Seeds tumble in Minehead as Price and Smith among the big names to crash out

Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith, Nathan Aspinall, and Damon Heta were among the big-name players knocked out on Friday at the Cazoo Players Championship Finals in Minehead.

The first day of the £500,000 event saw 32 first round ties played over one marathon darts session, and the tournament was blown wide open when four of the top eight seeds crashed out at Butlin’s Minehead Resort.

Ryan Joyce sent out world number one Price after he blew three match darts in a dramatic last-leg match on the Main Stage.

Joyce, who led 3-0 at one point, missed three match darts before winning on double eight, and he now faces a resurgent Jermaine Wattimena, who defeated Brendan Dolan in his opener.

Elsewhere, newly crowned Grand Slam of Darts champion Michael Smith was knocked out in the first round by Ritchie Edhouse, who defied a 12-point difference in averages to secure one of his biggest wins of his career.

Smith, who averaged 98, led 5-3 before Edhouse reeled off three consecutive legs to win, and the Enfield ace will face Dimitri Van den Bergh for a spot in round three after the Belgian defeated Martin Lukeman.

Seeds tumble in Minehead as Price and Smith among the big names to crash out  
Seeds tumble in Minehead as Price and Smith among the big names to crash out  (PDC)

Ricardo Pietreczko of Germany caused a major upset on his TV debut, defeating top seed Damon Heta in a deciding-leg tie to set up a showdown with Callan Rydz, who defeated Madars Razma in a similar fashion.

In other results, third seed Nathan Aspinall was defeated 6-4 by Martijn Kleermaker, and the Dutchman will face Matt Campbell for a place in the last 16 after the clinical Canadian defeated Steve Beaton.

Six-time champion Michael van Gerwen, on the other hand, avoided the same fate as his main rivals, reeling off three straight legs to win a high-quality battle against Suffolk’s Ryan Meikle.

Van Gerwen – chasing a record-extending seventh title at this event – closed out a 6-3 victory to create a tie against Cameron Menzies, who impressed in defeating Josh Rock by the same scoreline.

“It’s only a short format so you have to play your best if you want to win games,” reflected Van Gerwen, who averaged 102 and converted six of his 11 attempts at double.

“Cameron Menzies is a good player and when he’s on it, he can do some real damage, but I don’t care who I play, you have to beat them all to win this tournament.”


Second seed Luke Humphries also avoided an early exit, defeating Nathan Rafferty 6-3, and Mike De Decker now awaits, after the Belgian defeated Jim Williams in a contest that featured nine 180s.

Danny Noppert delivered the opening-day performance of the season in Minehead, converting stunning 140 and 164 finishes in consecutive legs to complete a 6-1 demolition of Simon Whitlock.

Noppert, making his first Minehead appearance since winning the UK Open in March, averaged 106 and held off Whitlock’s five 180s to book a meeting with ten-time TV title winner James Wade, who defeated a below-par Mensur Suljovic.

Ross Smith dispatched debutant Gian van Veen with a flawless display of finishing, converting all six of his double attempts to set up a mouth-watering showdown with Jonny Clayton – a whitewash winner against John O’Shea.

Former World Champions Rob Cross and Gary Anderson will square off in another enthralling battle after both men defeated Kevin Doets and Gabriel Clemens.

Fourth seed Dirk van Duijvenbode came back from 4-2 down to defeat Mickey Mansell in a last-leg decider, and his reward is a second round match against 2018 winner Daryl Gurney, who defeated Keegan Brown 6-3.

Masters champion Joe Cullen cruised past Rowby-John Rodriguez and into the second round, where he will face Kim Huybrechts, who averaged 101 in his 6-4 victory over Grand Slam semi-finalist Raymond van Barneveld.

Former finalist Dave Chisnall won again on the big stage, holding off a spirited rally from Niels Zonneveld to advance to a match against Scott Williams, who knocked out Grand Slam quarter-finalist Alan Soutar earlier in the day.

Jose De Sousa won emphatically 6-2 over Dutch debutant Danny Jansen, and the Portuguese ace will face Krzysztof Ratajski in round two, after Poland’s number one defeated William O’Connor.

Keane Barry, a UK Open semi-finalist, continued his love affair with Minehead by defeating two-time finalist Adrian Lewis, and the Irishman will face Andrew Gilding, who defeated Ricky Evans 6-2 with a ton-plus average.

Martin Schindler also averaged three figures in his 6-4 win over Vincent van der Voort, holding off the Dutchman’s late rally to set up a last-32 meeting with Chris Dobey, who defeated Geert Nentjes 6-1 to advance.

Meanwhile, last year’s runner-up Ryan Searle won an impressive comeback win over two-time runner-up Mervyn King on Stage Two, and he will face Jamie Hughes on Saturday afternoon, after the Tipton star defeated Stephen Bunting.

2022 Cazoo Players Championship Finals

Friday November 25

First Round

Main Stage

Rob Cross 6-3 Kevin Doets

Joe Cullen 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez

Ricardo Pietreczko 6-5 Damon Heta

James Wade 6-2 Mensur Suljovic

Cameron Menzies 6-3 Josh Rock

Ross Smith 6-2 Gian van Veen

Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Nathan Aspinall

Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Martin Lukeman

Danny Noppert 6-1 Simon Whitlock

Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 Michael Smith

Ryan Joyce 6-5 Gerwyn Price

Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld

Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Ryan Meikle

Luke Humphries 6-3 Nathan Rafferty

Dave Chisnall 6-3 Niels Zonneveld


Stage Two

Andrew Gilding 6-2 Ricky Evans

Callan Rydz 6-5 Madars Razma

Daryl Gurney 6-3 Keegan Brown

Scott Williams 6-4 Alan Soutar

Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Brendan Dolan

Mike De Decker 6-4 Jim Williams

Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 William O’Connor

Keane Barry 6-4 Adrian Lewis

Jose de Sousa 6-2 Danny Jansen

Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Mickey Mansell

Ryan Searle 6-4 Mervyn King

Jamie Hughes 6-4 Stephen Bunting

Chris Dobey 6-1 Geert Nentjes

Martin Schindler 6-4 Vincent van der Voort

Jonny Clayton 6-0 John O’Shea

Matt Campbell 6-3 Steve Beaton

Gary Anderson 6-4 Gabriel Clemens


Saturday November 26

Afternoon Session (1245-1700 GMT)

Second Round

Main Stage

Dirk van Duijvenbode v Daryl Gurney

Ritchie Edhouse v Dimitri Van den Bergh

Rob Cross v Gary Anderson

Ross Smith v Jonny Clayton

Luke Humphries v Mike De Decker

Danny Noppert v James Wade

Cameron Menzies v Michael van Gerwen

Joe Cullen v Kim Huybrechts


Stage Two

Ricardo Pietreczko v Callan Rydz

Andrew Gilding v Keane Barry

Krzysztof Ratajski v Jose De Sousa

Martin Schindler v Chris Dobey

Ryan Joyce v Jermaine Wattimena

Martijn Kleermaker v Matt Campbell

Dave Chisnall v Scott Williams

Ryan Searle v Jamie Hughes


Best of 11 legs


Evening Session (1900-2300 GMT)

Third Round

Main Stage & Stage Two

Best of 19 legs