SIMON WHITLOCK turned on the style in the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals with a 10-1 romp against Ronnie Baxter as Phil Taylor denied Adrian Lewis a dream win at the Butlins Minehead Resort on Saturday.
Australian ace Whitlock produced the best performance of the tournament so far as he averaged 109.54 and hit a 170 checkout in sweeping past Baxter in the second round of the £250,000 event.
Whitlock's brilliant display was his best-ever in a televised event and set up a quarter-final clash with Gary Anderson on Sunday as he bids to follow up his European Championship victory with a second major title.
"I'm really pleased," said Whitlock. "I've lost a couple of times to Ronnie on TV before but I was focused on what I wanted to do tonight.
"Going out in the Group Stage of the Grand Slam recently was really disappointing for me and I've been putting in a lot of hours on the practice board, I've gone back to the routine which I had when I reached the World Championhip final and it's working so far.
"This game's gone now though and I've got to try and focus on the quarter-finals and try to produce that form again tomorrow because Gary Anderson's a prolific scorer so I need to be at my best."
Anderson reached the last eight in style by coming from 3-0 down to win his all-Scottish battle with Robert Thornton 10-7 earlier in the day.
"Robert started off well and I know how well he's been playing recently, but he struggled in the middle of the game and I made the most of it," said Anderson. "My doubles were good today and they went in at the right time for me."
Two-time champion Phil Taylor, meanwhile, remains on course to complete a Players Championship Finals hat-trick following his 10-7 defeat of World Champion Adrian Lewis.
Lewis had become a father for the second time in the early hours of Saturday, having dashed back to Stoke following his controversial first round win over Richie Burnett before returning to Somerset to take on Taylor.
The world number one took the first four legs in sensational style before Lewis hit back to 4-3, and the 27-year-old took out finishes of 130 and 121 to stay in touch at 8-6 before Taylor sealed the win.
"I tried my best but full credit to Phil, he deserved to win and after everything that's happened in the last couple of days I was proud to push him there," said Lewis. "I've had about five hours sleep in the last two days but once I got up on stage the adrenaline kicked in."
Taylor now plays Andy Hamilton in another all-Stoke battle on Sunday afternoon, and said: "I'm delighted to have come through that and I thought Adrian did really well given that he's only had five hours sleep in the last couple of days.
"I knew I needed to put him under pressure at the start and I did that. At some crucial points I missed a few doubles but I'm heading in the right direction and my game's improving.
"I'm really looking forward to Sunday and to playing Andy. He did a great job to defeat Michael van Gerwen, his concentration levels are amazing and he's a tough cookie."
Hamilton booked his place in the quarter-finals with a fine 10-8 win over Michael van Gerwen, who led 4-0 early on but was punished for missed doubles as the World Championship finalist battled to victory.
"Michael's playing great darts at the moment and it's a brilliant result for me," said Hamilton. "At 4-1 I had to stick in there and I won the next session 4-1 to level it, and once I got into the game I knew I could push Michael.
"To be in another big quarter-final shows that I'm worth of my position in the top eight, but I want to go on from here and win the tournament tomorrow."
Taunton's Justin Pipe delighted the Somerset crowd with a battling 10-8 win over Brendan Dolan, who hit back from 6-0 down to trail only 9-8 at one stage before the number five seed sealed the win.
"When I was 5-0 up I never thought Brendan was out of it because he's a great fighter and he kept coming back at me," said Pipe. "My doubles were probably better than my scoring but that's the first time I've beaten Brendan on TV and it means a lot to me.
"I'd love to go on from here now because it's my third televised quarter-final of the year and it continues my progression."
Pipe will play Mervyn King in the quarter-finals, with the 2010 finalist having overcome Steve Beaton 10-7 in their second round contest.
"It was a very hard game," said King. "Sometimes you have to grind out a win and I did that tonight.
"I didn't score anywhere near as heavily as I wanted to but Steve missed a lot of doubles and I took my chances. I've got a good record in this event, and I'll give it my best shot on Sunday."
