PDC Darts: Ryan Searle becomes third 2020 Pro Tour winner
'Heavy Metal' the latest to triumph as Lisa Ashton enjoys best showing since joining PDC ranks
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 17/02/20 10:41am
Ryan Searle won the first ranking title of his career, beating Michael van Gerwen, Glen Durrant, Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price on the way to Players Championship Three.
The 32-year-old, nicknamed 'Heavy Metal', has enjoyed some stand-out displays at the World Championship in the last couple of years and a sensational performance saw him motor through a tough draw to claim his maiden title - beating world No 1 MVG in the final.
Van Gerwen, who has made a perfect start to his Premier League campaign with two wins from two matches, has yet to claim a title in 2020, having lost 8-6 in the Saturday showpiece, and he was quick to praise a visibly emotional Searle.
"I just can't believe it," said Searle. "It's extra special to beat Michael in the final, it's a dream. I've been practising a lot in my little man cave back home and playing out scenarios in my head - playing Michael in a final was one of them.
"When you get these chances you just have to take the opportunity and thankfully I did today. I think I let myself down a bit at the World Championship when I lost to Gary Anderson.
"I still don't think I've played my best, but I know what I can do.
"Nathan Aspinall beat me in the final of his first Players Championship win and look what's happened to him since then. Maybe it will be the same for me."
Congratulations to Ryan on winning today. You all know me and I hate losing especially in finals. Now time to rest and get ready for another day tomorrow.— Michael Van Gerwen (@MvG180) February 15, 2020
Fixtures, Night Three, Motorpoint Arena
|Peter Wright v Rob Cross|
|Jonny Clayton v Michael Smith|
|Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall|
|Daryl Gurney v Gerwyn Price|
|Glen Durrant v Gary Anderson|
Searle only secured his Tour card in January 2017, coming through the Challenge Tour to win his place among the elite, and the fact he is partially-sighted makes his achievements on the oche even more notable.
It was a first victory over Van Gerwen for Searle, who claims the £10,000 top prize, and helps him in his quest to feature in some of the year's televised ranking tournaments. His performance in Barnsley on Saturday will stand him in good stead.
The champion never averaged below 93 and was handed Price in his opening match, seeing off the double Grand Slam champion before beating Michael Barnard and Josh Payne to progress to a last 16 match with Michael Smith.
Searle sent Bully Boy packing with a 97.5 average and then accounted for three-time Lakeside champion Durrant in a last-leg shoot-out. A 7-5 victory over Jeffrey de Zwaan set up the final with Van Gerwen, who had beaten Peter Wright in the other semi-final.
In a see-saw final, Searle surged into a 3-0 lead, only for Van Gerwen to hit back with the next four, before the game settled until Searle's 13-dart leg gave him a 6-5 lead. With no further breaks a classy 13-dart leg sealed the biggest moment of the Devon man's career.
Players Championship 2020 - Winners
|One||Gary Anderson 8-4 Jeff Smith|
|Two||Nathan Aspinal 8-3 Gerwyn Price|
|Three||Ryan Searle 8-6 Michael van Gerwen|
Amazingly still in each PC event in 2020 so far— Carl Fletcher (@CarlyFletch) February 15, 2020
Price has lost to the winner
1 Anderson 3-6
2 Aspinall 3-8
3 Searle 4-6
Van Duijvenbode has lost to the RU
1 J.Smith 4-6
2 Price 4-7
3 MVG 2-6
Wright has lost to a finalist
1 J.Smith 5-6
2 Aspinall 4-6
3 MVG 3-7#PDCProTour #PC3 https://t.co/DvI97y3g9b
There were more notable feats, as Mensur Suljovic and Danny Noppert fired nine-dart legs during the day, remarkably the eighth and ninth perfect legs of the season, after just a few weeks of action.
Jonny Clayton warmed up for his Premier League debut in Cardiff on Thursday with a couple of victories, including a 104 average to sen Kai Fan Leung packing in the first round while Lisa Ashton enjoyed her best showing so far.
The Lancashire Rose became the first women to secure her Tour card at Q-School last month, and her first show last weekend saw her beaten in the first round on Saturday and the second on Sunday.
Having picked up another win during Friday's European Championship qualifiers - although it wasn't enough to secure a place in either field - Ashton was back in Barnsley on Saturday and claimed back-to-back wins for the first time.
She was hugely impressive in beating two-time world youth champion Dimitri Van den Bergh in the first round, and followed up by beating Adam Hunt, only to come up short against Krzysztof Ratajski.
The players return on Sunday for Players Championship Four before the Premier League returns on Thursday night at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Chris Dobey
Peter Wright 6-3 Joe Cullen
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Danny Noppert
Ryan Searle 6-5 Glen Durrant
Michael van Gerwen 7-3 Peter Wright
Ryan Searle 7-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Ryan Searle 8-6 Michael van Gerwen
Coverage of the Premier League continues on Thursday, February 20 in Cardiff at 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event with Jonny 'The Ferret' Clayton up against Michael Smith. Don't forget, the coverage continues every Thursday through until the Play-Offs in London on May 21.