Ryan Joyce claimed his first PDC ranking title at Players Championship Ten after a dramatic comeback win over Dave Chisnall in the final.
Joyce, the world number 44, had previously never been beyond the Semi-Finals of a PDC ProTour event, but battled back from the brink to open his title account in style.
The Tynesider looked down and out at 7-3 down to the world number ten but survived five match darts on his way to reeling off five straight legs for glory.
“I thought the game was gone,” admitted Joyce, a World Championship quarter-finalist in 2018. “It’s unbelievable – it hasn’t sunk in yet.”
“I was trying to enjoy the rest of the match and make the score more respectable, but Dave tightened up a bit, he missed his chances and I punished him.
“To win an event like this, you need a couple of rounds where you get the rub of the green and I got that today. I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder and I’ve got to build on this.”
Joyce is now in the provisional qualifying places for the upcoming Betfred World Matchplay, with the 32-player field set to be confirmed on Sunday following the final day of the PDC Summer Series.
“I haven’t been thinking about the World Matchplay,” added Joyce. “I’ve got to take it one game at a time over the next three days and see how I play, so I’ll go into Friday with the same mentality.”
Joyce also revealed that some words of encouragement from South African star Devon Petersen had inspired him going into Thursday’s event.
“I’m not the most consistent player but I know I’ve got it in me,” he said. “I got beaten in the first round on Wednesday and it was a poor game, I didn’t play well.
“I was talking to Devon Petersen this morning and I said I’ve lost a bit of confidence in my throw. He showed me a practice game and had a few words of encouragement, and I felt a different player.”
Joyce averaged above 100 in wins over Andy Hamilton and Chris Dobey, while also defeating World Youth Champion Luke Humphries and Latvia’s Madars Razma.
He then saw off Premier League leader Glen Durrant 6-5 in the Quarter-Finals and averaged 102 in a clinical 7-3 Semi-Final success over Gary Anderson.
Chisnall took command the early stages of the final, pulling clear to lead by four legs on two occasions as he moved to the brink of victory.
Joyce won the next three before four missed doubles from Chisnall in leg 14 allowed him to level the tie, and when his rival missed the bull in a high-quality deciding leg he stepped in on double 16 for glory.
Following early wins over Aaron Beeney and Jamie Lewis, Chisnall defeated the Dutch trio of Benito van de Pas, Maik Kuivenhoven and Martijn Kleermaker to reach the Semi-Finals.
There, he was a 7-5 winner over Nathan Aspinall before his five missed match darts proved fatal in the final against Joyce.
Aspinall was denied by Chisnall in his bid to win a third Players Championship of the year, having defeated World Champion Peter Wright and James Wade in his run to the semi-finals.
Anderson was aiming to win his second Players Championship of 2020, with his five wins on the day including a 110 average in a whitewash of Ryan Murray.
Kleermaker enjoyed his best run since joining the PDC circuit in January as he reached the Quarter-Finals alongside Durrant, Wright and Clayton.
Wednesday’s winner Van Gerwen was defeated by Dutch compatriot Maik Kuivenhoven in a deciding leg in the Last 32, with Gerwyn Price also losing out in Round Three despite an earlier 116 average against Steve Lennon.
The PDC Summer Series continues on Friday with Day Three at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, with a further £75,000 in prize money on offer.
