RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD won his first ranking title result of 2013 with a superb 6-3 defeat of Peter Wright in Sunday’s Players Championship final in Dublin.
The Dutch star had last won a PDC ProTour event in July 2012 in Germany, but swept to the £10,000 first prize at the Citywest Hotel by producing some sublime darts in the final event before the partypoker.com World Grand Prix kicks offon Monday.
Having defeated the Essex pair of Steve Maish and Paul Barham in the opening two rounds, he then edged to a 6-5 victory over Jamie Caven in the last 32, taking the deciding leg by scoring 177 and then finishing 64 in two darts.
He would drop only four more legs in his next three games as he won through to the final by defeating Wayne Jones, Kevin Painter and Andrew Gilding, before seeing off Wright to take the title.
He won the final’s opening three legs, finishing 72, 120 and 94 for legs of 14, 15 and 12 darts before Wright took out double two to hit back in the fourt.
Van Barneveld stole the fifth with a 106 finish, after Wright opened the leg with two 180s but was made to pay for missed doubles in two visits after missing out on a possible nine-darter, with the Dutchman moving 4-1 up.
That lead was swiftly extended to 5-1 after the pair traded 180s in the next, with van Barneveld posting double 18 for a 13-darter, and though Wright finished 121 and double four to pull back the next two legs, the Dutchman sealed the win on double eight.
“It’s a great boost for me ahead of the World Grand Prix, and my form’s great going into the event,” said van Barneveld. “I played some awesome darts on Saturday before I lost to Brendan Dolan, but the first two or three rounds today weren’t as solid.
“I got lucky against Jamie Caven, winning 6-5, but after I was great and I’m really over the moon with the way I’m playing.”
The win sealed van Barneveld’s place in November’s Cash Converters Players Championship Finals – which is based on prize money won in ProTour events – and was an ideal preparation for Tuesday’s World Grand Prix opener with Stuart Kellett.
“I love this game and I love winning – sometimes I love this game too much,” he added. “I want to show the world that I can still play and I want to play against Phil Taylor, James Wade, Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis at my best game.
“Sometimes players like me, James Wade and Adrian Lewis need the pressure to play our best darts. Adrian won on Saturday and I won today, and for some reason it gives us better focus.
“I had a bad September and struggled for the month, but I’ve started well in October and hopefully I’m going to do well for the rest of this year.”
Wright’s run to the final saw him pick up £5,000 in prize money as he continues to progress towards the world’s top 16 and maintained his recent run of form.
The Lowestoft ace opened the day with a 6-3 victory over Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney before whitewashing Mark Frost and Arron Monk and picking up deciding-leg wins over Ronnie Baxter and Robert Thornton.
He then defeated Michael van Gerwen 6-4 in a high-quality semi-final which saw both players average over 101, but was unable to defeat a second Dutchman in the decider.
Van Gerwen’s run to the semi-finals ahead of the start of his World Grand Prix title defence included a 6-3 quarter-final victory over Mervyn King – in a repeat of their clash at the Citywest Hotel in last year’s double-start event final – as and a win over in-form Brendan Dolan, Saturday’s Players Championship finalist.
Norfolk’s Gilding won through to his first-ever PDC ProTour semi-final with a brilliant day, knocking out Dave Chisnall, Mark Webster, Darren Webster and Adrian Gray in the run, with £2,500 prize money improving his hopes of qualifying for the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship.
Gray earned a valuable £1,500 prize money with his run to the quarter-finals, where he was joined by Kevin Painter, King and Thornton.
Earlier in the day, resurgent Mark Dudbridge, a semi-finaliston Saturday, missed double 12 for a nine-darter in the deciding leg of his win over Wes Newton as he reached the last 16.
Dolan, Baxter, Jones, Simon Whitlock, Darren Webster, Kim Huybrechts and Germany’s Jyhan Artut also won through to the last 16, while Saturday’s Players Championship winner Adrian Lewis lost out to Painter in the third round.
