Top 12 Bid For Menace

DENNIS PRIESTLEY is aiming to regain his place in the world's top 12 this year - and winning the Stan James Players Championship was the ideal start to that challenge.

Priestley emerged victorious in the inaugural PDPA Players Championship event to be staged in Gibraltar last weekend.

He defeated Terry Jenkins in the final to claim the £5,000 first prize, but it was the 20 ranking points he also gained which could be vital.

Priestley's goal is to return to the top 12, who qualify automatically for the Las Vegas Desert Classic, and he is now just 14 points behind John Part, who occupies that final place.

The Yorkshireman, who also reached the semi-finals at October's Sky Bet World Grand Prix, is happy to begin the year with such a good display.

"It's a good boost for me to win again," said Priestley.

"It goes to show that I can still compete at the top level and win tournaments.

"My aim is to get back into the top 12 so I can automatically qualify for the tournament in Las Vegas in June."

Priestley's place in the top 16 currently also ensures him a spot in the Stan James World Matchplay, Sky Bet World Grand Prix and World Darts Championship.

He will also be among the 16 PDC players to travel to Connecticut in May for the World Series of Darts, which will see them join 16 American qualifiers in a brand new event.