Luke Humphries came through the field at the first Players Championship of 2022 and won his first-ever event on the ProTour defeating Ryan Searle 8-4 in the final averaging 100.55 in his victory. Humphries, who reached the final of the UK open last year losing to James Wade so will be relieved to get over the line and win his first event on the tour.
Humphries impressed on an opening day in Barnsley in a run that saw him edge out Grand Prix and Winmau sponsored star Daryl Gurney. Gurney wasn’t the only player associated with the new Premier League board sponsor that “Cool Hand” managed to beat, with a 6-5 victory against Premier League newcomer Joe Cullen in the quarter-finals despite The Rockstar averaging 101.69.
Peter Wright managed to continue his good form in Event 1 managing to reach the semi-finals losing to runner-up Ryan Searle 7-5 despite averaging 102.73 in the process. Wright still however managed to better the result of Gerwyn Price strengthening his pursuit of becoming world number one in the PDC after “The Iceman” lost in the last 64 against fellow Welshman Jim Williams 6-4 in Barnsley.
Jonny Clayton again saw his run in a PDC event halted by the ever-impressive Snakebite losing 6-0 with the Scotsman averaging a very impressive 107.36. Clayton did manage to record wins against Boris Krcmar and Mervyn King in the previous rounds including a 101.32 average against Krcmar.
Joe Cullen met Dave Chisnall in a repeat of The Masters final which the Bradford darting star won guaranteeing his spot in the Premier League. Cullen repeated the trick in Barnsley where he defeated Chisnall 6-0 with “The Rockstar” averaging 106.09 in the last 16.
Cullen also managed to average 100.13 in his last 64 match against Latvian Madars Razma in Barnsley, responding well after losing in his Premier League debut on Thursday to Jonny Clayton.
Elsewhere Jason Lowe managed to impress in the last 64 as he averaged 105.05 against five-time world champion Raymond Van Barneveld which saw the Englishman win 6-2 with a very impressive performance.
Peter Wright continued from where he left off in the Premier League by winning the second Players Championship event of the weekend beating world number one Gerwyn Price 8-5 in the final in Barnsley.
Wright came through the 128-man field at players producing averages of 104.58 in his 7-3 semi-final victory over Damon Heta and a 101.36 average in a 6-4 victory over Lee Evans.
Wright, as a result, moved closer to achieving his dream of reaching world number one with the Scotsman now £5,500 behind Price in ranking money earnt.
Both players will be in action on night 2 of the Premier League in Liverpool. Price will be looking to bounce back when he takes on Gary Anderson whilst Wright will open the action in Liverpool when he takes on world number three Michael Van Gerwen.
Gerwyn Price despite losing the final still managed some eye-raising performances including averages of over 103 in three matches in a row when in wins against Red Dragon stable mate Ross Montgomery, Gordon Mathers and Steven Burton.
Luke Humphries put in another strong performance making him one of the highest earners from the opening Pro Tour weekend, reaching the last 16 in event 2, narrowly missing out to Niels Zonneveld 6-4.
Elsewhere, one of the Pro Tour’s up and coming stars put in a good performance with Ryan Meikle reaching the last 16.
Meikle came up short against Croatia’s Boris Krcmar in a 6-0 (L16) defeat in Barnsley but managed to get past former world matchplay champion Dimitri van den Bergh in the first round with a 6-0 victory averaging 95.94. “The Barber” also beat “Hollywood” Chris Dobey in the last 32.
Ross Montgomery also had a good run in the second event on the Sunday with a run to the last 32 after earning his spot in Q school in January. The Boss came up against and in form Gerwyn Price which ended the Scots campaign, but he had managed wins over Nick Fulwell and stablemate David Evans in the previous rounds.
The Players Championship returns on the 12th and 13th of February in Wigan next week where many will be looking to move up the rankings in order to qualify for the major events later in the year.
Words: Harry Masterson
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