Players Championship Finals – Preview

The 2019 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals begins on Friday at Butlin’s Minehead Resort, as Daryl Gurney begins his title defence against Luke Woodhouse on a packed opening day of action.

LADBROKES PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP 2018
FINAL DARYL GURNEY V MICHAEL VAN GERWEN MICHAEL VAN GERWEN
Pic: L Lustig PDC

The three-day event will see the top 64 players from the 2019 Players Championship Order of Merit, following the year’s thirty ‘floor’ events, in action from November 22-24.

Play on the opening two days will be split across two stages, with the action on the main stage in the Skyline Arena accompanied by games in the intimate Reds venue.

The main stage action will be broadcast live on ITV4 in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

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Matches from stage two on Friday and Saturday will be streamed live for PDCTV-HD Subscribers at video.pdc.tv.​

Gurney famously sprinted away from the oche to celebrate with family and friends after hitting the match-winning bullseye to defeat Michael van Gerwen in last year’s final.

LADBROKES PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP.
Pic: L Lustig/PDC – DARYL GURNEY WINS

Gearing up to face TV debutant Woodhouse in his first assignment of the weekend, the Northern Irishman insists he is taking nothing for granted.

“Winning this event last year is probably my greatest achievement in darts,” said Gurney, whose first-round match will be on the main stage.

“I said at the time it was probably the scariest bullseye I’ve ever hit in my life, but that feeling when it went in is why I play the game.

“Coming into this event as champion means nothing though and I know I will have to be on my game against Luke, who is an up and coming player I rate very highly.”

Van Gerwen, a four-time winner of the Players Championship Finals, is also in action on the main stage as he meets Luke Humphries, who will also compete in the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship final on Sunday.

Having tasted defeat in the event for the first time since 2014 in his defeat to Gurney, world number one Van Gerwen is keen to regain his crown ahead of his World Championship defence.

“Of course it was disappointing to lose in the final last year, I don’t lose many finals,” admitted Van Gerwen, the 6/4 title favourite in Minehead with sponsors Ladbrokes.

“But on the day Daryl took out the big shots when it mattered, so well done to him, but now I’m coming to win my title back – every tournament I play I turn up to win.

“It’s the last tournament before the World Championship so my goal is to play to a good standard and give myself even more confidence going into Ally Pally.”

Van Gerwen was defeated by Gerwyn Price in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton last Sunday, and the Welshman comes into this event as top seed on the back of retaining his Grand Slam title in Wolverhampton.

A winner of three Players Championship events in 2019, Price is up to a career-high third on the PDC Order of Merit and he will play Mickey Mansell in his opening round tie.

“I’m playing well, I’m up to number three and I probably deserve to be three, maybe two,” said Price.

“I’ve had a good year, 18 months, but it doesn’t happen all the time. I’ve been playing well and it breeds confidence, and I’ve been confident in every tournament for the last six months. I’m just thankful to win this again.

“I’m full of confidence and hopefully I can carry that on to the Players Championship and hopefully I can have a good run.

“I’m coming into the tournament as number one seed but that doesn’t mean too much because top players are scattered everywhere in the list of seeds for this one.”

Elsewhere, Raymond van Barneveld, competing in his penultimate PDC event, will face Nathan Aspinall, who lifted the UK Open title on the Minehead stage in March.

Saturday sees the second round of the £500,000 tournament held in the afternoon session and the third round in the evening session, with play continuing across two stages.

Sunday then sees the action centred on the main stage, with the quarter-finals in the afternoon session and the semi-finals and final in the evening session, along with the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship final.

2019 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Friday November 22
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
First Round
Main Stage
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Stephen Bunting
Jose de Sousa v James Richardson
Glen Durrant v Scott Baker
Max Hopp v Jelle Klaasen
Chris Dobey v Cristo Reyes
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Simon Whitlock
Michael Smith v Martin Schindler
Ian White v Devon Petersen

Stage Two
Harry Ward v Darius Labanauskas
Justin Pipe v Mervyn King
Brendan Dolan v Ross Smith
John Henderson v Ryan Joyce
Keegan Brown v Andy Boulton
Steve Beaton v Ricky Evans
Danny Noppert v Ryan Searle
Dave Chisnall v Matthew Edgar

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
First Round
Main Stage
Krzysztof Ratajski v Steve Lennon
Gerwyn Price v Mickey Mansell
James Wade v Ted Evetts
Mensur Suljovic v Kim Huybrechts
Daryl Gurney v Luke Woodhouse
Michael van Gerwen v Luke Humphries
Peter Wright v James Wilson
Nathan Aspinall v Raymond van Barneveld

Stage Two
Jonny Clayton v Ryan Meikle
Joe Cullen v Kyle Anderson
Vincent van der Voort v Arron Monk
Gabriel Clemens v Mark McGeeney
Adrian Lewis v Josh Payne
William O’Connor v Steve West
Jermaine Wattimena v Jamie Hughes
Ron Meulenkamp v Rob Cross

Saturday November 23
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Second Round
Main Stage
Price/Mansell v Brown/Boulton
Wade/Evetts v Beaton/Evans
Suljovic/Huybrechts v Noppert/Searle
Gurney/Woodhouse v Clemens/McGeeney
Lewis/Payne v Van Gerwen/Humphries
Wright/Wilson v Dobey/Reyes
Aspinall/Van Barneveld v Cullen/Anderson
Wattimena/Hughes v Meulenkamp/Cross

Stage Two
De Zwaan/Whitlock v Henderson/Joyce
Clayton/Meikle v Ward/Labanauskas
De Sousa/Richardson v Van den Bergh/Bunting
White/Petersen v Van der Voort/Monk
Ratajski/Lennon v O’Connor/West
Durrant/Baker v Hopp/Klaasen
Chisnall/Edgar v Pipe/King
M Smith/Schindler v Dolan/R Smith

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Third Round
Main Stage & Stage Two (four matches per stage)
Schedule of play TBC

Sunday November 24
Main Stage Only
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Semi-Finals & Final
Plus PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship Final

Format
First Round – Best of 11 legs
Second Round – Best of 11 legs
Third Round – Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals – Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals – Best of 21 legs
Final – Best of 21 legs

Prize fund
Winner – £100,000
Runner-up – £50,000
Semi-finalists – £25,000
Quarter-finalists – £15,000
Last 16 – £10,000
Last 32 – £5,000
Last 64 – £2,500