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Players Championship: Gary Anderson admits he once again 'enjoys' playing darts amid latest tour win

Gary Anderson won his second ranking title of 2023 on Friday, continuing his superb form in Barnsley to defeat Ryan Joyce 8-4 in the Players Championship 24 final.

The two-time World Champion has shown his class with three superb days on the PDC ProTour this week, which culminated in him scooping the £12,000 top prize on Friday.

On a day which saw Luke Woodhouse and Michael van Gerwen achieve nine-dart finishes, it was Anderson's sustained brilliance which took the Scot to glory.

After opening his challenge with a win over Frenchman Jacques Labre, Anderson averaged over 107 to see off Daniel Klose and then averaged over 100 in wins over Stephen Burton, Kim Huybrechts - in a whitewash of the Belgian - and Martin Lukeman.

He then edged past Stephen Bunting 7-5 in the semi-finals, before powering to the title with a 103.68 average against Joyce.

Anderson won the final's opening three legs without reply and also led 6-2 before Joyce took back-to-back legs to halve the deficit.

The Scot, though, ruthlessly stopped the fightback with an 11-darter before firing in a 12-dart leg to seal the title - a welcome boost ahead of next week's BoyleSports World Grand Prix.

"I'm happy with that," said Anderson, who had lost in Wednesday's quarter-finals and Thursday's semi-finals.

"My practice over the [summer] holidays hasn't been great but I came here feeling alright. Yesterday and the day before I was playing well; I've got new darts, they're going well.

"Nowadays if you get me to a darboard, I enjoy playing darts. I just turn up and play darts now, and I giggle when I win."

Joyce had been bidding to claim his second Players Championship title, having won through to a second ProTour final of 2023 - with Damon Heta previously denying the Newcastle ace in July.

He defeated four Dutchmen in six victories on Friday, notably averaging 105.76 in his 6-3 quarter-final win over Michael van Gerwen as he came from two legs down to storm into the last four.

He also defeated Wednesday's beaten finalist, Christian Kist, and emerging talents Danny van Trijp and Jurjen van der Velde, as well as enjoying a second round win over Ritchie Edhouse and a 7-3 semi-final success against Jonny Clayton.

Welsh ace Clayton enjoyed his best run since reaching July's World Matchplay final, overcoming Heta 6-1 in the quarter-finals and edging past Joe Cullen in a tight last 16 tie.

Bunting followed up his run to the German Darts Open final in Jena earlier in September by reaching a second Players Championship semi-final of the year, producing three ton-plus averages in five wins.

Van Gerwen landed a sensational nine-darter during his brilliant last 16 victory over Chris Dobey as the Dutchman averaged 111.42 - which followed a 112.32 average in a third round win over Pascal Rupprecht.

Woodhouse also achieved perfection on Friday during his first round win over Richie Burnett, as the Bewdley ace prepares to make his World Grand Prix debut next week.

Friday's Players Championship event was the last ranking tournament ahead of the World Grand Prix, which will be held from October 2-8 at Leicester's Morningside Arena.

2023 Players Championship 24

Gary Anderson 6-5 Martin Lukeman
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Ryan Joyce 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Damon Heta

Gary Anderson 7-5 Stephen Bunting
Ryan Joyce 7-3 Jonny Clayton

Gary Anderson 8-4 Ryan Joyce

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