Chris Mason’s World Matchplay preview: This has the ingredients to be the best ever Matchplay

Going on what we’ve seen last weekend in America, you’d have to make Michael van Gerwen a continued firm favourite to make it a hat-trick of World Matchplay titles a week on Sunday, but it’s going to be an interesting event.

There are a few debutants, including Rob Cross, who I”m looking forward to seeing how he gets on against Ian White in the first round.

It’s a real tough game for both that, that’s a real pick-em match. You never know with Whitey, what kind of form he’s going to turn up in.

It’s a tough route though for MVG. He’s got Stephen Bunting to start, which you’d expect him to get through, then he gets the winner of Kyle Anderson and Simon Whitlock, another tough one.

And then a potential winner out of that incredible little group of Phil Taylor, Gerwyn Price, Raymond van Barneveld and Joe Cullen. I wouldn’t want to be in that section!

That’s a real horrific section of the draw. Price and Taylor, you’d have to go with Taylor, he’s still averaging around 100 when he’s on his game.

I think Cullen might beat van Barneveld. I think it’s come a bit early for van Barneveld with his new darts, he doesn’t look that comfortable with them yet. It’s going to take a bit of time to adjust, so that’s one of the seeds I think could potentially go.

For Taylor, the Matchplay is one of his favourite events. He loves the venue, he’s got a place not very far from Blackpool, so he’s going to be very comfortable.

He’ll have all of his practice set up sorted and he has the advantage that he didn’t go to compete in the US event, so he’ll be fresh, he’ll be well rested, no jet lag.

Let’s not forget he played very well in Shanghai against Michael and was 5-0 up. He had his chances to take him out, write Taylor off at your peril.

I think if he gets over Pricey, as I say I think he’ll play Cullen, who’s in the form of his life, if he gets through Cullen and then plays MVG over a long format, it’ll be the best of 31 legs, he’s in with a hell of a shout.

I think it would be lovely as a bit of a swansong for Phil to go out winning one of his favourite events. I certainly hope he does it.

In the bottom half of the draw you’ve got Gary Anderson as the second seed. He absolutely hates the Winter Gardens at Blackpool, I think his best ever run is a semi-final, most of the time he goes out first or second round.

But he’s playing some fabulous darts at the minute. He’s got to have a run and I think that bottom half is really winnable for him.

In there you’ve got Cristo Reyes against Robert Thornton, where we could see another seed go. Robert’s not been in the greatest form of late, he’s missed a fair few events.

The winner of that will likely play Peter Wright and I can really see a Wright/Anderson semi-final and that would be a pick-em match.

The bottom half pretty much makes itself. I know Daryl Gurney’s been playing really well, but again he’s got a fairly tough route.

Daryl would play Anderson in round two, and I know Anderson lost to Gurney at the weekend, but this is a bit of a different animal for me.

I’ve just got a feeling Anderson’s going to go on a run this year. He’s due one at the Matchplay and he’s due to play really well there.

I do think there’s going to be some shocks, everywhere you look from top to bottom you could see there being seeds go out.

I could see Anderson beating Whitlock, I could see Cullen beating Barney, and Mervyn King’s been playing well, he recently got to a final.

Steve Beaton against Adrian Lewis, Adrian’s had his health problems at the minute so I’m not sure how prepared he’ll be, and Beaton’s always a toughie, he’s won on the Pro Tour this year.

Cross against White, I wouldn’t comfortably put any money on there. Gurney against Benito van de Pas, Justin Pipe and Jelle Klaasen, and Darren Webster against James Wade, another potential banana skin.

The tournament could be full of shocks and surprises, and the Matchplay usually does throw a few of them up.

It’s going to be a really exciting tournament, the best 32 players in the world currently getting the chance to duke it out. This potentially has the ingredients to be the best ever World Matchplay.

World Matchplay 2017: Darts experts make their predictions

Who will win the final? Who will be the player to watch? How far will Phil Taylor go in his final World Matchplay? A host of darts journalists, pundits, commentators and former players tackle these and other questions

Who will reach the final – and who will win it?

Stuart Pyke (Sky Sports and ITV commentator): I expect the final to be between Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson.

Dan Dawson (PDC commentator): Right, before we start this you should know by now that I like to predict unlikely results, and inevitably will be proven wrong. I could say Michael van Gerwen will win it. I know that’s the sensible thing to say. And probably, if I really, really was honest with myself, I think he probably will win. But I’m going to say Michael Smith – partially because he’s been playing fantastically again, partially because I like his draw, and partially because I think he’s ready for major success now.

Wayne Mardle (2003 World Matchplay finalist): MVG will win the top half. It’s a longish format in the first few rounds and that plays into his hands. From the bottom half I’m going for Gary or Michael Smith.

Chris Murphy (PDC commentator): I can’t see Gary Anderson not coming through at least his quarter of the draw, so I think he’s the safest name to suggest will reach the final from the bottom half. In the top half, despite being in the toughest section, I think Michael van Gerwen will come through – and I think he’ll go on to win the tournament again.

Rod Studd (Sky Sports commentator): MVG v Snakebite. Peter to get it right this time after the agony of the Premier League final.

Rob Mullarkey (European Tour commentator): It’s really difficult to come up with reasons to oppose Michael van Gerwen; the world champion and world number one is so difficult to beat at the best of times but in the latter stages when the matches are best-of-31, best-of-33 and best-of-35 legs, van Gerwen can leave his opponents floundering, as he’s proven twice before at the Winter Gardens. Over 28 legs in a final he dominated last year, van Gerwen averaged 103.60, hit 12 140s and 180s and conjured a 61 per cent success rate on the doubles to see off Phil Taylor.
However, I really think it could be Peter Wright’s turn. Some will eternally question whether Wright would have won the UK Open this year had van Gerwen taken part and while nothing should detract from Snakebite’s achievement in Minehead, many of his fans would love to see him land another major that isn’t tinged with a question mark.
Don’t underestimate, either, the significance of Wright’s two wins over MVG in finals this year. Admittedly, both were in Germany in a best-of-11 format, but there is further motivation for Snakebite in avenging the Premier League final defeat, which may still be gnawing away at him. He led 7-2 and 10-9 and missed six match darts in the 20th leg. Wright’s biggest obstacle en route to what would be his first final in Blackpool could be Michael Smith. Bully Boy’s had a productive 2017; winning a European Tour title and reaching two ranking finals as well as four semi-finals. I think (and hope) there’s more to come.

Who will be the player to watch?

Stuart Pyke (Sky Sports and ITV commentator): The player to watch is Michael Smith, if he can maintain the standard he’s set of late.

Dan Dawson (PDC commentator): There are fascinating ones all over the draw. Obviously everyone wants to see how Rob Cross does on his debut; the Old Boys of King, Beaton and Darren Webster are all in great form; there are obviously the big names like MVG, Wright and Anderson whom everyone wants to see. But the players I’m currently excited about seeing are Smith and Gurney – anything could happen with them this week.

Wayne Mardle (2003 World Matchplay finalist): Michael Smith, hopefully. He’s better than his odds suggest.

Chris Murphy (PDC commentator): Mervyn King, on current form, can give anyone in his quarter a game and could well come through it to reach the semi-finals.

Rod Studd (Sky Sports commentator): Apart from the obvious candidates I think Kim Huybrechts could have a good run.

Rob Mullarkey (European Tour commentator): I probably won’t be alone in saying this but I’m really looking forward to seeing how Rob Cross gets on in his first visit to the Winter Gardens. His seamless and spectacular transition from the Challenge Tour is, in my mind, the story of 2017. A maiden Pro Tour win in March was followed by a second title in May, he’s reached four European Tour quarter-finals and he beat Michael van Gerwen 6-2 in Leverkusen recently.
If he can overcome any big-stage nerves, and Ian White, in his opener then he could be on to something. Cross is in what appears to be the weakest quarter of the draw and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him navigate a route to the semi-finals.

