Brilliant Caven Triumphs In Wigan
JAMIE CAVEN produced a brilliant display of darts to win his first PDC ProTour title since February 2011 as he overcame Paul Nicholson 6-4 in the decider of the third Players Championship event of the year in Wigan on Saturday.
The Derby based thrower showed signs of a return to form by reaching last week's European Darts Open semi-final last week, and he also finished runner-up to Robert Thornton in a UK Open Qualifier back in March, but this time he went one stage further to collect the £10,000 first prize.
Caven started the day well dropping just one leg to Steve Coote and Mark Frost before defeating Alan Derrett by a 6-3 margin to reach the last 16.
The 37-year-old then stepped up a gear as he beat Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts 6-2 before thumping the experienced Kevin Painter 6-1, to reach the last four stage where he beat Thornton to reach the final.
Caven established total command against Paul Nicholson at the start of the decider as he won the opening three legs before Nicholson took out 66 to get a leg on the board.
Caven restored his three-leg advantage with an excellent 13-darter only for Nicholson to apply pressure on his opponent as he won the next two legs to reduce the gap to one.
Nicholson crucially missed three darts at double 16 to level, which proved costly as Caven landed double top for a 5-3 lead.
Nicholson landed double 18 to win the ninth leg after Caven missed a dart to win the match, but the Derby man was not to be denied as he took out 76 to end Nicholson’s hopes.
Nicholson opened up his run to a second final in the space of four weeks with wins over Chris Aubrey and impressive Dutchman Jerry Hendriks.
The world number 15 then recorded good wins over the experienced duo of Steve Beaton and Mervyn King, before edging out Mark Walsh in a deciding-leg to secure a quarter-final place.
Nicholson then defeated Northern Ireland’s Michael Mansell and world number ten Justin Pipe to reach the final, before being edged out for the £10,000 first prize by Caven.
Thornton began his run to the semi-finals with comfortable wins over Jason Marriott and Darron Brown before recovering from 5-3 deficit to overcome Darren Webster in a deciding-leg.
The Scotsman beat Andy Smith 6-3 to reach the last eight, where he overcame the tough challenge of Dennis Priestley with a 6-2 triumph, to keep hopes of a third victory in Wigan this year.
However, hopes of that feat being achieved were ended when he fell to a 6-3 loss at the hands of the brilliant Caven.
Justin Pipe enjoyed his best performance so far in 2013 as he reached the last four, after three quarter-final appearances.
The Taunton man came from behind to beat Ricky Sudale 6-5 at the last 16 stage before producing an excellent display to see off Gary Anderson, but was denied a spot in the final by Nicholson.
Northern Ireland’s Mansell, who impressed on Friday night to qualify for the Gibraltar Darts Trophy next month, recorded his best performance on the ProTour since October 2010, as he reached the last eight.
Painter’s run to the quarter-finals saw him enjoy his best performance since a semi-final appearance in a UK Open Qualifier in Crawley, two months ago, while Anderson continued his consistent form on the ProTour with a run to last eight, to go with his four semi-final appearances so far in 2013.
Yorkshire legend Dennis Priestley, produced a fine display of darts to reach the quarter-finals and take away £1,500 in prize money.
Competing for just for the fifth time on the ProTour in 2013, the veteran two-time World Champion he recorded whitewash wins over Steve McNally and former major finalist Ronnie Baxter to make a very strong start.
Priestley then overcame Kevin Dowling and Stuart Kellett by 6-4 margins to reach the quarter-finals, where he found Thornton too strong an opponent.
Ricky Sudale, who won a Tour Card in January and reached the quarter-finals of a UK Open Qualifier in Crawley three months ago, produced a fine display to reach the last 16 in Wigan.
The 46-year-old from Derbyshire, who defeated James Hubbard and Ian White along the way, was denied a second quarter-final appearance after agonisingly losing a deciding-leg to Pipe, after establishing a 5-3 advantage.
Sunday will see a Second Players Championship contested to complete the weekend at the Robin Park Tennis Centre, with a further £50,000 in prize money on offer once again.
