ALAN TABERN tasted victory on rival soil – winning the North-West Players Championship in Wigan with a 3-0 defeat of Chris Mason.

The St Helens thrower, and avid rugby league fan, triumphed at the Robin Park Tennis Centre – just yards from the JJB Stadium, home of St Helens’ rivals Wigan Warriors.

Tabern, the world number 14, was in exceptional form to defeat Mason in the final, after earlier taking wins against Terry Jenkins, Mervyn King and Wayne Mardle.

Tabern defied a 140 finish from Mason to take the first set of the final 2-1 against the throw.

He led in the second before Mason landed a 13-darter to level, only for the local favourite to delight his supporters with a 161 finish to take the set – with his opponent waiting on 24.

Tabern stepped up a gear, landing two 140s and a maximum in a 13-darter to open the third set, and he landed another 180 to open the next before taking out double 16 at the first attempt for victory and the £5,000 winner’s cheque.

“That’s very pleasing,” said Tabern. “To win in Wigan is great – there’s a great rivalry in the rugby and it’s special, although I do want Wigan’s football team to do well!

“But for me this is a great win. It’s my first for exactly two years and it was very important in the Order of Merit because I had £4,000 coming off this weekend.”

He added: “Every game is hard, and I’ve had to play well to win this. If someone told me I’d defeat Mervyn King, Wayne Mardle and Chris Mason to win this I’d have snatched their hands off, but that’s what I’ve done.”

Mason was a 3-1 winner against Michael van Gerwen in the semis, and also knocked out world number three James Wade and Roland Scholten to reach his first final since November.

Mardle had earlier missed double 18 for a nine-darter during his win over Jelle Klaasen – whose fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort wired double 12 in his bid for a perfect leg, which boasts a £12,000 prize fund in Players Championship events.

Colin Lloyd and Peter Manley had also failed in nine-darter attempts on the eighth dart during the day.

Van Gerwen’s run to the last four followed his quarter-final appearance in the Blue Square UK Open Southern Regional Final a fortnight ago.

Mardle included Ronnie Baxter and Colin Lloyd among his victims en route to the semis, with Baxter edging out Phil Taylor in the last 16.

Dennis Priestley reached the last 16 on his return to action after a prostate cancer operation in January, coming from 2-0 down to win against fellow Yorkshireman Chris Thompson in the last 32 before losing to Scholten.

Wade, Terry Jenkins and Andy Hamilton were other players from the world’s top ten to fall in the last 16, with Kevin Dowling among the quarter-finalists following a fine day.

North-West Players Championship
Preliminary Round
Matt Clark 3-0 Jason Crawley
Brendan Dolan 3-1 Darren Moulsley
Dave Smith 3-1 Kevin Harris
Steve Cusick Bye (Richie Burnett)
Louis Blundell 3-0 Sean Dowling
James Keogh 3-0 Peter Edmonds
John Ferrell 3-0 David Platt
Taro Yachi 3-0 Jim Leighton
Jelle Klaasen 3-2 Andy Howarth
Darren Johnson 3-0 Alan Reynolds
Robert Watson-Lang 3-2 Jamie Caven
Dennis Smith 3-1 Alan Green
Mick Savvery 3-0 Danny King
Joey Palfreyman 3-0 Jon Archer
Lee Holden 3-2 Darren Green
Tom Martin 3-2 Mark Carter
Mark Lawrence 3-0 Jimmy Mann
Frazer Hill 3-1 Dave Ladley
Wayne Atwood 3-1 Paul Williams
Steve Musson 3-1 Gary Barnett
Dan Cook 3-1 Darren Whittingham
Owen Caffrey 3-2 Jamie Robinson
Darren Latham 3-1 Lyndon Davies
Jamie Harvey 3-2 Rico Vonck
Pat Orreal 3-2 Richard Foster
Gary Mawson 3-0 Andy Mason
Kevin McDine 3-0 Gary Blades
Lee Williams 3-1 Alan Caves
Tony Ayres 3-0 Chris Daglish
Gary Welding 3-2 Lee White
Matt Jackson 3-1 Ken Dobson
Shayne Burgess 3-0 Kieran Leal
Jonathan Overton Bye (Andy Gourlay)
John Kuczynski 3-1 Sean White
Simon Whatley 3-1 Gary Noonan
Chris Thompson 3-0 Ricky Williams
Tony Eccles 3-0 Matt Chapman
Ian Joling 3-0 Peter Aleman
Mark Tiller 3-0 Richard Plowman
Michael Smith 3-1 Jim Young
Lee Palfreyman 3-0 Andy Pearson
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Tony Littleton
Stephen Hardy 3-0 Steve Grubb
Nick Fulwell 3-0 Russell Mason
Dale Pinch 3-1 Paul Anthony
Kevin Dowling 3-1 Kelvin Painter
Mark Frost 3-1 Nigel Birch
Richard McLaughlin 3-1 Ben Burton

