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SIMON WHITLOCK continued his run of success by defeating veteran star Dennis Priestley 6-2 in the final of Saturday^s Players Championship in Crawley.

The Australian, September^s European Championship winner and last weekend^s Dutch Darts Masters champion, picked up his second Players Championship win of the autumn with a determined display throughout the event.

Whitlock defeated Richie Howson 6-3 in his first game and came from 5-2 down to see off Steve Farmer in a deciding leg to win through to the last 16, where he edged out Richie Burnett by the same scoreline.

Whitlock then saw off Terry Jenkins 6-4 in the quarter-finals and defeated Ian White in the same manner to reach the decider against two-time World Champion Priestley.

The world number six took the final^s opening leg before Priestley hit a 180 and a 130 checkout to level - but it was Whitlock who took command by winning the next three on double ten, double six and double 19 for a 4-1 lead.

Whitlock then fired home a 160 checkout for a 12-darter to move a leg away from the win, but missed two match darts in the next as Priestley finished double ten to keep his hopes alive.

The 62-year-old then traded 180s in the next, but missed double to to win a third leg and Whitlock pinned double top to seal the win.

"It feels fantastic," said Whitlock, who was also the Championship League Darts runner-up on Thursday.

"I^m looking forward to every single time I play at the moment - I love winning and I^ve got to keep trying to win more and more.

"I was 5-2 down against Steve Farmer in our match today and I felt like giving up but then something kicked in to never say die, and I went on to win the tournament!"

He added: "Dennis has been around for a long time and is still a brilliant dart player, and fair play to him for reaching the final. He played really well - I enjoy playing him and he brings the best out of me, and you certainly don^t want to draw him."

Priestley^s run to the final will effectively secure his qualification for the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship in December through the ProTour Order of Merit as the veteran continued to show his ability to live with the world^s top-ranked stars.

He opened the day with a defeat of Vincent van der Voort and then defeated Les Wallace, Mervyn King, Dave Chisnall and Kevin Painter to reach the semi-finals.

There, he averaged over 100 in a 6-1 win over in-form Michael van Gerwen, whose only leg came with a 156 checkout as he averaged almost 105 in defeat in a high-quality contest.

Van Gerwen^s run to the semis saw him pick up £2,000 in prize money, but he fell two wins short of a seventh tournament win this year.

Stoke^s rising star Ian White also reached the semi-finals as he continues his push to break into the world^s top 32, while Painter, Jenkins, Justin Pipe and Peter Wright reached the last eight.

Sunday sees a second Players Championship of the weekend take place in Crawley, which will be the last event to take place before the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts kicks off next weekend.

Players Championship 17
K2 Centre, Crawley - Saturday November 3
First Round
Dave Chisnall (1) Bye
Johnny Haines 6-3 Keith Stephen
Scott Rand (32) 6-0 Ted Hankey
John Henderson 6-3 Liam Kelly
Dennis Priestley 6-3 Vincent van der Voort (16)
Les Wallace 6-3 Gino Vos
Mervyn King (17) 6-5 Steve Grubb
Matt Padgett 6-4 Dave Kelly
Adrian Lewis (8) Bye
Jim Walker 6-4 Steve Maish
Kevin Painter (25) 6-2 Reece Robinson
Adam Hunt 6-1 Ryan Harrington
Robert Thornton (9) Bye
Nick Fullwell 6-3 Paul Rowley
Jamie Caven (24) 6-5 Mark Jones
Mark Frost 6-3 Sam Hill
Michael van Gerwen (5) Bye
Kevin McDine 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Matt Clark 6-4 Joe Cullen (28)
Kevin Dowling 6-4 Scott Coleman
Colin Lloyd (12) 6-4 Brian Woods
Michael Mansell 6-3 John Scott
Mark Walsh (21) 1-6 Alex Roy
Daniel Day 6-4 Lee White
Wes Newton (4) Bye
Stuart Kellett 6-2 William O^Connor
Tony West 6-3 Arron Monk (29)
Gareth Pass 6-0 Adam Smith-Neale
Peter Wright (13) 6-4 John Bowles
Michael Barnard 6-5 Denis Ovens
Steve Beaton (20) 6-4 Shaun Griffiths
Dave Ladley 6-1 Chris Mason
Justin Pipe (2) Bye
Tony Littleton 6-4 Barrie Bates
Dean Winstanley (31) 6-5 Mark Hylton
Nigel Heydon 6-5 Joe Murnan
Steve Hine 6-5 Andy Smith (15)
Dennis Smith 6-4 Ross Smith
Mark Webster (18) 6-3 John Part
Darrell Claydon 6-4 Steven Pearson
Ian White (7) Bye
Terry Temple 6-3 Steve Brown
Wayne Jones (26) 6-2 Paddy Meaney
Mark Lawrence 6-1 Andy Relf
Ronnie Baxter (10) 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Jamie Lewis 6-2 Darren Whittingham
Michael Smith (23) 6-5 Stephen Hardy
Darren Johnson 6-1 Jerry Hendriks
Kim Huybrechts (6) Bye
Prakash Jiwa 6-2 Adrian Gray
Gary Anderson (27) 6-0 Paul Barham
Darren Webster 6-2 Brandon Walsh
Terry Jenkins (11) 6-5 James Richardson
Mick Todd 6-2 Mareno Michels
Colin Osborne (22) 6-1 Gaz Cousins
Ian Moss 6-2 Chris Aubrey
Simon Whitlock (3) Bye
Richie Howson 6-4 Alan Tabern
James Hubbard (30) 6-2 Roland Scholten
Steve Farmer 6-1 Andrew Gilding
Connie Finnan 6-2 Brendan Dolan (16)
Peter Hudson 6-3 Bernd Roith
Richie Burnett (19) 6-2 Ian Jopling
Matthew Waddoups 6-3 Paul Sawyer