How far will Phil Taylor go in his final World Matchplay?

Stuart Pyke (Sky Sports and ITV commentator): Taylor is vulnerable but also motivated with it being his last Matchplay. Price will push him, but he should reach the quarters. Van Gerwen should stop him there, but you never know.

Dan Dawson (PDC commentator): Phil could win it, he’s genuinely got the ability. And if he’s going to win another big title before he retires, Blackpool might inspire him to do it. However, I struggle to see him making it past the quarter-finals – it’s a nightmare draw for him. I actually think Joe Cullen might prove to be his undoing in the second round. Yes… I think Cullen could beat Barney AND THEN Taylor.

Wayne Mardle (2003 World Matchplay finalist): He’ll beat Price, then Raymond in a belter, then lose to van Gerwen.

Chris Murphy (PDC commentator): I think his first round match could tell us a lot and if he can see off a player of Gerwyn Price’s calibre comfortably then he’ll be smelling a fairy-tale victory in his last Matchplay. Personally, I think he will reach the quarter-finals.

Rod Studd (Sky Sports commentator): Phil has drawn a tough opponent in Gerwyn Price and he could then have to face Barney and MVG, so no wonder bookies make a 16th MP victory a 25-1 chance. It would be a fairy-tale if he could do it, but I think perhaps Barney will best him in round two.

Rob Mullarkey (European Tour commentator): There will be plenty of sentimental sterling wagered on Taylor (at 20-1 with the sponsors BetVictor) in what will be his final appearance in a tournament he has made his own. I love the prospect of a sporting last hurrah more than anyone but there are just too many dangers lurking.
Sensibly, Taylor skipped Las Vegas to ensure he’s in the best possible health for Blackpool but he’s in the same quarter as Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld, and he’ll have his work cut out against Gerwyn Price in his opener. Price is pushing the top players now; he’s got that first televised final of his career – against Peter Wright at the UK Open – under his belt and having recently made his World Series debut he might well feel like he’s on the verge of becoming a part of the elite.
He’s admitted that sometimes he tries too hard on stage and tries to put too much effort in. If he can control that side of things, I think he’s more than capable of ending Taylor’s campaign sooner than many would anticipate.

Which first round match are you most looking forward to?

Stuart Pyke (Sky Sports and ITV commentator): Barney versus Cullen looks a great match up and could perhaps be decided in a tie-break. Same could be said for Huybrechts v Norris.

Dan Dawson (PDC commentator): Gurney v Benito is the one I’m most interested in – I think it’s two elite players in waiting who know there’s a lot on the line. I think they’ll be vying with one another for some time to come. Cullen v Barney is a great opportunity to see if Joe can continue to take steps forward in his career, as he’s been doing superbly these last few months. White v Cross.. Chizzy v King… I could go on – there are loads.

Wayne Mardle (2003 World Matchplay finalist): Huybrechts v Norris. I like the way both players go about their business. Wright v Wilson. Wright will have to perform. Chisnall v King.

Chris Murphy (PDC commentator): I will watch every match and there are so many especially tasty ones but I’ll stick to your rules and pick one – I’ll have to plump for Taylor v Price for the reasons I gave in the previous answer. It’s probably the perfect opponent to see what Phil’s chances are. I’d never write him off anyway, but if he beats Price, people will sit up and take note because the Welshman is a tough cookie and will relish the task of trying to topple Taylor.

Rod Studd (Sky Sports commentator): Lewis v Beaton should be a cracker after Steve’s performances in Blackpool last year. Huybrechts v Norris should be entertaining.

Rob Mullarkey (European Tour commentator): I really like the look of Raymond van Barneveld’s meeting with Joe Cullen. I can’t put my finger on the reasons why, but I love watching Barney and I’ve really enjoyed seeing Cullen in Europe over the last couple of years – ever since he reached his maiden European Tour semi-final, as a qualifier, in the German Darts Masters in 2016 when he beat James Wade before demolishing Gary Anderson 6-0. It’s brilliant that he now has two ranking titles under his belt. His finishing in his recent success at Players Championship 16 was superb and when you consider he was playing against the backdrop of his father’s heart attack, you really have to give him a lot of credit.
Cullen just seems to be ticking off things on his darting bucket list at a fairly steady rate of knots: a first TV quarter-final at the UK Open in 2016; a debut appearance at the World Grand Prix last year, a 6-5 win over the then world champion Gary Anderson to reach the last eight of the World Series finals; and a first competitive nine-dart finish earlier this year. He’s 4-4 with Barney in the head-to-heads but the Dutchman’s won their last two meetings; 6-0 in Players Championship 3 this year and 10-2 in the third round of the Players Championship Finals last November.

Which seeds are most in danger of going out in the first round?

Dan Dawson (PDC commentator): The main guys I’d be worried about are Kim Huybrechts – who seemingly hates playing in Blackpool – and Robert Thornton, who has only managed to win one game there. The troubles for Thornton are compounded by the fact he’s up against Cristo Reyes, who’s an absolute beast on the board nowadays.

Wayne Mardle (2003 World Matchplay finalist): Klaasen, van de Pas, Thornton, Wade and Lewis.

Chris Murphy (PDC commentator): Benito van de Pas has been hit and miss of late, while Daryl Gurney has gone from strength to strength so I’d lean towards a Superchin win in that one. Alan Norris will be a tough opponent for Kim Huybrechts, who has endured a torrid time in Blackpool. And, as I think Mervyn King could have a great tournament, I have to suggest that Dave Chisnall could be in danger – in fact, I could see any match in that quarter going the way of the unseeded qualifier.

Rod Studd (Sky Sports commentator): The standard of non seeds is so high that many seeds may be vulnerable. I’d say the non seeds most likely to cause an upset are Pipe v Klaasen, Gurney v Benito and Reyes v Thornton.

Rob Mullarkey (European Tour commentator): With 16 seeds in a field of 32, I’ll hone in on the top 10 and two players who look to be in particular danger are James Wade and Dave Chisnall. Wade hasn’t gone beyond the last 32 in any of his last six Pro Tour events and has suffered three first-round defeats during that time. Factor in also that his opponent is Darren Webster, who booked his place in Blackpool by winning his first ranking title for 12 years with a brilliant 6-1 defeat of Daryl Gurney in the final of Players Championship 15, and Wade has a problem on his hands.
Webster says he’s never feared anyone and it wasn’t that long ago that he was 6-0 up against Michael van Gerwen in his first major semi-final (Players Championship Finals) and he beat Phil Taylor 5-0 in the Grand Slam. Only Taylor has played in more World Matchplay finals than Wade but I think the 2007 champion (and five-time finalist) could have his hands full. Number five seed Dave Chisnall will also have to watch his step against Mervyn King. King made the semis in Blackpool in 2009 and was a recent European Tour finalist in Leverkusen.

This will be the 24th staging of the World Matchplay and the 24th time it has been held at the Winter Gardens. How special is the venue to you and where does it rank among your favourite venues in darts?

Stuart Pyke (Sky Sports and ITV commentator): It’s an iconic darting venue. The Winter Gardens is right up there, it’s certainly my favourite because of the atmosphere it generates, and in the main it attracts the true darts fans. It was my first tournament for Sky back in 2003. Every year from the moment you walk in you can sense the occasion and that something special will happen. And it invariably does!

