Players Championship Finals: Peter Wright wins title in Minehead ahead of World Darts Championship
World No 2 Peter Wright, runner-up at last week's Grand Slam of Darts, wins the Players Championship Finals with a last-leg victory over Ryan Searle in Minehead; Ted Evetts is crowned World Youth Champion for the first time
Last Updated: 29/11/21 6:22am
Peter Wright claimed the Players Championship Finals thanks to a dramatic last-leg victory over Ryan Searle in Minehead.
Wright, who had earlier beat defending champion Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals, dug deep to deliver a nail-biting 11-10 win, taking out 62 to pick up the last silverware before the World Championship and the £100,000 star prize.
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'Snakebite' had almost been made to pay for inexplicably busting a 129 checkout when aiming to clinch the title - hitting double 10 after needing 12 before crowd favourite Searle, playing in his first major TV final, responded to finish off 103 and close back to 10-9.
After Wright sunk another match dart chance into the 25 when on the bull to take out 132, Searle landed double seven to make sure the contest went the distance.
He piled the pressure on Wright with a visit of 177 to leave 24 for the title, but the Scot held his nerve with a match-winning 62 checkout, pinning double 16 with his last dart.
Busting 129 for a major title... then still coming back to win it.— Dan Dawson (@DanDartsDawson) November 28, 2021
"It's the only final I've never played in, I enjoyed it," said Wright. "I knew it was going to be a tough game against Ryan; it's taken a little while for him to settle and show what he can do on TV. He's an immense player.
"In the second half of the match I was going at Ryan's pace and I was thinking 'I'm running out of energy here'. I took a breather and lucky enough I got through.
"The guys who normally do well in this tournament do okay in the next one so it's nice to do well in this one.
"Obviously, I've got to back my big mouth up because I said I'm going to win the Worlds, so I've got to get back on the practice board and make sure I'm sharp. I believe I will be World Champion come January 3."
Searle's run to the final will see him move up into the world's top 16.
"Fair play to Peter, he took out the double there and he fully deserved that," Searle said. "I have learned a lot from this experience and we move forward from here."
Ted Evetts was crowned World Youth Champion for the first time after defeating Nathan Rafferty 6-4 in the final.
Competing in the event for the seventh and final time, the 24-year-old came back from 3-1 down to lift the title at Butlin's Minehead Resort.
Evetts, who had already secured qualification for the World Championship via the ProTour Order of Merit, also receives the £10,000 winners' prize.
2021 Players Championship Finals
Sunday November 28
Brendan Dolan 10-4 Jose de Sousa
Ryan Searle 10-9 Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright 10-6 Michael van Gerwen
Jonny Clayton 10-3 Vincent van der Voort
Ryan Searle 11-6 Brendan Dolan
Peter Wright 11-6 Jonny Clayton
Peter Wright 11-10 Ryan Searle