Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen were among the names to win on day one of the Players Championship Finals.

Price and Wright were tested in their games against Jason Lowe and Keane Barry. Van Gerwen meanwhile looked comfortable in beating Kevin Doets.

Elsewhere, day one at the Players Championship Finals saw:

  • Ryan Meikle win a fantastic match against Dirk van Duijvenbode
  • Gary Anderson fight back from 4-0 to defeat Stephen Bunting
  • Joe Cullen and Dave Chisnall lose their first round games
Players Championship Finals
Michael van Gerwen got his Players Championship Finals defence off to a winning start. Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Price and Wright come through battles

World Champion Gerwyn Price survived a huge scare to beat Jason Lowe 6-3.

Lowe, who knocked out Michael Smith in the World Darts Championship last year, took the early lead, going 3-1 in front as Price struggled.

However, The Iceman took advantage of missed doubles throughout the rest of the game. Lowe had darts to take the fifth, sixth and eighth legs. However, he could not do so, as the Grand Slam Champion reeled off five legs on the spin to move on.

Price will take on former World Youth Championship finalist Martin Schindler tomorrow, after he beat Ian White 6-3.

Gerwyn Price looks to add the Players Championship Finals to his Grand Slam title this weekend. Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Peter Wright battled through to defeat Keane Barry 6-4 in a tight game.

After six holds, Barry missed six darts to win the seventh leg, and Snakebite pounced hitting double 16 to go 4-3 in front. However, the young Irishman hit a 13 darter to break straight back.

Wright though, showed his class in the 10th leg. Going 131,180,174 to leave double eight after nine, he hit it for a 10 dart leg. 18 darts later, the World Matchplay champion hit double two to move into round two.

Snakebite will take on Adrian Lewis in round two. Jackpot produced back to back ton plus finishes en route to a 6-3 victory over Kim Huybrechts.

Peter Wright survived a scare against Keane Barry. Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Van Gerwen through at a canter

Michael van Gerwen hit outshots of 129 to begin the match, and 113 to end the match, as he won 6-3 against fellow Dutchman Kevin Doets. The Green Machine went 5-1 up, and despite a mini revival from Doets, the six time champion came through with relative ease.

MvG will face old rival Raymond van Barneveld in round two, after the five time World Champion arguably produced the performance of day one in Minehead. He hit a 103.99 average against Maik Kuivenhoven to win 6-1, setting up a fantastic clash tomorrow afternoon.

Players Championship Finals
Raymond van Barneveld produced a good display against Maik Kuivenhoven. Credit: PDC

It was a tough start for the number one seed Jose De Sousa, who beat Devon Petersen 6-4. The Special One went 5-1 ahead and looked in complete control, before The African Warrior started to fight back.

De Sousa ended the match with an excellent 118 checkout, after missing three match darts in the previous leg. Darius Labanauskas awaits the top seed in round two, after he defeated last year’s runner up Mervyn King by the same scoreline in the afternoon session.

Jose De Sousa once again ground out a win. Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Clayton not at best but through, Anderson fights back

Jonny Clayton fought through a tough contest against Alan Tabern in the final game of the day.

The Saint took a 3-1 lead early on, but missed six darts in the sixth leg to go 4-2 in front. Clayton pounced to level, before The Saint broke once more after The Ferret missed darts himself to hold.

However, an 85 checkout got him level, before he won the match 30 darts later to get over the line. The World Grand Prix champion takes on Scott Mitchell tomorrow, who took advantage of six missed match darts from Martijn Kleermaker to win 6-5.

Gary Anderson fought back to defeat Stephen Bunting in a classic contest.

Bunting looked imperious at the start of the contest, winning the first four legs in 56 darts, including a 121 checkout. The Flying Scotsman eventually got on the board in the fifth leg, before breaking in 16 darts to cut the gap to two.

The two time World Champion would hold again, before a second 121 checkout from The Bullet pushed the former Lakeside World Champion to within one of the contest. However, he would not get a match dart, as 46 darts later, Anderson hit double eight to complete a remarkable comeback.

Anderson’s reward is a game against Ryan Meikle, who played the game of the day. He hit the highest average of the day, a 108.76, to defeat Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5. The Titan himself averaged 105.04, in what will go down as a stage two classic.

Aspinall, Cross and Smith among more big names through

One of the games of round two will see Nathan Aspinall face Rob Cross in a rematch of the 2019 UK Open Final at this venue. Aspinall got a warm reception from the Minehead crowd as he defeated Jeff Smith 6-2, and Cross beat Jermaine Wattimena by the same scoreline.

