Monday, 1 December 2014

Players Championships 2014- Day 3

GARY ANDERSON claimed the fourth major TV title of his career in style with a brilliant 11-6 win over Adrian Lewis in the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals last night. 

The number one seed for the event after winning seven PDC ProTour events during 2014, Anderson lived up to that billing to win his first televised event since the 2011 Premier League - when he also overcame Lewis in the final.

Having overcome the former and current Lakeside Champions in Christian Kist and Stephen Bunting on his way to Sunday's final stages, Anderson then defeated Phil Taylor for the first time in a televised knockout match for seven years in the quarter-finals.

He then overcame Holland's Vincent van der Voort 11-7 in the semi-finals, despite the Dutchman hitting back from 10-3 down with four ton-plus finishes before Anderson finally sealed victory with a 103.86 average.

That display was followed by nine 180s in a fine display in the final as Anderson overcame world number three Lewis to claim the £65,000 first prize on a memorable St Andrew's Day for the Scot.

Anderson broke with a 14-darter in the final's opening leg and also led 3-1 before Lewis hit back to level at three-all with a 96 checkout before the Stoke ace landed double eight to lead for the first - and only - time.

The Scot took the next five legs without reply in an unstoppable burst as he surged into an 8-3 lead, with Lewis taking out 124 on the bull in a run of three successive legs to reply.

Anderson finished double four to regain his cushion before a 76 finish moved him 10-6 up, and he secured the title in style with a 118 checkout.

"I worked my heart out this year to get the number one seed and to be honest I've had probably the hardest draw that you could have had, so to win the tournament makes it very special," said Anderson, who also returns to fourth on the PDC Order of Merit.

"I got stuck in and did the business, and it's nice to defeat Phil and go on to win the tournament because not too many players do that.

"In the semi-final against Vincent I needed one more leg and all of a sudden he took four ton-plus finishes out on me, and I was sweating a bit so I was glad to get past him.

"I got off to a good start in the final too and it's great to walk away with the trophy."

Lewis had won the UK Open in March on his most recent visit to Minehead, and followed up his deciding-leg quarter-final win over Jamie Caven on Sunday afternoon by landing eight 180s in his 11-6 semi-final win over Wes Newton.

He claimed £35,000 as the runner-up to Anderson, and said: "Gary finished number one in the rankings for this event and he deserved to win.

"I dug in during the final but it just didn't happen for me and he punished me for it, and fair play to Gary because he took his chances well.

"After the week I've had - with my son being taken into hospital on Thursday - I'm lucky to be in the final, and I think I lost all my momentum when I got 8-2 up against Wes, and the quarter-final probably took a lot out of me.

"I'll go back home now and get back on the practice board now and get ready for the World Championship."

Fleetwood ace Newton fell one game short of reaching his third major TV final as he failed to follow up his quarter-final win over Terry Jenkins by claiming another big-name scalp in the last four.

Newton's £17,000 prize money for the weekend, though, takes him back into the world's top 16, but he said: "I didn't come out of the blocks quickly enough and I made it too easy for Adrian early on really.

"He was 8-2 up and he was cruising, but it just didn't happen for me and fair play to Adrian because he did what he had to do to win the game.

"I can be proud of the weekend though because I've had a bad year but hopefully this can help spur me on for the World Championship now."

Van der Voort had opened the tournament with a whitewash of Andy Hamilton and also defeated Peter Wright and Dean Winstanley as he reached his first major ranking semi-final since 2008.

"I started very poorly, in the first ten legs I didn't get into the game and it was a struggle for me," said the Dutchman. "I tried my hardest but it wasn't there tonight.

"It's difficult to play two matches in a day, but I have to learn from this and next time I have to be better.

"It's massive achievement for me to reach the semi-finals and hopefully I can build on this because I'm really happy with my game at the moment."

The £300,000 tournament, shown live on ITV4, had seen over 4,000 fans pack the Butlins Minehead Resort to see the top 32 players from the 2014 PDC ProTour Order of Merit do battle.

Following the success of the the event's third staging at the venue, Cash Converters have extended their sponsorship for a further two years to cover the 2015 and 2016 Cash Converters Players Championship Finals alongside their ongoing partnership with the PDC. 

"We are delighted to have Cash Converters as our Players Championship Finals sponsor for a further two years," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.

"They have been an integral part of the growth of darts with us over the last five years, and the Players Championship Finals is a great event at Butlins Minehead."

Richard Livesey, the Head of Marketing for Cash Converters in the UK, said: "We are delighted to announce the sponsorship of the 2015 and 2016 Cash Converters Players Championship.

"This weekend has become a focal point in the darts calendar as the final tournament of the year before the World Championship. Each and every year darts fans flock to Minehead and have a superb weekend and we feel privileged to be a part of it.

"The sponsorship deal will see Cash Converters continue to be a massive part of the darts family and grow the brand in the UK and internationally."

GARY ANDERSON knocked Phil Taylor out of the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals with a thrilling 10-6 quarter-final victory on Sunday afternoon, as Adrian Lewis, Wes Newton and Vincent van der Voort joined him in the semi-finals at the Butlins Minehead Resort. 

Anderson claimed his first win over Taylor in a televised knockout event since 2007 with a fine performance, averaging 105 to the three-time champion's 104 and hitting seven 180s before sealing victory with a memorable 127 checkout.

