Stellar Weekend of Darts Ahead at The Players Championship Finals
A total of 64 of the top players in the PDC that have performed best on the floor (non-televised) tournaments over the course of the season will head to Butlins Minehead from Friday to participate in the last big tournament before qualifying for the World Championships, which get underway on the 13th December, begins. The Players Championship Finals.
The event will feature the cream of PDC darts including the current world number one and four-time winner of this tournament, Michael van Gerwen. The Dutchman will be battling against another 63 players in the event, each of whom will be hoping to claim the title that was last won by Daryl Gurney, who defeated van Gerwen in last year’s final 13-11.
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The three-day tournament sees the first two rounds contested over a short best-of-11 format, increasing to the best of 19 for the third round and quarterfinals and then the best of 21 for the semifinal and the final.
Friday will see the first Round of games take place with the second and third rounds taking place ona. busy Saturday, leaving the quarterfinals, semifinals and final all contested on Sunday. No wonder, many players view the three days as amongst the most gruelling and testing of the season.
The early rounds of the contest see players competing on two boards, the first is shown live on television (with ITV 4 providing coverage of the event once again this year) and the second board is not shown on TV.
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The Players Championship History – Previous Winners
The tournament was first contested in 2009 and after a couple of years of being played early in the year after the World Championship, it was moved to just prior to the World’s in December 2011. The event has found a home at Butlins Minehead ever since 2012 having previously been played at the Doncaster Dome and the Circus Tavern in Purfleet.
A shift in the time in the calendar meant that the tournament was contested twice in 2011, once in February, once in December, and this has led to their being 11 winners of the trophy so far.
- 2009 – Phil Taylor – beat Robert Thornton – 16-9
- 2010 – Paul Nicholson – beat Mervyn King – 13-11
- 2011 (Feb) – Phil Taylor – beat Gary Anderson – 13-12
- 2011 (Dec) – Kevin Painter – beat Mark Webster – 13-9
- 2012 – Phil Taylor – beat Kim Huybrechts – 13-6
- 2013 – Michael van Gerwen – beat Phil Taylor – 11-7
- 2014 – Gary Anderson – beat Adrian Lewis – 11-6
- 2015 – Michael van Gerwen – beat Adrian Lewis – 11-6
- 2016 – Michael van Gerwen – beat Dave Chisnall – 11-3
- 2017 – Michael van Gerwen – beat Jonny Clayton – 11-2
- 2018 – Daryl Gurney – beat Michael van Gerwen – 11-9
First Round Draw
The first round will be played two games at a time across Friday 22nd November, starting at 12.45pm with the afternoon session. The evening session gets underway at 7pm and there are 16 games scheduled to be played across the two boards in each session.
Afternoon Session (12.45 – 16.15)
- Dmitri Van den Bergh (8/11) v Stephen Bunting (11/10)
- Harry Ward (11/8) v Darius Labanauskas (4/7)
- Jose De Sousa (2/5) v James Richardson (2/1)
- Justin Pipe (evens) v Mervyn King (4/5)
- Brendan Dolan (10/11) v Ross Smith (10/11)
- Glen Durrant (4/11) v Scott Baker (11/5)
- John Henderson (4/5) v Ryan Joyce (Evens)
- Max Hopp (8/11) v Jelle Klaasen (11/10)
- Chris Dobey (4/7) v Cristo Reyes (11/8)
- Keegan Brown (8/11) v Andy Boulton (11/10)
- Jeffrey de Zwaan (8/11) v Simon Whitlock (11/10)
- Steve Beaton (11/10) v Ricky Evans (8/11)
- Danny Noppert (8/15) v Ryan Searle (6/4)
- Michael Smith (1/3) v Martin Schindler (12/5)
- Dave Chisnall (1/5) v Matthew Edgar (7/2)
- Ian White (4/11) v Devon Peterson (11/5)
Evening Session (19.00 to 22.30)
- Jonny Clayton (4/11) v Ryan Meikle (11/5)
- Krzysztof Ratajski (4/9) v Steve Lennon (7/4)
- Gerwyn Price (1/6) v Mickey Mansell (4/1)
- Joe Cullen (8/11) v Kyle Anderson (11/10)
- James Wade (4/9) v Ted Evetts (7/4)
- Vincent van der Voort (1/2) v Arron Monk (13/8)
- Mensur Suljovic (4/11) v Kim Huybrechts (11/5)
- Gabriel Clemens (4/9) v Mark McGeeney (7/4)
- Adrian Lewis (1/2) v Josh Payne (13/8)
- Daryl Gurney (2/9) v Luke Woodhouse (10/3)
- Michael van Gerwen (1/6) v Luke Humphries (4/1)
- William O’Connor (10/11) v Steve West (10/11)
- Jermaine Wattamena (4/5) v Jamie Hughes (Evens)
- Peter Wright (2/7) v James Wilson (11/4)
- Nathan Aspinall (1/2) v Raymond van Barneveld (13/8)
- Ron Meulenkamp (10/3) v Rob Cross (2/9)
*Odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of Monday 18th November 2019.
Who are Our Top Tips to Back As the Winner and as an Each Way bet?
With a record of four wins in this event and a finals appearance in each of the last four tournaments, it is easy to see why Michael van Gerwen is the 6/4 favourite with the bookmakers. The Dutchman is the most talented player in the field by far and if he hits his top game, there are few players who can match his level of scoring or finishing ability.
However, while van Gerwen would be my pick to win the event if you wanted to back the winner, there are a number of players who are tempting bets each way. In form Gerwyn Price, who reclaimed the Grand Slam of Darts trophy last weekend for the second year in a row is a very tempting 7/1, especially when you consider he beat van Gerwen in Wolverhampton on his way to winning the trophy.
A return to form for Peter Wright (11/1) also means that he cannot be ruled out, but I think in terms of value, Michael Smith (22/1) and Dave Chisnall (25/1) both have been in good form of late and have the ability to reach the final here.