The other quarter-final sees emerging Belgian Kim Huybrechts play colourful Peter Wright following their wins over Michael Smith and Wayne Jones respectively.
Huybrechts was a 10-6 winner against youngster Michael Smith in a high-quality game, with the St Helens thrower coming from 4-1 down to level at five-all before the Belgian pulled clear for the win.
"Michael played really well and at five-all I knew I had to be more aggressive and show how much I wanted to win the game, and it started to go for me again," said Huybrechts.
"I'm happy with the way I played and my finishing was great, and at the end I think I was the stronger player.
"Everyone in our half of the draw is nervous because it's a great chance for any of us to make a final, but I can't look that far ahead yet and I want to concentrate on the quarter-final against Peter."
Wright, meanwhile, won through to only his second major quarter-final with a 10-7 win over Wayne Jones, who hit back from 4-1 down to trail just 8-6 at one stage before the Lowestoft ace sealed victory.
"It feels really good to be through," said Wright. "I ground out the win and hopefully I'll be better tomorrow because I want to perform well for the great crowd we've got here."
The destiny of the £60,000 title will be decided on Sunday, with the quarter-finals being held in the afternoon session before the semi-final and final are held on Sunday evening in front of a 4,000-plus crowd at the seaside resort.
The whole tournament will be broadcast live on ITV4, with coverage from 12.30pm-5.15pm for the afternoon sessions and from 6.45pm-11.15pm for the evening sessions on each day.
Coverage of the tournament is also live on Fox Sports in Australia and available in LIVEPDC.TV live for all International Pass Subscribers (plus users in Holland) as well as with highlights for fans in the UK & Ireland 24 hours after each session.
Fans can get involved throughout the tournament on Twitter, using the Hashtag #CCPC12 - why not tag in @OfficialPDC or @Cash_Converters .
Read The Programme!
Click here to read the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals programme online
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Saturday December 1
Justin Pipe 10-8 Brendan Dolan
Wayne Jones 7-10 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 6-10 Kim Huybrechts
Gary Anderson 10-6 Robert Thornton
Michael van Gerwen 8-10 Andy Hamilton
Simon Whitlock 10-1 Ronnie Baxter
Phil Taylor 10-7 Adrian Lewis
Steve Beaton 7-10 Mervyn King
All games are the best of 19 legs
Justin Pipe v Brendan Dolan
0-0 - Justin Pipe wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Pipe finishes 73 on tops to win the opening leg.
2-0 - Both players struggle to finish a scrappy leg, with Pipe eventually hitting double one.
3-0 - Pipe wins a third straight leg to continue his control of the contest.
4-0 - Pipe hits a 180 and double 16 in a 12-darter/
5-0 - Double five sees Pipe move clear.
6-0 - Pipe finishes 127 on the bull to win a sixth straight leg.
6-1 - Dolan finally gets off the mark by landing double 12.
6-2 - Dolan wins a second successive leg to cut the gap.
7-2 - Both players hit 180s, and Pipe finishes 64 on double eight to win a seventh leg.
7-3 - Dolan hits double 16 to continue his revival.
7-4 - The Northern Irishman wins his fourth leg in five to remain in the hunt.
8-4 - Dolan misses two darts to close the gap to two legs, and Pipe finishes 114 on tops.
9-4 - Pipe hits a 180 and double 16, with his third dart, to move a leg away from the win.
9-5 - Dolan takes out 61 on double 18 to stay in the game.
9-6 - Double six from the Northern Irishman keeps him in the game.
9-7 - Dolan hits a 165 to leave 24, and finishes double six again to continue his fightback.
9-8 - The former World Grand Prix finalist pulls back to just one leg behind by finishing a brilliant 164,
10-8 - Dolan leaves 32, but Pipe holds his nerve to finish 79 on double ten to finally seal the win.
