GARY ANDERSON claimed the fourth major TV title of his career in style with a brilliant 11-6 win over Adrian Lewis in the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals last night. The number one seed for the event after winning seven PDC ProTour events during 2014, Anderson lived up to that billing to win his first televised event since the 2011 Premier League – when he also overcame Lewis in the final.
Having overcome the former and current Lakeside Champions in Christian Kist and Stephen Bunting on his way to Sunday’s final stages, Anderson then defeated Phil Taylor for the first time in a televised knockout match for seven years in the quarter-finals. He then overcame Holland’s Vincent van der Voort 11-7 in the semi-finals, despite the Dutchman hitting back from 10-3 down with four ton-plus finishes before Anderson finally sealed victory with a 103.86 average.
That display was followed by nine 180s in a fine display in the final as Anderson overcame world number three Lewis to claim the £65,000 first prize on a memorable St Andrew’s Day for the Scot. Anderson broke with a 14-darter in the final’s opening leg and also led 3-1 before Lewis hit back to level at three-all with a 96 checkout before the Stoke ace landed double eight to lead for the first – and only – time.
The Scot took the next five legs without reply in an unstoppable burst as he surged into an 8-3 lead, with Lewis taking out 124 on the bull in a run of three successive legs to reply. Anderson finished double four to regain his cushion before a 76 finish moved him 10-6 up, and he secured the title in style with a 118 checkout.
“I worked my heart out this year to get the number one seed and to be honest I’ve had probably the hardest draw that you could have had, so to win the tournament makes it very special,” said Anderson, who also returns to fourth on the PDC Order of Merit. “I got stuck in and did the business, and it’s nice to defeat Phil and go on to win the tournament because not too many players do that.
“In the semi-final against Vincent I needed one more leg and all of a sudden he took four ton-plus finishes out on me, and I was sweating a bit so I was glad to get past him. “I got off to a good start in the final too and it’s great to walk away with the trophy.” Lewis had won the UK Open in March on his most recent visit to Minehead, and followed up his deciding-leg quarter-final win over Jamie Caven on Sunday afternoon by landing eight 180s in his 11-6 semi-final win over Wes Newton.
He claimed £35,000 as the runner-up to Anderson, and said: “Gary finished number one in the rankings for this event and he deserved to win. “I dug in during the final but it just didn’t happen for me and he punished me for it, and fair play to Gary because he took his chances well. “After the week I’ve had – with my son being taken into hospital on Thursday – I’m lucky to be in the final, and I think I lost all my momentum when I got 8-2 up against Wes, and the quarter-final probably took a lot out of me.
“I’ll go back home now and get back on the practice board now and get ready for the World Championship.” Fleetwood ace Newton fell one game short of reaching his third major TV final as he failed to follow up his quarter-final win over Terry Jenkins by claiming another big-name scalp in the last four. Newton’s £17,000 prize money for the weekend, though, takes him back into the world’s top 16, but he said: “I didn’t come out of the blocks quickly enough and I made it too easy for Adrian early on really.
“He was 8-2 up and he was cruising, but it just didn’t happen for me and fair play to Adrian because he did what he had to do to win the game. “I can be proud of the weekend though because I’ve had a bad year but hopefully this can help spur me on for the World Championship now.” Van der Voort had opened the tournament with a whitewash of Andy Hamilton and also defeated Peter Wright and Dean Winstanley as he reached his first major ranking semi-final since 2008.
“I started very poorly, in the first ten legs I didn’t get into the game and it was a struggle for me,” said the Dutchman. “I tried my hardest but it wasn’t there tonight. “It’s difficult to play two matches in a day, but I have to learn from this and next time I have to be better. “It’s massive achievement for me to reach the semi-finals and hopefully I can build on this because I’m really happy with my game at the moment.”
The £300,000 tournament, shown live on ITV4, had seen over 4,000 fans pack the Butlins Minehead Resort to see the top 32 players from the 2014 PDC ProTour Order of Merit do battle. Following the success of the the event’s third staging at the venue, Cash Converters have extended their sponsorship for a further two years to cover the 2015 and 2016 Cash Converters Players Championship Finals alongside their ongoing partnership with the PDC.
“We are delighted to have Cash Converters as our Players Championship Finals sponsor for a further two years,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn. “They have been an integral part of the growth of darts with us over the last five years, and the Players Championship Finals is a great event at Butlins Minehead.” Richard Livesey, the Head of Marketing for Cash Converters in the UK, said: “We are delighted to announce the sponsorship of the 2015 and 2016 Cash Converters Players Championship.
“This weekend has become a focal point in the darts calendar as the final tournament of the year before the World Championship. Each and every year darts fans flock to Minehead and have a superb weekend and we feel privileged to be a part of it. “The sponsorship deal will see Cash Converters continue to be a massive part of the darts family and grow the brand in the UK and internationally.”
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Sunday November 30
(100.88) Adrian Lewis 10-9 Jamie Caven (97.89)
(94.03) Wes Newton 10-5 Terry Jenkins (86.90)
(94.48) Vincent van der Voort 10-8 Dean Winstanley (89.40)
(105.14) Gary Anderson 10-6 Phil Taylor (104.58)
(88.95) Wes Newton 6-11 Adrian Lewis (95.08)
(103.86) Gary Anderson 11-7 Vincent van der Voort (93.35)
(95.37) Adrian Lewis 11-6 Gary Anderson (101.01)