Players Championship 3
Saturday May 25
Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Dave Chisnall (1) Bye
Jyhan Artut 6-5 Jamie Robinson
Michael Mansell 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts (32)
Colin Fowler 6-4 Jim Walker
Jelle Klaasen 6-1 Mark Webster (16)
Magnus Caris 6-5 Matthew Dicken
Mark Walsh (17) 6-5 Roland Scholten
Keith Rooney 6-5 Keith Stephen
Paul Nicholson (8) 6-3 Chris Aubrey
Jerry Hendriks 6-4 John Henderson
Steve Beaton (25) 6-3 Terry Temple
Michael Barnard 6-5 Ted Hankey
Mervyn King (9) 6-0 Ian Walters
Steve Grubb 6-4 Co Stompe
Mark Jones 6-5 Wayne Jones (24)
Keegan Brown 6-1 Mark Hylton
Ian White (5) 6-2 John Scott
Ryan de Vreede 6-4 Adam Hunt
Ricky Sudale 6-3 James Hubbard (28)
Matt Clark 6-4 Dan Russell
Justin Pipe (12) 6-5 Andy Pearce
James Richardson 6-4 Darren Johnson
Riche Burnett (21) 6-3 Gareth Pass
Steve West 6-5 Joe Murnan
John Part (4) 6-2 Kevin McDine
Steve Brown 6-4 Andy Parsons
Michael Smith (29) 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Alan Tabern 6-3 Darren Whittingham
Gary Anderson (13) 6-1 Daryl Gurney
Steve Farmer 6-2 Alex Roy
Arron Monk (20) 6-3 Bernd Roith
David Dodds 6-2 Marc Dewsbury
Robert Thornton (2) 6-1 Jason Marriott
Darron Brown 6-4 Nigel Heydon
Darren Webster (31) 6-2 Josh Payne
Nick Fullwell 6-5 John Bowles
Brendan Dolan (15) 6-2 Steve Hine
Adrian Gray 6-2 Lee Palfreyman
Andy Smith (18) 6-3 Mark Dudbridge
Campbell Jackson 6-3 Paul Amos
Ronnie Baxter (7) 6-3 Vernon Sheppard
Dennis Priestley 6-0 Stephen McNally
Kevin Dowling 6-4 Scott Rand (26)
Barrie Bates 6-0 Kentaro Suzuki
Stuart Kellett (10) 6-2 Dennis Smith
Ross Smith 6-3 Andy Jenkins
Mick Todd 6-5 Colin Osborne (23)
Paul Barham 6-4 Joey Palfreyman
Peter Wright (6) 6-2 Lee Hayes
Kenny MacNeil 6-5 Ian Moss
Vincent van der Voort (27) 6-4 William O'Connor
Richie Howson 6-2 Stephen Hardy
Colin Lloyd (11) 6-1 Jamie Lewis
Ricky Evans 6-5 Peter Hudson
Kevin Painter (22) 6-3 Reece Robinson
Joe Cullen 6-3 Gaz Cousins
Kim Huybrechts (3) 6-2 Sean Ryan
Tony West 6-1 David Pallett
Dean Winstanley (30) 6-5 David Copley
Connie Finnan 6-5 Prakash Jiwa
Alan Derrett 6-4 Terry Jenkins (14)
Johnny Haines 6-5 Matt Padgett
Jamie Caven (19) 6-0 Steve Coote
Mark Frost 6-3 Ryan Harrington
Jyhan Artut 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Michael Mansell 6-5 Colin Fowler
Magnus Caris 6-5 Jelle Klaasen
Mark Walsh 6-2 Keith Rooney
Paul Nicholson 6-2 Jerry Hendriks
Steve Beaton 6-2 Michael Barnard
Mervyn King 6-1 Steve Grubb
Mark Jones 6-4 Keegan Brown
Ian White 6-2 Ryan de Vreede
Ricky Sudale 6-2 Matt Clark
Justin Pipe 6-1 James Richardson
Richie Burnett 6-3 Steve West
Steve Brown 6-4 John Part
Michael Smith 6-4 Alan Tabern
Gary Anderson 6-4 Steve Farmer
David Dodds 6-4 Arron Monk
Robert Thornton 6-2 Darron Brown
Darren Webster 6-3 Nick Fullwell
Brendan Dolan 6-0 Adrian Gray
Andy Smith 6-2 Campbell Jackson
Dennis Priestley 6-0 Ronnie Baxter
Kevin Dowling 6-4 Barrie Bates
Stuart Kellett 6-4 Ross Smith
Mick Todd 6-5 Paul Barham
Peter Wright 6-0 Kenny MacNeil
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Richie Howson
Colin Lloyd 6-2 Ricky Evans
Kevin Painter 6-4 Joe Cullen
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Tony West
Dean Winstanley 6-5 Connie Finnan
Alan Derrett 6-4 Johnny Haines
Jamie Caven 6-1 Mark Frost
Michael Mansell 6-2 Jyhan Artut
Mark Walsh 6-2 Magnus Caris
Paul Nicholson 6-3 Steve Beaton
Mervyn King 6-4 Mark Jones
Ricky Sudale 6-4 Ian White
Justin Pipe 6-4 Richie Burnett
Michael Smith 6-3 Steve Brown
Gary Anderson 6-3 David Dodds
Robert Thornton 6-5 Darren Webster
Andy Smith 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Dennis Priestley 6-4 Kevin Dowling
Stuart Kellett 6-2 Mick Todd
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Peter Wright
Kevin Painter 6-5 Colin Lloyd
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Dean Winstanley
Jamie Caven 6-3 Alan Derrett
Michael Mansell 6-5 Mark Walsh
Paul Nicholson 6-4 Mervyn King
Justin Pipe 6-5 Ricky Sudale
Gary Anderson 6-2 Michael Smith
Robert Thornton 6-3 Andy Smith
Dennis Priestley 6-4 Stuart Kellett
Kevin Painter 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Jamie Caven 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Paul Nicholson 6-4 Michael Mansell
Justin Pipe 6-2 Gary Anderson
Robert Thornton 6-2 Dennis Priestley
Jamie Caven 6-1 Kevin Painter
Paul Nicholson 6-3 Justin Pipe
Jamie Caven 6-3 Robert Thornton
Jamie Caven 6-4 Paul Nicholson
Final - Leg-By-Leg
Paul Nicholson v Jamie Caven
0-0 - Caven wins the bullseye and throws first.
0-1 - Nicholson fires in a 180 but Caven claims the leg with an excellent 114 finish.
0-2 - Caven records three ton-plus scores and breaks throw on tops.
0-3 - Caven wins a third straight leg to establish command over his opponent.
1-3 - Nicholson takes out a vital 66 finish to get a leg on the board, with Caven waiting on double ten.
1-4 - Caven restores his three-leg advanatge thanks to a clinical 13-dart finish.
2-4 - Nicholson continues to fight as he takes out 32 with his opponent waiting on tops.
3-4 - Nicholson kicks-off with a maximum and nicks the leg after Caven misses opportunties for a 5-2 lead.
3-5 - Nicholson lands a third 180 but three missed darts at double 16 prove costly as Caven hits double top.
4-5 - Caven fails with one dart at double to win the match and Nicholson lands double 18 to set-up a tense finale.
4-6 - Caven fires in a timely 180 and takes out 76 with his opponent waiting on a two-darter to win his first ProTour title since 2011.