Dolan Wins PC21 As Rodriguez Seals Maiden Matchplay Spot
Brendan Dolan claimed his first title of 2021 while Rowby-John Rodriguez will play in the World Matchplay for the first time, as four days of Players Championship action came to a close today.
Race For The Matchplay
Monday’s action started with a number of places mathematically up for grabs but realistically, the sixteenth and final spot being the aim for the handful of players still able to qualify.
Scott Williams was the first player to see his hopes dashed, his first round exit to Lee Evans putting paid to his chances. The fact that Williams, still a non tour card holder, was even in the reckoning at this stage speaks volumes for the year he’s had.
The last 64 saw World Cup of Darts winner Simon Whitlock bow out, Nathan Rafferty defeating the ‘Wizard’ 6-4.
The picture got a lot clearer after the round of 32 as not only was Rodriguez beaten but also his closest challengers. World Champion Peter Wright got the better of Rodriguez by a 6-4 scoreline.
The man that started the day just outside the qualification spots in 17th on the Pro Tour Order of Merit, Ross Smith, was seen off by Nathan Aspinall by the same score.
‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans, who started the day in 18th, was also beaten at this stage, he lost 6-3 to Damon Heta. Keane Barry, one of the players that needed to go really deep into the tournament to stand a chance was beaten by Michael Smith 6-4 to end his slim hopes.
That left Vincent van der Voort and Mensur Suljovic as the only players able to dislodge Rodriguez, both needing to reach the final to put themselves in the frame. Van der Voort saw his shot at an eleventh Matchplay disappear as he lost in the last 16 to Jonny Clayton, the ‘Ferret’ winning out 6-4.
Rodriguez’s spot was then confirmed when compatriot Suljovic was beaten in the quarter finals by Damon Heta, the Australian coasting to a 6-2 success.
Dolan Nabs Ninth PDC Title
Despite the obvious furore around the ‘Race For The Matchplay’, there was still a ranking title and £12,000 top prize to play for. Dolan’s day started with a whitewash of Nick Fullwell before the man from Enniskillen came through a trio of last leg deciders against Ian White, Joe Murnan and Saturday’s PC19 winner Danny Noppert respectively. ‘The History Maker’ then comfortably saw off Keegan Brown in the quarter final to set up a clash with Damon Heta. Dolan broke the Heta throw in the opening leg and never looked back, running out a 7-4 winner.
Dolan’s opponent in the final would be Jonny Clayton. Clayton beat Ricardo Pietreczko, Jack Main and Mervyn King on his way to the last 16. He then beat Vincent van der Voort to end the Dutchman’s hopes of featuring at the World Matchplay. Clayton then averaged almost 103 as he defeated Nathan Aspinall in the quarter finals, including five maximums. Dave Chisnall stood between Clayton and his place in the final, Clayton coming out on top by a 7-4 scoreline.
Clayton opened the final with a 14 dart hold of throw before Dolan hit back to win three consecutive legs. Back to back legs for the Welshman levelled things up at three apiece. Clayton then missed darts to go ahead, Dolan punishing his mistake to break throw for 4-3. A hold and another break for the Northern Irishman put him in the driving seat at 6-3. Clayton then won back to back legs in 12 and 11 darts to threaten a comeback. It proved to be no avail however as Dolan claimed the two legs he needed in 13 and 15 darts respectively. A ninth career PDC title for Dolan and a rise of 2 places to 23rd in the PDC Order of Merit.
2022 Players Championship 21
Monday July 11, Barnsley Metrodome
Keegan Brown 6-1 Cameron Menzies
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Danny Noppert
Damon Heta 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Nathan Rafferty
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Michael Smith
Peter Wright 6-2 Niels Zonneveld
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Mickey Mansell
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Keegan Brown
Damon Heta 6-2 Mensur Suljovic
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Peter Wright
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Brendan Dolan 7-4 Damon Heta
Jonny Clayton 7-4 Dave Chisnall
Brendan Dolan 8-5 Jonny Clayton