Dan Dawson (PDC commentator): I love it… it can get very hot and pretty unpleasant, when you’re spending 16+ hours a day in there working – but it’s a setting like no other. I’ll grudgingly admit that it is marginally classier than the Barnsley Metrodome, but the Winter Gardens is sadly lacking in the Pirate-themed Water Park department.

Wayne Mardle (2003 World Matchplay finalist): It’s my favourite event. The worlds is the most important but this is the best for atmosphere. It’s a venue and format that seems to create drama. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a brilliant tournament.

Chris Murphy (PDC commentator): It’s right up there but I’d place it at number two just behind Alexandra Palace. The venue is very grand and the crowd are usually in superb order, enjoying themselves while respecting the conditions needed to see the best match possible. Having attended both several times, I think Ally Pally just nicks it because there really is a sense in the air of how big the occasion is at the World Championship. This is only a fraction behind though.

Rod Studd (Sky Sports commentator): The Winter Gardens is a magnificent venue with its ornate ceiling and superb balcony – the most iconic in darts. It’s always been my favourite and I always feel a sense of anticipation every time the World Matchplay comes round.

Rob Mullarkey (European Tour commentator): It’s up there – I had a terrific visit as a punter in 2012 when I’d just been to see my tip Ernie Els win the Open Championship at nearby Lytham St Anne’s. The golf finished a day after the World Matchplay had started and it was great to tag on a trip to such an iconic venue. That tournament produced two nine-dart finishes and I remember Gary Anderson getting turned over by Dean Winstanley.
That said, I have a soft spot for Butlin’s in Minehead – the venue for my first radio reporting gig – but my first love was a smoke-filled room at the Royal Station Hotel in Newcastle for an exhibition featuring John Lowe and Cliff Lazarenko in 1984. Of the European Tour venues I have visited, the Inselparkhalle in Hamburg produced a superb atmosphere this year, with Halle 39 in Hildesheim a close second.

NEW PODCAST! Episode 20: World Cup preview with guests Mark Webster & Team Brazil + World Trophy & Dubai reviews

By Alex Moss
1 JUNE 2017 • 8:08AM

The 20th episode of the Weekly Dartscast, featuring Alex Moss and Burton DeWitt.

Listen as the team recaps Peter Machin and Aileen de Graaf’s World Trophy titles, and Gary Anderson’s triumph in Dubai.

The team also discusses Peter Wright’s recent double troubles and whether Glen Durrant will ever win the World Trophy.

They are joined by guests Mark Webster, Diogo Portela, and Alexandre Sattin, who discuss the upcoming PDC World Cup.

Listen to the episode via the player below or to download the podcast click here

Subscribe to us on iTunes and never miss an episode! Click here to go to our page on iTunes

The first issue of the Love The Darts magazine is now online and FREE to read. Check it out here!

Love The Darts Dozen – Jelle Klaasen drops to the bottom after the German Darts Championship

By Christopher Kempf
31 MARCH 2017 • 1:12PM

The Love The Darts Dozen estimates and compares the length of the average leg over players’ last 180 stage legs.

Michael van Gerwen’s inconsistency in Hildesheim results in a large decline in scoring form (9.55 darts to a finish from 9.36 last week).

A breakthrough victory for Raymond van Barneveld against van Gerwen was accompanied by superior setup play.

Alan Norris can’t keep pace with his 2016 German Darts Championship form, dropping to 3.08 darts at double per leg won.

Jelle Klaasen falls to last place in the LTD12 for the first time, owing to shaky victories in Germany and Premier League relegation.

LTD12 (after German Darts Championship)
1. Michael van Gerwen 15.454 (0.204)
2. Raymond van Barneveld 16.697 (0.130)
3. Phil Taylor 17.116 (0.094)
4. Daryl Gurney 17.128 (n/c)
5. Mensur Suljovic 17.571 (0.269)
6. Benito van de Pas 17.650 (0.207)
7. Simon Whitlock 18.074 (0.070)
8. Alan Norris 18.094 (0.157)
9. Steve Beaton 18.216 (n/c)
10. Mervyn King 18.409 (0.319)
11. Joe Cullen 18.467 (0.261)
12. Jelle Klaasen 18.715 (0.354)

Episode 11 – Darren Johnson interview, Euro Tour review, Judgement Night preview and more!

By Love The Darts Staff
30 MARCH 2017 • 12:13PM

The Weekly Dartscast is the brand new podcast for darts fans. Editor of the Love The Darts magazine Alex Moss and darts statistician Burton DeWitt provide pre- and post-tournament analysis, observations, opinions and interviews with darts sources, players and fans.

In this week’s episode of the Weekly Dartscast, listen as the team recaps Peter Wright’s triumph in Hildesheim & the English men’s team win in the BDO Internationals.

They are joined by guest Darren Johnson, who discusses his recent run of form, which includes wins over MvG, Barney, James Wade, and Dave Chisnall, just since the start of March.

Listen to the episode via the player below or to download the podcast click here

Premier League Prediction League Standings (after week eight)

By Darts Weekly Staff
27 MARCH 2017 •10:35PM

By popular demand our prediction league has returned and will run during the 2017 Premier League season.

It is free to enter and the player with the most points at the end of the competition will win a signed UK Open Riley’s Amateur Qualifiers flyer signed by one-time participant Alex Moss!

Three points are awarded for correcting the right result and scoreline, while one point is awarded for guessing the correct result.

After Judgement Night (Week Nine), each player will have the opportunity to play a joker card during one of the weeks between 10 and 15.

Any points won during that week will be doubled with the use of the joker, but it can only be played for one week so use it wisely. If a player wants to play their joker they must specify BEFORE the evening’s play has begun.

Latest Standings (after week eight)
48 – Matt’s Glory Days (@beronicamixer89); Sarah Collins. (@team_themachine)
46 – Robin van Aalst (@Rva03)
44 – Darts Fan (@AmazingDart)
42 – Rafal Beder (@RafaBeder)
40 – Jack Curtis (@jackcurtis90); Mike Yates #48 (@CaptMikeYates)
39 – James Robinson (@JRTerrier24)
38 – shane wilkinson (@HarrierShane)
37 – Richard Edwards (@ricky_edwards80); Tom Parker (@TheColonelTP)
36 – Andrew Devonshire (@A_Devonshire180)
35 – Jabba (@jabba1892)
33 – – (@Phenohyte180); jamie muir (@nutsack007)
32 – Stan (@StanTheGull)
31 – Johnny Maher (@johnnymaher76)
30 – Josh’s Dartistry (@JoshsDartistry); Del (@DE180Y)
27 – Finlay Ferguson (@FXTWO)
26 – Babedi Darts Tips (@dartsbybabedi); Artur Michalak (@ArturMichalak88)
25 – Christopher Kempf (@ochepedia); Domenic Belisle (@DBelisle22)
24 – Warren Allsworth (@warrenallsworth)
22 – Matt (@mattloxston)
19 – Ryan garraton (@RyanG180); James Denson (@OfficialDenno97); Joanne Malone (@joannemalone22); Jay Bennett (@jb738559)
17 – Kev McAlpine (@Kev_McAlpine); Carl Redden (@ReddenCarl)
16 – Price Perception (@PricePerceivers)
14 – missa marshall (@jafoolee)
13 – TheWack (@TheWack180)
12 – ben1987 (@ben1987); Sabine Kohler (@Koehler_Oedelum)
11 – john cpm (@cpm_john_); Scott Pirie (@Spirie501); Matt (@ycfc_matty); Carl Fletcher (@CarlyFletch)
9 – Ed (@Eddiethegoat); DazBee (@DarrenBarnard1)
8 – TheRealArba (@RealArba); Luke Etheridge (@LukeEtheridge95)
6 – TheDarts Tipster (@pdcbdotips); simon (@sibbersonics); Russell Adams (@RussellJAdams7); JP (@PPirate14500)
5 – Norbert Sinkiewicz (@NSinkiewicz); Matthew Maguire (@BobTheMelon); bryan cusack (@cusack_bryan); Mick Shabba Rooksby (@MickRooksby)
4 – ⒿⒸⓡⓔⓔ⑤⓪① ‏(@JohnnyCree); Paul Hackett (@Hackett_MUFC); Jochen Rabe (@jochenrabe); Danny McNamara (@DannyMcNamara16)
3 – Lockup Dave (@LockupTipster); Matt (@matthawk3); Darts Writer (@sportswriter94); Cush_8 (@Cush_8); Nick (@NickKaldenbach); The King (@Kieran168bb180); Jed MacPhee (@JedmacPhee)
2 – Mick Donegan (@donegan_mick); Hayden Johnson (@hjvilla95); Carl Foxton (@CarlFoxy91); TRADING TOPPS (@Kick_Topps_1999)
1 – Paul Briggs (@starman180); Dartsfan (@dartsfan7)

