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A Recap of the 2021 Player Championship Finals

Player Championship Finals

The Player Championship Finals is one of the major Professional Darts Corporation, or PDC events. It is held every year in November, and in recent years, the tournament has been held in the Butlin’s Resort in Minehead. Last year’s event was sponsored by Ladbrokes, but this year the competition has switched its main sponsor to Cazoo, who also sponsor the World Darts Championship, the UK Open and the Masters.

The number of contestants was expanded in 2016 from 32 to 64, with the top 64 players in the Players Championship Order of Merit qualifying for the Player Championship Finals. The ranking is based on the prize money that darts players won in the 30 Players Championships events that were held earlier in the year.

The event stands out from the others because of its quick-paced structure. A winner is determined from the 64 contestants in 6 rounds that are played over the course of 3 days. The tournament is played over the course of a weekend, offering darts fans and punters the chance to enjoy non-stop action.

The contestants are grouped into 4 sections of 16 players, who are paired and play in knockout rounds. On the first day, the first round is played, in a best of 11 legs format. The second round starts on the second day, with the remaining darts players in each section being paired and then playing in another best of 11 legs. When that round is complete, the remaining players are paired again and play to a best of 19 legs.

On the third day, the two remaining players in each section play in a best of 19 legs, and the winners then advance to the semi-finals. The semi-finals and finals are both played on the same day in a best of 21 legs.

2021 Recap


In section 1 the following 16 players were seeded and paired:

Jose de Sousa and Devon Petersen, Mervyn King and Darius Labanauskas, Chris Dobey and William O’Connor, Krysztof Ratajski and Ron Meulenkamp, Gerwyn Price and Jason Lowe, Martin Schindler and Ian White, Brendan Dolan and Chas Barstow, and Dave Chisnall and Ritchie Edhouse.

In section 2 the following players were seeded and paired:

Michael Smith and William Borland, Daryl Gurney and Alan Soutar, Callan Rydz and Mensur Suljovic, James Wade and Ricky Evans, Ryan Searle and Simon Whitlock, Ryan Joyce and Luke Woodhouse, Rob Cross and Jermaine Wattimena, and Nathan Aspinall and Jeff Smith.

In section 3 the following players were seeded and paired:

Peter Wright and Keane Barry, Adrian Lewis and Kim Huybrechts, Damon Heta and Steve Lennon, Gabriel Clemens and Steve Beaton, Michael van Gerwen and Kevin Doets, Raymond van Barneveld and Maik Kuivenhoven, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Ryan Meikle, and Stephen Bunting and Gary Anderson.

In section 4 the following players were seeded and paired:

Jonny Clayton and Alan Tabern, Scott Mitchell and Martijn Kleermaker, Ross Smith and Rusty-Jake Rodriguez, Luke Humphries and Jason Heaver, Joe Cullen and Andy Boulton, Vincent van der Voort and Jelle Klaasen, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Madars Razma, and Danny Noppert and Rowby-John Rodriguez.

First Round

In section 1, Jose de Sousa, Krysztof Ratajski, Gerwyn Price, Martin Schindler and Brendan Dolan all comfortably beat their opponents who entered the competition further down the rankings. There were some surprises as William O’Connor overcame Chris Dobey and Darius Labanauskas and Ritchie Edhouse also won their games, beating Mervyn King and Dave Chisnall.

In section 2, all the favourites won: Michael Smith, Daryl Gurney, Callan Rydz, James Wade, Ryan Searle, Ryan Joyce, Rob Cross, and Nathan Aspinall. Searle had the closest match, where he only managed to beat Simon Whitlock 6-5.

At the bottom half, in section 3, Peter Wright, Adrian Lewis, Damon Heta, Gabriel Clemens, Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld, Ryan Meikle and Gary Anderson won to advance to the following round. Huybrechts and Stephen Bunting were knocked out in this round, the latter by Gary Anderson in a game that finished in a narrow 6-5 to Anderson.

Section 4 also mainly saw the favourite winning, except for Joe Cullen, who placed in 6th but was knocked out by 59th placed Andy Boulton. Boulton advanced to the second round along with Jonny Clayton, Scott Mitchell, Ross Smith, Luke Humphries, Vincent van der Voort, Dimitri Van den Bergh, and Danny Noppert.

Second Round

This round was played on the second day, 27 November, and was also played to a best of 11 legs. Jose de Sousa beat Darius Labanauskas in a game that ended 6-5. Gerwyn Price and Brendan Dolan beat Martin Schindler and Ritchie Edhouse, but Krysztof Ratajski could not overcome William O’Connor, who had then beat two higher-ranking players.

Section 2 had a much closer second round, as the games finished 6-5, 6-5, 6-5 and 6-4. Daryl Gurney and James Wade overcame Michael Smith and Callan Rydz, whilst Ryan Searle and Rob Cross also won their games. Nathan Aspinall was knocked out by Cross in a game that ended 6-4.

Section 3 started with Peter Wright playing against Adrian Lewis. The game was extremely close but Wright edged Lewis to victory, sealing the game at 6-5. Damon Heta, Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson also won their games.

Jonny Clayton, Luke Humphries, Vincent van der Voort and Danny Noppert won the second round games in section 4. This saw the departure of Dimitri Van den Bergh, the non-ranking player who had won the World Matchplay in the year prior and became a favourite underdog.

Third Round

The third round was played in a best of 19 legs format.

Daryl Gurney faced James Wade, whilst Ryan Searle played Rob Cross in section 1. Gurney beat the Englishman 10-7, whilst Searle also won his game 10-7.

Peter Wright beat Damon Heta in a close game that ended 10-8, but the highlight game of the third round was between Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson. The Dutchman, who was the defending champion, beat the 2014 champion in a game that ended 10-6.

In section 4, Jonny Clayton and Vincent van der Voort won their games. Clayton beat Luke Humphries in an extremely close game that ended 10-9. Vincent van der Voort beat fellow Dutchman Danny Noppert 10-7.


The remaining two players in each section played against each other in the semi-finals, which was played on 28 November in a best of 19 legs game.

In Section 1, the favourite Jose de Sousa had a surprise exit from the tournament as he was beaten by the Northern Irish darts player Brendan Dolan.

His fellow Northern Irish player was close to winning in section 2 but lost in a game that ended 9-10. Daryl Gurney faced Ryan Searle, and the 2018 champion was unable to beat the Englishman as he edged to victory in the closest game in the competition to that point.

Peter Wright faced Michael van Gerwen in the quarterfinal in section 3. The game ended 10-6, with Wright beating van Gerwen despite the Dutchman having a better score average.

In section 4, fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort was knocked out by Welshman Jonny Clayton in a one sided game that ended 10-3.


This round was played in a best of 21 legs. The remaining players were all British, with a player each from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Ryan Searle beat Brendan Dolan 11-6 and Peter Wright beat Jonny Clayton 11-6 as well.


Neither player had reached the finals before, although Peter Wright had more experience in the competition and had twice reached the semi-finals, including in the previous edition in 2020.

The final was a great game, with both players winning legs back and forth, but in the end Wright won the game 11-10, with an average score of 95.49 to Searle’s 92.10.


The Players Championship Finals is not only an extremely exciting tournament to follow but there are many types of bets that can be placed on the tournament as a whole and on individual games. When betting you should only ever spend within the limits of your budget. If you have not made a budget or you need more information on how to control your gambling, you can turn to organisations such as

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