ROBERT THORNTON won his second title on the 2013 PDC ProTour with a nail-biting 6-5 victory over Jamie Caven in the final of the Gleneagle Hotel Players Championship at the INEC in Killarney on Saturday
The world number 11 bounced back from a first round exit to Paul Nicholson in last week’s World Grand Prix in Dublin by taking the £10,000 winners prize.
Thornton dropped just five legs in his first three matches where he beat Kevin McCann, Nick Fullwell and Vincent van der Voort to seal a place in the last 16.
The Scotsman then defeated Alan Tabern and Mark Walsh to reach the last four, where he overcame the in-form Dave Chisnall with a tight 6-5 win.
Thornton faced Jamie Caven in the decider and both players hit the ground running by sharing the opening two legs with 12-dart finishes.
The next two legs were shared before Thornton broke throw in the fifth leg only for Caven to hit back straight away to level at three apiece.
Caven led 4-3 and 5-4 only to be pegged back on both occasions before both players landed 180s in the deciding leg, which was won by Thornton with an excellent 15-darter.
Caven started his run to a fourth ProTour final of 2013 by breezing through to the last 16 stage as he dropped just four legs in the process of defeating Paul Madden, Alex Roy and Jim Walker.
The 37-year-old, who won the double header of Players Championships held in Wigan back in May, overcame former World Champions Richie Burnett and Steve Beaton to reach the semi-finals, where he defeated Darren Webster 6-3 after coming from 3-2 down.
The Derby ace put together a fine display in the decider against Thornton but was edged out by the Scotsman in a deciding leg and had to settle for the £5,000 runners-up prize.
World number seven Chisnall,followed up his fine performance at the World Grand Prix last week with a run to the semi-finals in Killarney on Saturday.
The St Helens ace recorded wins over Andy Smith and Brendan Dolan to reach the last four, where he hit six 180s and averaged over 103 but fell to an agonising 6-5 loss to Thornton and had to settle for £2,500 in prize money.
Webster, Friday’s winner in the Ladbrokes Irish masters in Killarney, continued his resurgence on the PDC circuit by reaching the semi-finals for the first time in 2013 – repeating his performance of 12 months ago in Killarney.
The Norwich thrower recorded fine victories over top 16 stars Peter Wright and Justin Pipe before breezing through his quarter-final clash against John Henderson with a whitewash 6-0 win.
Webster’s hopes of reaching his first ever ProTour final were on course when he established a 3-2 lead over Caven, which featured an 11-darter. However, the Derby ace won the next four legs to end the 45-year-old’s challenge.
Hertfordshire’s Mark Walsh, who has dropped to world number 27, reached the last eight of a ProTour event for the first time since the Dutch Darts Masters last October with his progression.
Walsh’s run to the quarter-finals included three consecutive wins over major finalists Barrie Bates, Andy Hamilton and Wes Newton before losing to former UK Open champion Thornton.
Scotland’s John Henderson produced his best performance in a PDC ProTour event since reaching the last eight at the same venue 12 months ago.
The 40-year-old, a quarter-finalist at the World Grand Prix two years ago, notched up impressive wins over Mark Webster, Ian White and Justin Pipe before falling to a whitewash defeat at the hands of Webster in the last eight.
Wes Newton fired in a fantastic nine-dart finish in his last 32 victory over Germany’s Jyhan Artut, which was the fourth hit so far this week following the three recorded in Championship League Darts by Michael van Gerwen, Mervyn King and Kim Huybrechts.
The Killarney Darts Festival concludes on Sunday with a second Players Championship event taking place at the INEC with £50,000 in prize money on offer.
Sunday’s event will confirm the final qualification places for The Masters, a new competition taking place in Edinburgh from November 1-3, with the world’s top 16 players battling it out for a share of £160,000.
Saturday’s results mean that the currently top 16 now cannot change, with Gary Anderson having needed to reach the semi-finals to hold on to his hopes of ousting Terry Jenkins orPeter Wright.
