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Danny Noppert wins all-Dutch decider to win Players Championship 22

Danny Noppert beat Christian Kist in dramatic fashion to claim the Players Championship 22 title.

Noppert won through his all-Dutch decider against Kist, who was agonisingly close to landing a maiden PDC ranking title despite not holding a Tour Card.

However, the former UK Open champion overturned a 6-4 deficit to claim the £12,000 winner's prize at the Barnsley Metrodome, firing in a magnificent 11-darter to complete the comeback with an 8-7 triumph.

The opening five legs of Wednesday’s showpiece went with throw, although Noppert landed the first decisive blow in leg six, converting a 121 checkout on the bull to stretch his lead to 4-2.

Kist turned the tide and then produced a brilliant bullseye finish of his own in leg ten - winning his fourth consecutive leg with a 122 finish to move two legs away from a landmark victory.

Noppert replied with a three-leg burst of his own to regain the initiative at 7-6, but former Lakeside Champion Kist was handed a reprieve in leg 14, when Noppert spurned three darts for the title.

Kist capitalised to set up an enthralling last-leg shoot-out, but Noppert raced to victory in sensational style, following up his fourth maximum with an 11-dart hold on tops to cap off a terrific campaign.

“I am so relieved to get over the line. What a day it was,” reflected Noppert, who has won all four Players Championship finals he has featured in.

“It was really tough against Christian. His scoring was better than mine, so I had to fight for this game.

“These events are really hard. There are so many good players and I won, so that makes me really proud."

Noppert will take on 2020 champion Gerwyn Price in his BoyleSports World Grand Prix opener next week, and this victory provides him with a much-needed confidence boost ahead of the double-start showpiece.

“Gerwyn is such a good player," continued Noppert, a semi-finalist at the World Grand Prix in 2021.

"It’s a really tough draw and I need to play my A-game, but now I’ve won this tournament, it gives me a good feeling.

“I just want to perform well. I see every game step-by-step, and hopefully I will do well at the World Grand Prix, so I can make some steps towards the world’s top eight.”

The Dutch number two defeated three PDC TV title winners on his way to glory in Barnsley, following up a first round whitewash of Alan Soutar by averaging 101 to see off a spirited Lee Evans.

Noppert then accounted for Masters champion Chris Dobey to reach the last 16, where he fought back from 3-0 and 5-3 down to deny Steve Lennon in a contest which saw both players average 103.

The world number nine continued his charge with a quarter-final victory against James Wade, before demolishing World Champion Michael Smith 7-1 with a 102 average in the semi-finals.

Kist also starred on a memorable day of action in Yorkshire, scooping the £8,000 runner-up prize to move into the provisional qualification places for the 2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship.

The 37-year-old overcame Australian icon Simon Whitlock and fourth seed Jonny Clayton to kick off his campaign, and backed up those wins with victory against Mickey Mansell.

The former Lakeside Champion defied a 106 average from Stephen Bunting to reach the last eight, where he dumped out compatriot Kevin Doets before brushing aside Damon Heta in the last four.

Top seed Heta defeated World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall and Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld in his run to the semi-finals, where he was joined by world number one Smith.

Smith defied a 109 average from Gary Anderson to win through a remarkable last eight tie, having also edged out Darius Labanauskas, Callan Rydz and Ian White in tense tussles.

Anderson bowed out in the quarter-finals with a tournament average of almost 105, having whitewashed Jeffrey de Zwaan and Ricardo Pietreczko with averages of 109 and 107 respectively.

The Scot was joined in the last eight by Wade and five-time World Champion Van Barneveld, who was appearing in his first Players Championship quarter-final since March.

Doets completed the quarter-final line-up in Barnsley, posting ton-plus averages in wins over Daryl Gurney and Martin Schindler, which was followed by a last 16 success against Michael van Gerwen.

Earlier in the day, Jeff Smith celebrated the first nine-darter of his PDC career in his first round win against Ross Montgomery, producing the perfect leg to seal a 6-4 win over the Scot.

The performance of the day belonged to Jim Williams, who averaged 114 in his opening round demolition of Steve Beaton, before succumbing to a resurgent Jules van Dongen in round three.

Nevertheless, Bunting - a recent European Tour finalist - boasted the highest tournament average of the day, averaging 106, 109 and 111 in wins over Geert Nentjes, John O’Shea and Mike De Decker, prior to his defeat against Kist.

This week's Players Championship treble-header continues with Players Championship 23 on Thursday, with coverage from all four streaming boards broadcast live on PDCTV.

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