Justin Pipe: "When I was 5-0 up I never thought Brendan was out of it because he's a great fighter and he kept coming back at me. My doubles were probably better than my scoring but that's the first time I've beaten Brendan on TV and it means a lot to me, so I was pretty emotional at the end. I'd love to go on from here now because it's my third televised quarter-final of the year and it continues my progression. It's possibly three games on Sunday and that's similar to the format of the European Tour event I won in Austria this year so I know I can do it, and I'll give it a good go."
Brendan Dolan: "I didn't settle down early on and both of us were nervy, but I gave Justin too much of a lead. He played some solid stuff but I became desperate just to win a few legs for my own pride. Then when I got it back to 7-4, I thought I had my chances but it wasn't meant to be."
|Justin Pipe||10-8||Brendan Dolan|
|5||Breaks of Throw||4|
|10/27 - 37%||Finishing %||8/22 - 36%|
Wayne Jones v Peter Wright
0-0 - Peter Wright wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 - Jones misses the bull to finish 95 and Wright lands tops.
0-2 - Wright finishes tops again to break throw and double his lead.
1-2 - Jones hits double 18 for a 13-darter to get off the mark.
1-3 - Double top sees Wright break throw again.
1-4 - The Lowestoft ace wins his fourth leg to move three clear.
2-4 - Jones takes out 81 to hit back.
2-5 - Jones hits a 180, but Wright finishes 24 to regain his cushion.
2-6 - Wright wins his sixth leg with another break.
2-7 - Jones misses the bull for a 70 finish to capitalise on a miss from Wright, who returns to post double 12.
3-7 - Jones finishes 121 on the bull to stay in the hunt.
4-7 - Wright misses four darts at double 16, and Jones steps in to hit the same bed.
4-8 - Wright takes out 102 to move two legs away from the quarter-finals.
5-8 - Jones posts double 12 at his second visit to stay in the hunt.
6-8 - Jones lands tops to halve the deficit.
6-9 - Double top from Wright moves him to the brink of victory.
7-9 - Jones scrambles home double nine to keep his hopes alive.
7-10 - Jones is unable to finish 111, and Wright lands double 16 to seal his place in the last eight.
Peter Wright: "It feels really good to be thought. Wayne didn't play like he can do and I'm still not quite where I want to be with my game on stage, but I'm still in the tournament and that's the important thing. I ground out the win and hopefully I'll be better tomorrow because I want to perform well for the great crowd we've got here."
|Wayne Jones||7-10||Peter Wright|
|3||Breaks of Throw||4|
|7/20 - 35%||Finishing %||10/28 - 36%|
Michael Smith v Kim Huybrechts
0-0 - Kim Huybrechts wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 - Smith misses double 12 for a 144 finish and Huybrechts hits double 16 to hold throw.
1-1 - Smith lands a 180 and double 12 to level.
1-2 - Smith misses his chance to break and Huybrechts lands double three.
1-3 - Huybrechts hits a 180 and breaks throw on double 16 for an 11-darter.
1-4 - Huybrechts again finishes double 16 to move three legs clear.
2-4 - Smith lands double two to win a second leg.
2-5 - Smith hits a 168 score, but Huybrechts returns from missing double top for a 160 finish to land double ten.
3-5 - Smith hits a 180 and double ten to hit back.
4-5 - The youngster pulls back to just one leg behind by opening with a 180 and taking out tops for a 70 finish.
5-5 - Smith opens with 140 and 180 - his fourth of the game - and levels by hitting double ten.
5-6 - Huybrechts finishes double ten with Smith waiting on 40 to lead for the first time.
5-7 - Smith misses two darts at double top and ten to level, and Huybrechts accepts a reprieve for a miss by landing double seven.
5-8 - The Belgian wins a third straight leg by finishing 137 superbly.
6-8 - Smith posts double top to hit back.
6-9 - Huybrechts opens with a 180 and finishes 41 to move a leg away from the win.
6-10 - Both players hit 180s in leaving 85 apiece after nine darts, and when Smith misses double five, Huybrechts takes out the finish on the bull for victory.
