2023 Players Championship Finals Preview: Who Will Make Their Mark In Minehead?

Published on 24 November 2023 at 13:00

The final televised major event before the World Championship takes place this weekend, as the annual Players Championship Finals returns to Butlins in Minehead. With the field of playing perhaps never looking as even or fierce as it does now, can Michael Van Gerwen retain his crown for a record-extending eighth time?


Despite early signs that truly anyone could win the tournament, with Paul Nicholson, Kevin Painter and a then 24-year-old Michael Van Gerwen winning alternating tournaments in the first six years, the aforementioned Van Gerwen has since gone to establish a stranglehold on the competition, featuring in 8 of the last 10 finals held, and winning 7 of them, often in dominant fashion.


2023 might be the first year in quite some time that the Dutch maestro isn't the overwhelming favourite heading into the weekend: that honour belongs to Luke Humphries, who after a truly breakout year which included winning two televised majors in the last two months, is looking in fine form ahead of both the Players Championship Finals and the World Championship. 


Also ranked as a top contender to win the event is Gary Anderson, who came agonisingly close to beating Humphries at the Grand Slam, and has been gaining much acclaim for some of his best darts performances since he won the World Championship back in 2016. Meanwhile Gerwyn Price looked like a truly unbeatable man at the Grand Slam until he fell against Anderson, and is a former finalist at the Players Championship Finals, losing out 11-9 to Van Gerwen in 2020. 


One player who we know definitely won't be emerging victorious on Sunday will be Danny Noppert, as the former UK Open Winner and Netherlands World Cup star is expecting to become a Father for the second time, and has had his spot in the 64-man competition taken by Irish player Dylan Slevin. 


Read More: Can ANYONE Stop Luke Humphries Winning The 2024 World Darts Championship?


Van Gerwen, who is yet to win a major since his Premier League final triumph back in the Summer against Gerwyn Price, will begin his title defence against a tricky opponent in Callan Rydz.


Humphries will be looking to make it back-to-back majors as he kicks off his campaign against Martin Lukeman, who he beat in the 2022 German Darts Grand Prix final 8-2.


Price, this year's no.1 seed after winning six ranking titles in 2023 (the most of any player on the circuit), faces a difficult challenge in 'Rapid' Ricky Evans, who despite only just barely qualifying for the 2023 event, will be looking to progress past the third round for the first time in his career. 


Our pre-tournament favourite Anderson, who enters as the no.2 seed and thus avoiding Price or Van Gerwen until the final, faces the legendary Steve Beaton in the first round. Although his prospective run of opponents en-route to a final appearance could consist of Van den Bergh, Wade, Humphries and then Michael Smith. 


The most mouthwatering tie of the first round has to be Chris Dobey vs Raymond Van Barneveld, who enter as the 29th and 36th seeds respectively. One would fancy whoever wins their clash to be a favourite to emerge as a semi-finalist from their bracket of the 64 man draw.


Who do YOU think will win the 2023 Players Championship Finals at Minehead? Let us know your tournament favourite today by getting in touch with us on all our official social media channels.


By Jaspar Shepherdson

(@jasparshepmedia on X/Twitter and Instagram)


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