PIPE^S DUBLIN DREAM AS HE CLAIMS FIRST PRO TITLE
JUSTIN PIPE won his first professional title with a 6-5 defeat of Phil Taylor in Sunday^s Players Championship at the New Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin.
The 39-year-old from Taunton continued his push to break into the world^s top 32 with a brilliant display to prepare in style for his PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix debut on Monday night with the £6,000 title.
He had already achieved one ^first^ for the day when he reached his maiden PDC ProTour final, having reached the last four on three occasions already this year.
His run included 6-5 wins against Mark Dudbridge and Ronnie Baxter, a whitewash of Mick Todd and 6-4 victories in the quarter-finals against Steve Beaton and the semi-finals against Gary Anderson, Pipe^s regular practice partner.
He then took on world number one Taylor in the decider, and hit back superbly from going 3-1 down to level with legs of 13 and 15 darts.
Taylor took the seventh with a 121 finish for a 12-darter, but Pipe levelled on double ten, and after the pair traded the next two to set up a decider he hit three ton-plus scores to be first to a finish.
Pipe initially missed the bull for a 124 checkout, but when Taylor missed double top for the win he returned to land double ten for a 13-dart winning leg.
"It^s been a long time coming for me but I^m over the moon to have finally won an event," said Pipe. "It was tough to play Gary in the semis because we know each other so well, but to go on and beat Phil Taylor, ^The Man^ in the final makes it even more special.
"All the top names are here this weekend, so it^s brilliant to win with such a strong field.
"I lost my focus a little bit early on in the final, but I was determined to enjoy my first final and I relaxed, and the darts started to flow.
"I^d like to dedicate this to my wife Claire and children Chloe, Coby and C-Jay because they have to put up with me being away on the circuit, and if it wasn^t for them I probably wouldn^t be where I am today.
"It^s a proud moment but I have to get myself ready for Monday night now. I hope the weekend hasn^t taken too much out of me and I^m looking forward to playing John Henderson.
"I^ve been practising the double-start format with Gary Anderson but it^s different when you get on stage with the lights and the TV cameras, but I can^t wait!"
Taylor had won Saturday^s Players Championship, and picked up £3,000 for reaching the final - plus half of the £3,200 nine-dart finish bonus he will share with Raymond van Barneveld after the pair landed perfect legs on Sunday.
Taylor^s came in the second leg of his clash with Kevin McDine in round two, and he also defeated Terry Jenkins before facing van Barneveld in the last 16.
The Dutch ace then hit his nine-darter in the fourth leg to level at two-all before Taylor took victory with a 13-darter in the deciding leg, which he followed with defeats of Paul Nicholson and Wes Newton to reach the final.
Newton and Anderson both warmed up well for the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix, which begins on Monday at the New Citywest Convention Centre, with runs to the semis, while Jamie Caven, Steve Beaton and Vincent van der Voort joined Nicholson in the last eight.
World Champion Adrian Lewis, though, lost in the first round for the second successive day, going down narrowly to Nigel Heydon, while reigning World Grand Prix champion James Wade also lost 6-5, in round two against Simon Whitlock.
Players Championship 22
New Citywest Convention Centre, Dublin - Sunday October 2
Gary Anderson (1) Bye
Adrian Gray Bye
John Henderson (32) Bye
Chris Thompson 6-0 Kevin Dowling
Peter Wright (16) Bye
Matt Padgett 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Mervyn King (17) Bye
Andy Jenkins 6-4 William O^Connor
Jamie Caven (8) Bye
Brian Woods 6-5 Mick McGowan
Scott Rand (25) Bye
Mareno Michels 6-1 Ali Powell
Mark Webster (9) Bye
Adam Hunt 6-1 Paul Rowley
Alan Tabern (24) Bye
Nigel Heydon 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Ronnie Baxter (5) Bye
Mark Frost 6-1 Peter Manley
Wayne Jones (28) Bye
Joe Cullen 6-1 Tom Wiley
Justin Pipe (12) Bye
Mark Dudbridge 6-2 Wayne Mardle
Dave Chisnall (21) Bye
Mick Todd 6-3 Steve Evans
John Part (4) Bye
Arron Monk 6-1 Peter Hudson
Steve Brown (29) Bye
Shaun Griffiths 6-4 Steve Hine
Richie Burnett (13) Bye
Ian White 6-0 Campbell Jackson
Steve Beaton (20) Bye
Adam Smith-Neale 6-2 Barrie Bates
Wes Newton (2) Bye