Kim Huybrechts: "At 4-1 I just wanted to get the game finished and I started to get nervous. Michael played really well and at five-all I knew I had to be more aggressive and show how much I wanted to win the game, and it started to go for me again. I'm happy with the way I played and my finishing was great, and at the end I think I was the stronger player. Everyone in our half of the draw is nervous because it's a great chance for any of us to make a final, but I can't look that far ahead yet and I want to concentrate on the quarter-final against Peter."
Michael Smith: "In the first session I was 4-1 down but if I'd hit my doubles I could have been 3-2 up and then it clicked for me in the middle of the game. If there wasn't a break at five-all I think I'd have gone on to win the game, but Kim deserved to win. I'll have a couple of days off now and then start to prepare for the World Championship."
|Michael Smith||6-10||Kim Huybrechts|
|1||Breaks of Throw||3|
|6/19 - 32%||Finishing %||10/20 - 50%|
Gary Anderson v Robert Thornton
0-0 - Robert Thornton wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 - Thornton lands double ten to win the opening leg.
0-2 - Anderson misses double 18 and nine to finish 96, and Thornton steps in to break on double four.
0-3 - Thornton lands double five to win a third leg.
1-3 - Anderson gets off the mark by posting double three.
2-3 - Anderson superbly takes out 100 with two double tops.
3-3 - Anderson levels by hitting double two.
4-3 - Thornton misses six darts to win his fourth leg, and Anderson makes him pay by hitting tops.
5-3 - Anderson wins his fifth straight leg, landing double top.
6-3 - Anderson's run continues as he wins a sixth leg, hitting a 180 and taking out 121 on double 14.
7-3 - Thornton is unable to finish 147, and Anderson takes out double nine to continue his charge.
7-4 - Thornton lands a 180 and finishes a tricky third-dart double top to win his first leg in eight.
7-5 - The UK Open champion takes out 117 on tops to continue his revival.
7-6 - Tops sees Thornton win a third successive leg and reduce the gap to one leg.
8-6 - Thornton opens with a 177 but then scores 11, and Anderson pulls away to hit double ten.
9-6 - Double 18 moves Anderson a leg away from the win.
10-6 - Anderson misses two match darts at tops, but Thornton is unable to hit the same bed to keep the game alive and Anderson hits double ten for the win.
Gary Anderson: "Robert started off well and I know how well he's been playing recently, but he struggled in the middle of the game and I made the most of it. My doubles were good today and they went in at the right time for me. Getting back to 3-2 at the first break from 3-0 down was important and it went well for me from there. With the year I've had I'm pleased to be in the quarter-finals, and I'll give it a good go on Sunday."
Robert Thornton: "I had a few bad scores in there and I missed a few doubles, and Gary punished me for it. But I'll take a lot from the game and look ahead now to the World Championship."
|Gary Anderson||10-6||Robert Thornton|
|4||Breaks of Throw||2|
|10/23 - 43%||Finishing %||6/21 - 29%|
Michael van Gerwen v Andy Hamilton
0-0 - Andy Hamilton wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - van Gerwen opens the game with a 170 score, and finishes double six to win the opening leg against the throw.
2-0 - The Dutchman doubles his lead by finishing 100 on double top.
3-0 - van Gerwen continues his fine start by taking out 130.
4-0 - Double eight sees van Gerwen win a fourth straight leg.
4-1 - Hamilton finishes 116 on double 18 to win his first leg of the game.
4-2 - Hamilton lands a 180 and finishes tops to break.
4-3 - The comeback continues as Hamilton finishes double 16.
4-4 - Double 18 sees Hamilton level the contest, continuing his flawless record on finishing.
4-5 - Hamilton posts a 180 and finishes double 16 to lead for the first time.
5-5 - van Gerwen stems the tide by landing double 18 to level the the break.
5-6 - Hamilton hits a 180 to leave 28 before initially missing three darts at double 14, but when van Gerwen is unable to land the bull for a 130 finish he returns to hit the bed and regain the lead.