Five things we learned from the German Darts Championship

By Alex Moss
27 MARCH 2017 •3:41PM

The PDC European Tour returned this past weekend with the HappyBet German Darts Championship in Hildesheim, the first of 12 events taking place on the tour in 2017.

Peter Wright continued his fine start to the year by lifting the trophy, beating world number one Michael van Gerwen 6-3 in the final last night.

Our chief darts writer ALEX MOSS picks out five things we learned from the last three days of action in Germany…

1. Peter Wright is developing a winning mentality


What a year Peter Wright is having! Since enjoying a breakthrough run to the final of the 2014 PDC World Championship, the Scot has been battling it out amongst the elite players in the PDC, but with limited success.

Alongside Wright’s run to the final at Alexandra Palace, he also reached the finals of seven other televised tournaments, all of which he lost in, before breaking his TV duck with victory in the UK Open three weeks ago.

After winning his maiden TV title in Minehead, Wright revealed how he had thrown away all of his runners-up trophies from his darts room at his Mendham home and said this year he wanted to replace them with winning ones.

Well, he now has a second title to add to his now spacious trophy cabinet after winning the German Darts Championship on Sunday.

It was Wright’s first win over Michael van Gerwen in a final, another box ticked in what has been a memorable few weeks for the world number three.

Yes, what Wright has achieved in darts over the last three to four years has been remarkable and should be celebrated.

But it now feels like Wright is starting to develop a winning mentality. He is no longer content with taking home the runners-up trophies and, although removing all of his second place prizes may seem to some a step too far, he is certainly not regretting it now. Could he reach double figures for tournament wins in 2017?

2. Gerwyn Price is a force to be reckoned with in the PDC


We may only be in March, but it already looks like Gerwyn Price is going to be the odds on favourite to scoop the Most Improved Player award at next January’s PDC Annual Awards night.

The Welshman reached his first televised final earlier this month at the UK Open, and he backed up that performance with a run to his maiden European Tour semi-final yesterday.

It is well documented how Price ended his rugby career to take up darts at the start of 2014, winning a tour card at Q-School and making steady progress up the ranks in the PDC ever since.

Aside from a run to the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay in 2015, Price had before this year never produced his best darts on the stage. He ended last year mulling over a third first round defeat in three appearances at the PDC World Championship.

But this year we’ve seen Price start to produce the sort of performances which helped him to win back-to-back Players Championship titles on the floor last year.

Price is pushing the top players now and he even had a dart to knock out eventual winner Peter Wright in the semi-finals. Price is certainly one to watch for the rest of the season.

3. Darren Johnson is the surprise package of 2017


He’s beaten five of the top 16 players in the PDC in the last fortnight and now Darren Johnson will be a player everyone will not dare be taking lightly.

The 50-year-old, from Mexborough, has been playing on the PDC circuit since 2004, but few, if any, of his previous achievements will match those of the last two weeks.

Wins over Dave Chisnall, Raymond van Barneveld, Benito van de Pas and Michael van Gerwen saw him reach the final of Players Championship 4 in Barnsley two weeks ago.

And this past weekend Johnson completed a stunning comeback from 5-1 down to beat James Wade 6-5, in the second round of the German Darts Championship.

Johnson only won his tour card back in January at Q-School, but he is already making big strides to try and avoid dropping off the tour again at the end of 2018.

4. Green shoots of recovery for Paul Nicholson


A first round victory on the European Tour stage with a 90.29 average would not have set the heart racing, but for Paul Nicholson and his army of supporters it would have meant a lot.

The 2010 Players Championship Finals winner played his first game on a European Tour stage in almost three years at the weekend, beating Ryan Searle 6-2 before bowing out to Cristo Reyes in the last 32.

Since winning back his tour card at Q-School at the start of the year, Nicholson has showed signs that he is getting back somewhere near to the form he showed on the TV between 2009 and 2012.

Injuries and a loss of form have hampered Nicholson over the last few years, and resulted in him losing his tour card at the end of last year, but 2017 feels like a fresh start for the Asset.

There are still plenty of events to go, but even he will feel he has a chance of qualifying for the World Championship at the end of the season. More appearances on the European Tour, as a player rather than a commentator, will help his cause.

5. Seeded players face added pressure on Saturday


Make no mistake about it, the seeded players who play on the European Tour this year will be feeling more pressure when they play their first games on Saturday afternoon or evening.

A new rule brought in by the PDC this year states that if a seeded player loses their first game (second round) in a European Tour event then the prize money earned from that particular event will not go towards the Order of Merit.

With a record 12 events on the European Tour this season, the top players should not find it difficult to finish in the top 32 of the European Tour Order of Merit and qualify for the European Championship in Belgium.

But, for those seeded players out of form or only deciding to enter a select number of the events, the importance of winning your second round game is now even greater.

James Wade, Michael Smith and Simon Whitlock were the only seeded players to lose out in the second round at the weekend.

Whilst we do expect the three of them to safely qualify for Hasselt, a few more early exits for either of them could trigger some doubts.

And for a player like Wade, who skipped three of the European Tour events last year, a second round exit or two could be the difference between him being able to skip a weekend or having to enter an extra event to make sure of his place in the European Championship.

Lee Evans and Aaron Dyer seal PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour wins in Milton Keynes

By Darts Weekly Staff
27 MARCH 2017 •1:10PM

Aaron Dyer claimed his second PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour win of the weekend in Event Four on Sunday, as Lee Evans also took a £2,000 title at Arena MK in Milton Keynes.

Dyer, 24, made a winning debut on the Challenge Tour when he took victory in Event One on Saturday, and picked up the top prize 24 hours later to round off the first of five weekends on the PDC’s second-tier tour this year.

Having been eliminated in the first round of Event Three, Dyer regrouped for the day’s second tournament, where he whitewashed Shane Reidy, defeated Bryan De Hoog 5-1 and then edged out Ian Moss and Lee Evans in a deciding leg.

In the quarter-finals, he overcame Craig Gilchrist for the loss of just one leg, defeated Dan Read 5-2 in the semi-finals and repeated the scoreline in the final against Wilson.

Evans, who like Dyer hails from Gloucestershire, had earlier picked up his first PDC title in Event Three, edging out experienced Kevin Dowling 5-4 in the final.

Evans dropped just two legs in his first three games as he saw off Phil Phillips, Tony Lincoln and David Galloway, was pushed to a decider by Peter Hudson and then defeated Joey Palfreyman and Mark Frost on his way to victory.

