Scott Williams enjoyed the biggest success of his career to date as he claimed the Players Championship 17 title in Niedernhausen on Wednesday.
Williams, a three-time Challenge Tour event winner, became only the third player in PDC history to win a ProTour title without holding a Tour Card.
The 32-year-old produced a series of superb displays to scoop the £12,000 title and move into the provisional qualification places for the World Championship and Players Championship Finals, while also moving into contention for the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix.
The current Challenge Tour Order of Merit leader defeated four TV title winners en route to glory, culminating in an 8-5 victory over Nathan Aspinall in the final.
Williams punished a sluggish start from Aspinall to establish an early 2-0 lead, but a 13-darter sparked a sequence of three straight legs for the Stockport star.
However, a brilliant 12-dart break from Williams in leg nine shifted the pendulum, with Aspinall squandering five darts at double to restore parity moments later.
Williams gifted Aspinall a temporary reprieve by frittering away three match darts for an 8-4 victory, but he made amends in fine style, following up two 180s with a 14-darter to seal the deal.
“I’m so pleased, I cannot believe it,” said Williams. “I’m beating players that people see in big TV events every week. That is an unbelievable feeling.
“My main target was to get into the World Championship. I’m also looking good for the Players Championship Finals now. I’m so happy. I want people to see me and know who I am.”
Williams’ remarkable run began with victories over Gary Blades and Danny Baggish, and a stunning 11-dart leg saw him clinch a 6-5 win over Jonny Clayton in the Last 32, after the Welshman had posted averages of 111 and 108 in his opening two games.
After accounting for reigning World Cup champion John Henderson, Williams then overcame European Champion Rob Cross 6-4 in the Quarter-Finals, before reeling off five straight legs to topple two-time Pro Tour winner Chris Dobey 7-4 in the Semi-Finals.
Aspinall, meanwhile, came through two last-leg deciders to open his campaign, rallying from 5-3 down to edge out Darius Labanauskas, before taking out a spectacular 170 finish in victory over Maik Kuivenhoven.
The 30-year-old then breezed past Rowby-John Rodriguez with a 104 average, before producing another stirring fightback to overhaul a 5-2 deficit against Jim Williams, averaging 102 in the process.
Aspinall swept aside Mike De Decker 6-2 in the Last Eight, and back-to-back 156 and 132 finishes inspired him to a 7-4 success over De Decker’s compatriot Kim Huybrechts in the Semis.
Belgium’s Huybrechts goes into Thursday’s World Cup of Darts fresh from his best performance of 2022, defeating Raymond van Barneveld, Damon Heta and whitewashing World Champion Peter Wright 6-0 in the Quarter-Finals.
Wright battled through to the last eight despite a host of sub-par displays, while Cross fired in three ton-plus averages before bowing out to Williams at the same stage.
De Decker saw off James Wade, Brendan Dolan and Steve Beaton to make a second Pro Tour quarter-final of 2022, with Players Championship 16 runner-up Van Duijvenbode producing another strong showing to reach the Last Eight.
