PDC Players Championship Finals – Day One (Evening) Preview

The second session at the PDC Players Championship brings the biggest names in PDC darts to the oche, with likes of van Gerwen, Taylor, Anderson, Lewis, Wright, Wade, van Barneveld, Thornton and Chisnall all in action.

The eye catching match of the evening has to be Gary Anderson vs Phil Taylor. In TV knockout matches they have never previously played each other earlier than at the quarter-final stage of a tournament.

Here are my previews for the 8 evening matches . (My previews for the afternoon matches are on my blog in the article posted previously to this one.)

Chisnall vs Murnan

Dave Chisnall

  • Chisnall reached the quarter-finals at this event on his debut in 2011 but since then he has been beaten in the first round in each of the last 3 years. In 2012 he was actually seeded number 1 for the tournament and lost 6-0 to Wayne Jones. Last year he had a tough opening round draw facing eventual runner-up Adrian Lewis.
  • His defeat in the first round of last year’s tournament is the last time he has been beaten in his first match of a PDC TV ranking tournament.
  • Chisnall reached 4 finals on the tour in 2015, winning 1 and losing in 3. In the TV tournaments his best performance has been the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay and the European Championships.

Joe Murnan

  • Murnan is making his first appearance in this tournament; he also made his World Matchplay debut this season losing 10-7 to Adrian Lewis in the first round.
  • His best performance on tour and of his darts career so far came when he won a Players Championship event in May. He actually beat Dave Chisnall in the final of that tournament. He also played tournaments on the Development Tour this year and won a couple of those tournaments during the course of 2015.
  • His win over Chisnall in the final when he won his Players Championship event this year was his 3rd win in a row against Chisnall. Those wins have all been by a score of 6-4.


Wade vs Webster

James Wade

  • Wade’s best performance in this event came in its first ever staging back in 2009 when he reached the semi-finals. In each of the last 3 years he has been beaten in the first round, none of those defeats have been by players in the current top 16 (Beaton, Dolan and Klaasen).
  • His defeat against Klaasen in the first round last year was a very high calibre match, Wade averaging over 102 and Klaasen just under a 109. Wade led 4-2 only for Klaasen to win 4 legs in a row.
  • Wade has beaten Webster in their last 6 meetings (all in 2015), their most recent encounter was in the group stage at the Grand Slam when Wade won 5-1.

Mark Webster

  • Webster is returning to the event after a two year absence; he is a former finalist, missing out on winning his first PDC TV ranking tournament in the 2011 final when he lost to Kevin Painter.
  • After losing in the final of this event in 2011 he went on a run of only 3 wins from his next 13 TV matches, that poor run was halted at the World Championships in December 2013 when he reached the quarter-finals. In his last 2 PDC TV major ranking tournaments, he has reached the semi-finals at the Grand Prix and the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam.


A Lewis vs Henderson

Adrian Lewis

  • Lewis had failed to get past the quarter-finals at the Players Championship finals until last year when he went all the way to the final before losing to Gary Anderson.
  • In each of the last 3 years Lewis has been beaten by the eventual champion in this tournament. Anderson in 2014, van Gerwen in 2013 and Taylor in 2012, he also lost to Paul Nicholson in 2010 when Nicholson went on to win the tournament.
  • In his last 20 PDC TV ranking tournaments going back to 2012 Lewis has only twice lost in his first match.

John Henderson

  • Henderson has qualified for this tournament for the first time since 2011. On that occasion he lost in the first round 6-1 to Justin Pipe.
  • At the European Championships, the last PDC TV ranking tournament in which he played, he reached the quarter-finals defeating recent Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton in the first round. His last 4 defeats on TV have been against Wright (twice), Gary Anderson and Taylor.
  • Henderson has won 1 and lost 2 in previous meetings with Lewis, but significantly he won their last match which was played this year, that match was in a Euro Tour semi-final at the German Darts Masters.


Thornton vs J Lewis

Robert Thornton

  • On his debut in the first staging of the tournament Thornton made it through to the final before losing to Phil Taylor. He has failed to get past the Last 16 stage the 4 times he has competed in the event since then.
  • In each of the last 2 years he has been beaten in a last leg decider in the second round (9-8 by Barney in 2013 and 10-9 by Caven in 2014). In his Last 16 match against Caven last year he trailed 9-4, managed to get back to 9-9 and missed a double to win the match before Caven edged home 10-9.
  • Thornton leads Lewis 3-1 in their previous meetings. Their most recent encounter was in a pro-tour event in September when Thornton won 6-4.

Jamie Lewis

  • Lewis is competing in this event for the second time having previously qualified in 2013 when he lost 6-1 in the first round to eventual champion van Gerwen. The score could have been closer but Lewis only hit 1 from 12 double attempts.
  • He had his best run in a PDC TV ranking tournament at this year’s World Grand Prix when he reached the quarter-finals before losing to van Gerwen. He has actually been beaten by van Gerwen in 3 of the last 6 PDC TV ranking tournaments he has played (the other defeats were to Wade, RVB and Suljovic).
  • Impressively Lewis shrugged off the disappointment of not qualifying for the UK Open earlier this year, he reached the semi-finals of the Gibraltar Darts Trophy soon after the UK Open, that really kick-started his season and his move into the top 32.


