Beaton

Evening Session

Main Stage
Stephen Bunting 5-6 Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Maik Kuivenhoven
Rob Cross 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena
Jose de Sousa 6-4 Devon Petersen
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Jason Lowe
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Kevin Doets
Peter Wright 6-4 Keane Barry
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Alan Tabern

Stage Two
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Alan Soutar
Damon Heta 6-2 Steve Lennon
Callan Rydz 6-1 Mensur Suljovic
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-6 Ryan Meikle
Luke Humphries 6-4 Jason Heaver
Chris Dobey 5-6 William O’Connor
Dave Chisnall 4-6 Ritchie Edhouse

Players Championship Finals 2021 Day One preview and order of play | Friday madness in Minehead

The 2021 Players Championship Finals commences in Minehead on Friday with a blockbuster double session of First Round ties.

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.

Having been held behind closed doors at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry last year, the tournament returns to the Butlins Minehead Resort over the next three days.

Play on Day One will be held across two stages simultaneously, with a number of stand-out ties as a result of the unique ProTour seedings.

The afternoon session features a show-down between two former finalists in this event as Adrian Lewis takes on Kim Huybrechts.

Huybrechts, the 2012 runner-up, recently returned to the world’s top 32, while 2014 and 2015 runner-up Lewis must reach at least the Quarter-Final stage this weekend if he is to do the same and have any chance of being seeded for the World Championship.

Nathan Aspinall, who claimed UK Open glory in Minehead two years ago, starts out against Canadian World Cup star Jeff Smith.

Michael Smith looks to kick on from his resurgent run to the Semi-Finals of the Grand Slam last weekend when he faces emerging Scottish star William Borland.

World Matchplay semi-finalist Krzysztof Ratajski takes on Dutch left-hander Ron Meulenkamp, while reigning UK Open champion and recent Grand Slam semi-finalist James Wade meets ‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans.

Fifth seed Ryan Searle, twice a ProTour event winner, starts out against former European Champion Simon Whitlock, while Dimitri van den Bergh makes his return to action after missing the Grand Slam with Covid as he plays Latvian ace Madars Razma.

Joe Cullen, twice a Players Championship event winner this year, opens up against ‘X Factor’ Andy Boulton, while Stage Two features a clash between German number one Gabriel Clemens and former Lakeside Champion Steve Beaton.

World Grand Prix semi-finalist Danny Noppert faces World Cup of Darts runner-up Rowby-John Rodriguez, while last year’s beaten finalist Mervyn King meets Lithuanian star Darius Labanauskas.

The evening session commences with a clash between 2011 runner-up Gary Anderson and World Championship semi-finalist Stephen Bunting.

Raymond van Barneveld, four times a quarter-finalist in this event, marks his return to Minehead with an all-Dutch affair against giant-killer Maik Kuivenhoven.

Defending champion Michael van Gerwen begins his quest for a magnificent seventh Players Championship Finals title against fellow Dutchman Kevin Doets.

Van Gerwen, winner of the season’s penultimate ProTour event, last tasted success in a ranked TV major in this very event 12 months ago, but has won the Nordic Masters this term.

Two-time European Champion Rob Cross starts out against quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena, while Premier League and World Grand Prix winner Jonny Clayton faces St Helens left-hander Alan Tabern.

Jose de Sousa, the number one seed, faces Devon Petersen – who held on secure to the 64th and final qualification spot.

World number one Gerwyn Price starts his bid for back-to-back major titles following last week’s Grand Slam success when he takes on Jason Lowe – who defeated Michael Smith in the World Championship last year.

Grand Slam runner-up Peter Wright opens up against talented Irish youngster Keane Barry, as former World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode hosts Ipswich left-hander Ryan Meikle on Stage Two.

Stage Two also sees Dutch stars Vincent van der Voort and Jelle Klaasen collide, with ‘The Cobra’ replacing Jamie Hughes – who withdrew due to a positive Covid test.

Dave Chisnall, the 2016 runner-up, faces fellow heavy scorer Ritchie Edhouse, while ProTour event winner Callan Rydz takes on World Cup finalist Mensur Suljovic.

Two former Premier League ‘Contenders’ go head-to-head as Chris Dobey plays William O’Connor, while 2019 champion Daryl Gurney aims to return to winning ways when he faces Scottish debutant Alan Soutar.

The action gets under way from 12.45pm GMT, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs.

WATCH THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Players Championship Finals 2021 Day One Schedule

Friday November 26

First Round

Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)

Main Stage
Ryan Searle v Simon Whitlock
Krzysztof Ratajski v Ron Meulenkamp
Michael Smith v William Borland
Joe Cullen v Andy Boulton
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Madars Razma
James Wade v Ricky Evans
Nathan Aspinall v Jeff Smith
Adrian Lewis v Kim Huybrechts

Stage Two
Scott Mitchell v Martijn Kleermaker
Ryan Joyce v Luke Woodhouse
Martin Schindler v Ian White
Mervyn King v Darius Labanauskas
Brendan Dolan v Chas Barstow
Ross Smith v Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Danny Noppert v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Gabriel Clemens v Steve Beaton

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

Main Stage
Stephen Bunting v Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Maik Kuivenhoven
Rob Cross v Jermaine Wattimena
Jose de Sousa v Devon Petersen
Gerwyn Price v Jason Lowe
Michael van Gerwen v Kevin Doets
Peter Wright v Keane Barry
Jonny Clayton v Alan Tabern

Stage Two
Vincent van der Voort v Jelle Klaasen
Daryl Gurney v Alan Soutar
Damon Heta v Steve Lennon
Callan Rydz v Mensur Suljovic
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ryan Meikle
Luke Humphries v Jason Heaver
Chris Dobey v William O’Connor
Dave Chisnall v Ritchie Edhouse

“I don’t like Minehead” admits Wright ahead of Players Championship Finals

Peter Wright admits he is “not looking forward” to the Players Championship Finals as he prepares to make the arduous journey to Minehead.