Dowling had seen off former World Youth Championship finalist Nathan Aspinall and former UK Open runner-up Barrie Bates on his way to the final.

Frost was joined by Ian Lever in the semi-finals of Event Three, while recent Players Championship runner-up joined Kevin McDine and Mark Devon in the last eight.

Lincolnshire’s Wilson won through to his first Challenge Tour final, defeating David King, Michael Blake, Justin Smith, Mark Dudbridge, Stuart Dutton and Peter Hudson on the day.

Hudson’s run to the last four of Event Four followed a last 16 finish earlier in the day, and he was joined by youngster Dan Read in the semi-finals.

The next PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour weekend will take place at the Barnsley Metrodome on April 15-16, with a further four tournaments, each worth £10,000 in prize money, being held.

PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour
Event Three
Sunday March 26, Arena MK, Milton Keynes
First Round
Andreas Hajimina Bye
Gary Butcher 5-1 Andrew Belton
Jim Walker 5-4 Dean Reynolds
Andrew Currivan 5-1 Lee Shewan
David Read Bye
Scott Rollings 5-2 Joe Davis
Sam Head 5-4 Edward Lovely
Mark Forman 5-3 Daniel Cole
Lewis Coult Bye
Gary Stone 5-3 Kelvin Hart
Mark Frost 5-3 Eddie Dootson
James Hajdar 5-3 Justin Broton
Steven Harbert Bye
Andy Smith 5-4 Curtis Hammond
Dean Stewart 5-1 John Power
Luke Humphries 5-0 Kevin McDonnell
Sheamus Hagan Bye
Stephen Gallimore 5-2 Evan Wilson
John Morris 5-2 Michael Burgoine
Tim Hope 5-4 Nathan Derry
Rob Hewson Bye
Radoslaw Szaganski 5-2 Mareno Michels
Martin Lukeman 5-2 Sandy Morrison
Nicholas Ellis 5-4 David Evans
Laurie Sleby Bye
Danny Bosch Bye
Ricky Palmer 5-2 Thom Humphrey
Kevin McDine 5-2 Paul Milford
Justin Bradshaw Bye
Josh Wills Bye
Barry Lynn 5-0 David King
Stuart Monaghan (Stuart Dutton timed out)
Lee Evans Bye
Paul Phillips 5-1 James Lane
Ash Khayatzadeh 5-3 Michael Huntley
Tony Lincoln 5-3 James Marcroft
Steve Perren Bye
Michael Blake 5-4 John Gibson
Mark Dudbridge 5-4 Ryan Murray
David Galloway 5-3 John Brown
Jay Foreman Bye
Billy Holmes 5-2 Jack Todd
Chris Skeates 5-3 Hayden Barnes
Peter Hudson 5-1 Dave Ladley
Reece Robinson Bye
Peter Mitchell 5-3 Sean Johnson
Wayne Crossley 5-4 Colin Littlecott
Ian Moss 5-1 Peter Fisher
Steve McNally Bye
Mark Wilson 5-1 Ben Green
Kelvin Self 5-3 Tony Cole
Christopher Dale 5-1 Paul Reeve
Bradley Brooks Bye
Rohit Rabadia Bye
Dean Owen 5-1 Andre Knox
Richie Howson 5-0 Shane Reidy
Bryan de Hoog Bye
Ian Jones Bye
Gary Eastwood 5-4 Justin Smith
Richie Parkin 5-4 Ian Withers
Paul Meyer Bye
James Young Bye
Darren Brown 5-2 Nigel Lloyd
Joey Palfreyman 5-2 Glen Parsons
Lewis McGurn Bye
Kevin Dowling 5-1 Chris Ware
Kevin Lane 5-4 Joshua Richardson
Charlie Jackson 5-3 Luke Woodhouse
Robert Hughes Bye
Nathan Aspinall 5-1 Peter Evison
Mike Norton 5-0 Jamie Robinson
Jason Wilson 5-0 Keith Robert Carter
Jason Lovett Bye
Derek Brand 5-4 Steve Brown
Alan Tabern 5-0 Matt Padgett
Kurt Parry 5-3 Warrick Scheffer
Marc Dewsbury Bye
Chris Jackson 5-4 Nolan Arendse
Barrie Bates 5-0 Dan Read
Kevin Burness 5-1 Ben Simpson
Steve Maish Bye
Pip Blackwell 5-3 Coni Singh Nagi
Matthew Edgar 5-3 Aaron Dyer
Craig Gilchrist 5-3 Raymond van den Ende
Mark Baxter Bye
Ben Ward Bye
Peter Jaques 5-3 Harry Ward
Greg Ritchie 5-3 Evander Stevenson
David Wilson Bye
Colin Fowler Bye
Josh McCarthy 5-4 Steve Douglas
Lisa Ashton 5-1 Jim Moston
Nick Jennings Bye
Wayne Thomas Bye
Jamie Landon 5-2 Mark Hylton
Keith Arber 5-0 Barry Morgan
Steve Kingdon Bye
Ian Lever 5-0 Ian Moar
Rob Holroyd 5-1 Shaun Matthews
Eikichi Nakanishi 5-3 Max Baulcomb
Lee Budgen Bye
Dawson Murschell 5-4 Daniel Dootson
Scott Dale 5-0 Andrew Poyton
Allan Edwards 5-0 Ben Adams
Nick Fullwell Bye
Tony Martin 5-3 Brian Hallas
Kevin Edwards 5-0 Aaron Stevens
Ryan Harrington 5-0 Stuart Bousfield
Chris Hartrey Bye
Barry Maclean 5-1 Nigel Pinchen
Kevin Garcia 5-1 Jamie Kelling
Adam Smith-Neale 5-2 Steve Hattersley
Michael Barnard Bye
Kieran Evans 5-3 Ross Parsons
Ricky Sudale 5-2 Daniel Russell
Robert Rickwood 5-2 Wayne Jones
John Scott Bye
Alex Roy Bye
Rachel Brooks 5-2 Stuart Stubbs
Paul Coughlin 5-1 Stuart McGauley
Stuart Kellett Bye
Billy Gallie Bye
Jon Jukes 5-3 Martin Thomas
Mark Carter 5-2 Danny Key
Alan Tabern Jnr Bye
Mark Westgarth Bye
Mark Devon 5-3 Callum Loose
Scott Marsh 5-2 Adam Whieldon

