Ross Bosses Players Championship in Milton Keynes

Red Dragon Darts


Ross Smith won his fifth PDC ranking title by defeating Wesley Plaisier 8-7 to claim Players Championship 13 glory in Milton Keynes on Tuesday.

The 2022 European Champion has reached two European Tour finals and four other semi-finals on the circuit his year, but scooped the £15,000 top prize at the Marshall Arena with a superb day of darts.

A narrow first round win over Steve Beaton was followed by defeats of Jermaine Wattimena and Kevin Doets, before he enjoyed 6-4 victories against Ricky Evans and Jonny Clayton.

Smith then raced to a 7-2 win over Andy Boulton in the semis, and produced a brilliant performance in a high-quality final against Dutch ace Plaisier.

Smith opened the final with a 180 and took the opening leg with a stunning 170 finish, before kicking off leg two with six perfect darts as he took command early on.

Plaisier found himself 5-1 down, only to take out 144 and 167 as he won four of the next five legs, and he then landed double 16 to square the game as both players maintained averages above 107.

Smith pinned double 18 to complete a 13-darter as he moved to the brink of glory, only for Plaisier to take out 127 on double eight to force a deciding leg.

The English ace opened with scores of 140 and 180 to pull away, before Plaisier responded with a maximum of his own.

Smith initially missed three match darts, although with Plaisier unable to hit tops to complete a 113 checkout, his opponent stepped in to finally seal a fourth Players Championship title with a 107 average.

“All credit to Wesley for the way he came back. He just didn’t let up, and he showed what a class player he is,” reflected Smith, who crashed in nine 180s during a breathless final.

“I felt like I needed to get the win there and win a final. I’ve lost in two European Tour finals this year, so this was massive for me.

“I’ve also made quite a few semi-finals [on the ProTour] so if I’d missed out again, you start thinking too much, and nobody wants to start doing that, so I’m happy I’ve crossed the line.

“In this game, a lot of it is about confidence and belief, and I just want to win again, it’s as simple as that.

“I don’t really set myself targets as such. I just try and beat who is in front of me, and if I can hold a trophy up, then I’m extemely happy.

“I don’t want to be a number. I want to push on, and I’m working hard at it.”

Plaisier’s run to the final was his best on the ProTour since he reached a European Tour semi-final last September, defeating Thibault Tricole, Adam Hunt, Dom Taylor, Stephen Bunting, Niels Zonneveld and Cam Crabtree on Tuesday.

London’s 20-year-old Crabtree won through to the semi-finals for the first time in a Players Championship, as the youngster defeated former UK Open champions Danny Noppert and James Wade on Tuesday, while Andy Boulton’s run to the semi-finals was his best finish on the ProTour for over three years.

James Wade’s run to the quarter-finals moved the 2007 World Matchplay champion back into the final qualifying place for this year’s Blackpool showpiece – ahead of Kevin Doets – with just Wednesday’s Players Championship 14 remaining before the 32-player field is finalised.

Wade was joined in the last eight by Welsh ace Jonny Clayton, former UK Open champion Andrew Gilding and Dutchman Niels Zonneveld.

Luke Littler, the recent Poland Darts Masters champion, was edged out 6-5 by Robert Grundy in the first round as he returned to action.

Wessel Nijman’s run to the last 16 included a victory over Michael Smith – a World Cup winner for England 48 hours ago.

World Cup finalist Mensur Suljovic lost out 6-5 to Doets in round two, with Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price also being knocked out in the last 64.

2024 Players Championship 13
Tuesday July 3, Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Last 16
Niels Zonneveld 6-3 Wessel Nijman
Wesley Plaisier 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Cam Crabtree 6-4 Kai Gotthardt
James Wade 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Andy Boulton 6-3 Nathan Rafferty
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Radek Szaganski
Ross Smith 6-4 Ricky Evans

Wesley Plaisier 6-3 Niels Zonneveld
Cam Crabtree 6-3 James Wade
Andy Boulton 6-3 Andrew Gilding
Ross Smith 6-4 Jonny Clayton

Wesley Plaisier 7-3 Cam Crabtree
Ross Smith 7-2 Andy Boulton

Ross Smith 8-7 Wesley Plaisier



An independent consultant, coach, author and analyst in the sports and business sectors. I am regularly retained to advise and coach professionals in a variety of fields.

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