Chris Dobey capped off a remarkable day of darts by overcoming Josh Rock to clinch Monday’s Players Championship 7 title in Leicester.

Dobey became the seventh different winner in as many Players Championship events in 2024, running out an 8-4 winner against Rock on a day which featured a trio of nine-dart finishes.

The 33-year-old was one of three players to achieve perfection at the Mattioli Arena, before going on to register the second-highest average of his career in the semi-finals.

Earlier in the day, Dobey also landed a spectacular 170 checkout to triumph in a second round decider, and he didn’t look back from that point onwards, as he celebrated his fourth PDC title.

Dobey eased past Vincent van der Voort in his opener, before surviving match darts to end Mike De Decker’s hopes in an astonishing decider – sealing victory with the big fish finish.

The Bedlington star then achieved perfection during his third round demolition of Mickey Mansell, before averaging 106.71 to deny a superb Kim Huybrechts in a high-quality last 16 tussle.

In the quarter-finals, Dobey accounted for Daryl Gurney – who also landed a nine-darter earlier in the day – and a stunning 109.63 average propelled him to a 7-3 success against Ross Smith in the last four.

This set up a showdown against former World Youth Champion Rock, who made a bright start to establish a 3-1 cushion, despite a 108 checkout from Dobey in leg two.

However, the former Masters champion came roaring back to pocket the £15,000 top prize, winning seven of the last eight legs to secure his third Players Championship crown.

“I gave myself one task this year, which was to improve my floor game,” insisted Dobey, a runner-up at Players Championship 4 in February.

“I think I’ve done that so far [this year]. I’m playing well, I’m going into games feeling confident, and if you’re confident, you can go a long way.

“I’ve just plodded on today. The first game against Vincent was a struggle, but after that I played consistently well, and I’m delighted to come out the winner.

“I finally broke into the top 16 after the World Championship and the aim is to stay there now. The hard work starts now, so dedication is the key.”

Rock was unable to end his 18-month wait for a ranking title, although the Northern Irishman reaffirmed his credentials with a series of sparkling displays in the East Midlands.

The 22-year-old set the tone with a 107.97 average in his first round thumping of Darren Beveridge, which he backed up with impressive wins over Scott Williams and World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall.

Rock continued his progress with hard-fought 6-4 victories against Ryan Searle and Thibault Tricole, while a mid-game burst saw him sweep aside Luke Woodhouse in the semi-finals.

Woodhouse maintained his bright start to 2024 to pocket £5,000 in prize money, while Smith succumbed at the semi-final stage for a third consecutive Players Championship event.

The former European Champion won through deciding-leg ties against Masters champion Stephen Bunting and Premier League leader Luke Littler, only to crash out at the hands of an irrepressible Dobey.

It was also a landmark day for Thibault Tricole, who became the first French player to advance to the quarter-finals of a PDC ranking event.

Tricole kicked off Monday’s play with victory over his World Cup partner Jacques Labre, while later dumping out Krzysztof Ratajski and Damon Heta on his way to the last eight.

Ian White and Ryan Meikle also returned to form in Leicester, recording second round wins over Premier League duo Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith to reach the quarter-finals alongside nine-dart Gurney.

Elsewhere, just days after celebrating his 60th birthday, Steve Beaton struck the day’s other nine-dart leg in Leicester, albeit in a losing cause against James Hurrell.

Littler was the solitary Premier League star to progress beyond the third round stage on Monday, overturning a 5-4 deficit to edge out world number one Luke Humphries in a blockbuster third round contest.
Nine-Darters!
Steve Beaton hit a nine-darter during his first round tie against James Hurrell.
Daryl Gurney hit a nine-darter during his second round tie against Jeffrey de Graaf.
Chris Dobey hit a nine-darter during his third round tie against Mickey Mansell.

2024 Players Championship 7
Mattioli Arena, Leicester
Monday April 8
Last 16
Ross Smith 6-5 Luke Littler
Ryan Meikle 6-3 Chris Landman
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Ritchie Edhouse
Chris Dobey 6-3 Kim Huybrechts
Luke Woodhouse 6-3 Karel Sedlacek
Ian White 6-3 Brett Claydon
Thibault Tricole 6-5 Damon Heta
Josh Rock 6-4 Ryan Searle

Quarter-Finals
Ross Smith 6-4 Ryan Meikle
Chris Dobey 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Luke Woodhouse 6-3 Ian White
Josh Rock 6-4 Thibault Tricole

Semi-Finals
Chris Dobey 7-3 Ross Smith
Josh Rock 7-3 Luke Woodhouse

Final
Chris Dobey 8-4 Josh Rock

SOURCE-PDC

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