Second Round
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Johnny Haines
Scott Rand 6-2 John Henderson
Dennis Priestley 6-1 Les Wallace
Mervyn King 6-0 Matt Padgett
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Jim Walker
Kevin Painter 6-3 Adam Hunt
Robert Thornton 6-3 Nick Fullwell
Jamie Caven 6-1 Mark Frost
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Kevin McDine
Kevin Dowling 6-2 Matt Clark
Colin Lloyd 6-4 Michael Mansell
Alex Roy 6-0 Daniel Day
Stuart Kellett 6-5 Wes Newton
Tony West 6-1 Gareth Pass
Peter Wright 6-4 Michael Barnard
Steve Beaton 6-1 Dave Ladley
Justin Pipe 6-2 Tony Littleton
Dean Winstanley 6-2 Nigel Heydon
Steve Hine 6-0 Dennis Smith
Mark Webster 6-0 Darrell Claydon
Ian White 6-5 Terry Temple
Wayne Jones 6-3 Mark Lawrence
Ronnie Baxter 6-3 Jamie Lewis
Darren Johnson 6-4 Michael Smith
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Prakash Jiwa
Gary Anderson 6-1 Darren Webster
Terry Jenkins 6-1 Mick Todd
Colin Osborne 6-5 Ian Moss
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Richie Howson
Steve Farmer 6-5 James Hubbard
Connie Finnan 6-3 Peter Hudson
Richie Burnett 6-4 Matthew Waddoups
Losers £200

Third Round
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Scott Rand
Dennis Priestley 6-4 Mervyn King
Kevin Painter 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Robert Thornton 6-1 Jamie Caven
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Kevin Dowling
Colin Lloyd 6-4 Alex Roy
Stuart Kellett 6-4 Tony West
Peter Wright 6-4 Steve Beaton
Justin Pipe 6-1 Dean Winstanley
Steve Hine 6-5 Mark Webster
Ian White 6-1 Wayne Jones
Ronnie Baxter 6-2 Darren Johnson
Gary Anderson 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Terry Jenkins 6-4 Colin Osborne
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Steve Farmer
Richie Burnett 6-4 Connie Finnan
Losers £400

Fourth Round
Dennis Priestley 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Kevin Painter 6-3 Robert Thornton
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Colin Lloyd
Peter Wright 6-5 Stuart Kellett
Justin Pipe 6-4 Steve Hine
Ian White 6-5 Ronnie Baxter
Terry Jenkins 6-3 Gary Anderson
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Richie Burnett
Losers £600

Dennis Priestley 6-4 Kevin Painter
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Peter Wright
Ian White 6-1 Justin Pipe
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Terry Jenkins
Losers £1,000

Dennis Priestley 6-1 Michael van Gerwen
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Ian White
Losers £2,000

Simon Whitlock 6-2 Dennis Priestley
Winner £6,000
Runner-Up £3,000

Final - Leg-By-Leg
Dennis Priestley v Simon Whitlock
0-0 - Dennis Priestley wins the bull and throws first
0-1 - Whitlock hits a 180 to be first to a double, but misses double seven to take out 86 and two further darts at double two - only for the two-time World Champion to miss four darts at a double and allow him back to finish double two.
1-1 - Priestley fires in a 180 and takes out 130 on double five to break back and level, with Whitlock waiting on 36.
1-2 - Whitlock misses tops to finish 119, but returns to finish double ten to break throw again and edge ahead.
1-3 - Whitlock scores 140, 140 and 137 and has enough cushion to initially miss five darts for the leg before returning to pin double six.
1-4 - Whitlock finishes double 19 to move three legs clear.
1-5 - The Australian produces a superb 160 checkout to finish a 12-darter and move a leg away from victory for the second successive weekend.
2-5 - Priestley misses three darts to save the match, but Whitlock misses double top and ten for the game and the veteran returns to hit double ten and keep his hopes alive.
2-6 - Both players hit 180s but Priestley misses tops to win a third leg, and Whitlock hits the same bed to seal the title.

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