First Round
Phil Taylor 3-1 Martyn Turner
Matt Clark 3-0 Ian Critchett
Brendan Dolan 3-0 Alan Warriner-Little
Dave Smith 3-0 Brian Jones
Ronnie Baxter 3-0 Aaron Monk
Steve Cusick 3-1 Chris Cooper
Louis Blundell 3-1 Colin Osborne
James Keogh 3-1 Ian Lever
Wayne Mardle 3-1 Scott Marsh
John Ferrell 3-1 Kevin Reade
Alex Roy 3-1 Taro Yachi
Jelle Klaasen 3-0 Tom Wilson
Colin Lloyd 3-1 Jason Barry
Darren Johnson 3-0 Peter Walford
Robert Watson-Lang 3-0 Wes Newton
Dennis Smith 3-0 Chris Sargeant
Ben Simpson Bye (Adrian Lewis)
Mick Savvery 3-1 Ian Walters
Mark Walsh 3-1 Joey Palfreyman
Steve Brown 3-1 Lee Holden
Barrie Bates Bye (Mark Jones)
Tom Martin 3-2 Pete Allen
Mervyn King 3-0 Mark Lawrence
Frazer Hill 3-1 Stuart Holden
Terry Jenkins 3-0 Paul Cooper
Wayne Atwood 3-0 Steve Maish
Steve Musson 3-0 Adrian Gray
Martin Burchell 3-1 Dan Cook
Alan Tabern 3-2 John Quantock
Owen Caffrey 3-0 Jimmy O’Regan
Kirk Shepherd 3-2 Darren Latham
Jamie Harvey 3-2 Chris Beeston
James Wade 3-0 Danny Pinhorne
Michael Barnard 3-2 Pat Orreal
Gary Mawson 3-1 Dave Askew
Kevin McDine 3-0 Robbie Newland
Denis Ovens 3-0 Colin Monk
Garry Spedding 3-1 Lee Williams
Chris Mason 3-0 Tony Ayres
Gary Welding 3-1 Steve Lane
Roland Scholten 3-0 Dave Ansell
Darren Sutton 3-2 Matt Jackson
Shayne Burgess 3-1 Mick McGowan
Jonathan Overton 3-2 Karl Loiseau
Dennis Priestley 3-2 Dave Honey
John Kuczynski 3-1 John MaGowan
Vincent van der Voort 3-2 Simon Whatley
Chris Thompson 3-0 Carlos Rodriguez
Andy Hamilton 3-0 Lionel Sams
Steve Smith 3-1 Tony Eccles
Steve Beaton 3-0 Ian Jopling
Mark Tiller 3-1 Ian Eames
Peter Manley 3-1 Peter Wright
Steve Hine 3-2 Michael Smith
Lee Palfreyman 3-2 Andy Smith
Michael van Gerwen 3-2 Mark Jodrill
John Part 3-0 Scott Kirchner
Stephen Hardy 3-1 Bob Crawley
Wayne Jones 3-0 Nick Fulwell
Steve Evans 3-2 Dale Pinch
Darrell Thorpe 3-2 Kevin Painter
Kevin Dowling 3-0 Graeme Stoddart
Mark Frost 3-1 Mark Dudbridge
Darrell Townsend 3-2 Richard McLaughlin

Second Round
Phil Taylor 3-0 Matt Clark
Brendan Dolan 3-0 Dave Smith
Ronnie Baxter 3-0 Steve Cusick
Louis Blundell 3-0 James Keogh
Wayne Mardle 3-0 John Ferrell
Jelle Klaasen 3-0 Alex Roy
Colin Lloyd 3-1 Darren Johnson
Dennis Smith 3-2 Robert Watson-Lang
Mick Savvery 3-0 Ben Simpson
Mark Walsh 3-1 Steve Brown
Tom Martin 3-2 Barrie Bates
Mervyn King 3-0 Frazer Hill
Terry Jenkins 3-0 Wayne Atwood
Martin Burchell 3-0 Steve Musson
Alan Tabern 3-0 Owen Caffrey
Kirk Shepherd 3-0 Jamie Harvey
James Wade 3-2 Michael Barnard
Gary Mawson 3-1 Kevin McDine
Garry Spedding 3-0 Denis Ovens
Chris Mason 3-0 Gary Welding
Roland Scholten 3-1 Darren Sutton
Shayne Burgess 3-2 Jonathan Overton
Dennis Priestley 3-1 John Kuczynski
Chris Thompson 3-1 Vincent van der Voort
Andy Hamilton 3-1 Steve Smith
Steve Beaton 3-0 Mark Tiller
Peter Manley 3-1 Steve Hine
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Lee Palfreyman
Stephen Hardy 3-1 John Part
Steve Evans 3-2 Wayne Jones
Kevin Dowling 3-2 Darrell Thorpe
Mark Frost 3-2 Darrell Townsend
Losers £75

Third Round
Phil Taylor 3-0 Brendan Dolan
Ronnie Baxter 3-2 Louis Blundell
Wayne Mardle 3-2 Jelle Klaasen
Colin Lloyd 3-2 Dennis Smith
Mark Walsh 3-2 Mick Savvery
Mervyn King 3-1 Tom Martin
Terry Jenkins 3-2 Martin Burchell
Alan Tabern 3-0 Kirk Shepherd
James Wade 3-0 Gary Mawson
Chris Mason 3-1 Garry Spedding
Roland Scholten 3-0 Shayne Burgess
Dennis Priestley 3-2 Chris Thompson
Andy Hamilton 3-2 Steve Beaton
Michael van Gerwen 3-2 Peter Manley
Steve Evans 3-2 Stephen Hardy
Kevin Dowling 3-2 Mark Frost
Losers £150

Fourth Round
Ronnie Baxter 3-2 Phil Taylor
Wayne Mardle 3-2 Colin Lloyd
Mervyn King 3-1 Mark Walsh
Alan Tabern 3-2 Terry Jenkins
Chris Mason 3-1 James Wade
Roland Scholten 3-0 Dennis Priestley
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Andy Hamilton
Kevin Dowling 3-2 Steve Evans
Losers £300

Wayne Mardle 3-0 Ronnie Baxter
Alan Tabern 3-1 Mervyn King
Chris Mason 3-1 Roland Scholten
Michael van Gerwen 3-0 Kevin Dowling
Losers £600

Alan Tabern 3-1 Wayne Mardle
Chris Mason 3-1 Michael van Gerwen
Losers £1,250

Alan Tabern 3-0 Chris Mason (2-1, 2-1, 2-0)
Winner £5,000
Runner-Up £2,500

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