World number two Peter Wright won the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals with a last-leg victory over Ryan Searle in Minehead.
Wright, who had earlier beat defending champion Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals, dug deep to deliver a nail-biting 11-10 win, taking out 62 with a nerveless double 16.
‘Snakebite’ had previously gone bust when aiming to clinch the title on a 129 checkout – hitting double 10 after needing 12 before Searle, playing in his first major TV final, responded to finish off 103 and close back to 10-9.
After Wright sunk another match dart chance into the 25 when on the bull to take out 132, Searle landed double seven to make sure the contest went the distance.
Wright, runner-up at last week’s Grand Slam of Darts, said on ITV4: “Ryan is an awesome dart player – I knew whomever I was going to play in the final was going to be hard work.
“He is the future of darts, he is lovely to watch, got me in a nice rhythm and I was comfortable playing with him. It was a pleasure to be on the stage with him.”
Searle’s run to the final will see him move up into the world’s top 16.
“Fair play to Peter, he took out the double there and he fully deserved that,” Searle said. “I have learned a lot from this experience and we move forward from here.”
Earlier in the evening session, Searle had progressed 11-6 against Brendan Dolan, who knocked out world champion Gerwyn Price in round three.
In the other semi-final, Wright saw off Jonny Clayton by the same scoreline having been 10-3 in front.
The quarter-finals had taken place during Sunday’s afternoon session.
Wright pulled off a 10-6 win over Van Gerwen, which meant the Dutchman would go a full calendar year without a major ranking title for the first time in a decade
Dolan comfortably beat Portuguese player Jose De Sousa 10-4, while Clayton won nine straight legs to defeat Vincent van der Voort 10-3 and Searle had edged out Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney 10-9.
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