Alan Soutar secured his maiden PDC ranking title with a deciding-leg success against Daryl Gurney in Tuesday’s Players Championship 11 decider.

Soutar – a firefighter by trade – produced a series of blistering displays in Hildesheim to pocket the £15,000 top prize and become the 11th different winner in as many Players Championship events in 2024.

Following a promising start to his PDC career, Soutar endured a miserable 2023 campaign which left him facing a battle to preserve his Tour Card status over the coming months.

However, the popular Scot reaffirmed his credentials with a landmark victory at Halle 39, crashing in a nerveless 11-darter to deny Gurney in a dramatic last-leg shoot-out.

“To win a ProTour in this room against 127 other players that I respect so much, it’s unbelievable,” reflected an ecstatic Soutar.

“This is possibly the best thing I’ve done in darts, apart from winning the World Cup with Scotland in the WDF system.

“Last year was a disaster for me and I’ve been in danger of losing my Tour Card, so to produce the darts I have all day, I’m absolutely delighted.

“I don’t think some people understand how hard it is [in the PDC]. I can play darts; I’ve played darts for 30 years, but this is tough.

“I had a good couple of seasons in my first two years on tour. Last year was terrible, but this year has just got a whole load better!”

Soutar’s average never wavered below 93 across the entirety of Tuesday’s play, although he was forced to survive a scare in his opener against Steve Beaton, recovering from 5-3 down to triumph.

The Arbroath arrowsmith followed this up with successive 6-2 wins against Martin Lukeman and Dutch star Danny Noppert, before powering in a 107.73 average to account for Ritchie Edhouse.

Soutar also averaged 102 in his astonishing 7-0 whitewash of Dirk van Duijvenbode in the semi-finals, which was preceded by victory against another Dutchman in Niels Zonneveld.

The 46-year-old drew first blood against Gurney with a superb 11-dart hold, but it was the Northern Irishman who established control with a three-leg spell to move 5-3 ahead.

Soutar hit back to restore parity at five apiece, and after the next four legs were shared, the Scot kicked off the decider with back-to-back 180s, before sealing the deal with his second 11-darter of the contest.

Gurney’s run to Tuesday’s showpiece had begun with a routine 6-2 victory over Matthew Dennant, before he averaged 108.66 to demolish George Killington by the same scoreline.

Mervyn King and Jermaine Wattimena became Gurney’s next scalps as the 38-year-old raced into the last eight, where he accounted for decorated duo James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld.

Van Barneveld impressed in his run to the semi-finals, which included a whitewash win over Luke Woodhouse and a 6-2 thumping of World Championship semi-finalist Scott Williams.

The five-time World Champion was joined in the last four by his compatriot Van Duijvenbode, who won through a brace of last-leg tussles on his way to a second Players Championship semi-final of 2024.

Wade boosted his hopes of World Matchplay qualification with a quarter-final showing, while Latvia’s Madars Razma and Dutch duo Kevin Doets and Zonneveld made up the last eight line-up.

Elsewhere, Stephen Bunting produced one of the performances of the day in his opening round win against Robbie Knops, averaging 107.89 and landing a nine-darter in leg two of the contest.

Adam Hunt also achieved perfection against Belgian opposition, firing in a perfect leg of his own in a losing cause against Kim Huybrechts.