PETER WRIGHT bounced back from his Betway Premier League disappointment to win Players Championship 11 in Milton Keynes on Saturday, defeating Daryl Gurney 6-3 with a brilliant performance in the final.
Wright had seen his hopes of Premier League glory slip away on Thursday when he missed six match darts in the final against Michael van Gerwen, before falling to an agonising 11-10 win.
However, he regained his finishing touch to claim the £10,000 first prize in Saturday's Players Championship, securing his eighth ranking win of a brilliant 2017 to date.
Ironically, having seen double 16 and double eight cause his woes on Thursday, the same beds were Wright's bedrock as denied Gurney his second PDC title with a superb performance in the final.
Wright won the opening four legs without reply with legs of 13, 14, 15 and 14 darts, before punishing two missed doubles from Gurney to claim a 5-0 advantage - with all ending on either double 16 or eight.
Gurney hit double 16 and took out 80 to keep his hopes alive with back-to-back legs, before a third successive leg pulled him back to 5-3, but Wright regained his composure to hit double five for the win.
Wright's day possibly peaked with a sensational semi-final performance as he overcame Rob Cross 6-3 with a stunning display, hitting a ten-dart finish, four 12-darters and a 14-dart leg as he booked his spot in the decider.
Cross had played his part in a thriller by sharing the first six legs, before Wright pulled clear with a run which included seven perfect darts in one leg.
Having sneaked past Joe Murnan in a deciding leg, Wright then defeated Vincent van der Voort, Ryan Searle and Jeffrey de Graaf to book his semi-final place for the loss of only five further legs.
"I'm glad to have hit double eight and double 16 - it's not a hoodoo anymore!" said Wright.
"In the semi-finals and the beginning of [the final], I must admit I did play some nice darts [but] there's loads of improvement to come."
Of the semi-final, Wright said: "Rob Cross played absolutely fantastic, he was on my tail all the time and he's going to be in the top ten in the world in not long."
Wright is closing in on overtaking Michael van Gerwen on the one-year ProTour Order of Merit, and also has a long-term plan to overtake the world number one on the main PDC Order of Merit.
"Obviously it's going to take a little while, but yes I believe I can get to number one and that's my target," added Wright.
"I want to be number one in the world and Michael's absolutely fantastic, but if you believe in yourself then you can do it.
"I said at the beginning of the year that it's up to the rest of us to take the titles off Michael, but if you let him run away with everything then he's going to."
Gurney had been bidding to win his second Players Championship title of the year and continued his strong form with wins over Dennis Smith, Matt Clark and Josh Payne before edging out Premier League star Dave Chisnall 6-5 in the last 16.
The Northern Irish ace then dropped only one leg in the quarter-finals as he saw off Simon Whitlock, before defeating Andy Boulton 6-2 in the last four.
Boulton had won through to his first semi-final in a PDC-ranked event as he overcame Joe Cullen, Ron Meulenkamp, Steve Hine, Bryan de Hoog and Mensur Suljovic on the day.
Fast-emerging Cross was the other semi-finalist as he fell just short in his bid to win a second Players Championship title in his maiden year on the PDC circuit.
Cross defeated Matthew Edgar, Devon Petersen, Cristo Reyes, Michael Smith and Jonny Clayton in his run on the day, and despite a fine display in the last four was unable to halt Wright's charge.
Whitlock and Suljovic were joined in the last eight by Welsh ace Jonny Clayton - who reached his second successive Players Championship quarter-final - and Dutchman Jeffrey de Graaf, whose performance was his best on the PDC circuit.
Sunday sees the year's 12th Players Championship take place at Arena MK in Milton Keynes, with a further £75,000 in prize money on offer.
Coverage from two boards simultaneously will be streamed for PDCTV-HD Subscribers via www.livepdc.tv and through a series of bookmakers' websites.
NB: From the original field of entries Michael van Gerwen, Maik Langendorf and Max Hopp withdrew, and were replaced by Alan Tabern. As no further PDPA Associate Members who entered were able to play, the event had 126-player field, with the number one and number two seeds receiving a Bye in the first round.