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Wednesday June 15
Luke Humphries 6-1 Matt Campbell
Connor Scutt 6-2 Jack Main
Steve Beaton 6-0 Mensur Suljovic
Berry van Peer 6-3 Kenny Neyens
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Steve Lennon
Kevin Doets 6-0 Boris Krcmar
James Wade 6-2 George Killington
Mike De Decker 6-0 Eddie Lovely
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Darius Labanauskas
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-5 Jose Justicia
Scott Mitchell 6-3 Madars Razma
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Peter Hudson 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Nathan Rafferty 6-2 Adam Gawlas
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Martijn Kleermaker
Jim Williams 6-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Peter Wright 6-5 Bradley Brooks
Jeremy van der Winkel 6-4 Adam Hunt
Mervyn King 6-1 Max Hopp
John O’Shea 6-2 Gordon Mathers
Martin Schindler 6-5 Niels Zonneveld
Ted Evetts 6-1 Pete Burgoyne
Ross Smith 6-4 Ricardo Pietreczko
Brian Raman 6-5 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Damon Heta 6-2 Steve West
Andy Boulton 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Josh Rock 6-2 Keane Barry
Mickey Mansell 6-3 Graham Usher
Radek Szaganski 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Luc Peters 6-5 Brett Claydon
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Kevin Burness
Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Richie Burnett
Michael Smith 6-4 Nathan Girvan
Lukas Wenig 6-5 Alan Soutar
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Stefan Bellmont
Matthew Edgar 6-0 Karel Sedlacek
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Ian White
Thibault Tricole 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
Chris Dobey 6-2 Devon Petersen
Shaun Wilkinson 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-0 Robert Owen
John Michael 6-5 Zoran Lerchbacher
Joe Murnan 6-3 Andrew Gilding
James Wilson 6-1 Scott Marsh
Danny Noppert 6-0 Stu Wilson
Geert Nentjes 6-3 Tony Martinez
Martin Lukeman 6-3 Vladimir Andersen
Damian Mol 6-2 Glen Durrant
Rob Cross 6-2 Ross Montgomery
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-1 Geert De Vos
Ritchie Edhouse 6-3 Scott Waites
Ryan Meikle 6-5 Jules van Dongen
Jason Heaver 6-1 Dave Chisnall
William O’Connor 6-3 Danny Jansen
Daryl Gurney 6-2 William Borland
Stephen Burton 6-3 Michael Unterbuchner
Jose de Sousa 6-3 Jeff Smith
John Henderson 6-2 David Evans
Danny van Trijp 6-2 Ricky Evans
Keegan Brown 6-2 Lewy Williams
Jonny Clayton 6-0 Florian Hempel
Jimmy Hendriks 6-5 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Danny Baggish 6-4 Gabriel Clemens
Scott Williams 6-3 Gary Blades
Luke Humphries 6-1 Connor Scutt
Steve Beaton 6-2 Berry van Peer
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Kevin Doets
Mike De Decker 6-4 James Wade
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Maik Kuivenhoven
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-4 Scott Mitchell
Nathan Rafferty 6-0 Peter Hudson
Jim Williams 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Peter Wright 6-1 Jeremy van der Winkel
John O’Shea 6-5 Mervyn King
Martin Schindler 6-3 Ted Evetts
Ross Smith 6-3 Brian Raman
Damon Heta 6-1 Andy Boulton
Josh Rock 6-5 Mickey Mansell
Radek Szaganski 6-4 Luc Peters
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael Smith 6-1 Lukas Wenig
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Matthew Edgar
Thibault Tricole 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Chris Dobey 6-3 Shaun Wilkinson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 John Michael
Joe Murnan 6-2 James Wilson
Danny Noppert 6-3 Geert Nentjes
Martin Lukeman 6-3 Damian Mol
Rob Cross 6-5 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Ritchie Edhouse 6-2 Ryan Meikle
William O’Connor 6-1 Jason Heaver
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Stephen Burton
John Henderson 6-2 Jose de Sousa
Keegan Brown 6-2 Danny van Trijp
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Jimmy Hendriks
Scott Williams 6-4 Danny Baggish
Steve Beaton 6-1 Luke Humphries
Mike De Decker 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Jim Williams 6-5 Nathan Rafferty
Peter Wright 6-5 John O’Shea
Ross Smith 6-2 Martin Schindler
Damon Heta 6-5 Josh Rock
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Radek Szaganski
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Michael Smith
Chris Dobey 6-3 Thibault Tricole
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Joe Murnan
Martin Lukeman 6-5 Danny Noppert
Rob Cross 6-5 Ritchie Edhouse
Daryl Gurney 6-2 William O’Connor
John Henderson 6-2 Keegan Brown
Scott Williams 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Mike De Decker 6-4 Steve Beaton
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Jim Williams
Peter Wright 6-3 Ross Smith
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Damon Heta
Chris Dobey 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Martin Lukeman
Rob Cross 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Scott Williams 6-3 John Henderson
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Mike De Decker
Kim Huybrechts 6-0 Peter Wright
Chris Dobey 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Scott Williams 6-4 Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall 7-4 Kim Huybrechts
Scott Williams 7-4 Chris Dobey
Scott Williams 8-5 Nathan Aspinall
Scott Williams continued his dream European Tour debut with a 6-4 scalp of Peter Wright in the Second Round of the 2022 European Darts Open in Leverkusen on Saturday.
