Team Unicorn ace Ian White enjoyed yet another superb day on the PDC Pro Tour but just came up short at the second Players Championship event in Dublin on Saturday.
But White will go into the World Grand Prix in high spirits despite going down 6-4 in the final to Dutchman Danny Noppert who claimed his first PDC title at the City West Hotel.
He will disappointed because he played so well all day. However his run to the final sees White back up to top spot in the Players Championship Order of Merit and he also moves back into the world’s top 10, so all-in-all not a bad day!
The Unicorn star was always playing catch up in the final. Noppert taking out 72, 88 and 79 to establish a 3-1 advantage. White missed two darts to make it two apiece and when Noppert nailed a 13 darter to go 4-1 up, ‘Diamond’ had lost his sparkle.
White did fight back and a 120 check-out gave him hope but Noppert hit straight back to finish it off at 6-4.
Earlier in the day, he was given a real scare by Jerry Hendriks before winning a last leg decider. White then beat Nathan Aspinall and Kyle Anderson 6-2 before a brilliant performance saw him whitewash Ron Meulenkamp. In the quarter-finals superb finishes of 122 and 164 set him on his way to a 6-1 win over Mensur Suljovic.
He then saw off Keegan Brown 6-3 in an all Unicorn semi-final. It was some day for Brown too as he reached his first ranking semi-final for three years.
Wins over Darren Johnson, Zoran Lerchbacher, Robert Owen and Steve West took him to the last eight, where he survived four match darts to beat Robert Thornton in a deciding leg.
There was also a much-needed run to the quarter-finals for Team Unicorn Belgian ace Kim Huybrechts. He was 5-3 up against Rob Cross and lost 6-5. Earlier in the day the World Champion had average nearly 116 in an astonishing display to beat Team Unicorn’s Joe Cullen 6-0.
If you’re wondering what happened to Gary Anderson, well the Unicorn ace withdrew from the tournament to protect his troublesome back ahead of the World Grand Prix.
By STUART PYKE
Image courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC