Nine-dart Anderson defeats Rock to seal PC25 glory

Gary Anderson (Simon O'Connor/PDC)

Gary Anderson continued his blistering form to secure Players Championship 25 glory on Wednesday, defeating Josh Rock 8-4 in the decider to claim back-to-back ProTour titles in Barnsley.

Anderson, a winner at Players Championship 24 last month, landed a nine-dart finish on his way to victory at the Barnsley Metrodome, before dispatching Rock to clinch his third ranking title of the year.

The two-time World Champion boasted a tournament average of 101.45 to seal the £12,000 top prize, which moves him top of the 2023 Players Championship Order of Merit with five events remaining.

After overcoming Damian Mol in his opener, Anderson achieved perfection in his second round clash against Keane Barry, averaging 105 in his 6-2 rout of the young Irishman.

The 52-year-old then recorded a monstrous 113 average to topple European Champion Ross Smith, before averaging 108 and 107 in wins over Gerwyn Price and Danny Noppert respectively.

Anderson later recovered from 4-3 down to defy a spirited Jim Williams in the semi-finals, which set up a mouth-watering showdown against World Youth Champion Rock for the title.

The Northern Irishman struck the first blow with an immediate break of throw, but Anderson responded with a 121 leveller on the bull, sparking a run of four straight legs for the Scot.

He converted a clinical 110 kill on tops to stretch his lead to 4-1, and while Rock stopped the rot in leg six, the veteran star restored his three-leg buffer with a 12-dart hold.

Rock hit back with 67 and 72 combination finishes as he threatened to launch a late fightback, although Anderson had other ideas, producing an effortless 127 finish in leg ten to regain control at 6-4.

The Northern Irishman then paid the price for spurning two darts at double as Anderson moved to the cusp of victory at 7-4, before pinning double four moments later to cap off another terrific campaign.

“I’ve got nothing to lose. I just come up and throw darts and they’re going alright,” quipped Anderson, who also claimed the spoils at Players Championship Eight in March.

“I last played in Leicester two weeks ago. Today is only the second time I’ve thrown since Andrew [Gilding] battered me on that stage!

“I was struggling at the end there. The young boys that do this every day of the week – hats off to them.

“I’m playing well, but I’m not looking too far ahead. I have my odd practice with Ryan [Searle], play in the Players Championships, and if I qualify for anything else in between it’s a bonus.”

Rock continued his remarkable consistency to reach a fourth Players Championship final of 2023, only to be denied in his bid for a first ranking title since last October.

The 22-year-old battled past Shaun Wilkinson in his opener, and after rallying from 5-3 down to edge out Simon Whitlock, he brushed aside Steve Lennon to secure his place in the last 16.

There, Rock reeled off six straight legs from 2-0 adrift to demolish Germany’s Daniel Klose, converting 170 and 136 checkouts to triumph with a 107 average.

The World Youth Champion then dumped out Rob Cross in the last eight, before denying his fellow countryman Brendan Dolan in an all-Northern Irish semi-final.

Like Anderson, Dolan also achieved perfection on a memorable day in Barnsley, producing his second perfect leg of 2023 in his quarter-final win against Martijn Kleermaker.

Former World Grand Prix runner-up Dolan also defeated Owen Bates, Dylan Slevin, Rusty-Jake Rodriguez and Danny Jansen in reaching the last four, which saw him pocket £4,000 in prize money.

Dolan was joined in the semi-finals by Welsh arrowsmith Williams, who saw off Mervyn King and Cam Crabtree in the latter stages of the campaign to record his best showing of the 2023 season.

Challenge Tour star Crabtree impressed in progressing to his maiden Players Championship quarter-final, with Cross, Noppert and Kleermaker also enjoying runs to the last eight.

This week's Players Championship action continues with Players Championship 26 on Thursday, with coverage from all four streaming boards broadcast live on PDCTV.

The event draw and results are listed in the Match Centre.

Click here for match stats through DartConnect.

Gary Anderson hit a nine-dart finish during his second round win over Keane Barry.
Brendan Dolan hit a nine-dart finish during his quarter-final win against Martijn Kleermaker.

2023 Players Championship 25
Wednesday October 18
The Barnsley Metrodome
Last 16

Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Callan Rydz
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Danny Jansen
Josh Rock 6-2 Daniel Klose
Rob Cross 6-5 Joe Cullen
Gary Anderson 6-2 Gerwyn Price
Danny Noppert 6-1 Martin Lukeman
Cam Crabtree 6-4 Stephen Burton
Jim Williams 6-3 Mervyn King

Brendan Dolan 6-3 Martijn Kleermaker
Josh Rock 6-3 Rob Cross
Gary Anderson 6-4 Danny Noppert
Jim Williams 6-3 Cam Crabtree

Josh Rock 7-5 Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson 7-5 Jim Williams

Gary Anderson 8-4 Josh Rock