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.

Sunday sees a second Players Championship event held at the Barnsley Metrodome, with £50,000 in prize money on offer once again to complete the PDC ProTour double-header.

Players Championship 1 Results

Barnsley Metrodome, March 15 2014
First Round
Michael van Gerwen (1) 6-1 James Richardson
Josh Payne 6-4 Mark Webster
Darren Webster (32) 6-1 Joey Ten Berge
Michael Barnard 6-3 Marc Dewsbury
Brian Woods 6-1 John Part (16)
Wayne Pepper 6-4 Nick Fullwell
Justin Pipe (17) 6-1 Andy Jenkins
Robert Owen 6-5 Jim Walker
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Jamie Caven (8)
Mark Cox 6-3 Steve West
Jelle Klaasen (25) 6-1 John Newland
Andy Parsons 6-4 William O’Connor
Steve Beaton (9) 6-5 Matthew Edgar
Kevin Thomas 6-5 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Michael Smith (24) 6-3 Stuart White
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright (5) 6-3 Mark Hylton
Johnny Haines 6-0 Steve Hine
Jamie Lewis (28) 6-1 Daryl Gurney
Ryan De Vreede 6-4 Kyle Anderson
Ian White (12) 6-2 Darron Brown
Ben Ward 6-1 Steve Grubb
Ronnie Baxter (21) 6-5 Ross Smith
Denis Ovens 6-1 Glenn Spearing
Kim Huybrechts (4) 6-3 Stuart Anderson
Mick Todd 6-3 Gino Vos
James Wade (29) 6-4 Jyhan Artut
Ronny Huybrechts 6-5 Arron Monk
Simon Whitlock (13) 6-2 Dave Ladley
Scott Rand 6-3 Kevin Voornhout
Stuart Kellett (20) 6-2 Matt Padgett
Pete Dyos 6-4 Joey Palfreyman
Joe Murnan 6-4 Dave Chisnall (2)
Chris Aubrey 6-5 Jason Hogg
Vincent van der Voort (31) 6-2 Mareno Michels
Dean Winstanley 6-3 Campbell Jackson
Andy Hamilton (15) 6-3 Jamie Bain
Dan Russell 6-5 Christian Kist
Paul Nicholson (18) 6-2 Martyn Turner
Tony Newell 6-3 Antonio Alcinas
Gary Anderson (7) 6-1 Gary Stone
John Henderson 6-0 Conan Whitehead
Terry Jenkins (26) 6-4 Dennis Priestley
James Hubbard 6-5 Keegan Brown
Wes Newton (10) 6-2 Kevin Dowling
John Bowles 6-4 Paul Amos
Raymond van Barneveld (23) 6-3 Michael Mansell
Nigel Heydon 6-2 Jerry Hendriks
Mark Walsh 6-4 Robert Thornton (6)
Mark Dudbridge 6-5 Steve Brown
David Pallett 6-3 Richie Burnett (27)
Colin Osborne 6-2 Adam Hunt
Mervyn King (11) 6-3 Darren Whittingham
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Benito van de Pas
Mark Barilli 6-4 Andy Smith (22)
David Dodds 6-3 Tomas Seyler
Brendan Dolan (3) 6-2 Kevin McDine
Ian Moss 6-2 Peter Hudson
Wayne Jones (30) 6-4 Zoran Lerchbacher
Darren Johnson 6-1 Colin Lloyd
Adrian Lewis (14) 6-0 Ryan Harrington
Joe Cullen 6-2 Terry Temple
Kevin Painter (19) 6-3 Ricky Evans
Dennis Smith 6-5 Kirk Shepherd

Second Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Josh Payne
Darren Webster 6-3 Michael Owen
Brian Woods 6-4 Wayne Pepper
Justin Pipe 6-1 Robert Owen
Andrew Gilding 6-0 Mark Cox
Jelle Klaasen 6-2 Andy Parsons
Steve Beaton 6-5 Kevin Thomas
Michael Smith 6-4 Stephen Bunting
Peter Wright 6-4 Johnny Haines
Ryan De Vreede 6-4 Jamie Lewis
Ian White 6-4 Ben Ward
Ronnie Baxter 6-1 Denis Ovens
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Mick Todd
James Wade 6-3 Ronny Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Scott Rand
Stuart Kellett 6-2 Pete Dyos
Joe Murnan 6-3 Chris Aubrey
Dean Winstanley 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Andy Hamilton 6-3 Dan Russell
Tony Newell 6-3 Paul Nicholson
Gary Anderson 6-2 John Henderson
James Hubbard 6-4 Terry Jenkins
Wes Newton 6-0 John Bowles
Nigel Heydon 6-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Mark Dudbridge 6-5 Mark Walsh
David Pallett 6-2 Colin Osborne
Mervyn King 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Mark Barilli 6-2 David Dodds
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Ian Moss
Wayne Jones 6-3 Darren Johnson
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Joe Cullen – Adrian Lewis hits nine-dart finish
Kevin Painter 6-5 Dennis Smith
Losers £250

Third Round
Darren Webster 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Justin Pipe 6-5 Brian Woods
Andrew Gilding 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Michael Smith 6-4 Steve Beaton
Peter Wright 6-3 Ryan De Vreede
Ronnie Baxter 6-2 Ian White
James Wade 6-0 Kim Huybrechts
Stuart Kellett 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Joe Murnan 6-5 Dean Winstanley
Andy Hamilton 6-0 Tony Newell
Gary Anderson 6-4 James Hubbard
Wes Newton 6-5 Nigel Heydon
Mark Dudbridge 6-5 David Pallett
Mervyn King 6-3 Mark Barilli
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Wayne Jones
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Kevin Painter
Losers £500

Fourth Round
Darren Webster 6-5 Justin Pipe
Andrew Gilding 6-3 Michael Smith
Ronnie Baxter 6-4 Peter Wright
James Wade 6-4 Stuart Kellett
Andy Hamilton 6-4 Joe Murnan
Gary Anderson 6-3 Wes Newton
Mervyn King 6-4 Mark Dudbridge
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Losers £1,000

Andrew Gilding 6-2 Darren Webster
James Wade 6-5 Ronnie Baxter
Gary Anderson 6-3 Andy Hamilton
Mervyn King 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Losers £1,500

Andrew Gilding 6-3 James Wade
Gary Anderson 6-3 Mervyn King
Losers £2,500

Gary Anderson 6-5 Andrew Gilding
Winner £10,000
Runner-up £5,000

Final – Leg-by-Leg
Andrew Gilding v Gary Anderson
0-1 – Anderson holds throw in the opening leg by taking out a 53 finish.
0-2 – The Scotsman kicks-off with two 140 scores and goes to break Gilding’s throw at the first time of asking.
0-3 – Anderson continues the high standard as he converts a 65 checkout to move further ahead.
1-3 – Gilding leaves 40 after 12 darts and goes on to win the leg against the throw..
1-4 – Anderson restores his three-leg advantage by landing a 76 checkout.
2-4 – Both players fire in 180s before Gilding produces a fabulous 134 checkout to stay in the hunt.
3-4 – Anderson misses two attempts at doubles and Gilding takes out 48 to claw another leg back.
4-4 – Anderson hits scores of 171 and 139 to leave 32 after 12 darts, only for Gilding to hit an 85 finish to draw level.
4-5 – The former Premier League champion hits back with scores of 180, 140 and 130 before hitting double eight to edge ahead.
5-5 – Anderson misses one dart for the match and Gilding capitalises to force a deciding leg.
5-6 – The Scotsman starts the deciding leg with a 180 and goes to take it on double eight to win a thriller.

About The Author