Second Round
Gary Butcher 5-3 Andreas Hajimina
Jim Walker 5-1 Andrew Currivan
Scott Rollings 5-1 David Read
Sam Head 5-3 Mark Forman
Gary Stone 5-0 Lewis Coult
Mark Frost 5-3 James Hajdar
Andy Smith 5-2 Steven Harbert
Luke Humphries 5-3 Dean Stewart
Stephen Gallimore 5-3 Sheamus Hagan
John Morris 5-3 Tim Hope
Rob Hewson 5-2 Radoslaw Szaganski
Martin Lukeman 5-2 Nicholas Ellis
Danny Bosch 5-3 Laurie Selby
Kevin McDine 5-0 Ricky Palmer
Josh Wills 5-3 Justin Bradshaw
Barry Lynn 5-1 Stuart Monaghan
Lee Evans 5-0 Paul Phillips
Tony Lincoln 5-4 Ash Khayatzadeh
Steve Perren 5-1 Michael Blake
David Galloway 5-3 Mark Dudbridge
Jay Foreman 5-2 Billy Holmes
Peter Hudson 5-0 Chris Skeates
Peter Mitchell 5-3 Reece Robinson
Ian Moss 5-0 Wayne Crossley
Mark Wilson 5-2 Steve McNally
Christopher Dale 5-2 Kevin Self
Rohit Rabadia 5-1 Bradley Brooks
Richie Howson 5-4 Dean Owen
Ian Jones 5-0 Bryan de Hoog
Gary Eastwood 5-2 Richie Parkin
James Young 5-2 Paul Meyer
Joey Palfreyman 5-1 Darren Brown
Kevin Dowling 5-0 Lewis McGurn
Charlie Jackson 5-3 Kevin Lane
Nathan Aspinall 5-2 Robert Hughes
Mike Norton 5-3 Jason Wilson
Jason Lovett 5-1 Derek Brand
Alan Tabern 5-3 Kurt Parry
Marc Dewsbury 5-2 Chris Jackson
Barrie Bates 5-3 Kevin Burness
Pip Blackwell 5-2 Steve Maish
Matthew Edgar 5-2 Craig Gilchrist
Ben Ward 5-1 Mark Baxter
Peter Jacques 5-0 Greg Ritchie
Colin Fowler 5-2 David Wilson
Josh McCarthy 5-4 Lisa Ashton
Wayne Thomas 5-1 Nick Jennings
Keith Arber 5-2 Jamie Landon
Ian Lever 5-0 Steve Kingdon
Eikichi Nakanishi 5-1 Rob Holroyd
Dawson Murschell 5-1 Leed Budgen
Scott Dale 5-3 Allan Edwards
Nick Fullwell 5-3 Tony Martin
Kevin Edwards 5-3 Ryan Harrington
Chris Hartrey 5-4 Barry Maclean
Kevin Garcia 5-1 Adam Smith-Neale
Michael Barnard 5-1 Kieran Evans
Robert Rickwood 5-1 Ricky Sudale
John Scott 5-2 Alex Roy
Paul Coughlin 5-3 Rachel Brooks
Stuart Kellett 5-1 Billy Gallie
Jon Jukes 5-3 Mark Carter
Mark Westgarth 5-3 Alan Tabern Jnr
Mark Devon 5-2 Scott Marsh

Third Round
Jim Walker 5-0 Gary Butcher
Scott Rollings 5-3 Same Head
Mark Frost 5-3 Gary Stone
Luke Humphries 5-1 Andy Smith
John Morris 5-4 Stephen Gallimore
Martin Lukeman 5-3 Rob Hewson
Kevin McDine 5-0 Danny Bosch
Barry Lynn 5-0 Josh Wills
Lee Evans 5-2 Tony Lincoln
David Galloway 5-3 Steve Perren
Peter Hudson 5-2 Jay Foreman
Ian Moss 5-2 Peter Mitchell
Mark Wilson 5-2 Christopher Dale
Richie Howson 5-3 Rohit Rabadia
Ian Jones 5-3 Gary Eastwood
Joey Palfreyman 5-1 James Young
Kevin Dowling 5-3 Charlie Jackson
Nathan Aspinall 5-2 Mike Norton
Jason Lovett 5-3 Alan Tabern
Barrie Bates 5-0 Marc Dewsbury
Matthew Edgar 5-1 Pip Blackwell
Peter Jacques 5-4 Ben Ward
Colin Fowler 5-0 Josh McCarthy
Wayne Thomas 5-2 Keith Arber
Ian Lever 5-3 Eikichi Nakanishi
Dawson Murschell 5-3 Scott Dale
Kevin Edwards 5-3 Nick Fullwell
Chris Hartey 5-3 Kevin Garcia
Michael Barnard 5-3 Robert Rickwood
Paul Coughlin 5-1 John Scott
Stuart Kellett 5-1 Jon Jukes
Mark Devon 5-3 Mark Westgarth

Fourth Round
Scott Rollings 5-3 Jim Walker
Mark Frost 5-2 Luke Humphries
Martin Lukeman 5-3 John Morris
Kevin McDine 5-2 Barry Lynn
Lee Evans 5-0 David Galloway
Peter Hudson 5-3 Ian Moss
Mark Wilson 5-3 Richie Howson
Joey Palfreyman 5-3 Ian Jones
Kevin Dowling 5-4 Nathan Aspinall
Barrie Bates 5-2 Jason Lovett
Peter Jacques 5-4 Matthew Edgar
Wayne Thomas 5-1 Colin Fowler
Ian Lever 5-3 Dawson Murschell
Kevin Edwards 5-1 Chris Hartrey
Michael Barnard 5-1 Paul Coughlin
Mark Devon 5-0 Stuart Kellett

Fifth Round
Mark Frost 5-4 Scott Rollings
Kevin McDine 5-2 Martin Lukeman
Lee Evans 5-4 Peter Hudson
Joey Palfreyman 5-1 Mark Wilson
Kevin Dowling 5-1 Barrie Bates
Peter Jacques 5-1 Wayne Thomas
Ian Lever 5-1 Kevin Edwards
Mark Devon 5-3 Michael Barnard

Mark Frost 5-0 Kevin McDine
Lee Evans 5-2 Joey Palfreyman
Kevin Dowling 5-4 Peter Jacques
Ian Lever 5-0 Mark Devon

Lee Evans 5-3 Mark Frost
Kevin Dowling 5-2 Ian Lever

Lee Evans 5-4 Kevin Dowling

Event Four
Sunday March 26, Arena MK, Milton Keynes
First Round
Gary Stone Bye
Tony Martin 5-4 Nick Fullwell
Jon Jukes 5-0 John Scott
Samuel Fuller 5-2 Daniel Dootson
Eikichi Nakanishi Bye
Gary Butcher 5-3 Steve Kingdon
Mareno Michels 5-4 Aaron Stevens
Jay Foreman 5-0 Billy Gallie
Justin Bradshaw Bye
Chris Jackson 5-0 Keith Robert Carter
Wayne Jones 5-3 Jack Todd
Scott Rollings 5-1 Lee Budgen
Jason Wilson Bye
Kevin Lane 5-1 David Wilson
Warrick Scheffer 5-3 Ash Khayatzadeh
Shames Hagan 5-3 Sandy Morrison
Joshua Richardson Bye
Danny Key Bye
Mark Forman 5-0 Josh Wills
Kevin Edwards 5-2 Evan Wilson
Stuart Monaghan Bye
Luke Humphries Bye
Scott Marsh 5-1 Hayden Barnes
Mark Frost 5-2 David Read
Steve Perren Bye
John Gibson Bye
Sean Johnson 5-4 tony Lincoln
Kurt Parry 5-3 Billy Holmes
Nigel Lloyd Bye
Kevin Garcia Bye
Dan Read 5-3 Evander Stevenson
Daniel Cole 5-4 Michael Huntley
Ryan Murray Bye
Dean Reynolds 5-0 Kelvin Self
Adam Smith-Neale 5-3 Tony Cole
Richie Parkin 5-3 Greg Ritchie
Harry Ward Bye
Barrie Bates 5-0 Mike Norton
Shaun Matthews 5-3 Steve Hattersley
Steve Brown 5-1 Josh McCarthy
Stephen Gallimore Bye
Alan Tabern Jnr 5-4 Thom Humphrey
Ricky Sudale 5-0 Nolan Arendse
Craig Gilchrist 5-0 Ian Moar
Alan Tabern Bye
Ben Adams 5-0 Lee Watkins
Mark Devon 5-2 Jim Moston
Jamie Kelling 5-2 James Young
Dean Stewart Bye
Ian Lever Bye
Jim Walker 5-2 David Galloway
Lee Evans 5-4 Matthew Edgar
Coni Singh Nagi Bye
Rob Hewson Bye
Jamie Landon 5-4 Rachel Brooks
Mark Carter 5-1 Steven Harbert
Aaron Dyer Bye
Shane Reidy Bye
Bryan de Hoog 5-1 Marc Dewsbury
Peter Mitchell 5-3 Allan Edwards
Kieran Evans Bye
Max Baulcomb Bye
Ian Moss 5-0 Ian Withers
James Hajdar 5-1 John Power
Callum Loose Bye
Colin Fowler 5-3 Raymond van den Ender
Paul Meyer 5-4 Ben Green
Danny Bosch 5-3 Stuart Stubbs
Steve Maish Bye
Peter Jacques 5-1 Ryan Harrington
Gary Eastwood 5-3 Ricky Palmer
Scott Dale 5 -1 Adam Whieldon
Derek Brand Bye
Lee Shewan 5-4 Darren Brown
Mark Westgarth 5-1 Ben Simpson
Dave Ladley 5-3 Steve Douglas
Pip Blackwell Bye
Ben Ward Bye
Kevin Burness 5-1 Alex Roy
Radoslaw Szaganski 5-0 Jamie Robinson
Paul Phillips Bye
Richie Howson Bye
Martin Thomas 5-2 Andrew Belton
Andrew Currivan 5-4 Joe Davis
Bradley Brooks Bye
Barry Lynn Bye
Robert Rickwood 5-2 Charlie Jackson
Nathan Derry 5-3 Stuart Bousfield
Kevin McDonnell Bye
Keith Arber Bye
Peter Hudson 5-3 Stuart Kellett
Luke Woodhouse 5-0 Peter Evison
Christopher Dale Bye
James Lane Bye
Martin Lukeman 5-1 Kevin Dowling
Andreas Hajimina 5-4 Kelvin Hart
Reece Robinson Bye
Eddie Dootson 5-1 Wayne Crossley
Joey Palfreyman 5-4 Lewis McGurn
Michael Burgoine 5-0 Brian Hallas
Nigel Pinchen Bye
David Evans 5-2 Peter Fisher
John Brown 5-4 John Morris
Lisa Ashton 5-2 Sam Head
Andy Smith Bye
Nathan Aspinall 5-3 Robert Hughes
Justin Broton 5-2 Nicholas Ellis
Daniel Russell 5-1 Andrew Poynton
Wayne Thomas Bye
Paul Milford Bye
Matt Padgett 5-2 Tim Hope
Stuart Dutton 5-2 Andre Knox
Edward Lovely Bye
Chris Ware Bye
Rob Holroyd 5-0 Garath Illidge
Mark Dudbridge 5-4 Dawson Murschell
Curtis Hammond Bye
Chris Hartrey Bye
Jason Lovett 5-1 James Marcroft
Michael Barnard 5-4 Ian Jones
Mark Baxter Bye
Chris Skeates Bye
Laurie Selby 5-4 Nick Jenings
Justin Smith 5-4 Kevin McDine
David King Bye
Mark Wilson Bye
Colin Littlecott 5-4 Dean Owen
Michael Blake 5-3 Steve McNally

Second Round
Gary Stone 5-3 Tony Martin
Jon Jukes 5-4 Samuel Fuller
Gary Butcher 5-2 Eikichi Nakanishi
Mareno Michels 5-4 Jay Foreman
Chris Jackson 5-2 Justin Bradshaw
Wayne Jones 5-0 Scott Rolings
Jason Wilson 5-2 Kevin Lane
Warrick Scheffer 5-4 Sheamus Hagan
Joshua Richardson 5-4 Danny Key
Kevin Edwards 5-2 Mark Forman
Luke Humphries 5-0 Stuart Monaghan
Mark Frost 5-0 Scott Marsh
Steve Perren 5-3 John Gibson
Kurt Parry 5-0 Sean Johnson
Nigel Lloyd 5-3 Kevin Garcia
Dan Read 5-1 Daniel Cole
Ryan Murray 5-1 Dean Reynolds
Richie Parkin 5-2 Adam-Smith Neale
Barry Bates 5-4 Harry Ward
Steve Brown 5-0 Shaun Matthews
Alan Tabern Jnr 5-4 Stephen Gallimore
Craig Gilchrist 5-3 Ricky Sudale
Alan Tabern 5-2 Ben Adams
Jamie Kelling 5-1 Mark Devon
Dean Stewart 5-3 Ian Lever
Lee Evans 5-1 Jim Walker
Rob Hewson 5-2 Coni Singh Nagi
Jamie Landon 5-3 Mark Carter
Aaron Dyer 5-0 Shane Reidy
Bryan de Hoog 5-2 Peter Mitchell
Kieran Evans 5-4 Max Baulcomb
Ian Moss 5-0 James Hadjar
Colin Fowler 5-3 Callum Loose
Danny Bosch 5-4 Paul Meyer
Peter Jacques 5-4 Steve Maish
Scott Dale 5-2 Gary Eastwood
Lee Shewan 5-4 Derek Brand
Dave Ladley 5-2 Mark Westgarth
Ben Ward 5-2 Pip Blackwell
Kevin Burness 5-4 Radoslaw Szaganski
Richie Howson 5-4 Paul Phillips
Martin Thomas 5-4 Andrew Currivan
Barry Lynn 5-2 Bradley Brooks
Robert Rickwood 5-3 Nathan Derry
Keith Arber 5-0 Kevin McDonnell
Peter Hudson 5-2 Luke Woodhouse
Christopher Dale 5-1 James Lane
Martin Lukeman 5-2 Andreas Hajimina
Reece Robinson 5-3 Eddie Dootson
Joey Palfreyman 5-3 Michael Burgoine
David Evans 5-0 Nigel Pinchen
Lisa Ashton 5-1 John Brown
Andy Smith 5-2 Nathan Aspinall
Justin Broton 5-2 Daniel Russell
Wayne Thomas 5-4 Paul Milford
Stuart Dutton 5-2 Matt Padgett
Chris Ware 5-4 Eddie Lovely
Mark Dudbridge 5-1 Rob Holroyd
Curtis Hammond 5-4 Chris Hartrey
Michael Barnard 5-3 Jason Lovett
Mark Baxter 5-3 Chris Skeates
Justin Smith 5-4 Laurie Selby
Mark Wilson 5-2 David King
Michael Blake 5-3 Colin Littlecott

Third Round
Gary Stone 5-2 Jon Jukes
Mareno Michels 5-2 Gary Butcher
Wayne Jones 5-3 Chris Jackson
Jason Wilson 5-2 Warrick Scheffer
Kevin Edwarsd 5-2 Joshua Richardson
Mark Frost 5-3 Luke Humphries
Kurt Parry 5-1 Steve Perren
Dan Read 5-1 Nigel Lloyd
Ryan Murray 5-3 Richie Parkin
Steve Brown 5-1 Barrie Bates
Craig Gilchrist 5-0 Alan Tabern Jnr
Alan Tabern 5-1 Jamie Kelling
Lee Evans 5-3 Dean Stewart
Jamie Landon 5-2 Rob Hewson
Aaron Dyer 5-1 Bryan De Hoog
Ian Moss 5-2 Kieran Evans
Danny Bosch 5-2 Colin Fowler
Scott Dale 5-1 Peter Jacques
Lee Shewan 5-2 Dave Ladley
Kevin Burness 5-4 Ben Ward
Richie Howson 5-4 Martin Thomas
Robert Rickwood 5-2 Barry Lynn
Peter Hudson 5-3 Keith Arber
Martin Lukeman 5-3 Christopher Dale
Reece Robinson 5-2 Joey Palfreyman
Lisa Ashton 5-3 David Evans
Andy Smith 5-2 Justin Broton
Stuart Dutton 5-2 Wayne Thomas
Mark Dudbridge 5-2 Chris Ware
Curtis Hammond 5-4 Michael Barnard
Justin Smith 5-2 Mark Baxter
Mark Wilson 5-1 Michael Blake

