PLYMOUTH’S only professional darts player, Simon Stevenson, will be in the 64-player field, when the Ladbroke’s Players Championship finals commence at the Butlins Minehead Resort on Friday afternoon.
Featuring the leading stars from the 2018 Players Championship Order of Merit, following 22 one-day ProTour events, the tournament offers a £460,000 prize fund, including £100,000 to the winner.
Stevenson made a good start in Players Championship 21 when he defeated Martin Atkins 6-3 but missed doubles cost The Mirror Man further progress when bowing out 6-2 to Germany’s Martin Schindler.
The following day, Players Championship 22 concluded the 2018 programme and Simon was again unlucky when edged out 6-5 by Zoran Lerchbacher with every leg going with the throw.
Four times the Austrian led, and four times Stevenson levelled in 18, 18 and 14 before notching a 12-darter when checking out from 132.
Despite a 15-darter from The Mirror Man to make it 5-5, it was Lerchbacher who progressed when winning the decisive 11th leg in 18.
Although winning only once over the last weekend of the Players Championships events, Simon can take some encouragement from the fact that his three-dart average over the two days was 91.63.
He has been drawn to meet Mervyn King, a player that Simon defeated 6-4 back in February in Round Three of European Qualifier Four and will be the sixth match on stage two on the opening afternoon.
The event will start at 12.45pm on Friday with the evening games commencing at 7.00pm and those start times will be the same for both Saturday and Sunday.
Matches will be broadcast live by ITV4.
Only last night, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) announced a new multi-event sponsorship agreement with Ladbrokes which will begin at the Ladbrokes Players Championship finals this weekend.
Ladbrokes will become the title sponsors of The Masters for 2021 and 2022, and will also take over as title sponsors of the UK Open for 2019, 2020 and 2021 in a switch from sister company Coral.