Saturday, 8 February 2020

Players Championship 1 Live Blog

1800 - And that wraps up Players Championship 1. What a run for Gary, defeating Christian Bunse, Simon Whitlock, Gerwyn Price, Rob Cross, Joe Cullen, Adrian Lewis and Jeff Smith to grab the title. Smith himself beat two major winners and two major finalists to get as far as he did, surprising runs for the likes of Maik Kuivenhoven, Steve Brown and Conan Whitehead, mental day. I won't be doing this tomorrow - going to be trying to get to Sheffield assuming the game isn't called off due to health and safety snowflakeness, but I'll be back some time in the evenings with updated FRH rankings (Smith not in the top 100 yet, but he's close) and some summary.

1754 - An 86 checkout seals an 8-4 victory for Gary Anderson and the first Players Championship title of the year. A mediocre scoring leg in leg 11 for Smith left him outside checkout range after twelve darts, Anderson didn't need asking twice to finish in five visits, a solid hold from there denies the Canadian, who'll surely be very happy with his day's work despite the final result.

1751 - Smith gets a solid hold, then hits a 180 to apply the pressure. Jeff can't check out 84, but Anderson misses three darts at double himself and Smith steps back in to break and trail 6-4.

1748 - Smith is unable to generate more than one dart at double on throw in leg seven and Anderson breaks - Smith has a dart at bull for a twelve to break straight back (after Anderson missed the same), but hits the 25 and Anderson holds to go two away from the title.

1744 - After a couple of routine holds, Smith had a half chance to break, but lost his scoring approaching a finish and couldn't get a dart at double. 4-2 Anderson.

1737 - Final under way, the Flying Scotsman with the flying start, a break-hold to get the first two legs, Smith held leg three to get on the board.

1719 - Smith completes a 7-2 victory, putting in a 99 average to defeat Dolan and reach the final.

1713 - A 130 checkout from Gary Anderson sees the twice world champion into the final, after Adrian Lewis apparently missed double 19 for a 158 checkout of his own. Meanwhile in the other semi final, the former Lakeside finalist takes advantage of a mediocre leg from Dolan to break and lead 5-2, two legs away from a dream return to the PDC.

1708 - An eleven dart break from Gary Anderson gives him a 5-3 lead in the race to seven, while Jeff Smith is on throw with a 4-1 lead over Brendan Dolan.

1702 - Both semi finals are under way. Anderson and Lewis are a couple of legs ahead, Anderson leads 3-1, while Jeff Smith is also up an early break.

1643 - Dolan does indeed complete the semi final matches, serving out a 6-3 win. Not a spectacular performance, but solid enough to get through.

1637 - A great final leg from Jeff Smith, leaving 32 after twelve darts, was enough after finishing last dart to advance to the semi finals on his return to the PDC. He will likely face Brendan Dolan, who has taken control of his quarter final and leads 5-2.

1632 - Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson will face off in one semi final, having beaten Steve Beaton and Joe Cullen respectively. Dolan and Kuivenhoven are on throw after five legs, while Wright has got the break back but still trails 5-4.

1623 - Anderson and Lewis have broken in each of their games and lead 3-1. Jeff Smith and Peter Wright have exchanged holds, Smith leading 4-1.

1618 - Jeff Smith is off to a real quick start against Peter Wright, a hold-break-hold series sees the Canadian halfway to the finish line. Anderson and Cullen are tied after two legs.

1613 - The quarter finals are all getting started momentarily - we have Brendan Dolan/Maik Kuivenhoven, Peter Wright/Jeff Smith, Adrian Lewis/Steve Beaton and Gary Anderson/Joe Cullen. An all-Scottish final looks the favourite, but it's wide open.

1607 - Brendan Dolan completes the quarter final lineup with a 6-5 win over Ross Smith - who seemingly missed a match dart at double five to break in the deciding leg, allowing Brendan back in to clean up 80 and advance to face Kuivenhoven.

1600 - Peter Wright finishes off his game with Whitehead, averaging just over a ton in a 6-3 victory. Only Dolan/Smith remains in the last sixteen, they're level after eight legs.

1556 - Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis have completed their victories (Anderson killing the last of my bets) to reach the quarters, Anderson in particular looking great with a 106 average. Steve Beaton will join them after knocking out Mickey Mansell for the loss of just one leg.

1553 - The remaining five games are all going one way - Anderson is 5-2 up over Cross, Dolan and Beaton lead Smith and Mansell 4-1 respectively, Lewis is 5-1 up over Webster, while Wright's just broken to lead Whitehead 4-2.

