Emotional Gurney Lifts Minehead Title
DARYL GURNEY claimed the 2018 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals title with a dramatic 11-9 victory over Michael van Gerwen on Sunday in Minehead.
An incredible finish to the £460,000 tournament saw Gurney show incredible resilience as he fought back from 9-8 down to win the final three legs for one of the biggest wins of his career.
There were tears of joy for emotional Gurney, who clinched the £100,000 title with a spectacular 85 checkout on the bullseye to end Van Gerwen's three-year reign as champion in the event.
"I'm over the moon with that win, it means to much to me," said former World Grand Prix champion Gurney.
"That was the best bullseye I've ever hit in my life, I was determined to make sure we didn't go to a deciding leg and I was relieved to see it go in.
"I knew I was playing well, I was hitting everything in practice and after a sticky start I straightened up my throw and I grew in confidence from there.
"To win this tournament is an unbelievable feeling and I'm going to enjoy this moment."
A tight opening to the final saw the first 12 legs all won on throw, before Van Gerwen took out 88 for a first break of the contest, only for a tenacious Gurney to break straight back.
World number one Van Gerwen broke throw once again to go 9-8 up, only for Gurney to show nerves of steel, taking out 88 in two darts to level at 9-9.
Gurney took out 32 to hold throw and go within a leg of the title, before a stunning 85 finish on the bull sealed a sensational win for the world number five.
For Van Gerwen it was a first televised ranking final defeat in 15 matches, but the Dutchman was keen to acknowledge the achievement of his rival.
"I think he played a phenomenal game," said Van Gerwen, who avenged his Grand Slam of Darts loss to Gary Anderson in the semi-finals.
"To be fair I think I let myself down and Daryl punished me because my performance was not 100 percent."
A dramatic day at the Butlin's Minehead Resort had also seen Gurney overcome Chris Dobey and Danny Noppert to book his spot in a third TV final.
Van Gerwen and Anderson produced a thriller in the semi-finals, while Stephen Bunting, Jonny Clayton and Steve Lennon - on his 25th birthday - were knocked out alongside Dobey in the quarter-finals.
Belgium's Dimitri Van den Bergh also enjoyed success on the Minehead stage as he retained the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship title, defeating Martin Schindler 6-3 in the final.
Attention on the PDC circuit now switches to the build-up to the William Hill World Darts Championship, which will begin on December 13 at London's Alexandra Palace.
2018 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Friday November 23
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
Max Hopp 6-4 Steve West
Keegan Brown 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Adam Hunt
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Kyle Anderson
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Robert Thornton
James Wade 6-4 Ross Smith
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Jamie Lewis
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Michael Barnard
Ryan Searle 6-2 Josh Payne
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Martin Schindler
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Andrew Gilding
Steve Lennon 6-2 Ryan Joyce
Mervyn King 6-4 Simon Stevenson
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Richard North
Madars Razma 6-4 Mickey Mansell
Ian White 6-2 Scott Taylor
Gary Anderson 6-2 Alan Tabern
Cristo Reyes 6-1 Rob Cross
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 6-2 Toni Alcinas
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Matthew Edgar
Michael Smith 6-0 Vincent van der Voort
Stephen Burton 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Joe Cullen 6-5 John Henderson
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Mark Webster
Ricky Evans 6-3 Jan Dekker
James Wilson 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Danny Noppert 6-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Chris Dobey 6-3 Ron Meulenkamp
Darren Webster 6-3 Jeffrey de Graaf
Steve Beaton 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Saturday November 24
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Ryan Searle
James Wade 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Chris Dobey 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Steve Lennon 6-5 Cristo Reyes
Gary Anderson 6-1 Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Keegan Brown
Peter Wright 6-2 Max Hopp
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Adrian Lewis
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Madars Razma
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 James Wilson
Ricky Evans 6-2 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Stephen Burton 6-3 Darren Webster
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Ian White
Danny Noppert 6-5 Mervyn King
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Michael Smith
Joe Cullen 6-4 Steve Beaton
Chris Dobey 10-9 James Wade
Gary Anderson 10-2 Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 Stephen Burton
Stephen Bunting 10-9 Peter Wright
Steve Lennon 10-7 Gabriel Clemens
Daryl Gurney 10-6 Brendan Dolan
Jonny Clayton 10-5 Ricky Evans
Danny Noppert 10-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Sunday November 25
Daryl Gurney 10-2 Chris Dobey
Danny Noppert 10-7 Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson 10-4 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 10-3 Steve Lennon
Daryl Gurney 11-3 Danny Noppert
Michael van Gerwen 11-9 Gary Anderson
Daryl Gurney 11-9 Michael van Gerwen
LISA ASHTON has qualified for the William Hill World Darts Championship after winning the UK & Ireland Women's Qualifier in Milton Keynes.
The four-time Lakeside Women's Champion will make her debut in the PDC's World Championship after joining Russia's Anastasia Dobromyslova in secure Alexandra Palace spots.
Ashton, a 48-year-old from St Helens, is the top-ranked BDO women's player and her dominance on the circuit was reflected in her qualification at the Marshall Arena as she lost only five legs in seven games.
