Mr Green Sport Players Championship Finals – Day One Round-Up

Michael van Gerwen  began his challenge to win a third successive title at the Mr Green Sport Players Championship Finals with a 6-2 win over Paul Nicholson on Friday, as Steve Hine knocked out Peter Wright in Minehead.

Reigning champion Van Gerwen met 2010 winner Nicholson in their first round tie at the Butlins Minehead Resort, but was never troubled after racing into a 3-0 lead.

Nicholson, in his first TV appearance for over two years, took two of the next three to hit back to 4-2, but Van Gerwen won the next two as he moved through to play Steve West, who overcame Somerset’s Ryan Searle 6-4.

“There’s a lot more in the tank but it’s nice to win,” said Van Gerwen. “Paul had some patches where he played quite well but I hit my doubles at the right moments.”

World number two Peter Wright, the UK Open champion in March on his most recent visit to Minehead and last week’s Grand Slam of Darts runner-up to Van Gerwen, was the highest-profile casualty of the opening day with a 6-5 loss to Hine.

Muffin baker Hine was making his big-stage return and came from 4-2 down to lead 5-4 before Wright survived a missed match dart to force a decider, only to miss the bull for victory as the world number 104 sealed the win on double 18.

“Just to qualify for this event is hard but this is massive for me,” said Hine. “Peter’s the world number two and I look up to him, and hopefully this can kick on my career further.”

Hine now plays Peter Jacques, the Huddersfield thrower who survived five missed match darts from Spain’s Cristo Reyes to claim a 6-5 win on his Players Championship Finals debut.

Mickey Mansell knocked out 2014 champion Gary Anderson with a 6-3 triumph in their first round tie, sharing the opening four legs before taking out 80, tops and 136 to pull clear before completing the win with a 13-darter.

The Northern Irish left-hander, who now plays Jermaine Wattimena, admitted afterwards: “It’s massive for me in terms of the standard of player that I’ve just beaten, because Gary is exceptional.

“His youngest child has been in hospital for the last two days and he’s been at the bedside. His mind hasn’t been on darts and it showed up there.

“On his day I love watching Gary, he’s exceptional. I’m chuffed to bits to beat Gary, I still had to hit those doubles.”

2011 winner Kevin Painter also exited the event in round one as he went down 6-4 to James Wade, who now plays Jamie Caven after the Derby ace survived a missed match dart before edging out Joe Cullen.

Top seed Rob Cross, a four-time Players Championship winner in his first year on the ProTour, was a 6-2 winner against Wales’ Robert Owen as he moved through to face emerging Irish youngster Steve Lennon, who overcame Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4.

Number two seed Daryl Gurney punished Dutch youngster Jeffrey de Zwaan for 14 missed darts at doubles as he claimed a 6-0 whitewash win to set up a tie with Robbie Green, who survived a missed match dart to knock out Vincent van der Voort 6-5.

Adrian Lewis made an impressive return to action as he overcame Belgian youngster Mike De Decker 6-3, finishing 50 percent of his doubles, averaging 99 and taking out 129 to seal the win.

Lewis was using a new dart in the same design as Raymond van Barneveld, and admitted: “I’ve not won a game on TV since July and I needed to change something, and I’m probably practising as well as I’ve ever done.

“I’m enjoying practising and I know I can improve with these darts. As the tournament progresses I think with the longer formats you’ll see the real me turn up.”

Lewis now plays Richard North, who also averaged 99 on his Players Championship Finals debut as he defeated Peter Hudson 6-1.

Ian White edged past Raymond van Barneveld with a 6-5 win, surviving two missed match darts from the Dutchman in their deciding leg before returning from a miss of his own to land double ten.

White now faces John Henderson, who landed a brace of 101 finishes as he pulled clear from one-all to win 6-2 against Darren Johnson.

Mensur Suljovic raced past Andy Boulton 6-0 with a ruthless whitewash, hitting six doubles from ten attempts as he set up a second round tie with Stephen Bunting, who finished six doubles from ten attempts as he overcame Benito van de Pas 6-3.

William O’Connor came from 3-1 and 4-2 down to defeat James Wilson 6-5 in a deciding leg, with the Huddersfield ace missing tops for victory before the Irishman stepped in to take out 74.

Dave Chisnall also edged through in an 11-leg contest as he overcame Joe Murnan in a decider to set up a last 32 meeting with O’Connor.