1548 - Joe Cullen joins Smith and Kuivenhoven in the quarters after a 6-1 rout of Nick Kenny, albeit one where he averaged under 90. Dolan is two legs away from the quarters as well, Ross Smith not having troubled the scorers to date.

1546 - Maik Kuivenhoven makes his first Pro Tour quarter final, ending the run of Steve Brown with a 6-3 win, averaging a fraction under a ton. With an opponent of either Brendan Dolan or Ross Smith, who's to say he can't go further?

1539 - First player into the quarters is Jeff Smith, a trio of bad scoring visits from Nathan Aspinall on throw in a deciding leg was enough to keep him outside of finishing range after twelve darts, Smith got to 86 and cleaned it up. Cullen's quickly up to a 2-0 lead over Kenny, Kuivenhoven is just ahead of Brown 3-2, the other games are yet to start or only a leg into the match.

1528 - Four very close games close out the round of 32 - a clash of world champions between Glen Durrant and Steve Beaton went all the way, with the Adonis nicking it 6-5, Wright rolled off the last three legs to beat John Henderson 6-4, Adrian Lewis prevailed over Derk Telnekes by the same scoreline, while in a repeat of the Matchplay final, Rob Cross and Michael Smith also went to a last leg shootout, Smith left tops after twelve against the throw (I guess, from 104 the previous visit, he may have missed a match dart?), but Cross stepped in and finished 90 in two darts to clinch it. Gary Anderson next for Voltage, doesn't get any easier.

1518 - Nick Kenny and Joe Cullen will match up for a quarter final spot after they win their respective boards. Hendo holds a slender lead over the world champ at 4-3, while Ando's just taken out Price 6-3. Smith and Aspinall are just kicking off the last sixteen.

1513 - Huge shock as Brendan Dolan knocks out Michael van Gerwen 6-4 - it looked like he'd fucked it up after being broken straight back from 4-3 to 4-4, but got another break and held it out, being let off after not killing 64, van Gerwen not finishing 67 to extend the game. Mansell cleaned up his game 6-1, Ross Smith took a decider against Jamie Hughes, while Nick Kenny and Maik Kuivenhoven are a break up. The Price/Ando game is currently 3-2 to the Scot.

1503 - Frustrating loss for van Duijvenbode, averaged 100 but lost out 6-4 to Jeff Smith. Mansell is out to a 4-1 lead over Adam Hunt, while Brown's nicked the decider over Teehan. MvG and Dolan are level at three legs each.

1455 - Beaton dropped a leg but finished Searle off in the following leg, while Wayne Jones was able to get the break to throw for the match at 5-5, but got broken by Aspinall straight away to lose. Telnekes survived a fightback from Jeffrey to be our last player in the round of 32, 6-5 the final score there. No other games are nearing conclusion, closest ones are Smith/van Duijvenbode and Teehan/Brown, both tied at three.

1449 - Ando beats Whitlock 6-1, game looked good for three legs but then meandered to Anderson taking the rest in six visits. Beaton's 5-0 up over Searle, Telnekes leads de Zwaan 5-2, while Whitehead/Kleermaker is in a decider. Jones has pegged Aspinall back to 5-4.

1445 - van Duivenbode completes the comeback from 5-2 down to get through to a winnable board final. Only three last 64 games left, Beaton, Anderson and perhaps surprisingly Telnekes currently hold the advantage in those games. Aspinall is closing in on a board win over Wayne Jones, leading 5-2.

1441 - Darren Webster's the first player to win his board, Labanauskas took that deciding leg, while Darren Penhall's been pulled back to 5-5 by Mike van Duivenbode.

1437 - Rush of results coming in - Jamie Hughes beats Ron Meulenkamp 6-4, Glen Durrant beats Wesley Harms by the same score, Brendan Dolan whitewashes John Michael, Adam Hunt dumps out another seed in Danny Noppert, while Evans and Labanauskas are in a deciding leg.

1431 - Several last 32 ties getting going, Aspinall/Jones and Whitehead/Kleermaker are under way. Dolan's looking good to get to MvG with a 3-0 lead over John Michael, while Adam Hunt has a break lead over Danny Noppert. Price has just completed the second round win 6-3 over Adrian Gray, so the dream Price/Ando matchup is still on, until Whitlock ruins everything.

1428 - DvD makes no mistakes and finished the game 6-1, nice 105 average. Webster/Sedlacek is the first last 32 game under way, Labanauskas is a break up over Evans, while Gray is hanging around against Price trailing 4-3. Durrant is down to Harms by the same scoreline.