UK Open champion James Wade made the second round in Minehead, winning 6-1 against Ricky Evans who hit just 1/18 on the outer ring. He will play Callan Rydz in round two, after The Riot comfortably came through Mensur Suljovic by the same scoreline. Suljovic averaged 77.37 in the game.

Michael Smith took advantage of missed doubles from Willie Borland to make round two, winning 6-3 in the afternoon. The number four seed will play Daryl Gurney in the second round, after the 2018 winner of this event beat Alan Soutar by the same scoreline.

The big shock of the afternoon session came in the fourth game on the main stage. Andy Boulton fought through to beat Joe Cullen 6-5 in a great game, as the number six seed went out early. The X Factor plays Vincent van der Voort tomorrow afternoon, after the Dutch Destroyer won 6-4 against Jelle Klaasen.

What else happened on day one of the Players Championship Finals?

Ritchie Edhouse produced a good performance to defeat Dave Chisnall 6-4 in the shock of the evening session. Mad House will take on Brendan Dolan in round two, after The History Maker won 6-2 against Chas Barstow.

Chris Dobey hit 10 180s, and averaged 103.5, but lost against William O’Connor in a fantastic game over on Stage Two. O’Connor hit 6/8 on the outer ring to take the win, and will play Krzysztof Ratajski in round two. Ratajski lost the opening leg, but then won six straight to beat Ron Meulenkamp 6-1.

Dimitri Van den Bergh produced an excellent performance in his first game back since testing positive for COVID-19. He knocked out Madars Razma 6-3, and will play Danny Noppert in round two. Noppie beat Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 with a 101.33 average.

Ross Smith beat Rusty-Jake Rodriguez 6-2 to reach round two of the Players Championship Finals for the second straight year. He will play William O’Connor, who survived Chris Dobey hitting 10 180s and averaging 103.5 to come through a last leg decider.

Despite losing a 3-0 lead, Gabriel Clemens eventually outlasted Steve Beaton in a last leg decider. His reward is a round two tie against Damon Heta, who comfortably beat Steve Lennon 6-2.

There will also be a Ryan derby on Saturday, as Searle takes on Joyce on stage two. Searle survived match darts against Simon Whitlock in the opening game of the day on the Main Stage, coming through a last leg decider. Joyce defeated Luke Woodhouse 6-4.

2021 Players Championship Finals Day One Results

Afternoon Session

Main Stage

Ryan Searle 6-5 Simon Whitlock

Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Ron Meulenkamp

Michael Smith 6-3 William Borland

Andy Boulton 6-5 Joe Cullen

Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Madars Razma

James Wade 6-1 Ricky Evans

Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Jeff Smith

Adrian Lewis 6-3 Kim Huybrechts

Stage Two

Scott Mitchell 6-5 Martijn Kleermaker

Ryan Joyce 6-4 Luke Woodhouse

Martin Schindler 6-3 Ian White

Darius Labanauskas 6-4 Mervyn King

Brendan Dolan 6-2 Chas Barstow

Ross Smith 6-2 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez

Danny Noppert 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez

Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Steve Beaton

Evening Session

Main Stage

Gary Anderson 6-5 Stephen Bunting

Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Maik Kuivenhoven

Rob Cross 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena

Jose de Sousa 6-4 Devon Petersen

Gerwyn Price 6-3 Jason Lowe

Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Kevin Doets

Peter Wright 6-4 Keane Barry

Jonny Clayton 6-4 Alan Tabern

Stage Two

Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Jelle Klaasen

Daryl Gurney 6-3 Alan Soutar

Damon Heta 6-2 Steve Lennon

Callan Rydz v Mensur Suljovic

Ryan Meikle 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode

Luke Humphries 6-4 Jason Heaver

William O’Connor 6-5 Chris Dobey

Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Dave Chisnall

2021 Players Championship Finals Day Two Schedule of Play

Saturday 27 November (1245 GMT)

Main Stage

Callan Rydz v James Wade

Rob Cross v Nathan Aspinall

Ryan Meikle v Gary Anderson

Peter Wright v Adrian Lewis

Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld

Gerwyn Price v Martin Schindler

Jonny Clayton v Scott Mitchell

Dimitri Van den Bergh v Danny Noppert

Stage Two

Andy Boulton v Vincent van der Voort

Ryan Searle v Ryan Joyce

Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney

Brendan Dolan v Ritchie Edhouse

Damon Heta v Gabriel Clemens

Ross Smith v Luke Humphries

William O’Connor v Krzysztof Ratajski

Jose de Sousa v Darius Labanauskas