World Grand Prix finalist Simon Whitlock held off Christian Kist’s fightback, after the Dutchman came from two legs down to level, before he claimed a 6-3 win from their tie.

Whitlock now plays Jan Dekker, who defied a 170 checkout from Michael Smith to claim a 6-3 win, landing six doubles from ten attempts.

Kyle Anderson was also eliminated despite landing a 170 checkout as he went down 6-4 to Ron Meulenkamp, who now meets Justin Pipe after the two-time semi-finalist came from two legs down to defeat Mark Webster 6-3.

Former Lakeside Champions Steve Beaton and Jelle Klaasen will meet in round two following their impressive 6-4 wins over Ronny Huybrechts and Alan Norris respectively.

Welsh duo Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton will face off in round two after both eliminated Dutchmen with 6-4 victories, with Price seeing off Jimmy Hendriks and Clayton overcoming Jeffrey de Graaf.

Robert Thornton missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the deciding leg of his tie with James Richardson before surviving a missed match dart to edge through to face Chris Dobey.

Youngster Dobey finished six doubles from nine attempts as he defeated Kim Huybrechts 6-3, with Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena matching that finishing ratio in a ten-minute whitewash of Keegan Brown.

2016 semi-finalist Darren Webster sealed a 6-3 win over Spain’s Toni Alcinas with a ten-dart leg as he moved through to meet Norfolk rival Mervyn King, who won in a deciding leg against Brendan Dolan.

The £460,000 tournament continues on Saturday, with the second round being played in the afternoon session and the third round in the evening session, before the last eight players progress to Sunday’s decisive finals day.

Mr Green Sport Players Championship Finals

Friday November 24

First Round

Afternoon Session

Main Stage

Darren Webster 6-2 Antonio Alcinas

Robert Thornton 6-5 James Richardson

Jamie Caven 6-5 Joe Cullen

Dave Chisnall 6-5 Joe Murnan

Stephen Bunting 6-3 Benito van de Pas

Chris Dobey 6-3 Kim Huybrechts

Adrian Lewis 6-3 Mike De Decker

James Wade 6-4 Kevin Painter

Stage Two

Steve Lennon 6-4 Zoran Lerchbacher

Justin Pipe 6-3 Mark Webster

Richard North 6-1 Peter Hudson

Mervyn King 6-5 Brendan Dolan

Steve Beaton 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts

Steve West 6-4 Ryan Searle

Jermaine Wattimena 6-0 Keegan Brown

Peter Jacques 6-5 Cristo Reyes

Evening Session

Main Stage

Ian White 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld

Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Andy Boulton

Rob Cross 6-2 Robert Owen

Daryl Gurney 6-0 Jeffrey de Zwaan

Mickey Mansell 6-3 Gary Anderson

Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Paul Nicholson

Steve Hine 6-5 Peter Wright

Stage Two

Simon Whitlock 6-3 Christian Kist

Gerwyn Price 6-4 Jimmy Hendriks

William O’Connor 6-5 James Wilson

John Henderson 6-2 Darren Johnson

Robbie Green 6-5 Vincent van der Voort

Jonny Clayton 6-3 Jeffrey de Graaf

Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Kyle Anderson

Jan Dekker 6-3 Michael Smith

Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Alan Norris

Saturday November 25

Afternoon Session (12.45pm)

Second Round

Main Stage

Dave Chisnall v William O’Connor

Mensur Suljovic v Stephen Bunting

Daryl Gurney v Robbie Green

Rob Cross v Steve Lennon

Mickey Mansell v Jermaine Wattimena

Michael van Gerwen v Steve West

Steve Hine v Peter Jacques

Stage Two

Darren Webster v Mervyn King

Chris Dobey v Robert Thornton

Jonny Clayton v Gerwyn Price

Richard North v Adrian Lewis

Ron Meulenkamp v Justin Pipe

Jelle Klaasen v Steve Beaton

Jamie Caven v James Wade

Jan Dekker v Simon Whitlock

Ian White v John Henderson

Evening Session (7pm)

Third Round

Main Stage

Cross/Lennon v North/Lewis

Mansell/Wattimena v Norris/Klaasen/Beaton

Van Gerwen/West v D Webster/King

Wright/Hine/Jacques v Smith/Dekker/Whitlock

Stage Two

Chisnall/O’Connor v Meulenkamp/Pipe

Suljovic/Bunting v Clayton/Price

Caven/Wade v White/Henderson

Gurney/Green v Dobey/Thornton

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