Wesley Plaisier and Darryl Pilgrim each claimed titles as the 2023 Winmau Challenge Tour season resumed in Milton Keynes on Friday.
The year’s fourth Challenge Tour weekend began with over 200 players in action at the Marshall Arena, as Plaisier and Pilgrim shared the spoils in Events 15 and 16 respectively.
Friday’s opening tournament saw Plaisier win through eight matches to scoop the £2,500 prize and claim the second Challenge Tour title of his career.
Plaisier defeated Scott Mitchell 5-2 in the Event 15 decider, racing into a 3-0 lead before fending off a mid-game rally from Mitchell to triumph with a 96 average.
The Dutchman’s best performance saw him average almost 106 in his opening round win over Rob Holroyd, and he never lost more than three legs in any of his matches.
The 33-year-old also defeated Event 14 winner Conan Whitehead and his compatriot Jimmy van Schie to reach the last eight, where he then overcame Carl Beattie and William Borland.
Mitchell, meanwhile, continued his consistent form to progress to a third Challenge Tour final of the year, conceding just ten legs prior to his defeat against Plaisier.
The former Lakeside Champion posted a ton-plus average in his last 16 victory against Andy Boulton, and also demolished Poland’s Sebastian Bialecki on his way to pocketing the £1,000 runner-up prize.
Pilgrim then claimed a host of big name scalps en route to claiming his maiden Challenge Tour crown, defeating Event 15 finalist Mitchell in the last eight.
The 36-year-old then eased past former Premier League star Jelle Klaasen in the semi-finals, before dispatching Boulton 5-1 in the Event 16 showpiece.
Earlier in the afternoon, Pilgrim posted successive 107 averages in wins over Peter Hudson and Gary Stafford, before dumping out Alan Tabern in the last 16.
Boulton defeated former Tour Card Holders Ciaran Teehan and Eddie Lovely to kick off his campaign, and later accounted for Finland’s Marko Kantele and Germany’s Franz Roetzsch to progress to his second final of 2023.
Elsewhere, Wales’ Martin Thomas achieved perfection in his last 64 clash against Dennie Olde Kalter, although his moment of magic came in a 5-2 defeat.
This weekend’s Winmau Challenge Tour action continues with another double-header on Saturday, as Events 17-18 take place at the Marshall Arena.
The top two players from the final 2023 Challenge Tour Order of Merit will secure a PDC Tour Card for 2024/25 and a place in the 2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship.
2023 Winmau Challenge Tour
Friday August 11
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Event 15 - Quarter-Finals
Wesley Plaisier 5-1 Carl Beattie
William Borland 5-4 James Richardson
Sebastian Bialecki 5-3 Alexander Merkx
Scott Mitchell 5-3 Paul Milford
Wesley Plaisier 5-3 William Borland
Scott Mitchell 5-1 Sebastian Bialecki
Wesley Plaisier 5-2 Scott Mitchell
Franz Roetzsch 5-4 David Evans
Andy Boulton 5-2 Gary Butcher
Jelle Klaasen 5-4 Sebastian Bialecki
Darryl Pilgrim 5-2 Scott Mitchell
Andy Boulton 5-0 Franz Roetzsch
Darryl Pilgrim 5-2 Jelle Klaasen
Darryl Pilgrim 5-1 Andy Boulton