Six Of The Best For Thornton!
ROBERT THORNTON stormed to victory in the first Players Championship of 2013 with a sensational 6-0 whitewash of Belgium's Ronny Huybrechts in Saturday's final at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.
The Scot claimed the £10,000 first prize in stunning fashion as he saved his best performance of the day for last - averaging 111, hitting three ton-plus finishes and hitting six doubles from seven attempts.
He had claimed earlier wins over Dennis Smith, Peter Hudson, Tomas Seyler and Jelle Klaasen before completing a 6-1 quarter-final romp against Dean Winstanley with a 170 checkout.
Thornton then swept past his World Cup of Darts team-mate Gary Anderson 6-3 in the semis, and then took victory in the £50,000 event with a brilliant performance in the final.
Belgium's Huybrechts, appearing in his first PDC ProTour final, held the advantage of throw but was punished for a miss at double 18 to a 147 checkout in the opening leg as Thornton broke throw with a two-dart 82 finish to complete an 11-darter.
He then added a second 180 of the game and finished tops for a 12-dart leg, and when Huybrechts missed four darts to win the third, Thornton came from nowhere to hit a killer 151 checkout.
The Scot then finished 130 and 101 to move 5-0 up, and hit double 19 for a 13-darter as he completed a fine triumph.
Thornton also won a Speedy Services UK Open Qualifier in Wigan earlier this year, and admits that the win is a boost to his hopes of claiming a McCoy's Premier League Darts Play-Off place in next Thursday's final league night.
"I must like Wigan because it's two events I've won here this year," said Thornton. "I'm very happy and it's been kind-of crazy because there were so many big names in the bottom half of the draw.
"My finishing all day was been unbelievable - everything seemed to go in. Ronny played well all day and he put up a good game, but my finishing wore him down.
"If I can take this into the Premier League on Thursday I'll be happy. If I play like this on Thursday then they've got trouble!"
Belgium's Huybrechts had only turned professional at the start of 2013, but showed his class as he claimed the £5,000 runner-up prize.
His day of darts began with wins over Lee Palfreyman, Ryan De Vreede and Peter Wright before he overcame Finland's Jani Haavisto and Dave Chisnall to reach the semis.
There, he faced younger brother Kim for the first time in a PDC event, and averaged almost 108 in a brilliant 6-1 triumph to progress to the decider.
Kim Huybrechts' run to the last four earned him £2,500 and included victories against Simon Whitlock, Kevin Painter, Vincent van der Voort and Brendan Dolan.
Anderson, meanwhile, continued his recent return to form as he reached the semis for a second successive Saturday in Wigan, as he defeated Steve Beaton, Michael Barnard, Johnny Haines, Andy Smith and Michael van Gerwen.
Van Gerwen reached his eighth quarter-final of 2013 before losing out to the Scot, while Whitlock enjoyed a fourth run to the last eight this year before he was seen off by Kim Huybrechts.
Dean Winstanley also reached the quarter-finals, for the first time this year, as he overcame John Henderson, Stuart Kellett, Ted Hankey and Raymond van Barneveld, while Dave Chisnall came from 4-0 down to defeat Colin Lloyd 6-4 as he moved into the last eight.
James Wade won through to the Last 16 with some superb darts, including a 107 average in his whitewash of Martyn Turner as he dropped only two legs in his opening three games before losing out to van Gerwen.
Finland's Haavisto, playing in his first Players Championship event since winning a Tour Card in January, also moved into the Last 16, alongside Lloyd, Painter, Klaasen, van Barneveld, Andy Smith and Mervyn King.
World Champion Phil Taylor, though, suffered a rare first round defeat as he went down 6-4 to youngster David Pallett, who produced an impressive display to claim a memorable victory, while world number three Adrian Lewis was a second round casualty as he went down 6-5 to Johnny Haines.
Sunday will see a second Players Championship held at Wigan's Robin Park Tennis Centre, with a further £50,000 prize money - increased in 2013 from £35,000 per event - on offer for the 128 players.
