Dave Chisnall suffers round one exit as Michael Smith defeats Stephen Bunting

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

First published in Sport

 GARY ANDERSON won his third title of the year after claming the first Players Championship of 2014 with a thrilling 6-5 victory over Andrew Gilding on a day which saw Adrian Lewis hit a nine-dart finish at the Barnsley Metrodome.

Anderson, who has won the German Darts Championship and a UK Open Qualifier in a brilliant start to 2014, claimed the £10,000 first prize in Barnsley for the 15th title of his PDC career.

Anderson started his road to a third title of the year with a 111 average in his opening game, against fellow Scotsman Gary Stone, before triumphs over John Henderson and James Hubbard saw him win through to the last 16.

The Scot then defeated fellow Premier League star Wes Newton 6-3 before ending Andy Hamilton's day with a 6-3 quarter-final triumph, and the same scoreline was recorded by Anderson in his semi-final win against Mervyn King.

In a thrilling final against Andrew Gilding, Anderson started quickly to lead 3-0 with legs of 15, 13 and 14 darts, before Gilding got off the mark by taking the fourth leg with a 13-darter of his own.

Anderson restored his three-leg advantage with the aid of a 76 finish for another 14-darter, before Gilding produced a fabulous 134 checkout to win the sixth in only 12 darts.

Gilding took the next two legs to level at four apiece, before Anderson stopped his opponent's momentum with a brilliant 11-darter to edge ahead.

Gilding won the tenth leg with another 14-darter to force a decider, only for Anderson to reply with one of his own - including a third 180 of the game - to claim the £10,000 first prize with a sensational 111.47 average.

Gilding's run, which saw him reach his second ProTour final in the space of a month, began with a 6-4 win against Jamie Caven in his opening game before he went on to defeat Mark Cox and 2006 Lakeside Champion Jelle Klaasen in progressing to the last 16.

The 43-year-old from Suffolk extended his winning run by defeating Michael Smith and Darren Webster to reach the last four, where he produced a fine display to defeat James Wade by a 6-3 margin.

After falling 3-0 down, Gilding produced a fabulous display in his second ProTour final, where he went on to average 107 against Anderson before being denied victory by the narrowest of margins.

Mervyn King, who reached the semi-finals of last weekend's Coral UK Open, backed up that display with an excellent run to the last four at the Barnsley Metrodome on Saturday.

King, who defied a back injury to produce some excellent darts at the UK Open, defeated nine-dart hero Adrian Lewis in their quarter-final encounter with a fantastic 105 average, gaining revenge for his defeat to Stoke ace in Minehead.

The former World Masters champion, who hit a ten-darter in his fabulous last eight display, hit five maximums in his last four clash against Anderson but it was not enough as he fell to a 6-3 loss to the Scot.

James Wade showed excellent form during his run to the semi-finals, where he produced 104 averages in wins against Belgian brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts before coming from 5-3 down to beat Ronnie Baxter in their quarter-final clash.

However, the seven-time major champion was denied a chance of tasting victory for the first time since October 2011 when he was defeated 6-3 by Gilding in their semi-final encounter.

Last week's UK Open champion Adrian Lewis produced a stunning standard en route to the last eight, were he averaged no worse than 101 in each of his four victories on Saturday.

The highlight included a nine-dart finish against Joe Cullen in third leg of his 6-2 second round victory before backing that up with wins over Kevin Painter and Brendan Dolan - both with 101 averages.

Lewis, though, ran in to in-form King, who defeated the two-time World Champion 6-4 in their quarter-final clash to bring his fine day to an abrupt end.

Ronnie Baxter suffered a narrow 6-5 loss to Wade in the last eight, having led 5-3, while Andy Hamilton and Darren Webster both took away £1,000 for their good runs to the quarter-finals.

