St Helens thrower Dave Chisnall ended his 18-month wait for a PDC title at Players Championship 2 in Wigan with a dramatic 8-7 victory over Glen Durrant, on a day which saw a record-breaking four nine-darters hit on Sunday.
The second day of the opening ProTour weekend of the year saw Chisnall claim his 13th PDC title on a perfect day for the star, who hit a nine-darter in his 6-2 victory over Rowby-John Rodriguez in round three.
Five-time televised finalist Chisnall began the day with victories over youthful trio Nathan Aspinall, Luke Humphries and Rodriguez to reach the last 16.
There, he saw off former world champion Rob Cross, before coming back from 5-3 down to defeat James Wade 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
A 7-5 success over Jonny Clayton followed in the semi-finals before victory over Durrant saw Chisnall scoop the £10,000 top prize at the Robin Park Tennis Centre.
“I played well and I think I deserved it because I’m one of those players who never gives up,” said two-time World Championship quarter-finalist Chisnall.
“I beat James Wade and Jonny Clayton in good games and followed it up with a win over a three-time Lakeside champion in Glen, who is obviously a great player.
“Of course, you need a bit of luck to win these tournaments but I thought I made the most of my chances when I got them and that’s what won me this title.”
The final began with a break of throw for Durrant, who finished 96 in two darts for a 13-dart leg, only for Chisnall to break straight back in the following leg by pinning double top at the first attempt.
The next four legs all went with throw to make it 3-3, before Durrant missed three darts to break throw, allowing Chisnall the chance to fire in two double tops to take out 100.
An intriguing clash saw neither player able to shake off the other, before Chisnall found his favourite double 18 to open up a two-leg gap for the first time in the match at 6-4, only for Durrant to break straight back.
Chisnall made no mistake on double 16 for a third consecutive break of throw to go within one leg of victory, but after he missed four match darts, Durrant took out an incredible 170 finish at the vital moment to cut the deficit to 7-6.
A hold of throw followed for Durrant to take the match to a decisive 15th, but it was Chisnall, appearing in his first ProTour final in almost a year, who found tops once again to seal a memorable win.
Playing in just his second day as a PDC player since winning his Tour Card in January, Durrant’s impressive run to the final began with a narrow 6-5 victory over Latvia’s Madars Razma, before making his mark with a 6-3 scalp of world number three Peter Wright.
Successes over Zoran Lerchbacher and Robert Thornton followed as the Middlesbrough man won through to the quarter-finals where he defeated fellow-Premier League contender John Henderson before beating Joe Cullen to reach Sunday’s showdown with Chisnall.
Chisnall was joined by Van Gerwen, Chris Dobey and Geert Nentjes in landing perfect finishes on a sensational second day of ProTour action.
Dutch youngster Nentjes hit the first perfect leg of the day in his 6-0 whitewash of Mervyn King in round two, before rising star Dobey followed up his eye-catching Premier League debut with a nine-darter to win the deciding leg of his second round clash with Dave Prins.
After Chisnall landed the third nine-darter of the day, three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen got in the act in his incredible quarter-final tie with Clayton, which saw the Welshman’s 106.5 average prove too strong for Van Gerwen’s 104 as Clayton ran out a 6-3 winner.
The result ended the world number one’s unbeaten streak dating back to November 2018.
It was also a positive day on the floor for last weekend’s Masters quarter-finalist Joe Cullen who reached the final four, while Ryan Searle continued his strong end of 2018 form with a quarter-final berth along with Premier League contender John Henderson.
Premier League regulars Daryl Gurney, Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price and Raymond van Barneveld all exited before the last 16 stage.
The next Players Championship events will be held across the weekend of February 16-17 at Wigan’s Robin Park Tennis Centre.