ROBERT THORNTON defeated Dennis Priestley 6-5 in the final of Saturday’s Scottish Players Championship.

The local star took the £6,000 first prize in Irvine with a resilient display in the final to edge out the two-time World Champion.

Thornton ended the hopes of new Scottish rival Gary Anderson, on his PDC debut, and also defeated Mark Frost, fellow Scot Jamie Harvey and Colin Monk in reaching the quarter-finals, where he edged past Wayne Jones 6-5.

He then powered to a 6-2 victory against Tony Eccles to reach the final, which proved a close affair.

The game’s first five legs went with the throw to leave Thornton 3-2 up, and a break put the Stevenson star two legs clear.

Priestley hit 180s in the next two legs in levelling, but Thornton took out a two-dart 96 finish to move a leg away from the win.

Another 180 from Priestley, his fourth of the final, helped him to a 14-darter as the game went into a decider.

Priestley landed another maximum to open the final leg, but scores of 135 and 140 pushed Thornton to a finish, and he took out 68 in two darts for the win.

“I’m over the moon,” said Thornton. “It means a lot to win in front of my family and friends in Irvine and it’s a great moment in my career.

“It was a really tough day and Dennis never gave in but I got there in the final leg.”

He added: “It’s great that Gary Anderson’s joined the PDC but it was nice to get first blood in our battle to be the Scottish number one!”

Anderson defeated Chris Mason, Colin McGarry and Sean Palfrey to reach the last 16 in his first PDC Pro Tour event since joining the PDC last month.

Priestley returned from a month’s break to reach his first final since October with a typically gritty display.

He enjoyed 6-4 wins against Owen Caffrey, John MaGowan and Michael van Gerwen, went to a deciding leg against Jamie Caven and James Wade and then saw off Andy Smith 6-2 in the semis.

Smith followed up his Players Championship win in Scotland 18 months ago by reaching the semis, whitewashing Andy Jenkins in the last 16 and also defeating Mark Webster, Mervyn King and Ronnie Baxter on the day.

Eccles’ semi-final appearance was his best run since August as his recovery from an elbow problem continued.

He defeated world number five Terry Jenkins, Denis Ovens and Steve Hine on the day, before going down to Thornton.

Wade, the world number two, had come from 5-2 down to level against Priestley before paying the penalty for a missed dart at double top for the win.

Scottish Players Championship
Preliminary Round
Andy Relf 6-3 Lionel Sams
John Part 6-2 Jim Leighton
Mick McGowan 6-0 Gary Storey
Mark Webster 6-3 Barrie Bates
Ian Lilley 6-3 Jimmy Dunlop