See video reaction from Robert Thornton at the OfficialPDC YouTube Page
Players Championship 1
Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan - May 4
Michael van Gerwen Bye
Kevin McDine 6-1 Steve Grubb
Colin Fowler 6-5 Joe Cullen (32)
Connie Finnan 6-2 James Richardson
Terry Jenkins (16) 6-2 Denis Ovens
Martyn Turner 6-4 Marc Dewsbury
James Wade (17) 6-0 Alan Tabern
Andrew Gilding 6-3 Chris Aubrey
John Part (8) 6-5 William O'Connor
Jarkko Komula 6-4 Dan Russell
Andy Smith (25) 6-4 Joey Palfreyman
Mark Hylton 6-5 Kurt Van De Rijck
Adrian Lewis (9) 6-5 Steve Hine
Johnny Haines 6-4 Jim Walker
Gary Anderson (24) 6-4 Steve Beaton
Michael Barnard 6-3 Joe Murnan
Raymond van Barneveld (5) 6-1 Jamie Robinson
Jyhan Artut 6-5 Dave Honey
Mark Frost 6-4 Colin Osborne (28)
John Bowles 6-3 Nick Fullwell
James Hubbard 6-1 Andy Hamilton (12)
Ted Hankey 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Stuart Kellett (21) 6-1 Bernd Roith
Dean Winstanley 6-2 John Henderson
Robert Thornton (4) 6-2 Dennis Smith
Peter Hudson 6-1 Mark Dudbridge
Jamie Caven (29) 6-3 Keegan Brown
Tomas Seyler 6-4 Tony Littleton
David Pallett 6-4 Phil Taylor (13)
Matt Clark 6-3 Ken MacNeil
Mark Webster (20) 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 John Scott
Simon Whitlock (2) 6-2 Adam Hunt
Paul Amos 6-4 Steve McNally
Michael Smith 6-2 Wayne Jones (31)
Jerry Hendriks 6-5 Jamie Lewis
Ronnie Baxter (15) 6-3 Stephen Hardy
Darren Johnson 6-5 Adrian Gray
Mervyn King (18) 6-5 Matthew Dicken
Darron Brown 6-0 Charl Pietersen
Ian White (7) 6-2 Antonio Alcinas
Steve West 6-3 Ricky Evans
Kevin Painter (26) 6-2 Magnus Caris
Michael Mansell 6-5 Shaun Griffiths
Kim Huybrechts (10) 6-5 Darren Webster
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Roland Scholten
Brendan Dolan (23) 6-5 Paul Barham
Nigel Heydon 6-4 Darren Whittingham
Scott Rand 6-4 Justin Pipe (6)
Jani Haavisto 6-3 Veijo Viinikka
Mark Walsh (27) 6-3 Prakash Jiwa
Mark Jones 6-0 Kentaro Suzuki
Peter Wright (11) 6-2 Andy Pearce
Reece Robinson 6-4 Alex Roy
Ryan De Vreede 6-5 Richie Burnett (22)
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Lee Palfreyman
Dave Chisnall (3) 6-1 Josh Payne
Andy Jenkins 6-3 Mark Cox
Arron Monk (30) 6-2 Gaz Cousins
Terry Temple 6-4 Richie Howson
Paul Nicholson (14) 6-3 Co Stompe
Steve Brown 6-2 Keith Rooney
Colin Lloyd (19) 6-2 Ryan Harrington
Ross Smith 6-0 Campbell Jackson
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Kevin McDine
Colin Fowler 6-5 Connie Finnan
Martyn Turner 6-5 Terry Jenkins
James Wade 6-2 Andrew Gilding
Jarkko Komula 6-4 John Part
Andy Smith 6-3 Mark Hylton
Johnny Haines 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson 6-0 Michael Barnard
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Jyhan Artut
Mark Frost 6-0 John Bowles
Ted Hankey 6-3 James Hubbard
Dean Winstanley 6-5 Stuart Kellett
Robert Thornton 6-0 Peter Hudson
Tomas Seyler 6-4 Jamie Caven
David Pallett 6-3 Matt Clark
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Mark Webster
Simon Whitlock 6-2 Paul Amos
Michael Smith 6-5 Jerry Hendriks
Darren Johnson 6-3 Ronnie Baxter
Mervyn King 6-4 Darron Brown
Ian White 6-3 Steve West
Kevin Painter 6-2 Michael Mansell
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Nigel Heydon
Jani Haavisto 6-5 Scott Rand
Mark Walsh 6-2 Mark Jones
Peter Wright 6-1 Reece Robinson
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Ryan De Vreede
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Arron Monk 6-4 Terry Temple
Steve Brown 6-2 Paul Nicholson
Colin Lloyd 6-5 Ross Smith
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Colin Fowler
James Wade 6-0 Martyn Turner
Andy Smith 6-2 Jarkko Komula
Gary Anderson 6-1 Johnny Haines
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Mark Frost
Dean Winstanley 6-4 Ted Hankey
Robert Thornton 6-3 Tomas Seyler
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 David Pallett
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Michael Smith
Mervyn King 6-0 Darren Johnson
Kevin Painter 6-5 Ian White
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Jani Haavisto 6-4 Mark Walsh
Ronny Huybrechts 6-4 Peter Wright
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Arron Monk
Colin Lloyd 6-3 Steve Brown
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 James Wade
Gary Anderson 6-3 Andy Smith
Dean Winstanley 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Robert Thornton 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Mervyn King
Kim Huybrechts 6-1 Kevin Painter
Ronny Huybrechts 6-4 Jani Haavisto
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Colin Lloyd
Gary Anderson 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Robert Thornton 6-1 Dean Winstanley
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Robert Thornton 6-3 Gary Anderson
Ronny Huybrechts 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Robert Thornton 6-0 Ronny Huybrechts
Final - Leg-By-Leg
Robert Thornton v Ronny Huybrechts
0-0 - Ronny Huybrechts wins the bull and throws first
1-0 - Thornton opens the final with a 180, and when Huybrechts misses double 18 for a 147 finish he steps in to take out 82 on tops in two darts to break.
2-0 - Thornton scores 140, 140 and 180 before landing tops for a 12-darter to double his lead.
3-0 - Huybrechts makes the initial running and lands a 170 as he leaves 71 - but four missed doubles allow Thornton back into the leg and the Scot takes out a killer 151 checkout to break throw again.
4-0 - Thornton opens with a 180, and Huybrechts adds a maximum of his own to leave 124 only for Thornton this time to finish 130 on double five to move four legs clear.
5-0 - Thornton takes out 101 to move a leg away from a second ProTour win of the year, maintaining a superb average of above 110.
6-0 - The Scot seals victory on double 19, ending the game with an average of 111.33 and a 6/7 finishing ratio.