Thursday July 9
Steve Lennon 6-2 James Hubbard
Madars Razma 6-3 Kim Huybrechts
Devon Petersen 6-1 Nathan Derry
Luke Humphries 6-5 Danny Noppert
Ryan Joyce 6-4 Andy Hamilton
Chris Dobey 6-4 Jose De Sousa
Simon Stevenson 6-3 Scott Waites
Joe Cullen 6-2 Scott Baker
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Darius Labanauskas
Niels Zonneveld 6-2 Steve Beaton
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Glen Durrant 6-5 Adrian Gray
Richard North 6-1 Ross Smith
Jan Dekker 6-4 Justin Pipe
Kai Fan Leung 6-5 John Henderson
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Nick Kenny
Matthew Edgar 6-3 Harald Leitinger
Gary Anderson 6-2 Max Hopp
Ryan Murray 6-3 Ron Meulenkamp
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Steve West
Boris Krcmar 6-2 Ryan Meikle
Gabriel Clemens 6-1 Barrie Bates
Matthew Dennant 6-2 Robert Collins
Ian White 6-1 Cameron Menzies
Bradley Brooks 6-1 Conan Whitehead
Martin Atkins 6-5 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Martin Schindler 6-3 Reece Robinson
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Wayne Jones
Christian Bunse 6-3 Arjan Konterman
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Lisa Ashton
Ted Evetts 6-4 Joe Murnan
Peter Wright 6-1 Carl Wilkinson
Andy Boulton 6-1 Nathan Rafferty
Ricky Evans 6-4 Steve Brown
Jonathan Worsley 6-3 Karel Sedlacek
James Wilson 6-5 Michael Smith
Alan Tabern 6-3 Mike De Decker
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Graham Usher
Josh Payne 6-3 Peter Jacques
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Geert Nentjes
Scott Mitchell 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Harry Ward 6-3 Keegan Brown
Mickey Mansell 6-4 Derk Telnekes
James Wade 6-3 Michael Barnard
Jeff Smith 6-1 Gavin Carlin
Luke Woodhouse 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Ciaran Teehan 6-5 Darren Penhall
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 David Pallett
Kirk Shepherd 6-5 Callan Rydz
Matt Clark 6-5 Ryan Searle
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Rob Cross 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Jason Lowe 6-1 William Borland
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Vincent Van der Meer
Mike van Duivenbode 6-3 Jitse Van der Wal
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 William O’Connor
Mervyn King 6-3 Adam Hunt
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Krzysztof Kciuk
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-1 Robert Thornton
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Aaron Beeney
Jamie Lewis 6-4 Gary Blades
Benito van de Pas 6-2 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Mark McGeeney 6-2 Darren Webster
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Steve Lennon
Madars Razma 6-5 Devon Petersen
Ryan Joyce 6-3 Luke Humphries
Chris Dobey 6-2 Simon Stevenson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Joe Cullen
Niels Zonneveld 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Glen Durrant 6-5 Richard North
Jan Dekker 6-4 Kai Fan Leung
Matthew Edgar 6-4 Mensur Suljovic
Gary Anderson 6-0 Ryan Murray
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Boris Krcmar
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Matthew Dennant
Bradley Brooks 6-5 Ian White
Martin Atkins 6-4 Martin Schindler
Christian Bunse 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Jonny Clayton 6-0 Ted Evetts
Peter Wright 6-4 Andy Boulton
Ricky Evans 6-2 Jonathan Worsley
James Wilson 6-4 Alan Tabern
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Josh Payne
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Scott Mitchell
Mickey Mansell 6-5 Harry Ward
James Wade 6-4 Jeff Smith
Ciaran Teehan 6-4 Luke Woodhouse
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Kirk Shepherd
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Matt Clark
Jason Lowe 6-5 Rob Cross
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Mike van Duivenbode
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Mervyn King
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-2 Vincent van der Voort
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Jamie Lewis
Benito van de Pas 6-3 Mark McGeeney
Madars Razma 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Ryan Joyce 6-4 Chris Dobey
Niels Zonneveld 6-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Glen Durrant 6-4 Jan Dekker
Gary Anderson 6-5 Matthew Edgar
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Martin Atkins 6-3 Bradley Brooks
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Christian Bunse
Peter Wright 6-3 Ricky Evans
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 James Wilson
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Mickey Mansell
James Wade 6-2 Ciaran Teehan
Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jason Lowe 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Benito van de Pas
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Madars Razma
Glen Durrant 6-1 Niels Zonneveld
Gary Anderson 6-1 Gabriel Clemens
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Martin Atkins
Peter Wright 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 James Wade
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Jason Lowe
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Maik Kuivenhoven
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Glen Durrant
Gary Anderson 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Peter Wright
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Martijn Kleermaker
Ryan Joyce 7-3 Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall 7-5 Nathan Aspinall
Ryan Joyce 8-7 Dave Chisnall