Van Duijvenbode dominates to claim Players Championship 4
On a thrilling day of darts in Barnsley on Sunday, Dirk van Duijvenbode defeated Ryan Searle 8-2 to win the Players Championship 4.
Van Duijvenbode won his fourth PDC title on a thrilling day of action, coming through three last-leg shoot-outs before winning eight of the final nine legs to deny Searle a second title in as many weeks.
The Dutchman also landed 35 maximums, tying Dave Chisnall’s 12-month record for the most 180s in a Players Championship event.
In a scrappy start to Sunday’s showpiece, Searle drew first blood, but Van Duijvenbode quickly took control, winning the next two legs in 12 and ten darts to seize the initiative.
Searle responded with a 124 checkout on the bull to tie the score at two, only for Van Duijvenbode to win with a 100 average on six consecutive legs.
“I think I was at the top-level of my focus,” admitted Van Duijvenbode, who claimed a brace of Players Championship titles in 2022.
“I love playing Ryan because he plays at a nice tempo. He’s very good so you know you have to perform well, but he doesn’t try any tactics. I love the man.
“I didn’t love it last week when he beat me from 5-3 down, and he went on to win the event! I am glad I won it today though.
“This is my fourth ProTour title, so hopefully now I can win a European Tour title or a televised title this year, but every win is special.
“I want to improve every year. Eventually, my main goal is to be World Champion. In my mind I’m still a long way from that, but I’m just trying to improve every year and look critically at my game.”
Players Championship 4
Van Duijvenbode started his season with a 6-4 victory over Mervyn King, coming back from 4-2 down to avoid a second straight first-round exit this weekend.
In round two, the 30-year-old fired a 12-darter to win in a deciding leg against his compatriot Geert Nentjes, before overcoming another difficult tie in his board final against Callan Rydz.
Van Duijvenbode delivered the performance of the day in his last 16 match against Jonny Clayton, defeating the Welshman with a 108 average of his own.
After defeating Stephen Bunting in another 11-leg battle, Van Duijvenbode stunned Joe Cullen in a breathless semi-final, landing nine 180s to win in a classic.
Searle, who won the Players Championship One last Saturday, continued his blistering start to 2023 by finishing second with four tons-plus averages.
The Somerset star surrendered only six legs in his first three matches, averaging 103 in wins over Graham Hall and James Wade after a 6-3 victory over Connor Scutt.
Searle maintained his unyielding standard to defeat Dutch duo Jeffrey Sparidaans and Maik Kuivenhoven, before holding off a late rally from Chisnall in a tense semi-final tie.
Chisnall was punished for a sluggish start to his last four match, but the Morecambe star defeated Josh Rock and averaged over 100 in three matches en route to the semi-finals.
Cullen, a former Masters champion, also impressed to reach the same stage, averaging 105 and 108 in wins over Raymond van Barneveld and Jim Williams in the final stages on Sunday.
Williams and Bunting continued their strong starts in 2023 before falling in the quarter-finals to surprise packages Kuivenhoven and Kciuk.
Clayton and Van den Bergh were among the high-profile names in the last 16, along with Players Championship Two runner-up Simon Whitlock and Van Barneveld, who defeated Danny Noppert and Adrian Lewis, respectively.
2023 Players Championship 4 Results
Sunday February 19
The Barnsley Metrodome
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-2 Keane Barry
Ryan Searle 6-3 Jeffrey Sparidaans
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-4 Martin Schindler
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Josh Rock
Jim Williams 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Joe Cullen 6-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Ryan Searle 6-5 Maik Kuivenhoven
Dave Chisnall 6-0 Krzysztof Kciuk
Joe Cullen 6-3 Jim Williams
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Ryan Searle 7-4 Dave Chisnall
Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-6 Joe Cullen
Dirk van Duijvenbode 8-2 Ryan Searle