He came into the Players Championship Finals as the No.1 seed and all the pressure that goes with it.

But Ian White took centre stage on the opening day in Minehead with a blistering display.

And Gary Anderson wasn’t far behind White in terms of performance!

In all 14 Team Unicorn players came to the Players Championship party.

But White stole the show as he set up a 2nd Round clash with Brendan Dolan after a 6-2 victory over Scott Taylor. His end average of 111.12 was the second highest in 11-year history of the Players Championship Finals.....narrowly missing Phil Taylor’s record of 111.58

White banged in four 180s and finishes of 110 then 121 on the bull to win the match, but it is as good as he’s played on TV for a while!

Anderson will now play Simon Whitlock. He recovered from the Grand Slam controversy with a 6-2 win over Alan Tabern. The Scot hit an 11-darter, two 12-darters, four maximums, a 104 check-out and a 108 average. In the fifth leg he also hit six perfect darts. The No.2 seed safely through.

Michael Smith produced the only whitewash of the opening day at the PC Finals. A clinical display to beat Vincent van dee Voort 6-0 with a 98 average. He will now face Jonny Clayton.

Jeffrey de Zwaan won the all Unicorn Dutch clash with Jelle Klaasen. De Zwaan is seeded 10th and should have won more comfortably than 6-4. He missed darts to go 5-2 up, to win 6-3 before finally getting the job done after a third 180. He now plays Ricky Evans.

Joe Cullen came good when it really mattered against ‘Big’ John Henderson. He was 3-1 up but pegged back to three apiece. The Unicorn man then took out 103 to move ahead again. Henderson hit back as he took the match to a decider. The Scot hit a 180 to leave 81 only for Cullen to hold his nerve and nail a brilliant 110 finish on D16 to win it.

He will play Steve Beaton who got the better of Unicorn ace Kim Huybrechts in a last leg decider. The Belgian blew a great opportunity he missed two to go 5-3 up only for Beaton to nail 81 on the bull to make it four apiece bit was a game changer.

James Wade was made to work hard before securing a 6-4 win over Ross Smith. He missed a dart at ‘tops’ for a 4-1 lead and despite taking out 130 on the bull, the Unicorn man saw Smith come back to level at four apiece. Wade went through after his opponent missed darts to force a deciding leg and next up is a clash with Nathan Aspinall in round two.

Chris Dobey was also in the winner’s circle. He saw off Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 with some superb scoring. He actually led 5-1 and probably should have closed the game out sooner. He faces Dave Chisnall in the last 32.

And it’s a big well done to Team Unicorn Latvian ace Madars Razma. He saw off Mickey Mansell 6-4 to set up a last 32 match up against Stephen Bunting. Razma brilliantly nailed finishes of 147 and 99 to move 5-4 up and when Mansell missed darts to take it the distance, Madars hit D4 to go through.

Keegan Brown beat Benito van de Pas 6-3 in a scrappy affair. A 100 check-out with 20, ‘tops’ and ‘tops’ turned the match his way at 5-3 and then he won it in some style with a 4th 180 and a brilliant 144 finish. Next up for Brown is a clash with defending champion Michael van Gerwen.

Young Adam Hunt didn’t do a lot wrong but came up against an in-form Adrian Lewis. The Unicorn man faced an onslaught as Lewis raced 3-0 up with finishes of 70, 126 and 86. He managed to get a couple of legs on the board, but Lewis was a comfortable 6-2 winner.

Kyle Anderson lost 6-4 to fellow Aussie Simon Whitlock. The big moments came in legs three and five when Kyle missed eight darts and they were expensive errors. Whitlock led 4-1 and despite a mini revival, Anderson just ran out of legs.

Dimitri van den Bergh fell at the first hurdle. He missed chances and ended up losing 6-2 to James Wilson. But of course, he will be back in the big stage on Sunday as he defends his PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship against Martin Schindler.

Story from STUART PYKE in Minehead.

Photos Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Posted in Unicorn Darts