Fourth Round
Mareno Michels 5-2 Gary Stone
Wayne Jones 5-3 Jason Wilson
Mark Frost 5-1 Kevin Edwards
Dan Read 5-3 Kurt Parry
Steve Brown 5-1 Ryan Murray
Craig Gilchrist 5-3 Alan Tabern
Lee Evans 5-3 Jamie Landon
Aaron Dyer 5-4 Ian Moss
Scott Dale 5-0 Danny Bosch
Kevin Burness 5-1 Lee Shewan
Richie Howson 5-4 Robert Rickwood
Peter Hudson 5-4 Martin Lukeman
Reece Robinson 5-4 Lisa Ashton
Stuart Dutton 5-3 Andy Smith
Mark Dudbridge 5-4 Curtis Hammond
Mark Wilson 5-2 Justin Smith

Fifth Round
Mareno Michels 5-4 Wayne Jones
Dan Read 5-2 Mark Frost
Craig Gilchrist 5-3 Steve Brown
Aaron Dyer 5-4 Lee Evans
Scott Dale 5-3 Kevin Burness
Peter Hudson 5-3 Richie Howson
Stuart Dutton 5-1 Reece Robinson
Mark Wilson 5-2 Mark Dudbridge

Dan Read 5-1 Mareno Michels
Aaron Dyer 5-1 Craig Gilchrist
Peter Hudson 5-1 Scott Dale
Mark Wilson 5-4 Stuart Dutton

Aaron Dyer 5-2 Dan Read
Mark Wilson 5-3 Peter Hudson

Aaron Dyer 5-2 Mark Wilson

RACE TO HASSELT: Peter Wright tops Order of Merit after winning first European Tour event of 2017

By Darts Weekly Staff
27 MARCH 2017 •12:29PM

Peter Wright tops the early PDC European Tour Order of Merit after winning the HappyBet German Darts Championship yesterday.

The world number three defeated Michael van Gerwen 6-3 in the final in Hildesheim last night, and pocketed £25,000, while van Gerwen took home £10,000.

The German Darts Championship was the first of a record 12 events taking place on the European Tour this year, with prize money earned from those events going towards the European Tour Order of Merit.

Following the completion of the 12th and final European Tour event, the top 32 players on the Order of Merit will qualify for the European Championship in Hasselt, Belgium.

A change to the PDC rules this year now means that if a seeded player loses their first match (second round) in any of the 12 European Tour events, their £2,000 in prize money will not go towards the Order of Merit, but they will still receive the money.

James Wade, Michael Smith and Simon Whitlock were the only seeded players to lose in the second round at the weekend, and thus their £2,000 earnings do not go towards the Order of Merit.

Pos Name Prize Money
1 Peter Wright £25,000
2 Michael van Gerwen £10,000
3 Jelle Klaasen £6,000
= Gerwyn Price £6,000
5 Kim Huybrechts £4,000
= Mensur Suljovic £4,000
= Benito van de Pas £4,000
= Ian White £4,000
9 Stephen Bunting £3,000
= Dave Chisnall £3,000
= Joe Cullen £3,000
= Jan Dekker £3,000
= Darren Johnson £3,000
= Alan Norris £3,000
= Kevin Painter £3,000
= Cristo Reyes £3,000
17 Jamie Bain £2,000
= John Bowles £2,000
= Richie Corner £2,000
= Paul Harvey £2,000
= Mervyn King £2,000
= Christian Kist £2,000
= Mick McGowan £2,000
= Paul Nicholson £2,000
= David Pallett £2,000
= Diogo Portela £2,000
= Krzysztof Ratajski £2,000
= Dimitri van den Bergh £2,000
= Jermaine Wattimena £2,000
30 Robert Allenstein £1,000
= Stephen Burton £1,000
= Chris Dobey £1,000
= Ryan de Vreede £1,000
= Adam Hunt £1,000
= Ryan Meikle £1,000
= John Michael £1,000
= Chris Quantock £1,000
= Michael Plooy £1,000
= Michael Rasztovits £1,000
= Bernd Roith £1,000
= Martin Schindler £1,000
= Ryan Searle £1,000
= Kirk Shepherd £1,000
= Stefan Stoyke £1,000
= Veijo Viinkka £1,000

Brilliant Peter Wright defeats Michael van Gerwen to win German Darts Championship title in Hildesheim

By Darts Weekly Staff
27 MARCH 2017 • 10:50AM

Peter Wright claimed his second European Tour win by defeating Michael van Gerwen 6-3 in the HappyBet German Darts Championship final on Sunday evening at Halle 39 in Hildesheim.

The world number three followed up his UK Open truimph three weeks ago with a memorable victory over reigning world champion van Gerwen in front of an enthusiastic German crowd.

Wright had been taken all the way by another Dutchman, Christian Kist, in his opening fixture on Saturday, but dropped only two legs in each of his wins over Stephen Bunting and Kim Huybrechts to reach Sunday’s semi-finals.

There, he was pushed all the way by Gerwyn Price in a repeat of the UK Open final, only for the Welshman to miss tops for victory in the deciding leg as Wright secured his place in the decider.

Van Gerwen, who won six European Tour events in 2016, followed up his second round romp against Jermaine Wattimena with defeats of Cristo Reyes, Ian White and Jelle Klaasen to reach the final.

Having defeated Wright in three finals on the European Tour last year, van Gerwen made a confident start as he took the opening leg and then doubled his lead with an 11-darter to break throw.

Wright hit back to level before tops moved van Gerwen 3-2 up, but legs of 13 and 14 darts from the Scot either side of a 120 finish moved him into a 5-3 lead before he held his nerve with a 60 checkout to complete the comeback.

“My darts room last year was full of runner-up trophies, and after Christmas I cleared it all and said I was going to fill it with winning ones – and I’ve got two so far!” said Wright.

“The fans were amazing and a lot of it was down to them. Michael didn’t play like he can. He started off fantastically but I tried to stay with him.”

Van Gerwen takes home £10,000 as runner-up, but said: “I only can be happy with winning the tournament, and I can only blame myself. Peter played well, but I missed doubles and if you miss doubles you need to handle that.”

Price had seen off Kevin Painter and Mensur Suljovic on Sunday to win through to his first European Tour semi-final, while Klaasen defeated Premier League rival Dave Chisnall and fellow Dutchman Benito van de Pas on his way to the last four.

White had produced the performance of the third round in the afternoon session as he overcame Darren Johnson 6-2 with a 104.68 average and 60 percent of his doubles, but was unable to repeat the performance against van Gerwen.

Van de Pas whitewashed another Dutchman, Jan Dekker, in the last 16, while Suljovic saw off Joe Cullen and Huybrechts ended Alan Norris’ defence of the German Darts Championship title.

The next PDC European Tour event will be the HappyBet German Darts Masters, to be held from April 15-17 in Jena, with a further £135,000 prize money on offer for 48 competitors.

Coverage of the PDC European Tour is streamed for PDCTV-HD subscribers worldwide and also shown live through a series of bookmakers’ websites advertised at

HappyBet German Darts Championship
Sunday March 26
Afternoon Session
Third Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Cristo Reyes
Ian White 6-2 Darren Johnson
Jelle Klaasen 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Benito van de Pas 6-0 Jan Dekker
Peter Wright 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Alan Norris
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Kevin Painter
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Joe Cullen

Evening Session
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Ian White
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Benito van de Pas
Peter Wright 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Mensur Suljovic

Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
Peter Wright 6-5 Gerwyn Price

Peter Wright 6-3 Michael van Gerwen