5-7 - Hamilton lands a maximum to leave 40 and takes out tops to break throw.
6-7 - van Gerwen lands two 180s, with Hamilton hitting one in reply but only able to watch as the Dutchman finishes double 16 for an 11-darter.
6-8 - van Gerwen misses three darts at tops to level, and Hamilton makes him pay by landing the same bed to move two legs clear once again.
6-9 - Hamilton misses the bull for a 167 finish, but van Gerwen misses a further dart at tops to allow him back in to finish double eight and move to the brink of victory.
7-9 - van Gerwen finishes double eight to keep his hopes alive.
8-9 - The Dutchman breaks to keep the game alive, initially missing tops once again but returning to land double ten.
8-10 - Both players hit 180s, and Hamilton finishes 92 on double 18 to seal the win.
Andy Hamilton: "I knew what I had to do tonight and it was a very tough game. Michael's playing great darts at the moment and it's a brilliant result for me. At 4-1 I had to stick in there and I won the next session 4-1 to level it, and once I got into the game I knew I could push Michael. To be in another big quarter-final shows that I'm worth of my position in the top eight, but I want to go on from here and win the tournament tomorrow. My preparation will be different because I could play three games, but I'll focus on the first game and take it from there."
|4||Breaks of Throw||5|
|8/19 - 42%||Finishing %||10/16 - 63%|
Simon Whitlock v Ronnie Baxter
0-0 - Ronnie Baxter wins the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - Baxter misses a dart at tops and Whitlock hits the same bed for an immediate break of throw.
2-0 - Baxter misses the bull for a 121 finish and is again punished, as Whitlock lands double 12 with his third dart.
3-0 - Whitlock lands tops again to break for a second time.
4-0 - The Australian lands a 180 and double top to move four legs clear.
4-1 - Baxter opens with a maximum and finishes double 18 to get himself off the mark.
5-1 - Whitlock fires in a 180 and double 18 for an 11-darter.
6-1 - The pair trade 180s before Whitlock lands another 11-dart finish, hitting double 18 once more.
7-1 - Whitlock posts double eight to pull away.
8-1 - Whitlock lands a fourth 180 of the game and finishes 122 on the bull, maintaining an average around 109 in a brilliant performance.
9-1 - Baxter fires in a 180, his third, but can only watch on as Whitlock powers home a 170 finish to move to the brink of victory.
10-1 - Whitlock completes victory with double six for a 65 finish, ending the game with the highest average of the tournament so far at 109.54.
Simon Whitlock: "That's my best performance on TV and I'm really pleased. I've lost a couple of times to Ronnie on TV before but I was focused on what I wanted to do tonight. Going out in the Group Stage of the Grand Slam recently was really disappointing for me and I've been putting in a lot of hours on the practice board, I've gone back to the routine which I had when I reached the World Championhip final and it's working so far. This game's gone now though and I've got to try and focus on the quarter-finals and try to produce that form again tomorrow because Gary Anderson's a prolific scorer so I need to be at my best."
Ronnie Baxter: "Simon got the impetus in the early legs by taking his finishes where I missed a couple of doubles. He did it with style and was great tonight, and I wish him all the best on Sunday."
|Simon Whitlock||10-1||Ronnie Baxter|
|5||Breaks of Throw||0|
|10/13 - 77%||Finishing %||1/4 - 25%|
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
0-0 - Phil Taylor wins the bull and throws first.
1-0 - Taylor lands a 170 to leave 32 and finishes double 16 for a 13-darter.
2-0 - Taylor finishes another 13-darter, posting double top.
3-0 - Taylor opens with back-to-back 180s, and although a possible nine-darter goes begging one dart seven, he wins the leg in 12 to continue the barrage.
4-0 - Lewis misses three darts at double ten, and Taylor finishes 80 for a 14-darter.
4-1 - Lewis hits a 180 and finishes double ten for a 12-darter to get on the scoreboard.
4-2 - Lewis opens with a 180 and finishes 126 on the bull to win a second successive leg.