The world number two heads into the penultimate event of the season on the back of a heavy defeat to Gerwyn Price in the final of the Grand Slam of Darts last Sunday.

His resurgent run in Wolverhampton ended a poor spell of results which had included back-to-back First Round exits at the World Grand Prix and European Championship.

Wright, however, was not in optimistic mood ahead of the 300-mile trip from his home in Suffolk to the Butlins Minehead Resort – where he won the UK Open in 2017 and reached the Semi-Finals of the Players Championship Finals a year earlier.

“I’m not looking forward to it. I don’t like Minehead,” admitted Wright. “It’s too far away.

“It’s just stupid roads all the way down when it says ’30 miles’ and it takes you two hours.

“The last 30 miles is just absolutely ridiculous, will the people down there get some decent roads? It’d be quicker to get a boat.

“It’s a great place for all the darts fans, which is the main thing. I’ll be there to upset a few people.

“All the players are looking forward to the World Championship, and I am especially.”

Wright is defending £500,000 against his ranking at Ally Pally, having claimed World Championship glory in January 2020.

The colourful Scot warms up for the sport’s show-piece with a clash against Irish youngster Keane Barry on the main stage in Minehead on Friday night.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PDC DARTS ODDS & SPECIALS (18+)

Players Championship Finals Betting Tips and Accumulator Predictions

The Players Championship Finals returns to Minehead in 2021, and we’ve picked out our top betting tips for each day’s action.

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.

Michael van Gerwen is the defending champion after he defeated Mervyn King 11-10 in last year’s final to claim the title for the sixth time.

World number one and recent Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price is looking to claim this title for the first time, while Premier League and World Grand Prix winner Jonny Clayton aims to go one better than his runner-up spot in 2017.

Former champions in action include Gary Anderson and Daryl Gurney, while former finalists Adrian Lewis, Dave Chisnall and Kim Huybrechts also feature.

The 2021 Players Championship Finals run from November 26-28 and we’ve picked out our top betting tips for each day’s play below.

Players Championship Finals Betting Tips

How to claim £20 in Free Bets on the Players Championship Finals

  1. Visit Skybet via this special link
  2. Register a new account (Must be 18+)
  3. Place a qualifying bet of £5 or more at odds of EVS or above
  4. You will be credited with 2 x £10 free bets following the settlement of the qualifying bet

Skybet Sign-up Offer T&Cs:

This promotion is only available to individuals aged 18 years and over who have registered as new customers of Sky Betting and Gaming. For the avoidance of doubt, any customers who currently or have previously held an account with Sky Bet, Sky Vegas, Sky Casino, Sky Bingo or Sky Poker will be considered existing customers.
In order to qualify for this promotion, new customers must place a minimum of £5 as their first bet on a single or each way bet on any Sky Bet market at odds of 1/1 or greater.
Only your first bet with Sky Bet counts towards this offer. Any subsequent bets will not be eligible.
You must bet a minimum of £5 in a single bet. An accumulation of smaller stakes will not count.
Your free bets will be credited as two £10 free bet tokens.
Free bets are non-withdrawable and free bet stakes are not included in any returns
Free bets can be redeemed against any single or each-way market and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
Free Bet will not be subject to an expiry. Clause 19.2 of the General Terms and Conditions will still apply to dormant accounts meaning free bets may be removed after 24 months of account inactivity, but will be re-credited on request.
In order to qualify for this promotion and receive any associated free bets, bonuses or rewards, all staking requirements must be met within 30 days of the account registration date.
This offer can only be claimed once per customer.
Customers using Neteller or Skrill will not qualify.
Sky Betting and Gaming reserves the right acting reasonably to withhold, restrict or cancel this offer from individual account holders in accordance with its eligibility, promotion abuse and internal risk policies at its reasonable discretion.
All Sky Betting and Gaming general rules and terms apply.

Players Championship Finals 2021 live stream | How to watch live online

The Players Championship Finals returns to Minehead in 2021, and a live stream is available for all matches.

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.

Having been held behind closed doors at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry last year, the tournament returns to the Butlins Minehead Resort from November 26-28.

Michael van Gerwen is the defending champion after he defeated Mervyn King 11-10 in last year’s final to claim the title for the sixth time.

World number one and recent Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price is looking to claim this title for the first time, while Premier League and World Grand Prix winner Jonny Clayton aims to go one better than his runner-up spot in 2017.

Former champions in action include Gary Anderson and Daryl Gurney, while former finalists Adrian Lewis, Dave Chisnall and Kim Huybrechts also feature.

Matches from BOTH STAGES will be available to watch live on laptop, mobile and tablet in the UK and various other regions worldwide.

18+ | T&Cs apply | Geo restrictions may apply | Be Gamble Aware | #Ad 

How to watch Players Championship Finals live stream

1) Go to Bet365.com via this special link

2) Register an account, place a £10 first bet and get £50 in Free Bets* (18+ only, T&Cs apply)

3) Once registered, go to the sports homepage and select ‘Darts’ from the left-hand menu

4) Select the play icon next to the match in progress and the live stream window will appear

*18+ only. New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £50* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you five times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. BeGambleAware.org. *or currency equivalent.