PLAYERS Championship Five took place at Arena MK in Milton Keynes yesterday and for the second weekend on the spin, Plymouth’s Simon Stevenson took the scalp of the World’s No.5 ranked player Daryl Gurney.
The £75,000 event was delayed for 45 minutes due to a fire alert but that didn’t distract Stevenson from the job in hand as he won his first match 6-1 against Scotsman Jamie Bain.
His opening salvo was a top score of 180, going on to take it in 13, before doubling his advantage in a scrappy 23-darter which unfortunately cost him a much better average than the 91.2 he achieved.
Stevenson was back on track though when taking both the third and fourth legs in 15 with outshots of 100 and 146 respectively followed by another maximum in the fifth which was won in 16.
Bain pulled one back to save the whitewash, but it was all over in the next when The Mirroman checked out in 14 for a comprehensive opening victory.
Next up for the Plymouth marksman was Daryl Gurney who he had beaten as recently as last Sunday but it was the Londonderry man who got the first leg on the board when he finished a 15-darter with an out shot of 152.
Stevenson levelled in13, aided by his first maximum, only to go 3-1 down when the Irishman won the next two in 14 and 13.
But that was the last leg that he was to win as Stevenson put in an exceptional performance to take the next five with the help of three more 180s.
He sweeped into the last 32 with wins in 17, 14, 15, 13 and 14 for an excellent 100.20 average.
James Wade now stood in Stevenson’s way for a place in the last 16 and the Aldershot marksman went 2-0 in front when he followed an 18-darter with a win in 12 which he finished with a kill of 102.
Stevenson levelled in 16 but another 12-darter from Wade helped him to increase his two-leg advantage to 3-1.
Undaunted, The Mirrorman took the next in 15 and followed up with a win in 12 to make it 3-3 but Wade kept his momentum and edged in front again in 17.
The scorline moved to 4-4 when Stevenson claimed the eighth leg in 16 and although Wade won the next in 11, back to back 180s at the start of the 10th helped Stevenson to bring it back all square again for third time in 12.
The match was set for a grand finale, but with Wade throwing first, he needed just 14 darts to advance after Stevenson had left himself needing 16.
But it was another good performance from the Plymouth marksman whose 96.9 average bettered that of the winner’s 95.9.
Stevenson finished the day with an overall average of 96.30 having hit 10 maximums and increased his ranking by another 1,000 points which will augur well as players take to the oche again today to contest Players Championship Six.