1425 - Some better news for the Irish followers - Ciaran Teehan's just knocked out Stephen Bunting 6-2, and the way the draw is looking he could easily reach the quarters. Wayne Jones knocks out a seed in Keegan Brown 6-1, while if anyone can blow a 5-1 lead, it's Dirk van Duijvenbode, who's at that scoreline against Ted Evetts.

1418 - Mansell's completed the big upset win 6-1 - he played great, but Daryl was averaging down at 80. Some odd underperformances today. MvG's just taken out Heta 6-3, Lewis has beaten Clemens by the same scoreline (other than Cross, I think that's all my bets done), while Adie got through a scrappy game against Clemens 6-3.

1414 - A quick further word on that Sedlacek/King game - Mervyn took the first (in eight visits), but then lost the rest and ended up averaging just 71. I hope that it's not injury related and it's just a bad game, Mervyn's been playing too well this last twelve months to be unlucky enough to suffer a setback like this might be. Hendo's taken the decider, while Martijn Kleermaker beats Edgar to make the last 32 and face Conan Whitehead.

1410 - We know our first board final of the season - it will be Darren Webster against Karel Sedlacek for a spot in the last sixteen. Who saw that one coming? Ross and Jeff both made it safely through, Cullen completed the win over Clark 6-1, Nick Kenny's just beaten Josh Payne, Mansell's now 5-0 ahead, while van Gerwen has a 4-2 lead over Heta. Kuivenhoven's just eliminated Stevenson as Henderson/Woodhouse is in a deciding leg.

1405 - Ando completes our round two lineup, fine performance against Bunse winning 6-3. Steve Brown nicked that match mentioned below, Joe Cullen's in a big lead over Matt Clark, while Gurney is in a spot of bother down 3-0 against nine dart hero Mansell. Sedlacek is also holding a good lead over Mervyn King right now.

1359 - Barrie Bates couldn't pick his game up against Rob Cross, a low 70's average saw an inevitable 6-0 result. Ando's a break up on Bunse in the last round 1 game, the pair of Smiths, Ross and Jeff, are looking good with 4-1 leads in their second round ties. Steve Brown against Alan Tabern is poised nicely at four legs each.

1352 - Drama on board 3 as Darren Penhall has nicked it in a decider against Steve West, I'm not quite sure how, needing 79, West ended up needing 2 after his visit, but he didn't get a chance to come back for it. Conan Whitehead has beaten Daniel Larsson 6-0 to make round three, while Aspinall and Webster have knocked out North and Waites respectively, both 6-1, to reach the board final.

1348 - Welcome (back) to the PDC, Gary Blades. A first round win is nice, starts against Peter Wright, twelve minutes later he's out with Wright averaging 107 in a whitewash victory.

1346 - Just the stream boards lagging behind - Anderson/Bunse is only just starting, while every other board is done or in a decider. Adam Hunt and Ted Evetts are through, Meulenkamp and Labanauskas won those deciders, Robert Thornton and Ryan Searle have also recently reached the last 64.

1338 - Good debut win for Ciaran Teehan over Justin Pipe, Whitlock's just completed the win over Hamilton, while Meulenkamp/Klaasen and Labanauskas/Razma are in deciding legs.

1335 - Edgar TV's not yet cancelled as he powers past Martin Atkins (Wigan) 6-1 to play Kleermaker next. Good showing from Wayne Jones to put away Joe Murnan and make the second round, Derk Telnekes has just won a decider over Martin Schindler, while Hamilton's still battling on what's now clearly the slowest board but still needs a couple of breaks.

1331 - Lisa Ashton's going to need to wait until tomorrow for the first ladies' win on the Pro Tour, Dolan finishing the game off 6-2. Dimitri's going to wonder how on earth he lost to Ryan Joyce, while Simon Whitlock's the last seeded player in first round action, currently with a comfortable lead over Andy Hamilton. The first second round games are starting soon, Woodhouse easily beating Barnard and Sedlacek edging Huybrechts to complete round one on their respective boards.

1325 - Mixed fortunes for the Dutch seeds - Danny Noppert is through over Ryan Murray, just topping the hundred average, but van der Voort was blitzed 6-1 by Dirk van Duijvenbode.

1321 - Just noticed in the Dobey game that van Duivenbode hit a nine. Two for the day already!

1320 - Dobey was unable to complete the comeback, so Mike van Duivenbode joins Stevenson and Kuivenhoven on a wide open board 3. Seeds safely through we haven't mentioned are Mervyn King, Michael Smith (against Ryan Joyce, which has upended the Bunting match for untelevised game of the year - 110 plays 106 averages!) and Ricky Evans. Lisa Ashton's just been broken to trail Dolan 3-1.