Players Championship 11
Saturday May 20, Arena MK, Milton Keynes
Peter Wright (1) Bye
Joe Murnan 6-3 Scott Taylor
Darren Johnson 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena (32)
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Diogo Portela
Ryan Searle 6- 4 James Wade (16)
Ted Evetts 6-2 Brian Woods
Steve Beaton (17) 6-3 William O'Connor
Prakash Jiwa 6-5 Ricky Williams
Alan Norris (8) 6-1 Craig Gilchrist
Richard North 6-1 Ryan Meikle
Ronny Huybrechts (25) 6-3 Matthew Dennant
Simon Stevenson 6-4 Andy Hamilton
Ian White (9) 6-1 Terry Roach
Mike De Decker 6-5 Jan Dekker
Aden Kirk 6-3 Darren Webster (24)
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3 Andy Jenkins
Michael Smith (5) 6-4 Jim Brown
Adam Hunt 6-4 Jamie Bain
Robbie Green (28) 6-2 Peter Hudson
Tony Newell 6-5 Richie Burnett
Cristo Reyes (12) 6-2 Mick Todd
Jamie Lewis 6-1 Kevin Painter
Rob Cross (21) 6-2 Matthew Edgar
Devon Petersen 6-4 Mick McGowan
Benito van de Pas (4) 6-5 Stephen Burton
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4 John Part
Jonny Clayton (29) 6-3 Michael Barnard
Andrew Gilding 6-3 David Pallett
Stephen Bunting (13) 6-4 Darron Brown
Ricky Evans 6-3 Scott Darbyshire
Mark Walsh 6-4 James Wilson (20)
Robert Owen 6-4 Mark Barilli
Mensur Suljovic (2) Bye
Peter Jacques 6-1 Simon Preston
John Henderson (31) 6-3 Yordi Meeuwisse
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 Sven Groen
Mervyn King (15) 6-1 Berry van Peer
John Michael 6-3 James Richardson
Kyle Anderson (18) 6-4 Wayne Jones
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Jonathan Worsley
Kim Huybrechts (7) 6-1 John Norman Jnr
Bryan de Hoog 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Chris Quantock 6-3 Justin Pipe (26)
Michael Rasztovits 6-3 Paul Nicholson
Andy Boulton 6-5 Joe Cullen (10)
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Wes Newton
Steve Hine 6-2 Christian Kist (23)
Harry Robinson 6-5 Kirk Shepherd
Dave Chisnall (6) 6-0 Ryan Palmer
Jimmy Hendriks 6-5 Stuart Kellett
Chris Dobey (27) 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Paul Harvey 6-0 Terry Temple
Daryl Gurney (11) 6-3 Dennis Smith
Matt Clark 6-5 Paul Rowley
Richie Corner 6-2 Robert Thornton (22)
Josh Payne 6-5 Antonio Alcinas
Simon Whitlock (3) 6-3 Ross Twell
Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 Jamie Caven
Mark Webster (30) 6-5 Martin Schindler
Mickey Mansell 6-2 Alan Tabern
Keegan Brown 6-4 Steve West (14)
Steve Lennon 6-2 Lee Bryant
John Bowles 6-5 Adrian Lewis (19)
Vincent Kamphuis 6-4 Ronnie Baxter
Peter Wright 6-5 Joe Murnan
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Darren Johnson
Ryan Searle 6-4 Ted Evetts
Steve Beaton 6-1 Prakash Jiwa
Richard North 6-2 Alan Norris
Simon Stevenson 6-3 Ronny Huybrechts
Mike De Decker 6-3 Ian White
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-5 Aden Kirk
Michael Smith 6-1 Adam Hunt
Richie Burnett 6-5 Robbie Green
Cristo Reyes 6-5 Jamie Lewis
Rob Cross 6-4 Devon Petersen
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4 Benito van de Pas
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Ricky Evans
Robert Owen 6-5 Mark Walsh
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Peter Jacques
John Henderson 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Mervyn King 6-2 John Michael
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Bryan de Hoog 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Michael Rasztovits 6-5 Chris Quantock
Andy Boulton 6-2 Ron Meulenkamp
Steve Hine 6-5 Harry Robinson
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Jimmy Hendriks
Chris Dobey 6-5 Paul Harvey
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Matt Clark
Josh Payne 6-4 Richie Corner
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Ritchie Edhouse
Mickey Mansell 6-1 Mark Webster
Steve Lennon 6-3 Keegan Brown
John Bowles 6-0 Vincent Kamphuis
Peter Wright 6-2 Vincent van der Voort
Ryan Searle 6-5 Steve Beaton
Simon Stevenson 6-5 Richard North
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-4 Mike De Decker
Michael Smith 6-1 Richie Burnett
Rob Cross 6-3 Cristo Reyes
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Zoran Lerchbacher
Robert Owen 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 John Henderson
Kyle Anderson 6-1 Mervyn King
Bryan de Hoog 6-5 Michael Rasztovits
Andy Boulton 6-5 Steve Hine
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Chris Dobey
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Josh Payne
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Mickey Mansell
Steve Lennon 6-1 John Bowles
Peter Wright 6-1 Ryan Searle
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3 Simon Stevenson
Rob Cross 6-3 Michael Smith
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Robert Owen
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Kyle Anderson
Andy Boulton 6-4 Bryan de Hoog
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Steve Lennon
Peter Wright 6-2 Jeffrey de Graaf
Rob Cross 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Andy Boulton 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright 6-3 Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Andy Boulton
Peter Wright 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Last 16 £1,500
Last 32 £1,000
Last 64 £500