Players Championship 1 and 2 Results and Review: Luke Littler Wins On Debut, Gary Anderson Returns To Glory

Published on 15 February 2024 at 20:00

On his ProTour debut in Wigan, 17-year-old Luke Littler hit a 9 dart leg and won the very first Players Championship event of the 2024 PDC tour. Amidst cold and harsh conditions for some players, Littler secured an incredible 8-7 victory over Ryan Searle in what's already being called one of the best ProTour finals ever played. 


Meanwhile the former two time World Champion Gary Anderson was in blistering form, including setting a new personal record as he won the second Players Championship event the very next day.


The teenage sensation looked as imperious as ever en-route to the semi-final, producing ton plus averages and even a nine dart finish in his 6-1 win over Michele Turetta. It was in the semi-final that Littler met Alan Soutar, with the beloved Scotsman coming close to causing a major upset. Taking a 2-0 lead early on and pushing the Warrington wonder kid to a last leg decider.  


With his win on Monday, Littler has become just the third player in history to win their debut Players Championship event: scooping the £15,000 grand prize for winning has immensely boosted Littler's chances of making the World Matchplay in just a few months time. Searle meanwhile has positioned himself nicely to keep himself in the top 20 in the order of merit, and perhaps be a serious dark horse candidate to win a major in 2024. 


PC2 ended in similar heartbreak for 'Heavy Metal', as he once again reached the final, only to meet a terrifyingly in-form Gary Anderson in the final. Anderson looked near-flawless en-route to the final. Two whitewash wins over Adam Gawlas and the reigning WDF Champion Andy Baetens, as well as dominant displays over former major winners like Raymond Van Barneveld, Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney, saw 'The Flying Scotsman' recapture the brilliance that we saw from him towards the tail end of 2023, where only the likes of Luke Humphries could stop Anderson from winning these events.


It was in the win over Baetens that Anderson averaged 117.12 against the Belgian: a new personal record for the 53-year-old, where his previous record stood at 115.15, thrown during Players Championship 2 against compatriot Wright in 2017.


Read More: Should The PDC Introduce A 'Championship' Alongside The Premier League?


Monday and Tuesday's tournaments proved to be a torrid time for the top two seeds: Dave Chisnall failed to win either of his first round games in Wigan, losing to Italian debutant Michele Turetta and Oskar Lukasiak respectively. Meanwhile the reigning World Champion Luke Humphries also failed to impress, suffering surprise early exits against Ian White and Jurjen van der Velde. 


The recently crowned Masters Champion Stephen Bunting also failed to make his mark, losing in the first round to Dom Taylor and in the second round to Martin Lukeman at PC1 and then PC2. Other top seeds like Damon Heta and Michael Smith endured early exits after only recording one win each over the two days. 


There was controversy surrounding former World Champion Gerwyn Price's abrupt exit on Day 1, unexpectedly quitting midway through his match with Brendan Dolan, citing the 'pathetic conditions' at the event on his Instagram story later in the afternoon. The abject conditions of the event seemed to be confirmed by the likes of Dobey, who tweeted "Still happy to win 2 games in the poor conditions."


Price, who was one of the form players on the ProTour last year, is still scheduled to compete in Thursday's night's Premier League action in Glasgow, where Littler will be competing for the fourth day in a row after Monday and Tuesday's PC events and Wednesday afternoon's Tour Cardholder Qualifiers for the European Tour.


By Jaspar Shepherdson

(@jasparshepmedia on X/Twitter and Instagram)


Image Credit: Smian03 on Wikipedia


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