First Round
Board One
Alan Tabern (1) 6-0 Steve Grubb
John Quantock 6-3 Ian Jopling
Jelle Klaasen (32) 6-4 Paul Nicholson
Ian Lever 6-5 Steve Brown
Board Two
Adrian Lewis (16) 6-2 Chris Thompson
Ken Dobson 6-2 Steve Perkins
Wayne Jones (17) 6-2 Brendan Dolan
Mark Lawrence 6-3 Geoff Wylie
Board Three
Colin Lloyd (8) 6-3 Kevin Dowling
Sean Palfrey 6-4 Larry Butler
Gary Anderson 6-3 Chris Mason (25)
Colin McGarry 6-3 Andy Relf
Board Four
Robert Thornton (9) 6-4 Mark Frost
Jamie Harvey 6-5 Ricky Williams
Colin Monk 6-2 Steve Maish (24)
Peter Wright 6-4 Chris Daglish
Board Five
Colin Osborne (5) 6-3 Rocco Maes
Arron Monk 6-5 Dave Ladley
Matt Clark (28) 6-0 Graeme Stoddart
John Part 6-2 Danny Pinhorne
Board Six
Mark Walsh (12) 6-1 Peter Aleman
Tony Ayres 6-3 Richard Foster
Steve Hine 6-3 Wayne Mardle (21)
Mark Jodrill 6-2 Russell Mason
Board Seven
Terry Jenkins (4) 6-0 Andrew Davies
Alan Warriner-Little 6-5 Andy Callaby
Tony Eccles (29) 6-4 Bryan de Hoog
Mick McGowan 6-1 Dylan Duo
Board Eight
Denis Ovens (13) 6-3 Louis Blundell
Dave Honey 6-5 Chris White
Alex Roy (20) 6-4 Kirk Shepherd
Martyn Turner 6-2 Garry Spedding
Board Nine
James Wade (2) 6-1 Chris Loudon
Jonathan Overton 6-3 Jacko Barry
Anastasia Dobromyslova 6-4 Kevin McDine (31)
Gary Mawson 6-0 Ian Eames
Board Ten
Vincent van der Voort (15) 6-2 Dyson Parody
Wayne Atwood 6-3 Joe Cullen
Peter Manley (18) 6-2 Simon Craven
Chris Cooper 6-2 Ian Perkins
Board 11
Dennis Priestley (7) 6-4 Owen Caffrey
John MaGowan 6-3 Michael Barnard
Michael van Gerwen (26) 6-2 Geoff Whitworth
Dennis Smith 6-2 Stephen Hardy
Board 12
Andy Hamilton (10) 6-2 Nick Fullwell
John Jenkinson 6-4 Jon Archer
Jamie Caven (23) 6-2 Pete Allen
David Fatum 6-5 Dave Ansell
Board 13
Mervyn King (6) 6-0 James Barton
Kevin Harris 6-2 Robert Watson-Lang
Andy Smith (27) 6-3 Dave Askew
Mark Webster 6-1 Darren Latham
Board 14
Jan van der Rassel 6-4 Mark Dudbridge (11)
Par Riihonen 6-3 Ray Farrell
Andy Jenkins (22) 6-2 Stuart Bousfield
Michael Smith 6-1 John Kuczynski
Board 15
Ronnie Baxter (3) 6-4 Adrian Gray
Lee Williams 6-2 Jim Withers
Wes Newton (30) 6-5 Darren Johnson
Ben Burton 6-4 Ian Lilley
Board 16
Kevin Painter (14) 6-2 Alan Caves
Danny King 6-5 Dave Smith
Steve Beaton (19) 6-1 Paul Knighton
Dennis Zijderhand 6-1 Stuart Holden

Second Round
Alan Tabern 6-5 John Quantock
Jelle Klaasen 6-0 Ian Lever
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Ken Dobson
Wayne Jones 6-4 Mark Lawrence
Sean Palfrey 6-5 Colin Lloyd
Gary Anderson 6-4 Colin McGarry
Robert Thornton 6-2 Jamie Harvey
Colin Monk 6-5 Peter Wright
Arron Monk 6-4 Colin Osborne
John Part 6-1 Matt Clark
Tony Ayres 6-4 Mark Walsh
Steve Hine 6-5 Mark Jodrill
Terry Jenkins 6-3 Alan Warriner-Little
Tony Eccles 6-2 Mick McGowan
Denis Ovens 6-2 Dave Honey
Martyn Turner 6-5 Alex Roy
James Wade 6-3 Jonathan Overton
Gary Mawson 6-1 Anastasia Dobromyslova
Wayne Atwood 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Peter Manley 6-2 Chris Cooper
Dennis Priestley 6-4 John MaGowan
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Dennis Smith
Andy Hamilton 6-0 John Jenkinson
Jamie Caven 6-1 David Fatum
Mervyn King 6-1 Kevin Harris
Andy Smith 6-3 Mark Webster
Jan van der Rassel 6-4 Par Riihonen
Andy Jenkins 6-4 Michael Smith
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 Lee Williams
Wes Newton 6-1 Ben Burton
Kevin Painter 6-0 Danny King
Steve Beaton 6-2 Dennis Zijderhand
Losers £200

Third Round
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Alan Tabern
Wayne Jones 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson 6-3 Sean Palfrey
Robert Thornton 6-0 Colin Monk
Arron Monk 6-5 John Part
Steve Hine 6-1 Tony Ayres
Tony Eccles 6-3 Terry Jenkins
Denis Ovens 6-1 Martyn Turner
James Wade 6-5 Gary Mawson
Peter Manley 6-4 Wayne Atwood
Dennis Priestley 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Jamie Caven 6-3 Andy Hamilton
Andy Smith 6-3 Mervyn King
Andy Jenkins 6-3 Jan van der Rassel
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 Wes Newon
Steve Beaton 6-4 Kevin Painter
Losers £300