MVG vs Brown

Michael van Gerwen

  • MVG comes into the tournament having won the last 3 PDC TV tournaments, winning 16 consecutive matches in the process. He is looking to add this TV ranking event to his UK Open, World Matchplay, European Championship and Grand Slam titles he currently holds.
  • Michael van Gerwen won this tournament in 2013, famously reeling off 7 straight legs in the final against Phil Taylor from 6-3 behind to eventually win 11-7. Earlier in that same tournament MVG had won 6 straight legs from 6-3 down against Adrian Lewis to win 9-6 in their Last 16 match.
  • Last year van Gerwen exited the tournament at the hands of Terry Jenkins in the Last 16. The only time he has gone further than the Last 16 was when he won the tournament.
  • The last time van Gerwen actually lost in the first round of a PDC TV ranking tournament was at the Players Championship finals in December 2011, that was a 6-0 defeat against Gary Anderson.

Keegan Brown

  • Brown is making his first appearance in the Player Championship finals, having also made his debuts at both the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix over this season. On the TV stage in 2015 he has wins against Ian White and Robert Thornton to his name.
  • The highlight of his year came when he won a pro tour event in May, notably on the way to winning that tournament he defeated Peter Wright in the quarter-finals and Adrian Lewis in the final. He also reached the semi-finals in two other ranking tournaments (losing to Wade and Adrian Lewis in those semi-finals).
  • Keegan Brown does have a win over van Gerwen on his record this season, he defeated MVG 6-5 back in April at a pro tour event.


Anderson vs Taylor

Gary Anderson

  • Anderson is defending the title he won last year; on his way to winning the tournament in 2014 he averaged over 100 in every game. His biggest scare came in the opening round against Christian Kist, he was 5-4 down and Kist had a dart to win the match. Anderson broke throw with an 11 dart finish and went on to win the deciding leg in 13 darts.
  • He has only been beaten once in the first round at the Players Championship finals, this was in 2010 on his debut in the tournament when he lost 6-1 to Klaasen.
  • Anderson has played Taylor twice before in this tournament. They met in the final in February 2011 when Taylor won 13-12. Last year Anderson defeated Taylor 10-6 in the quarter-final (a match where both players averaged over 104).

Phil Taylor

  • Taylor has won the tournament 3 times since it started in 2009. His last triumph came in 2012. In each of the last 2 years he has been beaten by the eventual champion (MVG in 2013, Anderson in 2014); Nicholson also won the tournament in 2010 after beating Taylor along the way.
  • It has been 9 TV ranking tournaments since Taylor won the 2014 World Matchplay and lifted his last TV major ranking tournament, the longest stretch Taylor has had without winning one since the PDC started.
  • Taylor has beaten Anderson in 3 World Series of Darts tournaments this year but their last really significant meeting came in the World Championship final in January of this year when Anderson defeated Taylor to win the title.


White vs van Barneveld

Ian White

  • White has played in the Players Championship finals three times previously, reaching the quarter-finals in 2013 and losing his first round match in both 2012 and 2014.
  • He comes into the tournament having not had the best of times in the last 3 TV tournaments. He lost in the first round of the European Championships, failed to get out of his group at the Grand Slam and also lost in the first round of the World Series of Darts finals last weekend. Overall though he has had a successful year on the tour, having reached four ranking finals (he won one of those finals).
  • White leads van Barneveld 6 wins to 5 in their head to head meetings. He has beaten RVB both times they have played on the TV stage (2012 World Grand Prix and 2011 Grand Slam group stage).

Raymond van Barneveld

  • Barney’s best run at the Players Championship finals has been to the quarter-finals (on two occasions). He lost to van Gerwen in the first round last year and in 2013 he was beaten by Phil Taylor in the quarter-finals.
  • He had a good run at the Grand Slam of Darts earlier this month when he reached the semi-finals, prior to that he had been beaten in the first round in his previous 3 TV ranking tournaments.
  • The last ranking tournament that van Barneveld won was in October 2013; during 2015 he did reach the final of a pro tour event but was beaten by Jelle Klaasen.


Wright vs Beaton

Peter Wright

  • Wright has been beaten in the first round of this tournament once from his 5 appearances in the event; the defeat was in 2010 on his debut. Last year he lost 10-5 in the last 16 to van der Voort having led 5-3.
  • He has been beaten in the first round of a TV ranking tournament only 1 time from the last 9 he has played; this was at the World Grand Prix in October when he lost to Dave Chisnall.
  • Although Wright holds a narrow 9-8 win record against Beaton he has been dominant in their recent meetings, all of Wright’s wins have been in the last 4 years during which time Beaton has only beaten Wright twice. Wright has won each of their last 4 meetings including their only one played on a TV stage which was at the UK Open this year.

Steve Beaton

  • Beaton has been an ever present in the previous 7 Players Championship finals that have been held. He hasn’t been past the Last 16 stage in any of those tournaments though. It is worth mentioning that his 3 wins in the tournament have been against Adrian Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld and James Wade.
  • He ended a 12 match losing run on TV when he defeated Ian White at the Grand Slam of Darts, and although he only won 1 of 4 matches played at that tournament he did show signs of confidence returning.
  • The Last 16 appearance at the Grand Slam was the first time he had been to the Last 16 in a TV tournament since the Players Championship finals in 2013.


Enjoy the darts!


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