Ryan Searle gains revenge on Gary Anderson to claim Players Championship 3 title

Ryan Searle made it third time lucky in a Players Championship final in 2024 as he denied Gary Anderson to claim the Event Three title in Leicester on Monday.

Having finished as runner-up in the opening two Players Championship events last week, Searle edged out Anderson in the deciding leg of a pulsating contest to seal the £15,000 top prize.

Searle had succumbed to his practice partner Anderson in the Players Championship Two final last Tuesday, but he avenged that defeat with a sensational display at the Mattioli Arena.

The Somerset star raced into a 3-0 lead before Anderson opened his account with a spectacular 164 checkout, but Searle restored his three-leg advantage with an eye-catching double 19-double 19 finish.

Anderson reduced the deficit with his second 12-darter of the game in leg six, though Searle remain undeterred, responding with consecutive holds to retain command at 6-3.

The Scottish veteran threatened to complete a terrific comeback after reeling off the next three legs without reply, featuring a superb 11-dart break of throw in leg 11.

However, Searle defied a 177 set-up shot from Anderson to move to the cusp of victory at 7-6, before piling in a brace of maximums in a last-leg shoot-out to seal the deal.

“I wasn’t at my best today, but when it came to the final, I feel like I played pretty well,” said Searle, who averaged 107.6 to Anderson’s 108.6 in the final.

“I believe that Gary is probably the best player in the world, and I’ve said that for a long time. When you’re practising against him he’s banging in 180 after 180 and taking out massive finishes.

“Me and Gary have only practiced twice together this year. He is playing phenomenal darts at the moment, so I’m happy to be able to get one over on him for once!

To make three finals in a row and win one of them is a big achievement, because these events are not easy.

“I don’t set myself targets. I just turn up and play and whatever happens, happens.

“I wish I had Luke Humphries’ focus, where he wanted to be in the Premier League, he wanted to be world number one. I think that would probably help me, but it’s just not me!”

Searle began his route to glory with wins over Patrick Geeraets and Owen Bates, and he continued his progress by dumping out Australia’s World Cup pairing of Simon Whitlock and Damon Heta.

The 36-year-old then saw off Danny Noppert in the quarter-finals – aided by a 164 checkout in the penultimate leg – before winning five straight legs from 4-2 down to topple Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals.

Searle then denied Anderson in the Scot’s quest for back-to-back Players Championship titles, despite the two-time World Champion registering ton-plus averages in six of his seven matches.

The 53-year-old boasted an extraordinary tournament average of 105.85 and crashed in 41 180s throughout the day – obliterating Dave Chisnall’s previous Players Championship record of 35.

Anderson averaged 112 in his opening round demolition of Jeffrey de Graaf, before almost usurping that in his semi-final success over Callan Rydz, producing winning legs of 13, 12, 13, 13, 12, 12 and 11 darts.

Rydz posted a quartet of ton-plus averages during an impressive campaign, defeating the young trio of Nathan Rafferty, Mike De Decker and Josh Rock to book his place in the Last 16.

The former World Championship quarter-finalist also fought back from 5-0 down to stun Daryl Gurney in an 11-leg thriller, and he averaged 103 to account for Players Championship One winner Luke Littler in the quarter-finals.

Van Gerwen, meanwhile, advanced to the semi-finals in his first Players Championship appearance of 2024, overcoming 2023 World Champion Michael Smith and edging out Steve Lennon in the closing stages.

Littler, Noppert and Lennon were joined in the Last Eight by two-time World Champion Peter Wright, who displayed promising signs in his thumping Last 16 win over teenage talent Leighton Bennett, averaging 104 in the process.

Elsewhere in Leicester, Ryan Meikle produced the fourth nine-darter on the Players Championship circuit in 2024, achieving perfection during his first round victory against Geert Nentjes.