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Kirk Shepherd
Andy Hamilton (31) Bye
Roland Scholten 6-0 Stefanie Luck
Andy Smith (15) Bye
Darren Johnson 6-3 Steve Grubb
Colin Lloyd (18) Bye
Shane O^Connor 6-2 Magnus Caris
Simon Whitlock (7) Bye
James Wade 6-3 Michael Barnard
Dennis Smith (26) Bye
Steve Farmer 6-0 Ryan Harrington
Vincent van der Voort (10) Bye
Nick Fullwell 6-2 Dyson Parody
Colin Osborne (23) Bye
Geoff Whitworth 6-5 David Coyne
Mark Walsh (6) Bye
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Michael Smith
Mark Hylton (27) Bye
Jelle Klaasen 6-0 Manuel Croskery
Phil Taylor (11) Bye
Kevin McDine 6-4 Michael Mansell
Terry Jenkins (22) Bye
James Richardson 6-1 Chris Aubrey
Paul Nicholson (3) Bye
Dave Smith 6-4 Gary Welding
Co Stompe (30) Bye
Matthew Edgar 6-3 Louis Blundell
Kevin Painter (14) Bye
Reece Robinson 6-5 Tony Eccles
Denis Ovens (19) Bye
Steve Maish 6-0 Glenn Fitzpatrick
Gary Anderson 6-4 Adrian Gray
Chris Thompson 6-4 John Henderson
Peter Wright 6-1 Matt Padgett
Mervyn King 6-2 Andy Jenkins
Jamie Caven 6-5 Brian Woods
Scott Rand 6-0 Mareno Michels
Mark Webster 6-2 Adam Hunt
Nigel Heydon 6-3 Alan Tabern
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 Mark Frost
Wayne Jones 6-1 Joe Cullen
Justin Pipe 6-5 Mark Dudbridge
Mick Todd 6-4 Dave Chisnall
John Part 6-0 Arron Monk
Shaun Griffiths 6-5 Steve Brown
Ian White 6-5 Richie Burnett
Steve Beaton 6-1 Adam Smith-Neale
Wes Newton 6-1 Michael van Gerwen
Roland Scholten 6-5 Andy Hamilton
Andy Smith 6-4 Darren Johnson
Colin Lloyd 6-5 Shane O^Connor
Simon Whitlock 6-5 James Wade
Steve Farmer 6-3 Dennis Smith
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Nick Fullwell
Colin Osborne 6-1 Geoff Whitworth
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Mark Walsh
Jelle Klaasen 6-2 Mark Hylton
Phil Taylor 6-3 Kevin McDine - Phil Taylor hits nine-dart finish
Terry Jenkins 6-3 James Richardson
Paul Nicholson 6-1 Dave Smith
Matthew Edgar 6-5 Co Stompe
Kevin Painter 6-4 Reece Robinson
Denis Ovens 6-4 Steve Maish
Gary Anderson 6-4 Chris Thompson
Mervyn King 6-1 Peter Wright
Jamie Caven 6-1 Scott Rand
Nigel Heydon 6-3 Mark Webster
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 Wayne Jones
Justin Pipe 6-0 Mick Todd
Shaun Griffiths 6-4 John Part
Steve Beaton 6-2 Ian White
Wes Newton 6-3 Roland Scholten
Andy Smith 6-3 Colin Lloyd
Steve Farmer 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Vincent van der Voort 6-1 Colin Osborne
Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
Phil Taylor 6-2 Terry Jenkins
Paul Nicholson 6-1 Matthew Edgar
Denis Ovens 6-3 Kevin Painter
Gary Anderson 6-4 Mervyn King
Jamie Caven 6-3 Nigel Heydon
Justin Pipe 6-5 Ronnie Baxter
Steve Beaton 6-3 Shaun Griffiths
Wes Newton 6-2 Andy Smith
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Steve Farmer
Phil Taylor 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld - Raymond van Barneveld hits nine-dart finish
Paul Nicholson 6-4 Denis Ovens
Gary Anderson 6-5 Jamie Caven
Justin Pipe 6-4 Steve Beaton
Wes Newton 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Phil Taylor 6-3 Paul Nicholson
Justin Pipe 6-4 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 6-2 Wes Newton
Justin Pipe 6-5 Phil Taylor
Final - leg-by-leg updates
Justin Pipe v Phil Taylor
0-0 - Phil Taylor wins the bull and will throw first
1-0 - Taylor is first to a finish but wires double 18 for a 116 checkout, and Pipe checks out 100 on tops for a 15-darter to break.
1-1 - Taylor opens with a 177 and finishes double two for a 14-darter to level.
1-2 - Taylor moves ahead with a 15-darter, finishing 70 on double 16.
1-3 - Pipe starts slowly with the throw and Taylor takes advantage with another 14-dart leg, finishing 98 in two darts.
2-3 - Pipe hits scores of 100, 140 and 180 before finishing double 16 for a 13-darter to break back.
3-3 - Pipe hits two 140s and finishes 101 for a 15-darter to level.
3-4 - Taylor hits two 140s of his own before finishing 121 on double 14 to win the seventh.
4-4 - Pipe opens with a 121 and 100 before landing double ten to level.
4-5 - Taylor hits a 177 before finishing double ten for a 15-darter.
5-5 - Pipe levels with a 14-darter, featuring four scores of 100 or better and double eight.
6-5 - Pipe opens with 137 and 140 but Taylor follows two tons with a 140. Pipe hits 100 to leave 124 and when Taylor fails to take out 161 he sets up the bull for victory, but misses. Taylor misses tops and Pipe hits the same bed for a 13-darter and his first professional title.