Taylor played his part as he sought a second successive major title following his recent Grand Slam of Darts victory, kicking off the contest with a party-piece 125 checkout of bullseye, outer bull and bullseye and taking an early 3-1 lead.

Anderson roared back to win six of the next seven legs in a brilliant burst, which was begun with two 14-darters and also featured an 11-dart leg and three 12-darters as well as six perfect darts in his bid for a nine-darter.

Taylor had replied with an 11-darter of his own and finished 108 to cut the gap to 7-5, only for Anderson to finish 90 and 82 for another brace of 12-dart legs to move to the brink of victory.

Taylor fired in a 171 and double ten to hit back, but Anderson pulled clear in the 16th leg before finishing 127 on the bull to seal his semi-final spot.

"Phil's still the boy to beat, but every dog has his day and it was my day today," said Anderson. "I beat Phil the first time we played back in 2007 and I've paid the price ever since!

"He missed a few doubles, which he doesn't normally do against me, but it was a great game.

"I'll get myself ready now for the semi-finals and I just take each game at a time, so I'll stick with the same routine I've had all week and hopefully it'll pay off."

Anderson's semi-final opponent as Sunday's decisive final session kicks off will be Dutchman Vincent van der Voort, who overcame Dean Winstanley 10-8 in their quarter-final.

Van der Voort hit back from an early 3-0 deficit to level at three-all, and also squared the game at six-all after falling two legs down to the Yorkshireman.

The Dutchman, though, secured a key break of throw with a 13-darter to move ahead for the first time at 7-6, and after putting daylight between the pair with double 16 managed to retain the cushion and take the win.

The result sees van der Voort into his first major ranking semi-final since 2008, and he admitted: "I'm so relieved and I think that showed when I hit that winning double top.

"I'm so happy to be in the semi-finals because I had to fight as hard as I could to get into the match. It was hard work but I can look ahead to the semi-finals now."

Winstanley hit nine 180s in his first PDC major ranking quarter-final, and admitted: "My doubles weren't right today but I'm really happy to have been here on a Sunday and fighting against Vincent in a great game."

World number three Adrian Lewis produced a thrilling finale as he survived one match dart against Jamie Caven before finishing 124 and 123 to prevail 10-9 following a fine quarter-final contest.

Caven played his part in a classic, leading Lewis three times only to miss the bull for the match on a 167 finish when leading 9-8.

Lewis took out 124 on double 11 as he sent the game into a deciding leg before following up his ninth maximum of the game with a 123 checkout as he sealed his place in the last four.

"It was a fantastic game to be involved in and luckily enough I came through it," said Lewis, March's UK Open champion in his last visit to the Butlins Minehead Resort.

"Jamie's been playing well coming into this game but I wanted to score well and keep him under pressure and hopefully he'd miss his doubles - but he didn't!

"I was hitting 180s and he was following it up, but luckily enough I got the 124, after he missed the bull for the 167, and then the 123 in the last leg. I've got to calm down from this and get ready for the semi-finals now."

Caven said: "I felt comfortable on stage and I'm getting used to it now, and if I'd hit the bull then I'd have come away the winner - but fair play to Adrian with the 124 and 123 finishes because he's a World Champion and that's what they do."

Lewis now meets Newton in the semi-finals, with the Fleetwood ace staying on course to reach his third major final with a 10-5 defeat of Terry Jenkins, who had knocked out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen on Saturday night but failed to repeat the performance in the last eight.

After sharing the opening four legs with breaks of throw, Newton pushed 4-2 up before Jenkins hit back to 5-4 - but a 136 checkout sparked a run of four straight legs as the former UK Open finalist moved 9-4 up.

Jenkins took out 121 on the bull to keep the game alive in leg 14 after Newton missed two match darts, but the fightback was short-lived as he returned to seal victory in the next leg.

The win moves Newton into his first televised semi-final for over two years and will ensure his return to the world's top 16 - but he has his sights set on claiming his maiden major title on Sunday night.

"It was a strange game - I felt good all the way through it but it didn't quite happen for me and Terry struggled a bit too, and midway through the game I felt that he was thinking it wouldn't be his day," said Newton

"I just had to keep my head down and get the win - at the end of the day it's getting to ten legs that matters, and I'm happy to win.

"I've always played well against Adrian and he's a two-time World Champion who I've got a lot of respect for.

"He showed why he's a World Champion with those two finishes at the end against Jamie, so I've got to go back, regroup and try to bring out my best game to live with him in the semis.

"It's been a strange year for me because I felt good in the Premier League and it didn't work out, and I think that being relegated knocked my confidence for a couple of months.

"I suppose we all go through those phases as players and it's how you come out of it that matters and I'm pleased to be where I am in the semi-finals this weekend, but it's not over yet.

"I want to go on and win this now and I know I've got that good game in me to beat anyone, so hopefully it will come out."
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Sunday November 30
Afternoon Session 

Adrian Lewis 10-9 Jamie Caven
Wes Newton 10-5 Terry Jenkins
Vincent van der Voort 10-8 Dean Winstanley 
Gary Anderson 10-6 Phil Taylor
Best of 19 legs 

Evening Session 
Adrian Lewis 11-6 Wes Newton
Gary Anderson 11-7 Vincent van der Voort
Best of 21 legs

Gary Anderson 11-6 Adrian Lewis
Best of 21 legs