NINE-DART NORRIS LIGHTS UP MINEHEAD AS DUTCH GO CRAZY IN CASH CONVERTERS PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS!
ALAN NORRIS created history with the first nine-dart finish at the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals on Friday night as 11 Dutchman, including reigning champion Michael van Gerwen, enjoyed first round victories.
Norris, the 44-year-old Somerset-born star, marked his return to the Butlins Minehead Resort for the £400,000 tournament with the brilliant achievement during his 6-4 first round victory over Michael Smith.
With the scores locked at two-all, Norris kicked off the fifth leg with two 180s before taking out 141 on double 12 to achieve his fourth nine-dart finish since joining the PDC circuit at the start of 2015.
The achievement puts Norris in line for a £35,000 bonus should no other player land a nine-darter during the remainder of the three-day tournament in Minehead, and Norris admitted: "It's absolutely great and I'm so happy.
"I was up for playing Michael and he didn't play badly. It's always a good game against him and the nine-darter helped me out tonight. I'm on home turf here - I'm Somerset born and bred - so to hit one on my home patch is happy days."
Raymond van Barneveld produced the most impressive performance of the opening day as he averaged 107.40 in his 6-4 win over Mensur Suljovic, last month's European Championship finalist.
The five-time World Champion took out finishes of 121 and 120 in a superb opening, and he admitted: "Mensur's played so well in the last couple of months and he played really well tonight too, but a 107 average is something special for me.
"I'm relying on myself and I'm very keen on my doubles and my finishes and I hit a couple of really important finishes. My practice is good and I believe in myself."
Van Barneveld now meets Adrian Lewis in a high-profile second round clash on Saturday, after the two-time Players Championship Finals runner-up sealed his 6-3 win over Robert Thornton with a 121 checkout.
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen landed three ton-plus checkouts as he cruised past Andy Hamilton 6-1 to begin his bid for a third victory in four years.
Van Gerwen now meets fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort, who was a narrow 6-5 winner against Andrew Gilding in their first round clash.
A memorable day for Dutchmen in Minehead saw eight other players from the Netherlands win through to the last 32, including Jelle Klaasen as the former Lakeside Champion hit back from 3-1 and 4-2 down against Plymouth's Simon Stevenson as he claimed four legs without reply, including a 115 finish, to storm to a 6-4 triumph.
Klaasen now faces fellow countryman Vincent Kamphuis, who made his debut in the evening with a 6-2 win over James Wilson as he progressed to the last 32.
Jermaine Wattimena whitewashed Joe Murnan 6-0 with an impressive display, while Christian Kist win 6-4 against quick-throwing Ricky Evans, Jan Dekker overcame Steve West 6-3 and Jeffrey de Graaf was a 6-4 winner against Steve Beaton.
Youngster Berry van Peer - who will also contest Sunday's PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship final - kept alive his hopes in the weekend's main event with a narrow 6-5 win over Cristo Reyes, who was punished for missing a total of 31 darts at a double in the clash.
Ron Meulenkamp's 6-4 defeat of Stephen Bunting sees him take on Gary Anderson on Saturday, after the World Champion - the Players Championship Finals winner two years ago - defeated John Henderson 6-3.
Benito van de Pas was the only Dutchman to lose on the day as the number two seed went down 6-5 to Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan, who now meets Wattimena.
World number three Peter Wright battled past Leicester's Jason Wilson with a 6-3 win to move through to meet James Wade in a high-profile Saturday afternoon contest, with the left-hander seeing off Mervyn King 6-4 in their first round tie.
Young Belgian Dimitri Van den Bergh produced a spirited fightback from 4-0 down to defeat Wales' Gerwyn Price 6-5, setting him up for a meeting with Kist in round two.
Australia's Simon Whitlock was a 6-3 winner against Matthew Edgar, and he now meets Darren Webster in round two following the Norfolk ace's win by the same scoreline against Welshman Jonny Clayton.
Josh Payne produced legs of 14 and 13 darts to claim the final two legs in his 6-5 win over Mark Walsh, setting him up for a tie with van Peer on Saturday.
Irish ace Mick McGowan overcame youngster Chris Dobey 6-3 to move through to a meeting with Norris, while Robbie Green was a 6-3 winner in his contest with South Africa's Devon Petersen to move through to meet de Graaf.
Premier League star Dave Chisnall edged out 2011 Players Championship Finals winner Kevin Painter 6-4, winning the final three legs of a close contest.
