Wonderful Wright topples prolific Price to claim Players Championship Five glory

Peter Wright’s vivacious vein of form continued on Saturday at the Robin Park Leisure Centre in Wigan as he toppled Gerwyn Price with a 170 checkout to claim Players Championship Five glory.

Wright had reached two quarter-finals and two semi-finals on the PDC ProTour since lifting back-to-back televised crowns, before emerging as unstoppable on Saturday afternoon in Greater Manchester, averaging a record 106.07 for the tournament en route to claiming his first floor title since July.

The Scotsman’s campaign got off to a flyer as he averaged 105.9 in thrashing Darren Webster, before coming close to breaking his own record for the highest average in a broadcasted match as he recorded a staggering 120.2 in whitewashing Adrian Gray.

Both Ryan Joyce and former BDO world champion Scott Mitchell were subsequently on the wrong end of extraordinary ‘Snakebite’ performances, with the reigning world champion  progressing into the quarter-finals for a seventh successive tournament.

Despite averaging below the 100 mark for the first and only time during a brilliantly blistering day of darts, Wright produced the needed performance to oust the three-time BDO world champion and current Premier League table-topper Glen Durrant.

It was a rather unexpected semi-final opponent for ‘Snakebite’ as he faced a resurgent South African in Devon Petersen who was in seemingly unbeatable form himself at the Robin Park Leisure Centre.

Having led 3-2 and won back-to-back legs to level up proceedings at five-a-piece, Petersen held a good account of himself, however, Wright yet again averaged in excess of 104 and booked his place in the final.

Meanwhile, less than 24 hours after whitewashing Michael van Gerwen in the popular Cheltenham Masters exhibition, Gerwyn Price reached his first final since lifting back-to-back Grand Slam of Darts titles in November.

Price clocked averages in excess of 105 on two occasions, defeating William O’Connor and Australia’s Damon Heta, and also recorded wins over Kirk Shepherd, Mickey Mansell and Jamie Lewis.

Steve Lennon came agonisingly close to pipping the world number three in the last four, with the Northern Irishman squandering multiple match darts to progress to his second individual PDC final, though, Price held his nerve pinning double 12 to prevail.

The world number two and reigning world champion versus the world number three and Grand Slam of Darts champion. The pair that will contest a mouth-watering Premier League clash featuring two titans of the game on Thursday evening. It was a thrilling final on paper and one that historically materialised into one of the best Players Championship finals ever in terms of statistics.

Both averaged in abundance of 109, with a match average of 109.39 and a combined average between the two players of 218.78 – it was the highest standard final since the introduction of the DartConnect system.

Both Wright and Price held their throw expertly during the final, with a remarkable 13 legs being won by the player throwing first. Although, the Scotsman denied a deciding leg with a magnificent 170 checkout to break the Welshman’s throw and pocket the £10,000 winner’s cheque.

“It’s just the start,” Wright told pdc.tv following an immaculate tournament. “I’m enjoying these darts and we’ve got something in the pipeline to improve them further.

“Who knows what I can win this year? I just take it a leg at a time and that’s all you can do. As world champion, I’ve always got a target on my back but I feel like I’m giving some of the other players the belief that they too can win anything.”

Elsewhere, Steve Lennon pinned the 10th nine-darter of the season during his third round victory over Kai Fan Leung. The former Dutch Darts Masters runner-up recorded a 110.6 average against the newly-integrated tour card holder, before later missing match darts to reach the final.

Hong Kong’s Leung became the second thrower of Asian descent to reach the third round of a Players Championship event as he averaged 101.9 in narrowly denying Premier League challenger Jonny Clayton, before easing past Conan Whitehead in round two.

Devon Petersen also deserves an honourable mention after averaging 101.42 en route to his deepest run during his five-year long spell as a PDC tour card holder.

The South African overcame Harry Ward, Stephen Bunting, Niels Zonneveld, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Rob Cross on his way to the last four, averaging an astounding 105.2 against Van den Bergh and 111.8 in beating Dutchman Zonneveld.

Michael van Gerwen’s wait for a first title since November’s Players Championship Finals goes on as he threw away a 5-3 lead against Germany’s Christian Bunse.

The Players Championship series will resume on Sunday at the Robin Park Leisure Centre in Wigan with 128 players vying for success once again.

PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FIVE


Robin Park Leisure Centre, Wigan
Saturday February 22
Last 16

Rob Cross 6-4 Christian Bunse
Devon Petersen 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Peter Wright 6-3 Ryan Joyce
Glen Durrant 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Steve Lennon 6-1 Benito van de Pas
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Jamie Lewis
William O’Connor 6-5 Brendan Dolan

Quarter-Finals
Devon Petersen 6-5 Rob Cross
Peter Wright 6-1 Glen Durrant
Steve Lennon 6-2 Gabriel Clemens
Gerwyn Price 6-2 William O’Connor

Semi-Finals
Peter Wright 7-5 Devon Petersen
Gerwyn Price 7-6 Steve Lennon

Final
Peter Wright 8-6 Gerwyn Price

(Photography: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

About The Author

Ben Hudd Ben is a dedicated sports writer and aspiring sports journalist, covering all aspects of darts for the ever-growing Darts Planet TV. He has a passion for sport, particularly darts, cricket and football.

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