Players Championship 10
Citywest Hotel, Dublin, Sunday October 6
Colin Fowler 6-0 John Scott
Michael Smith 6-1 Richie Walsh
Jake Patchett 6-5 Colin Osborne
Michael van Gerwen (1) 6-1 Tomas Seyler
Andy Jenkins 6-5 Paul Amos
Jamie Lewis (32) 6-5 Stephen Hardy
Campbell Jackson 6-2 Michael Mansell
Andy Hamilton (16) 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts
Roland Scholten 6-4 Jon Jukes
Brendan Dolan (17) 6-2 Chris Aubrey
Brian Woods 6-4 Colin Fowler
Wes Newton (8) 6-3 Mark Hylton
Johnny Haines 6-2 Matthew Dicken
Terry Jenkins (25) 6-5 Alan Tabern
Mark Dudbridge 6-3 Joey Palfreyman
Mervyn King (9) 6-4 Jarkko Komula
Bernd Roith 6-0 Chris Skeates
John Bowles 6-3 Colin Lloyd (24)
Andy Parsons 6-3 Gaz Cousins
Robert Thornton 6-2 Mark Forman
Mick Todd 6-2 Darren Johnson
Mark Walsh (28) 6-0 Ian Moss
Keith Stephen 6-3 Keith Rooney
Kim Huybrechts (12) 6-0 Andy Pearce
Matthew Edgar 6-5 Barrie Bates
Justin Pipe (21) 6-1 Connie Finnan
John Henderson 6-1 Richie Timmonds
Peter Wright (4) 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Mark Frost 6-1 Andrew Howarth
Arron Monk (29) 6-3 Darren Brown
Dennis Smith 6-4 Alex Roy
Joe Cullen 6-4 Ian White (13)
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Marc Dewsbury
Ronnie Baxter (20) 6-4 Jim Walker
Joe Murnan 6-4 Dean Winstanley
Dave Chisnall (2) 6-5 Steve West
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Paul Rowley
Mark Webster (31) 6-5 Michael Barnard
Terry Temple 6-5 Mark Jones
Gary Anderson (15) 6-0 Paddy Burke
Jani Haavisto 6-4 Pete Dyos
Stuart Kellett (18) 6-0 Mark Lawrence
Darren Webster 6-4 Michael Smith
Steve Beaton (7) 6-4 James Hubbard
Nick Fullwell 6-3 Sam Hill
Richie Burnett (26) 6-4 Keegan Brown
Jyhan Artut 6-3 Reece Robinson
Kevin McDine 6-4 Paul Nicholson (10)
Adrian Gray 6-2 Steve Grubb
Steve Brown 6-1 Andy Smith (23)
Steve Hine 6-2 Jamie Robinson
Jamie Caven (6) 6-5 David Pallett
Josh Payne 6-3 Ross Smith
Raymond van Barneveld (27) 6-0 Steve Maish
Paul Barham 6-4 Sean Ryan
John Part (11) 6-4 Ryan Harrington
Paddy Meaney 6-5 Richie Howson
Wayne Jones (22) 6-5 Dan Russell
Ricky Evans 6-1 Jimmy Murray
Simon Whitlock (3) 6-2 Peter Hudson
Shaun Griffiths 6-4 William O’Connor
Jelle Klaasen (30) 6-1 Mark Cox
Scott Rand 6-2 Dave Ladley
Adrian Lewis (14) 6-2 Kevin Dowling
Nigel Heydon 6-4 Paul Anthony
Kevin Painter (19) 6-3 James Richardson
Jake Patchett 6-5 Dylan Powell
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Andy Jenkins
Jamie Lewis 6-2 Campbell Jackson
Andy Hamilton 6-5 Roland Scholten
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Brian Woods
Wes Newton 6-3 Johnny Haines
Mark Dudbridge 6-2 Terry Jenkins
Mervyn King 6-5 Bernd Roith
John Bowles 6-1 Andy Parsons
Robert Thornton 6-5 Mick Todd
Keith Stephen 6-4 Mark Walsh
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Justin Pipe 6-5 John Henderson
Peter Wright 6-0 Mark Frost
Arron Monk 6-5 Dennis Smith
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Joe Cullen
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 Joe Murnan
Andrew Gilding 6-1 Dave Chisnall
Mark Webster 6-4 Terry Temple
Gary Anderson 6-0 Jani Haavisto
Darren Webster 6-0 Stuart Kellett
Nick Fullwell 6-4 Steve Beaton
Jyhan Artut 6-3 Richie Burnett
Adrian Gray 6-5 Kevin McDine
Steve Brown 6-5 Steve Hine
Jamie Caven 6-4 Josh Payne
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Paul Barham
John Part 6-2 Paddy Meaney
Wayne Jones 6-2 Ricky Evans
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Shaun Griffiths
Jelle Klaasen 6-3 Scott Rand
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Nigel Heydon
Kevin Painter 6-0 Jake Patchett
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Jamie Lewis
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Andy Hamilton
Mark Dudbridge 6-5 Wes Newton
Mervyn King 6-1 John Bowles
Robert Thornton 6-3 Keith Stephen
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Justin Pipe
Peter Wright 6-0 Arron Monk
Ronnie Baxter 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Andrew Gilding 6-5 Mark Webster
Darren Webster 6-3 Gary Anderson
Jyhan Artut 6-4 Nick Fullwell
Adrian Gray 6-4 Steve Brown
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Jamie Caven
Wayne Jones 6-5 John Part
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
Kevin Painter 6-3 Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Mervyn King 6-4 Mark Dudbridge
Robert Thornton 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Peter Wright 6-5 Ronnie Baxter
Andrew Gilding 6-3 Darren Webster
Adrian Gray 6-3 Jyhan Artut
Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Wayne Jones
Kevin Painter 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Mervyn King
Peter Wright 6-5 Robert Thornton
Andrew Gilding 6-1 Adrian Gray
Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Kevin Painter
Peter Wright 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Andrew Gilding
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Peter Wright
Final – Leg-by-leg
0-0 – Raymond van Barneveld wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 – The Dutchman holds throw by finishing 72 on double six for a 14-darter, with Wright waiting on 16.
0-2 – Wright again leaves himself on a double, but van Barneveld takes out 120 to break in 15 darts.
0-3 – van Barneveld scores 125, 140 and 140 before finishing 96 on double nine for a 12-darter to move three legs up.
1-3 – Wright is first to a finish, missing te bull for a 164 finish and two further darts at double eight, only to be allowed back in when van Barneveld misses double 18 to finish 76, and the Scot takes out double two with his third dart to get off the mark.
1-4 – Wright opens with two 180s, and after he misses out on a possible nine-darter, missed doubles in two visits allow the Dutchman to steal in with a 106 checkout.
1-5 – Both players hit 180s, with van Barneveld missing two darts at double 18 only for Wright to miss two darts of his own at double 16 as the Dutch star hits double 18 for a 13-darter to move to the brink of victory.
2-5 – van Barneveld lands another 180 but is left waiting on 78 as Wright finishes 121 to keep the game alive.
3-5 – Wright posts his fourth maximum of the game, as double four wins him a third leg.
3-6 – The Dutchman is first to a finish, and posts double eight to claim his first ProTour win since July 2012.