Painter led 3-2 with the aid of a 105 finish and moved 4-3 up, but a miss at tops for a 120 checkout in leg eight allowed Chisnall to level before the St Helens ace fired in an 11-darter to regain the lead before sealing victory.
Chisnall now meets Wales' Jamie Lewis, who also came from 4-3 down to win 6-4 in his clash with Jamie Caven, following up back-to-back 14-dart legs with a 12-dart finish, ended with a 101 checkout, to snatch the win.
Number three seed Ian White, a three-time event winner this year, sneaked past Keegan Brown 6-5 in a thriller as the former World Youth Champion hit back from 2-0, 4-2 and 5-3 down to force a decider.
Brown had landed a superb 152 checkout during the contest, but missed his chance to steal victory in the last leg as three match darts went begging, as White recovered from eight missed match darts to finally close out the win.
Joe Cullen, a quarter-finalist in March's UK Open in Minehead, overcame Bristol's Steve Brown 6-1, while two-time Minehead semi-finalist Justin Pipe opened his challenge with a 6-3 win over Andy Jenkins.
Austria's Rowby-John Rodriguez overcame Belgium's Ronny Huybrechts 6-4, but 2012 Players Championship Finals runner-up Kim Huybrechts was a 6-3 winner in his clash with Mickey Mansell.
Huybrechts now takes on another Northern Irish ace, Daryl Gurney, following the 2015 semi-finalist's 6-3 defeat of Ronnie Baxter, while nine-time TV finalist Terry Jenkins overcame Mark Webster 6-3.
Saturday's double session sees the second round held in the afternoon and the third round in the evening, with play across two stages at the Butlins Minehead Resort.
Television coverage on ITV4 and the PDC's series of worldwide broadcast partners will focus on the Main Stage games with updates from Stage Two.
Live scores will be available online from both stages through the PDC Live Scores Website - CLICK HERE .
Updates will also be available through @OfficialPDC on Twitter.
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Friday November 25
Joe Cullen 6-1 Steve Brown
Ian White 6-5 Keegan Brown
Chris Dobey 3-6 Mick McGowan
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Simon Stevenson
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Cristo Reyes 5-6 Berry van Peer
Christian Kist 6-4 Ricky Evans
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Kevin Painter
James Wilson 2-6 Vincent Kamphuis
Joe Murnan 0-6 Jermaine Wattimena
Justin Pipe 6-3 Andy Jenkins
Darren Webster 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Josh Payne 6-5 Mark Walsh
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Andrew Gilding
Jamie Caven 4-6 Jamie Lewis
Robbie Green 6-3 Devon Petersen
James Wade 6-4 Mervyn King
Gerwyn Price 5-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Mensur Suljovic 4-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Benito van de Pas 5-6 Brendan Dolan
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Andy Hamilton
Gary Anderson 6-3 John Henderson
Peter Wright 6-3 Jason Wilson
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Robert Thornton
Steve West 3-6 Jan Dekker
Steve Beaton 4-6 Jeffrey de Graaf
Mark Webster 3-6 Terry Jenkins
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Ronnie Baxter
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Mickey Mansell
Alan Norris 6-4 Michael Smith - Alan Norris hits nine-dart finish
Ronny Huybrechts 4-6 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Stephen Bunting 4-6 Ron Meulenkamp
Saturday November 26
Afternoon Session (12.45pm)
Second Round - Best of 11 legs
Dave Chisnall v Jamie Lewis
Mick McGowan v Alan Norris
Brendan Dolan v Jermaine Wattimena
Kim Huybrechts v Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen v Vincent van der Voort
Raymond van Barneveld v Adrian Lewis
Peter Wright v James Wade
Ron Meulenkamp v Gary Anderson
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Christian Kist
Vincent Kamphuis v Jelle Klaasen
Simon Whitlock v Darren Webster
Jan Dekker v Justin Pipe
Josh Payne v Berry van Peer
Joe Cullen v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Ian White v Terry Jenkins
Jeffrey de Graaf v Robbie Green
Evening Session (7pm)
Third Round - Best of 19 legs
Chisnall/J Lewis v Kamphuis/Klaasen
van Barneveld/A Lewis v Cullen/Rodriguez
van Gerwen/van der Voort v Payne/van Peer
Wright/Wade v Meulenkamp/Anderson
Van den Bergh/Kist v Dekker/Pipe
Whitlock/D Webster v McGowan/Norris
Dolan/Wattimena v K Huybrechts/Gurney
White/T Jenkins v de Graaf/Green