Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright won their round one games on day one of the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals.
Van Gerwen and Price both won 6-2 against Darius Labanauskas and John Henderson respectively. Wright had to overcome Ryan Meikle in a last leg decider.
However, day one of the Players Championship Finals also saw some huge shocks in Coventry, as big names including:
- James Wade
- Krzysztof Ratajski
- Daryl Gurney
- Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Glen Durrant
All lost in round one.
World top three through in different circumstances
It was a comfortable night at the oche for both MvG and The Iceman on day one of the Players Championship Finals.
Van Gerwen, looking to defend the title he won last year in Minehead, produced an emphatic display against Lithuanian’s Labanauskas. The Green Machine fired in a 103.3 average, and hit three ton plus checkouts including a magical 156, as he barely broke sweat. He will face World Cup winner Jonny Clayton, who defeated Mickey Mansell 6-2 in round two.
It was a similar story for Price, who wants to go one better than losing in the final as he did 12 months ago. Winning the first two legs in 29 darts, the other half of the World Cup winning duo did not look back. Taking a 3-2 lead at the interval, Price reeled off three legs in 42 darts to send the Highlander home, and set up a clash with Jamie Hughes tomorrow, who beat Ricky Evans 6-2.
However, things were not plain sailing for the World Champion, and number one seed Wright against Meikle. Snakebite, who suffered an early exit from the Grand Slam last week, went 3-1 up thanks to a stunning 156. However, the Barber would not lie down, winning three of the next four legs to level 4-4.
Another break from Wright on double 16 moved him 5-4, before the 2020 Development Tour Order of Merit winner produced a stunning 167 checkout to level the match contest. However, Meikle’s scoring let him down at just the wrong moment, allowing Wright to hit double 16 again for an 11 darter to eventually get over the line. The World Champion faces Simon Whitlock in round two, after the Wizard defeated Adrian Lewis 6-4.
Big names fall on day one in Coventry
The biggest name to fall on day one of the Players Championship Finals, was the Grand Slam runner up James Wade.
The Machine fell 3-0 behind to young Dutchman Neils Zonneveld, and could not recover, as the 22 year old completed a famous victory with a stunning 122 on the bullseye. Zonneveld faces fellow Dutchman Dirk van Duijvenbode in round two, after he beat William O’Connor 6-4 in a fantastic game.
Elsewhere, stage two saw a number of big names fall, particularly in the afternoon. The number five seed Krzysztof Ratajski missed a lot of doubles, and it cost him, as Karel Sedlacek dumped the Polish Eagle out with a 6-4 win. The Czech will play Madars Razma in round two, who beat Chris Dobey 6-3.
The 2018 winner of this event, Daryl Gurney, was also sent home in round one. Superchin was just 2/9 on the outer ring, as he was beaten 6-2 by Callan Rydz.
It means the Northern Irishman drops to world number 11, while Rydz faces Ryan Searle, who knocked the World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 with an outstanding performance.
Finally, the Premier League Champion Glen Durrant played better as he continues to recover from contracting COVID-19. However, Wayne Jones produced a stunning performance to knock Duzza out in round one, hitting a 100 checkout to complete a 6-3 victory. Jones will face Jeffrey De Zwaan in round two, who beat Darren Webster by the same scoreline.
What else happened?
Elsewhere, day one of the Players Championship saw:
- Boris Krcmar average 107.8 but still lose 6-5 to Michael Smith. Outshots of 142 and 145 saw the Bully Boy through. He faces Gary Anderson in round two, after Ando beat Keegan Brown 6-4
- Nathan Aspinall survive five match darts in his 6-5 win against Scott Waites. The Asp will take on Ross Smith tomorrow, who took advantage of missed doubles by Kim Huybrechts to win 6-1
- Rob Cross continue to improve, as he beat Jason Lowe 6-3. He takes on Joe Cullen in round two, who defeated Adam Hunt 6-3.
- Jermaine Wattimena reel off six straight legs, as he averaged 103.5 to defeat Steve Lennon 6-1. He faces Luke Humphries tomorrow in a rematch of a classic round two game at last year’s World Darts Championship, after Cool Hand took out Devon Petersen 6-3.
- Gabriel Clemens come through a last leg decider against Martijn Kleermaker. The German Giant’s 6-5 win sees him face Ian White in round two, after White won 6-4 against William Borland.
- Luke Woodhouse knock out Brendan Dolan 6-4 to make the second round of this event for the second straight year. He faces Andy Boulton, who beat a winner on the Pro Tour this year Ryan Joyce by the same scoreline.
- Mervyn King average 105.1 to win 6-3 in a fantastic game against Dave Chisnall. King, who made the quarter finals last year, faces Danny Noppert in round two, after Noppie beat Steve Beaton 6-1.
- Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa continue his hot streak, as he came through 6-3 against Mike De Decker. His reward is a round two contest with Vincent van der Voort, after the Dutch Destroyer won 6-2 against fellow countryman Derk Telnekes
- In-form Ryan Murray take out last year’s quarter finalist Stephen Bunting 6-4. The Bullet finished 4/19 on the doubles in the contest. Murray plays Damon Heta tomorrow, who comfortably beat Maik Kuivenhoven 6-1.
Players Championship Finals Day One Results
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 William O’Connor
Michael Smith 6-5 Boris Krcmar
Rob Cross 6-3 Jason Lowe
Joe Cullen 6-3 Adam Hunt
Luke Humphries 6-3 Devon Petersen
Ryan Searle 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Mervyn King 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Luke Woodhouse 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Andy Boulton 6-4 Ryan Joyce
Ryan Murray 6-4 Stephen Bunting
Karel Sedlacek 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Martijn Kleermaker
Ian White 6-4 William Borland
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Mickey Mansell
Callan Rydz 6-2 Daryl Gurney
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Scott Waites
Gary Anderson 6-4 Keegan Brown
Niels Zonneveld 6-3 James Wade
Peter Wright 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Darius Labanauskas
Gerwyn Price 6-2 John Henderson
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Mike De Decker
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Derk Telnekes
Jamie Hughes 6-2 Ricky Evans
Ross Smith 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Damon Heta 6-1 Maik Kuivenhoven
Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Steve Lennon
Madars Razma 6-3 Chris Dobey
Wayne Jones 6-3 Glen Durrant
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Darren Webster
Danny Noppert 6-1 Steve Beaton
Round Two Fixtures
Afternoon Session (12.45 GMT)
Round Two (Best of 11 legs)
Ian White v Gabriel Clemens
Nathan Aspinall v Ross Smith
Michael Smith v Gary Anderson
Joe Cullen v Rob Cross
Jose De Sousa v Vincent Van der Voort
Michael Van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
Gerwyn Price v Jamie Hughes
Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock
Luke Woodhouse v Andy Boulton
Karel Sedlacek v Madars Razma
Ryan Searle v Callan Rydz
Damon Heta v Ryan Murray
Danny Noppert v Mervyn King
Jermaine Wattimena v Luke Humphries
Wayne Jones v Jeffrey De Zwaan
Niels Zonneveld v Dirk van Duijvenbode
The winners of the round two games will move into round three, which will be played on Saturday evening. Four games will be played on the Main Stage, and four games will be played on Stage Two.