Ashton enjoyed 4-0 whitewash wins in her opening five matches as she defeated Sharon Costello, Stephanie Stutley, Sarah Ceska, Jane Densley and Denise Cassidy.
She then overcame Rhian Griffiths 5-2 in the semi-finals before sealing a 6-3 defeat of Maria O'Brien in the final with a 132 finish on the bull.
Ashton had been joined in the qualifier by daughters Danielle - who reached the last 16 - and Lindsey, who lost in round one, with a total of 122 female players taking part.
"I'm so chuffed to get through," said Ashton. "For me this is a massive win and it's a massive opportunity to play the men at Ally Pally.
"It's a dream come true and I hope I do the ladies proud. It's been such an amazing day, the quality has been excellent."
Plymouth's O'Brien ended the hopes of BDO number two Deta Hedman and number four ranked Fallon Sherrock in the latter stages, but missed out in the decider.
Hedman - a three-time UK Open qualifier during her time on the PDC circuit - lost out in the semi-finals alongside Griffiths, while Courtney Hine, the daughter of PDC player Steve, was amongst the quarter-finalists.
Lorraine Winstanley, the wife of former PDC star Dean, lost out 4-3 to Hedman in the last 16.
Ashton and Dobromyslova will be amongst an expanded 96-player field for the 2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship, with two places having been made available for female qualifiers.
Ashton has previously competed on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour circuit, where she reached one quarter-final, while she has claimed nine tournament wins during 2018 on the women's circuit.
Dobromyslova, who won last weekend's Rest of the World Women's Qualifier in Dusseldorf, played in the 2009 World Championship and is a three-time Lakeside Women's Champion.
Ashton added: "We'll be flying the flag and hopefully we can do everyone proud."
2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
UK & Ireland Women's Qualifier
Maria O'Brien 4-3 Fallon Sherrock
Deta Hedman 4-2 Casey Gallagher
Lisa Ashton 4-0 Denise Cassidy
Rhian Griffiths 4-0 Courtney Hine
Maria O'Brien 5-2 Deta Hedman
Lisa Ashton 5-2 Rhian Griffiths
Lisa Ashton 6-3 Maria O'Brien
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD has announced that he will retire from professional darts following the 2019/2020 William Hill World Darts Championship.
The Dutch legend is one of only three players in the history of the sport to be crowned a five-time World Champion and has now decided to play one more year on the PDC circuit before calling time on his glittering career.
Speaking to The Darts Show, the 51-year-old explained his decision and his plan for 2019 following his penultimate World Championship.
"Next year is going to be my 35th year of playing darts at the highest level and it’s going to be my last year," said Van Barneveld.
"I noticed in myself that I can’t keep up anymore, I know what I can do but it’s just not been happening for the past three or four years apart from winning the World Cup with Michael [van Gerwen].
"I'm not winning tournaments anymore, I don’t know why but a lot of things have happened in my private life and I’ve also noticed that my body isn’t feeling 100 percent anymore - I don’t have the drive, motivation or fitness to carry on.
"I'm a winner, that’s what I do – I lift trophies but I can’t do it anymore. Maybe there are still a couple of titles left in me and that would be amazing but I can’t do this every week anymore.
"I don’t want my career to fizzle out which is why I’ve made the decision to retire at the end of next year."
Van Barneveld won the Lakeside title in 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2005 before joining the PDC circuit in 2006 where he made an immediate impact, winning the UK Open title in 2006 before claiming glory on his PDC World Championship debut, defeating Phil Taylor 7-6 in the classic final which ended with a sudden-death leg.
He has since gone on to rack up 29 PDC titles, including another UK Open crown, four PDC World Cup of Darts wins, the Grand Slam of Darts and the Premier League to continue his success at the highest level.
Van Barneveld also became the first player to achieve a nine-dart finish in both the Premier League, in 2006, and PDC World Championship, in 2009, and has helped to inspire the growth of darts in the Netherlands during a superb career.
Van Barneveld will bid for a sixth world title in the 2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship and the doyen of Dutch darts is determined to go out on a high.
"I absolutely believe I can still be World Champion again in one of my last two attempts," Van Barneveld added.
"If you told me after my 2007 World Championship win over Phil [Taylor] that it would be my last World Championship then I would’ve said you were a fool, but in the last few years we have seen phenomenal players playing at an outstanding level.
"My grandmother always said ‘if you believe then you can achieve anything you want’ and I still believe I can do this, but not for many more years.
"When I retire I will be 52 and I’m really looking to spending time with my family."
Raymond van Barneveld
PDC Televised Titles
2006, 2007 UK Open
2007 World Championship
2007 Las Vegas Desert Classic
2012 Grand Slam of Darts
2014 Premier League
2010, 2014, 2017, 2018 World Cup of Darts
1998, 1999, 2003, 2005 Lakeside Championship
2001, 2005 World Masters
1995, 2001, 2003, 2004 Zuiderduin Masters
2003, 2004 World Darts Trophy
2003, 2004, 2006 International Darts League
2007 Masters of Darts
Televised Nine-Dart Finishes
2006 Premier League
2009 World Championship
2010 World Championship
2010 Premier League
2010 World Matchplay
Raymond van Barneveld's Tweet announcing this can be seen at