Associate Member qualifier Williams pulled off the biggest win of his career by knocking out the world number one to progress to the Last 16.
Wright established a 2-1 lead, but a total of 15 missed doubles allowed Challenge Tour Order of Merit leader Williams in to condemn the World Champion to a third consecutive Second Round exit on the European Tour.
“That wasn’t the Peter we all know, he missed too many darts at doubles, he didn’t score like he could but I won,” said Williams.
“I’m really looking forward to it, regardless of what happens. I’m a Challenge Tour player, not a professional technically, so just to be here for the whole weekend is fantastic. I’m enjoying myself.”
Williams will now face fellow emerging star Josh Rock in Sunday’s Third Round after the Northern Irishman averaged 101.7 in a 6-2 victory over Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski.
Michael van Gerwen began his quest for a fifth European Open title with a scintillating display to defeat Daryl Gurney 6-3.
The Dutchman averaged a stunning 113.8, missing double 12 for a nine-darter in the process, as he stormed into the Last 16 and launched his pursuit of a third Euro Tour title of the season in style.
Gurney played his part as he shared the opening six legs, and he had a chance to win the seventh despite Van Gerwen’s narrow miss for a perfect leg.
However, the Northern Irishman wired double 14 for a 121 checkout to allow Van Gerwen back in to complete a ten-darter, and the Dutchman ruthlessly closed out the victory in the next two legs.
“Daryl pushed me in the beginning of the game,” said Van Gerwen. “I missed a few darts here and there and that puts you under pressure. I still had a couple of really good legs.
“To be playing back here in Leverkusen is always good. I also want to do well because I think the crowd here deserve it and I need to make sure I keep my focus going. I feel good but tomorrow is another day.”
Van Gerwen will now take on current Premier League leader Jonny Clayton in Sunday afternoon’s Third Round after the Welshman dispatched Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 with a brace of 121 finishes in a dominant display.
Top seed Gerwyn Price was made to work hard against Luke Woodhouse, coming from 2-1 down to claim a 6-4 victory – although the qualifier had taken out 132 as he cut the gap from 5-2 to just one leg in the latter stages.
Price now takes on Nathan Aspinall in Round Three after the former UK Open champion closed out a 6-2 win over Karel Sedlacek with a superb 160 checkout.
Brendan Dolan produced an outstanding performance in a 6-0 whitewash of Andrew Gilding, landing four 13-darters and a 14-darter as he averaged almost 104.
Dolan now meets Luke Humphries after April’s German Grand Prix winner averaged 99.6 in a 6-2 win over Darren Penhall to safely reach the Last 16.
Joe Cullen and Dirk van Duijvenbode will collide in Round Three after both enjoyed rampant 6-1 wins on Saturday, seeing off Devon Petersen and Maik Kuivenhoven respectively.
Premier League star James Wade finished six from ten on the doubles and averaged 102.2 in a 6-1 rout of Berry van Peer to set up a meeting with Jose de Sousa – who edged out Sweden’s Dennis Nilsson in a tense deciding leg.
Ryan Searle impressed with a 102.6 average in his 6-2 win over Krzysztof Kciuk and now plays Dave Chisnall – who came from 4-3 down against Damon Heta before sealing a 6-4 success with a 146 checkout.
Germany’s Martin Schindler delighted the Leverkusen crowd with a 6-4 win over European Champion Rob Cross, taking out 154 and landing an 11-darter to move into the Last 16.
Schindler now meets Dimitri Van den Bergh – who enjoyed a 6-1 win over Cameron Menzies as he booked his spot in the final day of action.
Saturday May 7
Josh Rock 6-2 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jose de Sousa 6-5 Dennis Nilsson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-1 Maik Kuivenhoven
Brendan Dolan 6-0 Andrew Gilding
Ryan Searle 6-2 Krzysztof Kciuk
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Cameron Menzies
James Wade 6-1 Berry van Peer
Joe Cullen 6-1 Devon Petersen
Luke Humphries 6-2 Darren Penhall
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Karel Sedlacek
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Luke Woodhouse
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright 4-6 Scott Williams
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Rob Cross 4-6 Martin Schindler
Damon Heta 4-6 Dave Chisnall