Robert Thornton edged a dramatic final against Ian White to win the sixth Players Championship of the year and claim his first title of 2014 at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.

The Scot found himself 4-2 and 5-4 down to the Stoke ace and survived match darts in the tenth leg of the final before triumphing in the decider.

Thornton began his run to the title with 6-3 win over David Pallett before recording a brace of 6-1 wins over Aden Kirk and Wayne Jones to claim his place in the last 16.

The Betway Premier League star then knocked out Andy Parsons 6-3 before edging out Richie Burnett 6-5 in a tight quarter-final encounter.

Thornton faced Phil Taylor in the semi-finals, and he started well by establishing a 3-0 advantage before Taylor won three of the next four legs to pull back to 4-3.

The next two legs were shared before Thornton took out a 76 finish to seal his place in the final, after Taylor had missed a dart at the bullseye to force a deciding leg.

Thornton also enjoyed a good start in the final against White by winning the first two legs, only for the Stoke thrower to race through the next four, hitting an 11-darter and two 14-dart-finishes in the process.

The Scotsman hit back to win the seventh leg with a fabulous 144 checkout before taking the eighth in 13 darts to level the game at four apiece and set up a tense finale.

White took out an 81 finish to win the ninth leg and edge back ahead, but missed six opportunities to close out the game in the next and Thornton capitalised to hit double eight and force a deciding leg.

Thornton held the advantage of throw in the final leg and two 140 scores put him clear, and he went on to hit double top to claim his first title of 2014 and the eighth of his PDC career.

White, a World Championship quarter-finalist at Alexandra Palace last Christmas, reached his second final in the space of three weeks, but once again fell at the last hurdle.

The 43-year-old claimed 6-2 wins over John Henderson and Joey Ten Berge to open the day before an excellent whitewash in the last 32 over Stuart Kellett continued his smooth progress.

White continued his excellent form as he dropped just three legs to Andrew Gilding and Vincent van der Voort before sealing a place in the final with a 6-1 win over Kyle Anderson, which featured a 141 checkout from the Stoke star.

In the final, White responded well to dropping the first two legs against Thornton by claiming the next four with some fabulous darts – including an 11-dart-finish in the fourth leg.

White, though, was left to rue six missed chances to win the match in the tenth leg as Thornton won the last two legs to steal the £10,000 first prize.

Following a second round exit to Scottish newcomer Jamie Bain in Saturday’s event, Phil Taylor showed some superb form in his run to the semi-finals 24 hours later.

The 16-time World Champion defeated five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 in a high-quality quarter-final encounter – ending with a 110.41 average to defy the Dutchman’s five 180s.

That put Taylor through to the last four, but his hopes of reaching a fourth final of the year were ended after a narrow 6-4 loss to eventual winner Thornton.

Australia’s Kyle Anderson, who created his own piece of World Championship history last Christmas with a fantastic nine-darter, produced a brilliant run to the semi-finals, his best result since securing a Tour Card in January.

The 26-year-old – now based in Nottingham after moving to the UK – claimed notable wins over experienced aces Darren Webster and Mark Walsh en route to the last eight, where he defeated seven-time major champion James Wade by a 6-3 margin.

That superb win put Anderson through to the last four, but his fantastic run ended there as he lost 6-1 to White, despite hitting a 140 checkout to win his only leg of the contest.

Van Barneveld and Wade reached the quarter-finals for a second consecutive day, while another Dutchman, Vincent van der Voort, reached his fourth quarter-final of 2014 after a strong display.

1995 Lakeside Champion Richie Burnett enjoyed his best result of the year with a fine run to the last eight, which included wins over Kirk Shepherd, Ronny Huybrechts and Wes Newton before narrowly losing to Thornton.

Bristol’s Andy Parsons enjoyed his run in a ProTour event since securing his Tour Card at the start of the year by reaching the last 16, while Wales’ Kevin Thomas matched his effort in the Dutch Darts Masters two months ago by progressing to the same stage.

Saturday’s winner Brendan Dolan lost his opening game to Stoke’s Mark Frost, while Michael van Gerwen suffered a first round exit for the first time in nearly two years after a 6-2 loss to Michael Barnard.

