Ryan Searle scooped his third PDC ranking title with a superb 8-3 success against Nathan Aspinall in Sunday’s Players Championship 11 final in Barnsley.
Searle secured a PDC ProTour title for a third successive year by ending a run of three successive defeats in Players Championship deciders with a brilliant performance to see off Aspinall.
He also had to settle for the runner-up prize in November’s Players Championship Finals in Minehead, but claimed the £12,000 top prize to conclude this weekend’s treble-header in Barnsley.
Searle was pushed all the way in his opening four games, defeating Dutch duo Jimmy Hendriks and Jeffrey de Zwaan in a deciding leg and Alan Soutar and Gordon Mathers by a 6-4 scoreline.
He then whitewashed Josh Rock in the quarter-finals before seeing his semi-final tie with Rob Cross go all the way, as an 11-darter moved Searle into the final.
Searle stormed into leads of 3-0 and 5-2, finishing 120 and 103 in the process and also landing an 11-dart leg.
Aspinall, seeking his first ranking title for two years, took out 124 to hit back in leg eight – only to see Searle check out the same finish in the next to restore breathing space before closing out the win.
“It’s really pleasing and I saved my best game for the final,” said Searle.
“It’s a frustrating game! For the last two days I’ve been playing really well and losing out, and today I started really badly but I got there eventually.
“I scraped through a couple of games but got myself together and played alright after that. I was up for that final – I’ve lost four in a row and there was no way I was losing that today.
“I didn’t care what Nathan was going to hit, I was going to beat him. That was the way I felt and I think that’s the way I need to feel more often.
“It is frustrating but I’m pretty laid back and sometimes I’m not up enough for the final – I’m just happy to be there – and I’m trying to change that.
“I want to stay in the top 16 and get even higher. I feel like if I play my game I can beat anyone.”
Aspinall’s run was his best since November, as he continues his return to action following a spell out of competition with a wrist problem earlier this year.
The former UK Open champion produced some sublime darts on Sunday, averaging 109.73 in a win over Ryan Joyce, 104 to defeat Jose de Sousa and 105.83 in his 7-5 semi-final win over Dave Chisnall.
Chisnall was a semi-finalist for the second time in three events this weekend as he continued his bid for a first title of 2022.
Cross, meanwhile, reached his third ranking semi-final inside a month with a run which included four successive ton-plus averages on Sunday.
Northern Ireland’s emerging youngster Rock claimed a memorable 6-4 win over world number two Gerwyn Price in the last 16 as he reached his second Players Championship quarter-final.
Masters champion Cullen, Vincent van der Voort and Callan Rydz also won through to the last eight.
The day also saw Madars Razma achieve a nine-dart finish against Michael Unterbuchner, although the Latvian ace lost the second round tie 6-1.
The PDC ProTour season continues next weekend, with a double-header of Tour Card Holder Qualifiers for European Tour events followed by Players Championships 12 and 13 in Barnsley.
Coverage from both Players Championships will be streamed live through PDCTV and bookmakers’ websites worldwide, including action from two streams simultaneously.
2022 Players Championship 11
Sunday April 3, Barnsley Metrodome
Josh Rock 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Ryan Searle 6-4 Gordon Mathers
Joe Cullen 6-4 James Wade
Rob Cross 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Steve Beaton
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Ian White
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Jose de Sousa
Callan Rydz 6-5 Eddie Lovely
Ryan Searle 6-0 Josh Rock
Rob Cross 6-5 Joe Cullen
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Vincent van der Voort
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Callan Rydz
Ryan Searle 7-6 Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall 7-5 Dave Chisnall
Ryan Searle 8-3 Nathan Aspinall
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