1313 - What a game that Bunting game was. Eleven holds, none longer than fifteen darts. Early contender for best match of the year that nobody saw. Adrian Gray finally fell over the line against Mark McGeeney, while Dobey's pulled it back to 5-5.

1310 - Fine game that Damon Heta game, both averaging over 100. He'll play MvG next. O'Connor's pulled back Hughes to 5-5, but in the decider gifted Jamie six darts at 97, he needed five of them but is eventually over the line. Kleermaker's completed the win over de Sousa, while Bunting and Humphries went all eleven legs before the Bullet grabbed the decider.

1306 - Heta's through, while Keegan Brown spanked Steve Lennon 6-1. Dobey and de Sousa are both in trouble at 5-2 down.

1302 - Hendo's not wasting any time, he's taken out Jesus Noguera to be the first of the lower seeds to advance. Jamie Hughes is right behind him, while de Zwaan's in a bit of trouble being 5-4 down to Carl Wilkinson.

1258 - Just a couple of second game on matches to finish now, Damon Heta and Adrian Gray in dominant positions. Wesley Harms is through after a high standard game against Jamie Lewis, both averaging 98 or better, and he'll play Glen Durrant next up.

1255 - Mickey Mansell's through to face Daryl Gurney. Wouldn't mention it normally, but as he hit a nine I feel I should.

1253 - Matt Clark has denied Callan Rydz a dream start as a tour card holder, pulling back from a 5-3 deficit to take a 23 dart deciding leg where Rydz must have had a couple of match darts. Barrie Bates is through to face Rob Cross, winning despite not finishing any legs in fifteen darts or better.

1248 - Nick Kenny, Conan Whitehead and Scott Waites all pick up a first win of the season, and will all face unseeded opponents in round two so have every chance of going further. Alan Tabern's just now joined them with a comfortable win over James Wilson.

1241 - Gary Blades is through to face Peter Wright, the averages may look a bit low but there was a 32 dart leg in there that's going to throw things. Just noticed Beeney's average against Cullen, ouch. Clemens completed the win, while Richard North's one away against Leitinger.

1237 - That was some performance by Price, getting back to back four visit kills then a fifteen darter to win it from 5-3 down, adding to another four visit kill earlier in the match, best performance of the day by some distance. Ross Smith has just gone through in the first unseeded game to get through to face Rowby in round two, while Blades and Clemens are just a leg away from winning as well.

1231 - Another seed's gone down, this time Dave Chisnall - he was able to force his way back from 3-0 down to 5-5, but Jeff Smith got over the line. Gerwyn Price survived a deciding leg against Jason Lowe, while fellow Premier League stars Glen Durrant and Daryl Gurney have also made round two as all of the first set of games complete.

1227 - We've got a bit of a seedocalypse going on - James Wade and Krzysztof Ratajski are surprise early casualties, while Rob Cross was nearly another to go out, needing a last leg decider against Mike de Decker, who was waiting on a two darter after twelve in the final leg.

1225 - Mensur Suljovic is another seed to have gone out, with Simon Stevenson putting on his best display in months to advance 6-3, while Nathan Aspinall survived a deciding leg against Kciuk in a high quality matchup.

1222 - Huge casualty as Ian White's been put out by Darren Webster, was close throughout before two five visit legs from 4-4 put the Demolition Man through to round two.

1220 - Larsson and Cullen were the first two to go through, Adrian Lewis is also through with a 6-0 drubbing of Leung, while Jermaine Wattimena's the second seed down, losing 6-4 from a 4-0 lead to Rowby John Rodriguez.

1214 - Jonny Clayton is in a bit of trouble, down 4-1 to Daniel Larsson, while Jeff Smith has just been pegged back to 3-1 against Dave Chisnall. Joe Cullen's nearly the first player through with a 5-1 lead over Aaron Beeney.

1201 - Games are now under way, I'd be pretty surprised if any of the top 16 seeds were to lose, but there's a few players that if they do show up could cause it to be a bit trickier than they'd expect.

1156 - Players are starting to warm up - looks like they've picked the van Gerwen board as one of the stream board, which makes perfect sense with Mitchell, Heta and Ashton on there, and they've also gone with the Price board, with Anderson and the Whitlock/Hamilton game on that one as well, it makes perfect sense, can't think of another board other than possibly the White board I'd have considered, so decent choices for anyone watching on streams.

