ROB CROSS won his second Players Championship title of 2017 in Milton Keynes on Sunday, continuing his superb emergence with a 6-5 defeat of Ian White in the final.
Former electrician Cross has been a sensation this year since joining the professional circuit, following up his brilliant PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour triumph in 2016 by claiming his maiden ProTour win in March.
He has also reached three European Tour quarter-finals in as many events, and followed up Saturday's run to a Players Championship semi-final - where he lost out to Peter Wright - by going all the way 24 hours later.
A tight final against White saw Cross break in the opening leg before White hit back to level and then move 2-1 up, and the pair traded legs as the Stoke thrower took out 121 and 122 as he edged 5-4 up.
However, White missed the bull to claim victory in leg ten, before seeing a further four match darts go begging in the decider as Cross stepped in on double 18 to secure the £10,000 first prize.
Cross had defeated Max Hopp and Tony Newell in his opening two games before seeing off world number six James Wade 6-2 to reach the last 16.
He then overcame number two seed Mensur Suljovic 6-4 and then dropped just one leg in each of his quarter-final and semi-final wins, as he swept aside Darren Webster and Kim Huybrechts.
"It's going well, I'm enjoying it and I'm over the moon," said Cross, 27. "It was a nervy final and I got lucky. I felt a lot of fatigue after the semi-final, it was like I emptied the tank on that one game.
"I believe I can better - I've seen better things on the practice board too and you're trying to creep out a little bit more every week and keep progressing, and that's what I'm doing.
"I think I've exceeded the expectations I personally had. My goals were to try and make every TV major and keep going from there really, so now I'll have new goals.
"Before today it would have been finishing in the top 32 at the end of the year, trying to get up there. When you're putting yourself in these positions, you're learning all the time.
"It's hard to keep calm under the pressure, but the more I put myself here I believe I'm going to get better, so I want to keep experiencing it.
"It comes a little bit naturally but you've just got to bear with it really, it's not easy and the players are all fantastic."
White's run on the day saw him reach his first final of 2017, as he defeated Stephen Burton, Ross Twell, Ronny Huybrechts, Richard North, world number three Wright and James Wilson in claiming £5,000 in prize money.
Wilson's performance was also his best of the year, as he followed up last week's run to the Gibraltar Darts Trophy quarter-finals with a semi-final appearance in Milton Keynes.
The Huddersfield ace saw off Diogo Portela, Bryan de Hoog, Andy Boulton, Justin Pipe and Jonny Clayton on the day as he won through to the last four.
Huybrechts was a semi-finalist in his third Players Championship of the year, as he defeated Josh Payne, Wes Newton, Peter Jacques, Joe Cullen and Simon Whitlock in his run.
Australian star Whitlock and Welsh ace Clayton both reached their second quarter-finals of the weekend, with Darren Webster and Wright also losing out in the last eight.
The day also featured a memorable moment for Dave Chisnall, who achieved the seventh nine-dart finish of his career during his third round clash with Darren Webster, although the St Helens man went on to lose out 6-3.
The perfect leg was the 19th nine-darter landed so far during a prolific 2017 on the circuit as standards continue to soar.
The next Players Championship weekend will see two £75,000 tournaments held on June 17-18 in Wigan, with the action to be streamed live for PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide and through a series of bookmakers' websites.
Players Championship 12
Sunday May 21, Arena MK, Milton Keynes
Peter Wright (1) Bye
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Matt Clark
Andy Hamilton 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh (32)
Richie Burnett 6-4 Alan Tabern
Keegan Brown 6-4 Steve West (16)
Berry van Peer 6-3 Dennis Smith
Mark Webster 6-4 Steve Beaton (17)
John Michael 6-1 Ritchie Edhouse
Alan Norris (8) 6-0 Simon Preston
Wayne Jones 6-2 Ricky Williams
Chris Dobey (25) 6-3 Jeffrey de Graaf
Richard North 6-1 Brian Woods
Ian White (9) 6-5 Stephen Burton
Ross Twell 6-4 John Part
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Terry Roach
Yordi Meeuwisse 6-5 Jim Brown
Michael Smith (5) 6-0 Martin Schindler
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Darren Johnson
Justin Pipe (28) 6-1 Matthew Dennant
John Bowles 6-4 Steve Hine
Vincent van der Voort 6-0 Stephen Bunting (12)
