Whitlock & Van Gerwen continue dominance
It was a big weekend in the PDC away from the television cameras as two crucial Players Championship tournaments took place in Crawley, as did the final pair of Youth Tour events.
The winners of the two Players Championships events were of little surprise as two players in the form of their lives took home the £6,000 winners’ cheques on Saturday and Sunday.
Simon Whitlock and Michael van Gerwen were 10/1 joint favourites to win the events in Crawley and they duly won one each to continue their unbelievably successful autumns. The pair have shared the European Championship, World Grand Prix, Dutch Darts Masters and now six Players Championships events since the start of September, an incredible spell of dominance from the pair.
Of course qualification for the major tournaments are guaranteed for members of the world’s top 10 like the Wizard and Mighty Mike, but for those further down the Order of Merit, these final few Players Championships are crucial for getting them to the Alexandra Palace.
One man who has all but guaranteed his place there thanks to his performances at the weekend is Dennis Priestley whose sensational run to the final of Saturday’s event earned him £3,000 which rockets him up the Pro Tour Order of Merit.
The Menace was precariously placed in the 16th and final qualifying position from the Pro Tour but his series of victories puts him much more comfortably inside the top 16 as he moves as high as ninth of the players outside the world’s top 32 on the Pro Tour Order of Merit.
Apart from the impressive work of the two-time world champion, the other results were reasonably predictable as Whitlock and van Gerwen reached semi-finals on both days, as did Ian White who is incredibly now eighth on the Pro Tour Order of Merit and guaranteed a place at the worlds. None of the seeded players will want to face the Diamond in December who has his sights set on a place in the top 32 himself.
The Youth Tour events were also significant in terms of qualification for the Grand Slam of Darts starting this coming Saturday. The highest ranked player on this year’s Youth Tour wins a place at the Wolverhampton based tournament and Arron Monk’s two wins over the weekend have guaranteed him that spot. The pair of victories saw him top the rankings by £975 from Michael Smith and the Mad Monk will return to the Grand Slam for the third year running. The 22-year-old is yet to win a match at the competition, but his odds will be shorter than ever this time around.
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