4-3 - Taylor misses three darts to win the leg, at double 16, eight and four, and Lewis lands tops to reduce the gap to one leg.
5-3 - Taylor hits a 180 and tops to break back in 14 darts.
6-3 - Taylor lands a maximum and double 16 to move three legs clear again.
6-4 - The world number one lands another maximum but sees Lewis take out 82 with a bullseye, double 16 combination.
7-4 - Taylor posts a sixth maximum and finishes double 12 for a 14-darter.
8-4 - Taylor lands double 16 for a 14-darter.
8-5 - Taylor hits a 180 to leave 40, but Lewis finishes 130 on the bull to win a fifth leg.
8-6 - Lewis finishes 121 on double 16 to maintain his challenge.
9-6 - Both players hit maximums, with Taylor then missing three darts at tops only for Lewis to miss the bull to take out 94 to allow him back in to land double ten.
9-7 - Lewis keeps his hopes alive by hitting a fourth 180 of the game and double top for a 13-darter.
10-7 - Lewis misses two darts at tops for a 100 finish, and Taylor seals victory on double eight.
Phil Taylor: "I'm delighted to have come through that and I thought Adrian did really well given that he's only had five hours sleep in the last couple of days. I knew I needed to put him under pressure at the start and I did that. At some crucial points I missed a few doubles but I'm heading in the right direction and my game's improving. I'm really looking forward to Sunday and to playing Andy. He did a great job to defeat Michael van Gerwen, his concentration levels are amazing and he's a tough cookie."
Adrian Lewis: "I tried my best but full credit to Phil, he deserved to win and after everything that's happened in the last couple of days I was proud to push him there. I've had about five hours sleep in the last two days but once I got up on stage the adrenaline kicked in, and if I'd hit the double top in the last leg I could have put Phil under some more pressure, but he dug in well."
|Phil Taylor||10-7||Adrian Lewis|
|4||Breaks of Throw||3|
|10/21 - 48%||Finishing %||7/15 - 47%|
Steve Beaton v Mervyn King
0-0 - Mervyn King wins the bull and throws first.
0-1 - Beaton hits a 180 but misses double 16 and King returns to post double five for the opener.
1-1 - Beaton levels the game on the bullseye.
2-1 - Beaton breaks to move ahead.
2-2 - King breaks back to level the game.
2-3 - King lands double 16 to edge back ahead.
2-4 - Beaton is unable to take his chance to punish misses from King, who returns to land a third-dart double ten.
2-5 - King wins a fourth straight leg, hitting a 180 and double 18.
3-5 - Beaton finishes 98 to hit back.
3-6 - Beaton misses tops to pull back further, and King returns to win his sixth leg.
3-7 - Beaton misses three more doubles, and King finishes 90 on double 15 to move three legs away from the quarter-finals.
4-7 - Double four gives Beaton a further leg.
5-7 - Beaton finishes double 16 to continue his revival.
5-8 - Beaton opens with a maximum but King wins the leg.
6-8 - Double four again for Beaton sees him take the leg.
7-8 - Both players hit 180s, and Beaton adds a 170 score and double four to cut the gap to one leg.
7-9 - Beaton misses two darts at double 18, and King lands double four to move to the brink of victory.
7-10 - King seals the triumph by opening with a 180 and hitting double five.
Mervyn King: "Sometimes you have to grind out a win and I did that tonight, and thankfully I got the win but it was a very hard game. I didn't score anywhere near as heavily as I wanted to but Steve missed a lot of doubles and I took my chances. I've got a good record in this event, and I'll give it my best shot on Sunday."
Steve Beaton: "I'm really disappointed because after beating Raymond van Barneveld yesterday I didn't perform, and I'm annoyed. I was well below par and I missed too many doubles. It's frustrating for me but I'll put it behind me and move on to the World Championship now."
|Steve Beaton||7-10||Mervyn King|
|3||Breaks of Throw||4|
|7/25 - 28%||Finishing %||10/30 - 33%|