Gleneagle Hotel Players Championship
Saturday October 19, INEC, Killarney
Darren Webster 6-3 Paul Rowley
Gerry Kelly 6-1 George McGivern
Connie Finnan 6-2 Liam Gallagher
Darrell Hodgson 6-3 Gordon Codd
John Bowles 6-1 Neil Murtagh
Terry Temple 6-4 Gaz Cousins
John Scott 6-4 Noel Bowes
Mick Egan 6-0 Tom O’Reilly
Daniel Day 6-2 Steve Maish
Craig Pope 6-3 Aaron Dingivan
Mike O’Sullivan 6-3 Thomas Biggane
John Henderson 6-3 Jason Kavanagh
Paul Amos 6-5 David Murphy
Andy Jenkins 6-3 Ritchie Walsh
Steve Brown 6-2 Danny Ward
Mark Cox 6-5 Kevin Dowling
Paddy Meaney 6-4 Padraig Hester
Dean Winstanley 6-0 Shane Coleman
Marty Moreland 6-5 Jimmy Murray
Alex Roy 6-1 Shane O’Connor
Matthew Edgar 6-0 Anthony Murphy
James Richardson 6-0 Damian O’Driscoll
Dean Forde 6-1 Johnny McEvoy
Michael Mansell 6-2 Johnny Haines
Ali Powell 6-5 John Nyhan
Steve Hine 6-0 Steven Coyne
Andrew Gilding 6-0 Wayne Turner
Ronan Donnelly 6-1 Paul Davison
Mark Hylton 6-0 Mark Willis
Mark Jones 6-3 David Stack
Shane O’Hara 6-1 Richie Timmons
Kevin McDonnell 6-2 Gerry O’Hara
Eric Dunlea 6-0 Phil Standing
Darren Johnson 6-0 Stephen Walsh
Peter Quinn 6-4 John-Paul Dowdall
Shaun Griffiths 6-2 Mike Stefanak
David Pallett 6-5 Ricky Evans
Mick McGowan 6-4 Gary Condron
James Broderick 6-2 Dean McDonagh
Josh Payne 6-2 Steven Hartigan
Ben Corcoran 6-1 Eamonn McGovern
Ian Moss 6-0 Ross Smith
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Eugene Murnan
Paul Barham 6-1 John Kidney
Barrie Bates 6-3 Chris Aubrey
James Hubbard 6-3 Jake Patchett
Campbell Jackson 6-4 Ian Dargan
Ross Kelly 6-3 Mikey Stavrosky
Joe Byrne 6-1 Matthew Dicken
Alan Tabern 6-1 Dwayne McEvoy
Michael Barnard 6-1 Terry O’Connor
James Young 6-4 Dan Russell
Peter Wright (1) 6-0 Justin McGuigan
Darren Webster 6-0 Dennis Corr
Dennis Smith (32) 6-1 Sam Hill
Connie Finnan 6-1 Gerry Kelly
Justin Pipe (16) 6-0 Steve West
Darrell Hodgson 6-4 John Bowles
Wayne Jones (17) 6-1 Paul Boyle
Terry Temple 6-1 John Scott
Kim Huybrechts (8) 6-3 Mick Todd
Stephen Hardy 6-1 Mick Egan
Jamie Lewis (25) 6-2 Roland Scholten
Daniel Day 6-2 Craig Pope
Ian White (9) 6-1 Nigel Heydon
Mike O’Sullivan 6-4 Robert Smith
Mark Webster (24) 6-5 Ian Dobson
John Henderson 6-3 Paul Amos
Steve Beaton (5) 6-0 Luke Cheevers
Andy Jenkins 6-4 Prakash Jiwa
Joe Cullen (28) 6-2 Dave Honey
Mark Cox 6-3 Steve Brown
Stuart Kellett (12) 6-3 Mark Dudbridge
Paddy Meaney 6-4 Dave Ladley
Arron Monk (21) 6-2 John Quinn
Dean Winstanley 6-2 Marty Moreland
Jamie Caven (4) 6-1 Paul Madden
Alex Roy 6-2 William O’Connor
Jim Walker 6-3 Ronny Huybrechts (29)
Matthew Edgar 6-2 James Richardson
Gary Anderson (13) 6-5 Peter Hudson
Michael Mansell 6-1 Dean Forde
Richie Burnett (20) 6-5 Stephen Lennon
Steve Hine 6-3 Ali Powell
Dave Chisnall (2) 6-1 David O’Donovan
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Brian Woods
Adrian Gray 6-2 Scott Rand (31)
Mark Hylton 6-4 Ronan Donnelly
Ronnie Baxter (15) 6-1 Andy Reilly
Mark Jones 6-3 Shane O’Hara
Andy Smith (18) 6-4 Andy Pearce
Eric Dunlea 6-5 Kevin McDonnell
John Part (7) 6-3 Joe Murnan
Darren Johnson 6-1 Vincent Twomey
Michael Smith (26) 6-2 Steve Grubb
Shaun Griffiths 6-4 Peter Quinn
Brendan Dolan (10) 6-1 Anthony Doyle
Keith Stephen 6-5 David Pallett
Jelle Klaasen (23) 6-0 John O’Hara
James Broderick 6-2 Mick McGowan
Wes Newton (6) 6-2 Kevin McDine
Josh Payne 6-1 Dermot Kelliher
Jyhan Artut 6-4 Colin Osborne (27)
Ben Corcoran 6-1 Ian Moss
Andy Hamilton (11) 6-1 Neil O’Donoghue
Mark Forman 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Mark Walsh (22) 6-3 Joey Palfreyman