Players Championship Three Results

Monday February 19

Round One
Leighton Bennett 6-1 Dave Chisnall
Pascal Rupprecht 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Lee Evans 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Arron Monk 6-3 Connor Scutt
Peter Wright 6-2 Owen Roelofs
Ricky Evans 6-1 Danny Lauby
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Thibault Tricole 6-4 Haupai Puha
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Madars Razma
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Danny van Trijp
Brett Claydon 6-4 James Wade
Jeffrey Sparidaans 6-4 Scott Williams
Gary Anderson 6-3 Jeffrey De Graaf
William Borland 6-2 Callum Goffin
Jose De Sousa 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Jim Williams 6-3 Daniel Klose
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Darryl Pilgrim
Oskar Lukasiak 6-1 Stefan Bellmont
Chris Dobey 6-5 Wessel Nijman
Dylan Slevin 6-3 Robert Owen
Cameron Menzies 6-2 Krzysztof Ratajski
Luke Littler 6-5 Keane Barry
Gian van Veen 6-4 Radek Szaganski
Kevin Doets 6-1 Florian Hempel
Josh Rock 6-4 Aden Kirk
Adam Hunt 6-4 George Killington
Mike De Decker 6-3 Robert Grundy
Callan Rydz 6-3 Nathan Rafferty
Ross Smith 6-3 Nick Kenny
Karel Sedlacek 6-3 Graham Hall
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Rhys Griffin
Jamie Hughes 6-3 Josh Payne
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Steve Beaton
Steve Lennon 6-5 Adam Warner
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Lukas Wenig
Ian White 6-4 Robbie Knops
Ricardo Pietreczko 6-5 Maik Kuivenhoven
Ritchie Edhouse 6-0 Alan Soutar
Martin Schindler 6-3 Mickey Mansell
Ryan Meikle 6-1 Geert Nentjes – *Meikle hits a nine-darter*
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Andy Baetens
Richard Veenstra 6-3 Paul Krohne
Berry van Peer 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Martin Lukeman 6-4 Matt Campbell
Michael Smith 6-1 Martijn Dragt
Chris Landman 6-5 Adam Gawlas
Matthew Dennant 6-4 Ryan Joyce
Darren Beveridge 6-4 Mervyn King
Damon Heta 6-3 Jules van Dongen
Danny Jansen 6-2 Joshua Richardson
Luke Woodhouse 6-5 Adam Smith-Neale
Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-3 Jacques Labre
Ryan Searle 6-2 Patrick Geeraets
Owen Bates 6-5 Graham Usher
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Christian Perez
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Keegan Brown
William O’Connor 6-4 Rob Cross
James Hurrell 6-4 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Jitse Van der Wal
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Stephen Burton
Danny Noppert 6-1 Ronny Huybrechts
Boris Krcmar 6-4 Jurjen van der Velde
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
Niels Zonneveld 6-2 Dom Taylor

Second Round
Leighton Bennett 6-5 Pascal Rupprecht
Arron Monk 6-1 Lee Evans
Peter Wright 6-4 Ricky Evans
Thibault Tricole 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Mensur Suljovic
Jeffrey Sparidaans 6-3 Brett Claydon
Gary Anderson 6-2 William Borland
Jim Williams 6-3 Jose De Sousa
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Oskar Lukasiak
Chris Dobey 6-4 Dylan Slevin
Luke Littler 6-3 Cameron Menzies
Kevin Doets 6-3 Gian van Veen
Josh Rock 6-2 Adam Hunt
Callan Rydz 6-4 Mike De Decker
Ross Smith 6-4 Karel Sedlacek
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Jamie Hughes
Steve Lennon 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Ian White
Ritchie Edhouse 6-3 Ricardo Pietreczko
Ryan Meikle 6-2 Martin Schindler
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Richard Veenstra
Berry van Peer 6-3 Martin Lukeman
Michael Smith 6-3 Chris Landman
Darren Beveridge 6-3 Matthew Dennant
Damon Heta 6-5 Danny Jansen
Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Ryan Searle 6-4 Owen Bates
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Andrew Gilding
William O’Connor 6-3 James Hurrell
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Danny Noppert 6-4 Boris Krcmar
Niels Zonneveld 6-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez

Last 32
Leighton Bennett 6-1 Arron Monk
Peter Wright 6-4 Thibault Tricole
Jeffrey Sparidaans 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Gary Anderson 6-3 Jim Williams
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-1 Chris Dobey
Luke Littler 6-2 Kevin Doets
Callan Rydz 6-4 Josh Rock
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Ross Smith
Steve Lennon 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Ryan Meikle
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Berry van Peer
Michael Smith 6-4 Darren Beveridge
Damon Heta 6-3 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Ryan Searle 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 William O’Connor
Danny Noppert 6-4 Niels Zonneveld

