After being a beaten finalist in the opening two Players Championship events of the year, Ryan Searle made it third time lucky by claiming Players Championship 3 in Leicester on Monday.

Heavy Metal Helps Himself To Honours

Ryan Searle
Ryan Searle claimed the fifth Players Championship title of his career on Monday. PIC: LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Former Players Championship Finals runner up Searle had already reached the final of both Players Championship events to date in 2024, losing to Luke Littler and Gary Anderson respectively.

He started his quest to go one better with an opening clash against Dutchman Patrick Geeraets, running out a comfortable 6-2 winner courtesy of a near 99 average.

Owen Bates was the opponent in the Last 64, Searle opening a 3-1 advantage before Bates hit back with three legs on the spin to get his nose in front at 4-3. ‘Heavy Metal’ hit back to draw level before back to back 14 darters sealed his passage into the next round.

Simon Whitlock was the man waiting in Last 32, Searle again starting strongly to race into a 3-0 lead. ‘The Wizard’ responded with four legs on the bounce to gain a slender lead but again, Searle had an answer as another runs of three legs earned him the win.

That victory set up a tussle with Whitlock’s World Cup of Darts partner for Australia in Damon Heta, Searle winning through 6-3 despite Heta averaging 101.

A quarter final with Danny Noppert was next, with just one leg requiring the winner to take a sixth visit to the board. The match went with throw until a vital ninth leg break for Searle allowed him to close out victory in the very next leg, ending with an average of just over 102.

Noppert’s Dutch counterpart Michael van Gerwen stood between Searle and a place in a third successive final, van Gerwen opening with successive 13 dart legs for an early advantage. Searle hit straight back, claiming the next two legs before van Gerwen responded in kind to go 4-2 up. An 11 darter from Searle then started a sequence of five legs in succession to book his spot in the final.

Waiting in the final was Gary Anderson, the man who had defeated him in the PC2 final just six days earlier. The man from Somerset started his quest for revenge in impressive fashion, claiming the first three legs before Anderson got on the board thanks to a magnificent 164 out with Searle waiting on a two darter after 9 darts thrown.

A series of holds followed, Searle consistently putting the Anderson throw under pressure but the Scotsman finding answers, 12 darters in leg 6 and 8 with Searle again waiting on 51 and 60 after 9 on each occasion.

Anderson then fired in two maximums in leg 11 to set up an 11 dart break and get matters back on throw, following it up with a 14 dart hold and 6-6.

After Anderson had piled in a 177 to leave himself on 24 in leg 13, Searle checked out 34 with his last dart in hand to go 7-6 in front before a 15 dart hold for Anderson set up a deciding leg.

Searle opened up with a maximum and hit another in his third visit, his eighth of the contest, to leave himself 48 after 9, eventually checking out in 14 darts to claim the title, Searle finishing with a near 108 average and Anderson near 109.

Anderson hit the top four averages of the day and also smashed the 180s record in a Players Championship event, hitting 41 to beat the previous record of 35.

Elsewhere At PC3

Callan Rydz defeated Luke Littler in the quarter finals. Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

After some shock names reached the later rounds of the opening two Players Championship events, there was a more familiar feel on this occasion with three of the world’s top 16 making it through as well as former World Champion Anderson and recent World Championship finalist Luke Littler.

Littler had survived multiple match darts in his opening round win over Keane Barry and followed that with wins over Cameron Menzies and the Dutch duo over Kevin Doets and Dirk van Duijvenbode before falling to an inspired performance from Callan Rydz, the man from Newcastle averaging over 103.

There were a couple of notable early exits as Dave Chisnall’s poor start to 2024 continued, while Nathan Aspinall, Rob Cross, James Wade and Stephen Bunting joined him in exiting at the first hurdle.

There was also a nine darter as Ryan Meikle fired in a perfect leg in his first round tie with Geert Nentjes. ‘The Barber’ made it through to the Last 32 before losing to Ritchie Edhouse.


2024 Players Championship Three

Monday February 19

Mattioli Arena, Leicester

Last 16

Peter Wright 6-1 Leighton Bennett

Gary Anderson 6-0 Jeffrey Sparidaans

Luke Littler 6-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode

Callan Rydz 6-5 Daryl Gurney

Steve Lennon 6-4 Ritchie Edhouse

Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Michael Smith

Ryan Searle 6-3 Damon Heta

Danny Noppert 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld


Gary Anderson 6-2 Peter Wright

Callan Rydz 6-4 Luke Littler

Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Steve Lennon

Ryan Searle 6-4 Danny Noppert


Gary Anderson 7-4 Callan Rydz

Ryan Searle 7-4 Michael van Gerwen


Ryan Searle 8-7 Gary Anderson