Andy Boulton 6-1 Robert Owen
James Wilson (21) 6-1 Diogo Portela
Bryan de Hoog 6-2 Luke Woodhouse
Benito van de Pas (4) Bye
Paul Rowley 6-2 Richie Corner
Jonny Clayton (29) 6-5 Vincent Kamphuis
Michael Barnard 6-3 Terry Temple
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-5 Cristo Reyes (13)
Jimmy Hendriks 6-2 Mike De Decker
Adrian Lewis (20) 6-2 Michael Rasztovits
Mickey Mansell 6-2 Simon Stevenson
Mensur Suljovic (2) Bye
Ryan Palmer 6-5 Sven Groen
Jermaine Wattimena (31) 6-3 Prakash Jiwa
Antonio Alcinas 6-2 Chris Quantock
James Wade (15) 6-2 Ryan Searle
Scott Taylor 6-3 Mark Walsh
Rob Cross (18) 6-4 Max Hopp
Tony Newell 6-5 Ted Evetts
Dave Chisnall (7) 6-1 Jan Dekker
Jamie Caven 6-4 Stuart Kellett
Darren Webster (26) 6-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Mick Todd 6-5 Jamie Bain
Daryl Gurney (10) 6-2 James Richardson
Aden Kirk 6-3 Jonathan Worsley
Robert Thornton (23) 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Craig Gilchrist 6-5 Andy Jenkins
Kim Huybrechts (6) 6-2 Josh Payne
Wes Newton 6-4 Kevin Painter
Joe Murnan 6-5 Robbie Green (27)
Peter Jacques 6-1 John Norman Jnr
Joe Cullen (11) 6-5 Harry Robinson
Darron Brown 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Christian Kist (22) 6-2 Kirk Shepherd
Devon Petersen 6-5 Peter Hudson
Simon Whitlock (3) Bye
Ricky Evans 6-1 Scott Darbyshire
John Henderson (30) 6-5 Mark Barilli
David Pallett 6-2 Matthew Edgar
Mervyn King (14) 6-0 Jamie Lewis
Steve Lennon 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Paul Harvey 6-4 Kyle Anderson (19)
William O'Connor 6-1 Ronnie Baxter
Peter Wright 6-0 Brendan Dolan
Andy Hamilton 6-4 Richie Burnett
Keegan Brown 6-1 Berry van Peer
John Michael 6-2 Mark Webster
Alan Norris 6-4 Wayne Jones
Richard North 6-3 Chris Dobey
Ian White 6-1 Ross Twell
Ronny Huybrechts 6-2 Yordi Meeuwisse
Michael Smith 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Justin Pipe 6-1 John Bowles
Andy Boulton 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
James Wilson 6-2 Bryan de Hoog
Benito van de Pas 6-5 Paul Rowley
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Michael Barnard
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-1 Jimmy Hendriks
Mickey Mansell 6-1 Adrian Lewis
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Ryan Palmer
Antonio Alcinas 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
James Wade 6-4 Scott Taylor
Rob Cross 6-1 Tony Newell
Dave Chisnall 6-0 Jamie Caven
Darren Webster 6-2 Mick Todd
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Aden Kirk
Robert Thornton 6-4 Craig Gilchrist
Kim Huybrechts 6-1 Wes Newton
Peter Jacques 6-2 Joe Murnan
Joe Cullen 6-0 Darron Brown
Christian Kist 6-5 Devon Petersen
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Ricky Evans
David Pallett 6-5 John Henderson
Steve Lennon 6-2 Mervyn King
William O'Connor 6-4 Paul Harvey
Peter Wright 6-2 Andy Hamilton
Keegan Brown 6-2 John Michael
Richard North 6-2 Alan Norris
Ian White 6-1 Ronny Huybrechts
Justin Pipe 6-1 Michael Smith
James Wilson 6-2 Andy Boulton
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Mickey Mansell 6-5 Zoran Lerchbacher
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Antonio Alcinas
Rob Cross 6-2 James Wade
Darren Webster 6-3 Dave Chisnall - Dave Chisnall hits nine-dart finish
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Robert Thornton
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Peter Jacques
Joe Cullen 6-5 Christian Kist
Simon Whitlock 6-2 David Pallett
Steve Lennon 6-5 William O'Connor
Peter Wright 6-2 Keegan Brown
Ian White 6-5 Richard North
James Wilson 6-1 Justin Pipe
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Mickey Mansell
Rob Cross 6-4 Mensur Suljovic
Darren Webster 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Joe Cullen
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Steve Lennon
Ian White 6-3 Peter Wright
James Wilson 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Rob Cross 6-1 Darren Webster
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Ian White 6-3 James Wilson
Rob Cross 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Rob Cross 6-5 Ian White
Last 16 £1,500
Last 32 £1,000
Last 64 £500
Following the withdrawals of Jelle Klaasen and Raymond van Barneveld from the original field of entries, they were replaced by PDPA Associate Members Michael Barnard and Alan Tabern on May 17.
From the field of entries Michael van Gerwen, Maik Langendorf, Mick McGowan, Lee Bryant and Paul Nicholson withdrew, with PDPA Associate Member Luke Woodhouse coming in. As no further PDPA Associate Members who entered were able to play, the event had a 124-player field, with the top four seeds receiving a Bye in the first round.