Last 16
Peter Wright 6-1 Leighton Bennett
Gary Anderson 6-0 Jeffrey Sparidaans
Luke Littler 6-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Callan Rydz 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Steve Lennon 6-4 Ritchie Edhouse
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Michael Smith
Ryan Searle 6-3 Damon Heta
Danny Noppert 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld

Gary Anderson 6-2 Peter Wright
Callan Rydz 6-4 Luke Littler
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Steve Lennon
Ryan Searle 6-4 Danny Noppert

Gary Anderson 7-4 Callan Rydz
Ryan Searle 7-4 Michael van Gerwen

Ryan Searle 8-7 Gary Anderson

Prize Fund
Winner: £15,000
Runner-up: £10,000
Semi-Final losers: £5,000
Quarter-Final losers: £3,500
Last 16 losers: £2,500
Last 32 losers: £1,500
Second Round losers: £1,000
First Round losers: £0

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Sensational Searle claims Players Championship Three glory

Ryan Searle secured his first PDC ranking title in style at Players Championship Three in Wigan, defeating Michael van Gerwen 8-6 in the final.

Searle, who previously lost in a Players Championship final in September 2018, went one better as he produced a stunning display of darts at the Robin Park Sports Centre.

The world number 44 defeated four Premier League players on his way to glory, culminating in a first-ever win over MVG.

“I just can’t believe it,” said an emotional Searle. “It’s extra special to beat Michael in the final, it’s a dream.

“I’ve been practicing a lot in my little man cave back home and playing out scenarios in my head – playing Michael in a final was one of them.

“When you get these chances you just have to take the opportunity and thankfully I did today.

“I think I let myself down a bit at the World Championship when I lost to Gary Anderson.

“I still don’t think I’ve played my best, but I know what I can do.”

Searle made a superb start to the final, taking out 84 on the bullseye in the first leg before racing into a 3-0 lead.

Van Gerwen got off the mark with an 81 checkout to kick-start a run of four consecutive legs to move ahead before Searle stopped the rot with a 78 finish.

The world number one then crashed in a magnificent 164 checkout for a 12-darter but missed two darts at doubles in the following leg as Searle levelled at five apiece.

The duo then exchanged breaks of throw before one missed dart at double four from MVG allowed Searle to return for double six and make it 7-6.

The Devon thrower showed no sign of faltering at the finish as he sunk tops to clinch the £10,000 title.

Searle began his run with a 6-4 victory over Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price before seeing off Michael Barnard 6-3 and Josh Payne 6-2.

He then overcame 2019 world finalist Michael Smith 6-4 in the Last 16 before holding his nerve to edge out Glen Durrant in a deciding leg and going on to defeat Jeffrey de Zwaan 7-5.

Van Gerwen’s wait for a first title of 2020 continues, with the Dutchman having notably defeated World Champion Peter Wright 7-3 in the Semi-Finals.

Four-time women’s World Champion Lisa Ashton bettered last weekend’s Second Round run by reaching Round Three courtesy of wins over Dimitri van den Bergh and Adam Hunt.

The day also witnessed two nine-dart finishes as Mensur Suljovic landed the perfect leg in a First Round triumph over Jeff Smith, while Danny Noppert nailed in the nine on his way to a Second Round success over Andy Boulton.