Joe Murnan, who secured a Tour Card at Qualifying School in January for the second time, enjoyed his best run in a PDC ProTour event as he reached the last 16, which included the notable scalps of former Lakeside Championship finalists Dave Chisnall and Dean Winstanley.

World number one Michael van Gerwen came from 4-1 down to defeat Josh Payne 6-5 in their second round encounter, before losing to Norwich's Darren Webster by a 6-3 margin at the last 32 stage.

Premier League stars Robert Thornton and Dave Chisnall were notable first round casualties while World Champions John Part and Mark Webster suffered the same fate.

 MICHAEL VAN GERWEN won the second Players Championship of the year courtesy of a 6-1 victory against Dean Winstanley at the Barnsley Metrodome on Sunday.

The reigning World Champion began his road to a third title of 2014 with a trio of 6-2 wins over Andy Parsons, Andy Jenkins and John Part before defeating Wales' Gerwyn Price 6-3 to secure a quarter-final spot.

There, the world number one defeated World Youth Champion Michael Smith 6-4 with the aid of a 164 checkout, before sealing a place in the final thanks to a 6-3 win over Belgian number one Kim Huybrechts.

Van Gerwen faced Dean Winstanley for the £10,000 first prize, and after sharing the first two legs the Dutch sensation won the third leg with a 125 checkout.

The world number one broke throw in the next after Winstanley wasted chances to level, before van Gerwen streaked away to a 5-1 lead with the aid of 104 and 140 checkouts.

Winstanley hit his second maximum of the game in the seventh leg, but it was not enough to stop the Dutchman as double top saw him secure the title - his 20th PDC victory - in just 12 minutes.

Winstanley, who enjoyed the best performance of his PDC career to date, came through hard-fought games Matt Padgett, UK Open finalist Terry Jenkins and Joe Murnan to reach the last 16 phase.

The former Lakeside Championship finalist then overcame Kevin Dowling before recording an excellent victory against Saturday's Players Championship winner Gary Anderson, coming out on top narrowly in a deciding leg following a high-quality clash.

The Yorkshire ace followed up that fine victory by ending Raymond van Barneveld's hopes of the title with a 6-4 win before falling short in the decider against van Gerwen.

Belgian ace Huybrechts reached his second semi-final of 2014 in a run which included a fine win over James Wade in the last 32 stage - gaining revenge for his 6-0 thrashing from the Aldershot star 24 hours earlier.

Huybrechts, who teamed up with brother Ronny to reach the final of 2013 PDC World Cup of Darts, overcame the ever-steady Ian White 6-4 before ending Christian Kist's day with a 6-2 victory.

That put the Belgian through to the last four but he was denied a place in the final by van Gerwen, having to settle for £2,500 in prize money.

Van Barneveld enjoyed his best run in a PDC ProTour event so far in 2014 with a strong run to the last four, but was denied a place in the final after a 6-4 loss to Winstanley, despite ending the game with a 101 average.

Saturday's Players Championship winner Anderson was narrowly defeated at the quarter-final stage by Winstanley, while Norwich's Darren Webster reached the last eight for a second successive day to complete a consistent weekend.

2012 Lakeside Champion Christian Kist reached the last eight for the second time since joining the PDC circuit in January before having his good run ended by Huybrechts. while Michael Smith took away £1,500 for his run to the quarter-finals.

Welsh newcomer Gerwyn Price enjoyed his best run in a ProTour event since securing his Tour Card at the Qualifying School in Wigan two months ago.

The 28-year-old Cross Keys rugby union player defeated former Players Championship Finals winner Paul Nicholson and promising Kettering youngster Ricky Evans before losing 6-3 to van Gerwen.

Andrew Gilding, who produced a superb performance in Saturday's tournament - losing in the decider to Gary Anderson - was brought back down to earth by a 6-1 defeat to Joe Murnan.

Major championship finalists Andy Hamilton, Mervyn King and Brendan Dolan were all first round casualties, while Premier League star Dave Chisnall suffered a first round exit for the second successive event.

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