Fourth Round
Wayne Jones 6-5 Jelle Klaasen
Robert Thornton 6-3 Gary Anderson
Steve Hine 6-0 Arron Monk
Tony Eccles 6-5 Denis Ovens
James Wade 6-2 Peter Manley
Dennis Priestley 6-5 Jamie Caven
Andy Smith 6-0 Andy Jenkins
Ronnie Baxter 6-1 Steve Beaton
Losers £400

Quarter-Finals
Robert Thornton 6-5 Wayne Jones
Tony Eccles 6-1 Steve Hine
Dennis Priestley 6-5 James Wade
Andy Smith 6-3 Ronnie Baxter
Losers £800

Semi-Finals
Robert Thornton 6-2 Tony Eccles
Dennis Priestley 6-2 Andy Smith
Losers £1,500

Final
Robert Thornton 6-5 Dennis Priestley
Winner £6,000
Runner-Up £3,000

News Updates
Preliminary & First Rounds
Adrian Lewis races to 6-2 win over Chris Thompson in his opener.
Number one seed Alan Tabern whitewashes Steve Grubb.
James Wade opens his challenge for a second successive Irvine win – having been victorious last October – with 6-1 win over debutant Chris Loudon.
Vincent van der Voort wins 6-2 against Dyson Parody.
Mark Webster is a preliminary round winner against Barrie Bates.
Local star Robert Thornton wins 6-4 against Mark Frost.
Mick McGowan takes whitewash preliminary round win over Gary Storey.
John Part, Andy Relf and Ian Lilley are the other preliminary round winners.
Dennis Priestley returns to action with 6-4 defeat of Owen Caffrey.
Kevin Painter and Andy Hamilton open with wins, while Holland’s Jan van der Rassel is 6-4 winner against Mark Dudbridge.
Whyte & Mackay Premier Legaue Darts stars Mervyn King and Terry Jenkins open with whitewash wins.
Ken Dobson wins 6-2 against Steve Perkins.
Tony Ayres wins 6-3 against Richard Foster, and Wayne Atwood takes victory by the same scoreline against Joe Cullen.
Colin Osborne wins 6-3 against Rocco Maes, having missed double 18 for a nine-darter in one leg of his victory only to lose the leg to an 11-darter.
John Quantock will meet Tabern in round two after victory against Ian Jopling.
Colin Lloyd defeats Kev Dowling 6-3 to win through to last 64.
Scotland’s Jamie Harvey makes winning return to action with 6-5 win over Ricky Williams.
Ronnie Baxter takes 6-4 win over Adrian Gray, and John Jenkinson defeats Jon Archer by the same score.
Dave Honey takes a deciding leg win over America’s Chris White.
Kevin Harris hits finishes of 158 and 160 in final two legs of victory over Robert Watson-Lang.
Jelle Klaasen comes from 3-0 behind to defeat Paul Nicholson 6-4.
Alan Warriner-Little and Arron Monk move through to round two with 6-5 wins.
Sean Palfrey overcomes American ace Larry Butler 6-4.
Steve Beaton and Andy Jenkins are other first round winners.
Steve Hine lands finishes of 137, 160 and 99 in successive legs in defeating Wayne Mardle.
Lee Williams, Chris Cooper and Mark Jodrill all win to move through to last 64.
Anastasia Dobromyslova enjoys 6-4 win over Kevin McDine.
Mark Lawrence defeats Geoff Wylie 6-3, and Ian Lever takes narrow victory over Steve Brown.
Colin Monk enjoys 6-2 win over Steve Maish.
Dutch newcomer Dennis Zijderhand has a 6-1 win against Stuart Holden.
Gary Anderson makes a winning debut in the PDC with a 6-3 win over Chris Mason.
Michael Smith defeats John Kuczynski 6-1, while Wes Newton is deciding-leg winner against Darren Johnson.
Colin McGarry’s 6-3 win over Andy Relf earns him a clash with Gary Anderson.
Ben Burton wins 6-4 against Ian Lilley.

