Michael Smith beaten in Players Championship Final

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

First published in Sport

BRENDAN DOLAN won his fourth ProTour title in the space of six months, and his second of 2014, after claiming a whitewash victory over Michael Smith to win Players Championship 5 at the Robin Park Tennis Centre on Saturday.

The Northern Irish ace, who lost seven times in PDC finals before crossing the winning line in Wigan last November, produced an excellent standard on Saturday to claim his second £10,000 winner's cheque of the year.

Dolan began his run to the final with a 6-0 win over Kettering's Ricky Evans before taking a 6-3 triumph over 2012 Lakeside Champion Christian Kist to reach the last 32 stage.

Dolan then defeated the Dutch duo of Joey Ten Berge and Kevin Voornhout for the loss of just three legs before claiming a narrow 6-5 win over Dean Winstanley, after both players had previously missed chances to win a tight contest.

Dolan hit a 145 checkout in a comfortable 6-1 semi-final win over James Hubbard, and continued that form in the final against Michael Smith, where he hit two 13-darters in the opening two legs.

The former World Grand Prix finalist also won the next two legs to move 4-0 up before his recording his third 13-darter of the game to go a leg away from triumph.

Dolan then ended the contest in the next leg to confirm a whitewash win thanks to an accurate first attempt at double top to win the title.

Reigning World Youth Champion Smith started his run to a second final of the year with narrow wins over Glenn Spearing and Peter Hudson before dismissing Jamie Caven 6-2 to reach the last 16.

The St Helens ace claimed another 6-2 win, over Wayne Jones, before defeating five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter-finals with the aid of four maximums.

That excellent win saw Smith face his manager and mentor, Gary Anderson, in the last four - and he overcame the Scotsman with a 6-4 win before running out of steam against Dolan in the decider.

Former World Youth Champion James Hubbard enjoyed his best result to date on the ProTour circuit with an excellent run to the semi-finals.

Hubbard's fine day at the Robin Park Tennis Centre included a stunning 6-0 win over top ten star Wes Newton in the second round before he took a fantastic 6-4 win over reigning World Champion Michael van Gerwen.

That win over the world number one put Hubbard through to the last eight, where he knocked out Mervyn King by a 6-4 margin before falling to Dolan in the semi-finals, having to settle for the £2,500 in prize money.

Betway Premier League Darts star Anderson, who has enjoyed an impressive 2014 so far, produced another strong performance to reach the semi-final stage before being denied a chance of winning his fifth title of the year after a 6-4 loss to his protégé Smith.

Major champions Raymond van Barneveld, James Wade and Mervyn King took away £1,500 for their runs to the last eight, while Dean Winstanley also reached the quarter-finals to continue his good run of form over recent weeks.

Holland's Kevin Voornhout enjoyed his best performance in a PDC ProTour event with an excellent run to the last 16, losing to eventual winner Dolan but continuing his emergence on the circuit this year.

Kent's Josh Payne also enjoyed his best run in a ProTour event by reaching the last 16, with the 20-year-old recording excellent wins over three-time World Champion John Part and former UK Open winner Robert Thornton.

Fellow Youth Tour competitor Keegan Brown - who has won through to the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship Final next month - matched his best performance on the ProTour by reaching the same stage as Payne, defeating 2010 Players Championship Finals winner Paul Nicholson en route.

Phil Taylor suffered a second round loss to Aberdeen's Jamie Bain while fellow Betway Premier League Darts stars Simon Whitlock, Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall were all first round casualties.

Sunday sees a second Players Championship event of the weekend contested at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan, where £50,000 will be on offer once again.

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