Alan Norris won the first Players Championship event of 2017 with a 6-1 victory over Peter Jacques.
The victory was Norris’ third PDC tile and his first on home soil, having previously won a Players Championship event in Ireland and a European Tour event in Germany.
His run to the title began with victories over Rob Cross and Ryan Searle, last year’s top two Challenge Tour players. ‘Chuck’ then beat Mike De Decker and former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown before leaving Kyle Anderson and ‘The Wizard’ Simon Whitlock in his wake to reach the final.
The final turned into a rather one-sided encounter, with Norris racing into a 3-0 lead before Jacques got his first, and only, leg on the board. ‘Chuck’ found tops for a 4-1 lead and took out two clinical finishes of 74 and 72 to secure the title.
Norris’ opponent is a newcomer to the PDC circuit, with the 43-year-old postman from Huddersfield making his ProTour debut, announcing himself by beating some big names on his unexpected run to the final.
He started his run with victories over Paul Nicholson, Josh Payne and William O’Connor. Jacques then pulled off an incredible streak of high profile scalps. He first defeated two-time World Champion Gary Anderson 6-3 before going on to beat former World Youth Champion Michael Smith 6-4. He then cemented his place in the final with victory over seven-time major winner James Wade.
Had Jacques won the final, he would have emulated Joe ‘Shaggy’ Murnan’s 2015 Players Championship event win, when he took the title without a PDC Tour Card.
Elsewhere, it was good to see Mensur Suljovic back in action after missing the UK Open Qualifiers for family reasons.The Austrian beat Raymond van Barneveld in the first round before losing in the last 16 to Cristo Reyes.
The event at the Barnsley Metrodome was the first of 22 Players Championship events that see 128 players compete for a £10,000 winner’s cheque.