Barrie Bates 6-4 Paul Barham
Robert Thornton (3) 6-1 Kevin McCann
Nick Fullwell 6-2 James Hubbard
Vincent van der Voort (30) 6-0 Donnacha McCarthy
Campbell Jackson 6-2 Ross Kelly
Kevin Painter (14) 6-2 Ryan Maher
Alan Tabern 6-4 Joe Byrne
Colin Lloyd (19) 6-2 Richie Howson
Michael Barnard 6-0 James Young
Darren Webster 6-4 Peter Wright
Dennis Smith 6-1 Connie Finnan
Justin Pipe 6-3 Darrell Hodgson
Terry Temple 6-1 Wayne Jones
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Stephen Hardy
Jamie Lewis 6-1 Daniel Day
Ian White 6-1 Mike O’Sullivan
John Henderson 6-4 Mark Webster
Steve Beaton 6-2 Andy Jenkins
Joe Cullen 6-2 Mark Cox
Stuart Kellett 6-0 Paddy Meaney
Dean Winstanley 6-4 Arron Monk
Jamie Caven 6-1 Alex Roy
Jim Walker 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Gary Anderson 6-3 Michael Mansell
Richie Burnett 6-4 Steve Hine
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Andrew Gilding
Adrian Gray 6-5 Mark Hylton
Mark Jones 6-3 Ronnie Baxter
Andy Smith 6-3 Eric Dunlea
John Part 6-3 Darren Johnson
Michael Smith 6-2 Shaun Griffiths
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Keith Stephen
Jelle Klaasen 6-2 James Broderick
Wes Newton 6-5 Josh Payne
Jyhan Artut 6-2 Ben Corcoran
Andy Hamilton 6-3 Mark Forman
Mark Walsh 6-2 Barrie Bates
Robert Thornton 6-3 Nick Fullwell
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Campbell Jackson
Alan Tabern 6-3 Kevin Painter
Michael Barnard 6-3 Colin Lloyd
Darren Webster 6-2 Dennis Smith
Justin Pipe 6-2 Terry Temple
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Jamie Lewis
John Henderson 6-5 Ian White
Steve Beaton 6-3 Joe Cullen
Dean Winstanley 6-3 Stuart Kellett
Jamie Caven 6-2 Jim Walker
Richie Burnett 6-1 Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Adrian Gray
Andy Smith 6-4 Mark Jones
Michael Smith 6-4 John Part
Brendan Dolan 6-0 Jelle Klaasen
Wes Newton 6-1 Jyhan Artut – Newton hits nine-dart finish
Mark Walsh 6-5 Andy Hamilton
Robert Thornton 6-1 Vincent van der Voort
Alan Tabern 6-5 Michael Barnard
Darren Webster 6-2 Justin Pipe
John Henderson 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Steve Beaton 6-1 Dean Winstanley
Jamie Caven 6-5 Richie Burnett
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Andy Smith
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Michael Smith
Mark Walsh 6-3 Wes Newton
Robert Thornton 6-3 Alan Tabern
Darren Webster 6-0 John Henderson
Jamie Caven 6-3 Steve Beaton
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Robert Thornton 6-4 Mark Walsh
Jamie Caven 6-3 Darren Webster
Robert Thornton 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Robert Thornton 6-5 Jamie Caven
Final – Leg-by-Leg
1-0 – Caven holds throw with an impressive 12-dart finish to start the contest.
1-1 – Thornton continues the high standard by landing a 12-darter of his own which includes two 140s.
2-1 – Caven holds throw for the second time to regain the lead.
2-2 – Thornton hits a maximum in the process of winning the fourth leg to level.
2-3 – The Scotsman records a 15-dart finish which is enough to break Caven’s throw.
3-3 – Caven hits back with a 14-darter to break back immediately.
4-3 – Caven leads the match for a third time thanks to a 15-dart finish.
4-4 – Thornton replies with a 15-darter to set up a tense finale.
5-4 – Caven holds throw to move a leg away from the title.
5-5 – Thornton holds his nerve and his throw to set up a deciding-leg.
5-6 – Both players fire in maximums before Thornton wins it against the darts with a 15-darter to take the title