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PDC Players Championship Recap

Damon Heta produced a magnificent display to clinch his second ProTour title of the year, storming to an 8-4 victory against Ryan Joyce in Tuesday’s Players Championship 16 final at the Morningside Arena.

The Australian number one saved his best performance of the day for Tuesday’s decider, averaging 103 and landing six maximums to triumph.

The tournament preludes the PDC Boylesports World Grand Prix, taking place between 2-8 October at the Morningside Arena.

Heta overcame Owen Roelofs in his opener, before winning through deciding-leg ties against Owen Bates and Ricardo Pietreczko.

He then eased past Kevin Doets in the last 16, while convincing wins over James Wade and Joe Cullen saw him progress to his second ProTour final in the space of three events.

Joyce drew first blood in Tuesday’s final with a superb 12-dart hold, but Heta soon found his range, converting 104 and 102 finishes to level proceedings at three apiece.

The former World Cup winner then fired in a 12-dart break to hit the front in leg seven, sparking a run of three consecutive legs as he opened up a commanding 6-3 cushion.

Joyce stopped the rot with a 78 combination on tops to preserve his hopes, only for Heta to seal the deal in style, conjuring up back-to-back 11-darters to secure his fifth Players Championship crown.

Joyce, meanwhile, defeated four seeded stars to scoop the £8,000 runner-up prize, defeating former Lakeside champions Richie Burnett and Steve Beaton to kick off his campaign.

The 37-year-old averaged 102 to topple Beaton, and also claimed the scalps of Martin Schindler, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Jose de Sousa to reach his first PDC ranking final since July 2020.

Elsewhere, Cullen continued his fine form with a run to the semi-finals, defeating his World Matchplay opponent Mike De Decker and averaging 107 to demolish Daryl Gurney in the last 16.

De Sousa also impressed, coming through three last-leg shoot-outs and averaging 110 to stun Jonny Clayton in a remarkable quarter-final showdown.

Clayton was featuring in his second quarter-final in as many days, while Van Duijvenbode registered four consecutive ton-plus averages in his run to the last eight.

Elsewhere, UK Open champion Andrew Gilding defied a nine-dart finish from a superb Christian Kist to make the quarter-finals, where he was also joined by ten-time TV title winner James Wade.

Monday’s winner Luke Humphries suffered an opening round exit to Czech star Karel Sedlacek, while Rock, Chris Dobey and Gary Anderson were among the other first-round casualties.


Words: Josh Gorton

Image: PDC Darts


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