1107 - Final quarter:

Price, Lowe, McGeeney, Gray, Whitlock, Hamilton, Anderson, Bunse
Cross, de Decker, Siepmann, Bates, M Smith, Joyce, Ward, Thornton
Ratajski, Payne, Kenny, Shepherd, van den Bergh, Meikle, Borland, Kantele
Cullen, Beeney, Rydz, Clark, Evans, van de Pas, Labanauskas, Razma

Nice draw for Lowe having won the first card of the UK school, not sure how Whitlock is still seeded, a first round tie with Hamilton could have been a major semi final a decade ago, Gary's obviously the huge wildcard and the idea of a Price/Ando game in the last 32 is huge. Not a bad board for either Cross or Smith there. Can't really see the seeds being threatened on Ratajski's board either, Kenny's got a winnable debut game I guess. Beeney gets a seed first up, Evans/van de Pas might be fun, we've got an all-Baltic first round tie as well. Not a bad board for Rydz to be on at all.

1102 - Third quarter:

White, Webster, Waites, Dekker, King, Reyes, Sedlacek, Huybrechts
A Lewis, Leung, Clemens, Krcmar, de Zwaan, Wilkinson, Schindler, Telnekes
Gurney, Baker, Derry, Mansell, Noppert, Murray, Hunt, Boulton
Durrant, Pallett, Harms, J Lewis, Beaton, van der Meer, Searle, Carlin

That's a real interesting board White's on. Darren Webster first up is probably the pick of the first round, Waites is in there, while King's subsection has a couple of European players in that 33-64 bracket looking to rediscover form along with the newcomer in Sedlacek. The Lewis board is OK, we'll see how Kai Fan Leung does, Clemens/Krcmar should be competitive, I'm not sure how Telnekes will do but Schindler's a decent test, and a second round game against de Zwaan would be a good one. The Gurney board looks dull to be honest, can't see past both seeds making the last 32. The Durrant board looks a bit the same, a Durrant/Harms second round game would be a good one to look at I guess.

1057 - Second quarter (seeds are bolded, should have mentioned before, should be obvious):

Wright, Zonneveld, Blades, Jacques, Henderson, Noguera, Woodhouse, Barnard
Clayton, Larsson, Whitehead, Alcinas, de Sousa, Kleermaker, Edgar, Atkins
Chisnall, J Smith, Robinson, Hopp, van der Voort, van Duijvenbode, Evetts, Brooks
Aspinall, Kciuk, Leitinger, North, K Brown, Lennon, Jones, Murnan

Ought to be safe enough for Wright, although the Hendo section is interesting with Noguera making his debut as a tour card holder and the winner likely playing Woodhouse who can upset anyone on the day, Clayton being on the same board as de Sousa kind of scuppers the coverage I have with my each way bets, Jonny should be fine to make the last 32 but Jose has got what looks like a tricky opener. Chizzy's board should be fun, not the draw Smith would want on his return, while Hopp, DvD, Evetts and Brooks are all dangerous youngsters who can do damage, so van der Voort will need to be on his toes. Looks a great board for Nathan, Leitinger has a winnable debut match, Brown/Lennon's not a bad opening fixture at all.

1052 - Draw is out, first quarter:

van Gerwen, Mitchell, Nentjes, Heta, Dolan, Ashton, Michael, Meeuwisse
Wattimena, Rodriguez, R Smith, Petersen, Hughes, O'Connor, Meulenkamp, Klaasen
Suljovic, Stevenson, Worsley, Kuivenhoven, Dobey, van Duivenbode, West, Penhall
Wade, S Brown, Wilson, Tabern, Bunting, Humphries, Teehan, Pipe

Welcome to the PDC Scott... real interesting draw for MvG, Heta in round 2 then Dolan in round 3, a seed to start for Ashton as well. Board 2 looks competitive, I think there's reasonable arugments for anyone to get our of that one. Board 3 looks like a seeds special, unless Steve West has returned to form then I can't see any of those troubling Suljovic or Dobey, while on board 4, if Wilson's got a bit better then Wade might be in for a bit of a fight, Bunting against Humphries is an all-contenders clash, while one of my tips in Pipe gets newcomer Ciaran Teehan.

As there's no real football on today, at least not that I'm going to, as an experiment I'm going to liveblog the first Players Championship event. We should have the draw within the next 20-30 minutes before play starts at noon, so I'll have a look at what appears interesting once that's available, then start running through the matches as they take place.

As a reminder, the each way punts I've gone for are Cross at 22/1, half the amount on each of de Sousa and Clemens at 66/1 as well as Clayton at 80/1, then half the amount again on Pipe at 150/1. I may add one or two once the draw is out if anything looks very tempting, but I doubt it. More shortly.

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