Second Round
Wayne Atwood moves through to last 32 with 6-4 win over Vincent van der Voort
Mark Walsh is defeated 6-4 by World Championship qualifier Tony Ayres.
Kevin Painter whitewashes Danny King to move into third round.
Adrian Lewis is 6-2 winner against Ken Dobson.
John Quantock hits a ten-darter in pushing Alan Tabern to a deciding leg before the St Helens man prevails.
Denis Ovens wins 6-2 against Dave Honey.
Terry Jenkins enjoys 6-3 win over Alan Warriner-Little.
Steve Beaton meets Kevin Painter in round three after 6-2 win over Dennis Zijderhand.
Robert Thornton lands a ten-darter in victory in all-Scottish tie with Jamie Harvey.
Jelle Klaasen races to whitewash win over Ian Lever.
Wayne Jones wins 6-4 against Mark Lawrence.
Martyn Turner comes from 5-1 to defeat Alex Roy 6-5.
Sean Palfrey wins an 11-leg game with Colin Lloyd to progress.
Dennis Priestley edges past John MaGowan 6-4, and Ronnie Baxter is 6-3 winner against Lee Williams.
Youngster Arron Monk defeats Colin Osborne 6-4.
Gary Anderson takes second win of the day with 6-4 defeat of Colin McGarry.

Third Round
Steve Hine is first board winner with 6-1 defeat of Tony Ayres.
Steve Beaton overcomes Kevin Painter 6-4.
Jelle Klaasen knocks out number one seed Alan Tabern 6-4 to progress.
Wayne Jones comes from 4-0 down to defeat Adrian Lewis 6-4.
Peter Manley wins deciding leg to defeat Wayne Atwood.
Denis Ovens takes 6-1 win over Martyn Turner to move through to last 16.
Jamie Caven progresses with 6-3 win over Andy Jamilton, and Andy Jenkins wins by the same scoreline against Jan van der Rassel.
Tony Eccles reaches fourth round with 6-3 win over Terry Jenkins.
Andy Smith moves into last 16 with 6-3 win over Mervyn King.
James Wade hits 11-darter, including two 180s, in a deciding leg win over Gary Mawson.
Ronnie Baxter sets up last 16 game with Beaton thanks to 6-3 win over Wes Newton.
Robert Thornton whitewashes Colin Monk to reach fourth round.
Dennis Priestley overcomes Michael van Gerwen 6-4.
Arron Monk edges out John Part 6-5, with the Canadian missing one match dart in the deciding leg.
Gary Anderson moves into last 16 with 6-3 win over Sean Palfrey, meaning he faces Scottish rival Robert Thornton.

Fourth Round
Andy Smith – a Scottish Players Championship winner in Irvine 18 months ago – is first man into the quarter-finals with 6-0 whitewash of Andy Jenkins.
Ronnie Baxter will meet Smith in quarters following his 6-1 defeat of Steve Beaton.
Tony Eccles wins in a deciding leg against Denis Ovens.
Wayne Jones edges past Jelle Klaasen 6-5 to progress to quarter-finals.
James Wade reaches last eight with 6-2 defeat of Peter Manley.
Arron Monk’s good run is brought to an abrupt end by Steve Hine, who whitewashes the youngster to move into the last eight.
Robert Thornton wins his second all-Scottish battle of the day, handing Gary Anderson a 6-3 defeat.
Dennis Priestley books quarter-final spot in a deciding leg battle with Jamie Caven, who hit two 180s in the final leg but missed one dart at double top for the win.

Quarter-Finals
Andy Smith reaches semi-final with 6-3 defeat of Ronnie Baxter.
Tony Eccles wins through to last four with 6-1 win over Steve Hine.
Robert Thornton hits a 13-darter in the deciding leg of his quarter-final with Wayne Jones to seal a narrow victory.
Dennis Priestley takes deciding leg win over James Wade, who came from 5-2 down to level only to miss one dart for the win before the two-time World Champion took out 103 for the match.

Semi-Finals
Robert Thornton wins through to his first final of the year with a 6-2 defeat of Tony Eccles.
Dennis Priestley’s successful return to action continues with 6-2 win over Andy Smith to set up an England-Scotland final.