PDC Players Championship 6 Darts Results

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

Second Round
Ronny Huybrechts 6-1 Michael Barnard
Richie Burnett 6-5 Joe Cullen
Matt Clark 6-3 Martyn Turner
Wes Newton 6-5 Steve Brown
Andy Parsons 6-2 Mervyn King
Jamie Lewis 6-3 Dennis Priestley
Robert Thornton 6-1 Aden Kirk
Wayne Jones 6-4 Josh Payne
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Connie Finnan
Terry Jenkins 6-3 David Ladley
Phil Taylor 6-3 Ross Smith
Paul Nicholson 6-4 Dan Russell
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Denis Ovens
Terry Temple 6-4 Tony Newell
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Paul Amos
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Gerwyn Price
John Bowles 6-5 Gary Anderson
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Daryl Gurney
Justin Pipe 6-2 Colin Lloyd
Michael Smith 6-5 Keegan Brown
Chris Aubrey 6-3 Steve Beaton
Andrew Gilding 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Ian White 6-2 Joey Ten Berge
Stuart Kellett 6-2 James Hubbard
Peter Wright 6-4 Mareno Michels
Dean Winstanley 6-3 Arron Monk
Christian Kist 6-0 Michael Mansell
James Wade 6-0 Jamie Bain
Mark Walsh 6-5 Mark Frost
Kyle Anderson 6-5 Darren Webster
Kevin Thomas 6-5 Andy Hamilton
Ronnie Baxter 6-1 Glenn Spearing
Losers £250

Third Round
Richie Burnett 6-1 Ronny Huybrechts
Wes Newton 6-1 Matt Clark
Andy Parsons 6-5 Jamie Lewis
Robert Thornton 6-1 Wayne Jones
Terry Jenkins 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Phil Taylor 6-0 Paul Nicholson
Terry Temple 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 John Bowles
Michael Smith 6-4 Justin Pipe
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Chris Aubrey
Ian White 6-0 Stuart Kellett
Dean Winstanley 6-1 Peter Wright
James Wade 6-1 Christian Kist
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Mark Walsh
Kevin Thomas 6-5 Ronnie Baxter
Losers £500

Fourth Round
Richie Burnett 6-2 Wes Newton
Robert Thornton 6-3 Andy Parsons
Phil Taylor 6-3 Terry Jenkins
Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Terry Temple
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Michael Smith
Ian White 6-2 Andrew Gilding
James Wade 6-1 Dean Winstanley
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Kevin Thomas
Losers £1,000

Quarter-Finals
Robert Thornton 6-5 Richie Burnett
Phil Taylor 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Ian White 6-1 Vincent van der Voort
Kyle Anderson 6-3 James Wade
Losers £1,500

Semi-Finals
Robert Thornton 6-4 Phil Taylor
Ian White 6-1 Kyle Anderson
Losers £2,500

Final
Robert Thornton 6-5 Ian White
Winner £10,000
Runner-Up £5,000

Final – Leg-by-Leg
Robert Thornton v Ian White
1-0 – Both players hit 180s before Thornton takes out 32 on double four to hold throw in 15 darts as he wins the opening leg.
2-0 – The Scot lands double top to break White’s throw and increase his lead.
2-1 – White hits back with the aid of a second 180 before landing double four to break Thornton’s throw.
2-2 – White moves into a good rhythm as he hits scores of 140, 180 and 137 before taking out a 44 finish on double 16 for a brilliant 11-darter.
2-3 – The Stoke ace hits a fourth maximum, before hitting double 14 to win a third consecutive leg.
2-4 – White defies a 180 from Thornton as he takes out a 57 finish to move two legs clear.
3-4 – Thornton stops the rot as he converts a fantastic 144 checkout with White waiting on a two-darter.
4-4 – White hits a sixth 180, but four ton-plus scores from Thornton see him leave 24 after 12 darts, and he hits double 12 at the first attempt to level.
4-5 – Thornton posts a trio of 140 scores to leave 40 after 12 darts, only for White to take out an 81 finish after hitting another 180 in his previous visit.
5-5 – The tension shows as White wastes six chances to win the match, and Thornton sets up a deciding leg as he hits double eight.
6-5 – Thornton hits two 140 scores and goes on to hit double top for a 13-dart finish to snatch the £10,000 winners prize.

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