Darren Webster wins first PDC ranking title in 12 years with victory in Players Championship 15

Darren Webster claimed his first PDC ranking title for 12 years after beating Daryl Gurney 6-1 in the final of Players Championship 15 in Barnsley today.

The world number 31 had entered the final Pro Tour weekend before the cut-off for qualification for the BetVictor World Matchplay looking to cement his spot at Blackpool later this month.

And the 49-year-old rose to the challenge, taking the £10,000 title and sealing his place at the World Matchplay as well as a maiden Players Championship title, his first ranking victory since the Open Ost Nederland back in 2005.

Webster began his route to glory on Saturday with a tight 6-5 win over Wes Newton, before back-to-back 6-3 triumphs against Jonathan Worsley and Ron Meulenkamp helped him to progress to the last 16.

The Norwich thrower then overcame another Dutchman, Jeffrey de Graaf, 6-4 and dropped just two legs in beating Alan Norris to advance to the semi-finals.

In the last four he raced into leads of 3-0 and 5-1 against Kyle Anderson, only for the Australian to punish six missed match darts from his opponent to pull level and force a decider.

Anderson crucially missed a dart at the bull to snatch victory in the 11th leg, with Webster landing tops to reach his first Players Championship final.

The final against Gurney started with the opening two legs being shared, before Webster reeled off five straight legs, in 15, 14, 17, 15 and 13 darts to claim the title.

Gurney was bidding to win his second Players Championship of 2017, and a win against Webster would have seen him usurp Simon Whitlock and into the top 16 on the PDC Order of Merit for the first time in his career.

Wins over World Cup of Darts teammate Brendan Dolan, Zoran Lerchbacher, Harry Robinson, Robert Thornton, Dimitri van den Bergh and Justin Pipe put him through to a fourth final of the season, but the world number 17 was unable to halt Webster’s charge in the decider.

Pipe’s run to the semi-finals was his best performance of 2017 so far, and came at the right time as it moved him into the provisional qualifying places for the World Matchplay with one event to go before the cut-off.

Pipe now sits £750 ahead of both Chris Dobey and Jonny Clayton going into Players Championship 16 tomorrow.


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