Dirk van Duijvenbode clinched his second ProTour title of 2023 with a superb 8-4 success against Ryan Searle in Sunday’s Players Championship 6 final at the Barnsley Metrodome.

Van Duijvenbode defeated Searle to triumph at Players Championship 4 last month, and the Dutchman enjoyed a repeat performance to become the first player to celebrate multiple ProTour titles this year. 

The 30-year-old relinquished just five legs in reaching the semi-finals, before overcoming top seed Luke Humphries and Searle to scoop the £12,000 top prize and move top of the Players Championship Order of Merit.

Van Duijvenbode made a sensational start to Sunday’s showpiece, converting magnificent 142 and 148 checkouts to seize the early initiative, before Searle reeled off three straight legs to lead 4-3.

However, Van Duijvenbode responded by winning five straight legs of his own to wrap up a resounding victory, firing in six 180s and producing back-to-back 12-dart legs to seal the deal.

“I would say this is the second best title of my career,” reflected Van Duijvenbode, who boasted a tournament average of 102 en route to scooping his fifth PDC ranking title.

“I’m working with a great team. This is the first weekend for about 18 months where I haven’t had an injury, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am.

“Ryan is one of the nicest players on the tour. He is such a good player. He’s very good, and I am always happy if I beat him, but it is never easy.

“My goal is to win three titles this year and I’m already on two after six [Players Championship] events, so hopefully I will make the third as well!”

Van Duijvenbode stormed through to his second ProTour final of the season with a string of dominant displays, opening Sunday’s action with a trio of 6-1 victories.

He brushed aside Kevin Burness and Ronny Huybrechts before posting a career-best 115.7 average in his demolition of Cameron Crabtree, landing six 180s and converting 140 and 128 finishes in the process.

The three-time TV finalist maintained his imperious form with a whitewash win over Ian White in the last 16, and an emphatic 6-2 success against his compatriot Michael van Gerwen confirmed his semi-final spot.

Van Duijvenbode then edged out Humphries in a captivating deciding-leg tussle in the last four, missing double 12 for a nine-darter, only to prevail with a 105 average and eight maximums.

Meanwhile, Searle – appearing in his third Players Championship final this term – kicked off his campaign by averaging over 100 in a whitewash win against Jimmy Hendriks.

The Somerset star overcame his practice partner and Saturday’s runner-up Gary Anderson in round two, before continuing his charge with convincing wins against Ricardo Pietreczko and Matt Campbell.

Searle completed a dramatic comeback win over Dave Chisnall to progress to the semi-finals, where he reeled off six straight legs in 15, 12, 15, 13, 13 and 11 darts to dispatch Mike De Decker 7-2 with a 107 average.

De Decker dumped out seeded stars Stephen Bunting and Josh Rock to reach his second ProTour semi-final, in a run which also featured victories over Niels Zonneveld, Jacques Labre and Gian van Veen.

Humphries continued his consistent start to the campaign with another semi-final showing, averaging 105 and 108 in wins over Northern Irish duo Mickey Mansell and Daryl Gurney respectively.

The world number six also defied a 106 average from Saturday’s champion Ross Smith in the quarter-finals, avenging his defeat to the European Champion in yesterday’s third round.

Smith capped off a fine weekend with wins over Simon Whitlock and Nathan Aspinall in reaching the last eight, where he was joined by current Premier League table-topper Van Gerwen.

The three-time World Champion enjoyed his best run on the ProTour in 2023, with his compatriot Van Veen and second seed Chisnall also bowing out at the quarter-final stage.

Earlier in the day, Saturday’s semi-finalist Gerwyn Price suffered a surprise first round defeat to Jose Justicia, despite averaging almost 101 in a high-quality affair.

Anderson and Rob Cross were among the high-profile second round casualties, with World Champion Michael Smith crashing out in round three alongside Aspinall and Jonny Clayton.


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