2021 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals preview

Michael van Gerwen

The 2021 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals begins on Friday in Minehead as Michael van Gerwen begins his title defence against Kevin Doets on a packed opening day of action.

The PDC's return to Butlin's Minehead Resort will see the top 64 players from the 2021 Players Championship Order of Merit compete for £500,000 in prize money from November 26-28.

Play on the opening two days will be split across the Main Stage and Stage Two, with all players competing in Friday's first round.

Van Gerwen, who won the title for a sixth time in 2020, will meet fellow Dutchman Doets on Friday night as one of eight first round ties on the Main Stage.

The world number three will be seeking first TV ranking title since his 2020 Players Championship Finals triumph, having won the Nordic Darts Masters and a Players Championship event in 2021.

Looking ahead to his most prolific event, Van Gerwen said: "I’m looking forward to returning to Minehead this weekend.

"Winning this title last year was very special, but wasn’t the same without having the fans there to celebrate it so this year having them back will be phenomenal.

"I can’t wait to defend this title, I know I’m close to my best and this will be great preparation for the World Championship."

Also in the hunt for the £100,000 title will be world number one Gerwyn Price, fresh from winning his third Grand Slam title last weekend.

The Welshman faces Jason Lowe in his opener as he looks to add the Players Championship Finals to his list of TV titles.

"The Players Championship Finals is a big event, I will be 100% concentrating on that one first and then look forward to the Worlds after that," Price explained.

"It's another tournament I want to tick off my list after coming close the last couple of years.

"Hopefully I can get through the first few rounds, because when it comes to quarters, semis and finals I seem to find an extra gear.

"I'm flying right now and I'm really looking forward to this weekend. To beat Peter, the world number two, in the fashion I did, I'm full of confidence."

Friday's first round will also see Jonny Clayton open his challenge for a fifth TV title of 2021 against Alan Tabern.

A high-profile opening night also features former World Champions Peter Wright, Rob Cross, Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld on the Main Stage.

Nathan Aspinall, who tasted UK Open glory in Minehead in 2019, is amongst the stars in action on the Main Stage on Friday afternoon, alongside the likes of James Wade, Michael Smith, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Adrian Lewis.

The Stage Two action in Reds - which will be streamed worldwide through PDCTV - will begin as former Lakeside Champion Scott Mitchell faces Martijn Kleermaker.

Two-time Players Championship Finals runner-up Mervyn King and Austrian brothers Rowby-John and Rusty-Jake Rodriguez are also in action, while German number one Gabriel Clemens meets Steve Beaton.

The evening session's Stage Two action includes World Cup runner-up Mensur Suljovic, UK Open finalist Luke Humphries and 2018 champion Daryl Gurney.

Friday's first round winners progress to compete in two further games on Saturday, with the second round in the afternoon session ahead of the evening's third round.

The tournament then concludes on Sunday November 28, with the afternoon's quarter-finals followed by the semi-finals and final in the evening session.

Sunday will also see the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship take place, with the 32-player event being played down to the semi-finals in Reds from 1100 GMT. The final will be held on the Main Stage before the final of the Players Championship Finals.

The Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals will be broadcast on ITV4 in the UK, through DAZN in various worldwide territories, via RTL7 in the Netherlands and the PDC's global broadcast partners.

PDCTV coverage on Friday and Saturday from Stage Two will be available worldwide.

2021 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Schedule of Play
Friday November 26

First Round
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Main Stage

Ryan Searle v Simon Whitlock
Krzysztof Ratajski v Ron Meulenkamp
Michael Smith v William Borland
Joe Cullen v Andy Boulton
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Madars Razma
James Wade v Ricky Evans
Nathan Aspinall v Jeff Smith
Adrian Lewis v Kim Huybrechts

Stage Two
Scott Mitchell v Martijn Kleermaker
Ryan Joyce v Luke Woodhouse
Martin Schindler v Ian White
Mervyn King v Darius Labanauskas
Brendan Dolan v Chas Barstow
Ross Smith v Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Danny Noppert v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Gabriel Clemens v Steve Beaton

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Main Stage

Stephen Bunting v Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Maik Kuivenhoven
Rob Cross v Jermaine Wattimena
Jose de Sousa v Devon Petersen
Gerwyn Price v Jason Lowe
Michael van Gerwen v Kevin Doets
Peter Wright v Keane Barry
Jonny Clayton v Alan Tabern

Stage Two 
Vincent van der Voort v Jelle Klaasen
Daryl Gurney v Alan Soutar
Damon Heta v Steve Lennon
Callan Rydz v Mensur Suljovic
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ryan Meikle
Luke Humphries v Jason Heaver
Chris Dobey v William O'Connor
Dave Chisnall v Ritchie Edhouse

Saturday November 27
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)

Main Stage
8x Matches TBC

Stage Two
8x Matches TBC

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Third Round
Main Stage
4x Matches TBC

Stage Two
4x Matches TBC

Sunday November 28
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Main Stage


Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Main Stage

Plus PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship final

Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Outright Winner Odds

10/3 Gerwyn Price
9/2 Michael van Gerwen
11/2 Jonny Clayton
10/1 Peter Wright
14/1 Dimitri Van den Bergh
20/1 Michael Smith
25/1 Jose de Sousa, Nathan Aspinall, Rob Cross
33/1 James Wade, Krzysztof Ratajski, Ryan Searle
40/1 Joe Cullen
50/1 Bar
Odds correct at time of writing and courtesy www.ladbrokes.com. Subject to fluctuation.

First Round - Best of 11 legs
Second Round - Best of 11 legs
Third Round - Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 21 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner - £100,000
Runner-Up - £50,000
Semi-Finalists - £25,000
Quarter-Finalists - £15,000
Third Round Losers - £10,000
Second Round Losers - £5,000
First Round Losers - £2,500
Total - £500,000