Players Championship Three Results

Saturday February 15

First Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Yordi Meeuwisse
William Borland 6-4 Aaron Beeney
Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 John Henderson
Ryan Joyce 6-3 Kirk Shepherd
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Kai Fan Leung
Wayne Jones 6-4 Jonathan Worsley
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Harry Ward
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-0 Nick Kenny
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Jeff Smith – *Suljovic hits a nine-darter*
Darius Labanauskas 6-1 Andy Hamilton
Chris Dobey 6-4 Madars Razma
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-4 Jamie Lewis
James Wade 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Darren Webster 6-3 Steve Lennon
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Jelle Klaasen
Marko Kantele 6-3 Mervyn King
Peter Wright 6-3 Simon Stevenson
Adam Huckvale 6-5 Alan Tabern
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Robert Thornton
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-1 Scott Waites
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Darren Penhall
Boris Krcmar 6-3 Ron Meulenkamp
Jose De Sousa 6-4 Jason Lowe
Matt Clark 6-0 Reece Robinson
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Devon Petersen
Steve West 6-2 Mickey Mansell
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Justin Pipe
Ted Evetts 6-2 Callan Rydz
Joe Cullen 6-0 Luke Woodhouse
David Pallett 6-5 Damon Heta
Steve Beaton 6-4 Bradley Brooks
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Mike De Decker
Ian White 6-3 Steve Brown
Max Hopp 6-1 Mike van Duivenbode
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Karel Sedlacek
Ryan Murray 6-4 Niels Zonneveld
Gary Anderson 6-2 Jamie Hughes
Wesley Harms 6-0 Gary Blades
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-3 Jan Dekker
Harald Leitinger 6-1 Steffen Siepmann
John Michael 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Carl Wilkinson 6-4 Barrie Bates
Danny Noppert 6-1 Richard North
Andy Boulton 6-2 Krzysztof Kciuk
Nathan Aspinall 6-0 Jesus Noguera
Matthew Dennant 6-3 Robert Collins
Joe Murnan 6-4 Ricky Evans
William O’Connor 6-4 Christian Bunse
Ryan Searle 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Michael Barnard 6-4 Mark McGeeney
Gabriel Clemens 6-2 Gavin Carlin
Josh Payne 6-1 Luke Humphries
Scott Baker 6-4 Rob Cross
Peter Jacques 6-2 Daniel Larsson
Michael Smith 6-2 Adrian Gray
Benito van de Pas 6-4 Derk Telnekes
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Toni Alcinas
Scott Mitchell 6-4 James Wilson
Lisa Ashton 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Adam Hunt 6-3 Ciaran Teehan
Glen Durrant 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Conan Whitehead 6-5 Vincent Van der Meer
Keegan Brown 6-4 Martin Schindler
Ross Smith 6-1 Martin Atkins

Second Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 William Borland
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Martijn Kleermaker
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Wayne Jones
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-0 Jermaine Wattimena
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Darius Labanauskas
Chris Dobey 6-4 Maik Kuivenhoven
Darren Webster 6-1 James Wade
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Marko Kantele
Peter Wright 6-5 Adam Huckvale
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Adrian Lewis 6-1 Boris Krcmar
Matt Clark 6-3 Jose De Sousa
Steve West 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Ted Evetts 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Joe Cullen 6-1 David Pallett
Geert Nentjes 6-4 Steve Beaton
Max Hopp 6-5 Ian White
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Ryan Murray
Wesley Harms 6-5 Gary Anderson
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-1 Harald Leitinger
John Michael 6-1 Carl Wilkinson
Danny Noppert 6-2 Andy Boulton – *Noppert hits a nine-darter*
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Matthew Dennant
Joe Murnan 6-4 William O’Connor
Ryan Searle 6-3 Michael Barnard
Josh Payne 6-5 Gabriel Clemens
Scott Baker 6-2 Peter Jacques
Michael Smith 6-5 Benito van de Pas
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Scott Mitchell
Lisa Ashton 6-4 Adam Hunt
Glen Durrant 6-0 Conan Whitehead
Keegan Brown 6-2 Ross Smith
Losers: £500

Last 32
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Ryan Joyce
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Chris Dobey 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Darren Webster
Peter Wright 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Adrian Lewis 6-0 Matt Clark
Ted Evetts 6-5 Steve West
Joe Cullen 6-1 Geert Nentjes
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Max Hopp
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-5 Wesley Harms
Danny Noppert 6-4 John Michael
Joe Murnan 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Ryan Searle 6-2 Josh Payne
Michael Smith 6-3 Scott Baker
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Lisa Ashton
Glen Durrant 6-4 Keegan Brown
Losers: £1,000

Last 16
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Chris Dobey 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Peter Wright 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Joe Cullen 6-1 Ted Evetts
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Danny Noppert 6-4 Joe Murnan
Ryan Searle 6-4 Michael Smith
Glen Durrant 6-5 Krzysztof Ratajski
Losers: £1,500

Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Chris Dobey
Peter Wright 6-3 Joe Cullen
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Danny Noppert
Ryan Searle 6-5 Glen Durrant
Losers: £2,250

Michael van Gerwen 7-3 Peter Wright
Ryan Searle 7-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Losers: £3,000

Ryan Searle 8-6 Michael van Gerwen
Winner: £10,000
Runner-up: £6,000