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Muffin Man Steve Hine rises to the challenge at the Players Championship Finals

Coventry baker Steve Hine pulled off a huge upset as he dispatched a half-baked Peter Wright in a dramatic deciding leg in the opening round of the Players Championship Finals in Minehead on Friday.

The world number 104 enjoyed the biggest win of his career to date as he dumped out the number three seed in the £460,000 major at the Butlins Minehead Resort.

Hine, featuring in the Last 64 of a televised tournament for the first time since 2011, battled back from 3-1 and 4-2 down to claim a memorable triumph on the Main Stage.

"Just to qualify for this event is hard but this is massive for me," said Hine. 

"Five or six years ago, we were both ranked around the 40 mark in the world, Peter has moved on to far greater heights and I look up to him.

"Hopefully this can kick on my career further," added the 48-year-old, who handed out muffins to the crowd during his trademark walk-on.
 
Another huge upset saw Mickey Mansell knock out a below-par Gary Anderson with a 6-3 triumph.

The duo shared the opening four legs before Northern Ireland's Mansell finished 80, tops and 136 to pull clear before completing the win with a 13-darter.
 
"It's massive for me in terms of the standard of player that I've just beaten, because Gary is exceptional," admitted Mansell.
 
"His youngest child has been in hospital for the last two days and he's been at the bedside. His mind hasn't been on darts and it showed up there.
 
"On his day I love watching Gary, he's exceptional. I'm chuffed to bits to beat Gary, I still had to hit those doubles."

Michael van Gerwen began his quest for a fourth consecutive Players Championship Finals title with a 6-2 win over the the returning Paul Nicholson on Friday.

Last Sunday's Grand Slam champion MVG raced into a 3-0 lead before Nicholson, appearing in his first TV appearance for over two years, took two of the next three to hit back to 4-2, but Van Gerwen won the next two as he moved through to play Steve West - who overcame Somerset's Ryan Searle 6-4.
 
"There's a lot more in the tank but it's nice to win," said Van Gerwen. "Paul had some patches where he played quite well but I hit my doubles at the right moments."
 
Huddersfield debutant Peter Jacques survived five missed match darts from Spain's Cristo Reyes to claim a 6-5 win on Stage Two.
 
Kevin Painter, the 2011 champion, also exited the event in round one as he went down 6-4 to James Wade, who now plays Jamie Caven after the Derby ace survived a missed match dart before edging out Joe Cullen.
 
Top seed Rob Cross, a four-time Players Championship winner in his first year on the ProTour, was a 6-2 winner against Wales' Robert Owen as he moved through to face emerging Irish youngster Steve Lennon, who overcame Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4.
 
Number two seed Daryl Gurney punished Dutch youngster Jeffrey de Zwaan for 14 missed darts at doubles as he claimed a 6-0 whitewash win to set up a tie with Robbie Green, who survived a missed match dart to knock out Vincent van der Voort 6-5.
 
Adrian Lewis made an impressive return to action as he overcame Belgian youngster Mike De Decker 6-3, finishing 50 percent of his doubles, averaging 99 and taking out 129 to seal the win.
 
Lewis was using a new dart in the same design as Raymond van Barneveld, and admitted: "I've not won a game on TV since July and I needed to change something, and I'm probably practising as well as I've ever done.
 
"I'm enjoying practising and I know I can improve with these darts. As the tournament progresses I think with the longer formats you'll see the real me turn up."

Lewis now plays Richard North, who also averaged 99 on his Players Championship Finals debut as he defeated Peter Hudson 6-1.
 
Ian White edged past Raymond van Barneveld with a 6-5 win, surviving two missed match darts from the Dutchman in their deciding leg before returning from a miss of his own to land double ten.
 
White now faces John Henderson, who landed a brace of 101 finishes as he pulled clear from one-all to win 6-2 against Darren Johnson.
 
Mensur Suljovic raced past Andy Boulton 6-0 with a ruthless whitewash, hitting six doubles from ten attempts as he set up a second round tie with Stephen Bunting, who finished six doubles from ten attempts as he overcame Benito van de Pas 6-3.
 
William O'Connor came from 3-1 and 4-2 down to defeat James Wilson 6-5 in a deciding leg, with the Huddersfield ace missing tops for victory before the Irishman stepped in to take out 74.
 
Dave Chisnall also edged through in an 11-leg contest as he overcame Joe Murnan in a decider to set up a last 32 meeting with O'Connor.
 
World Grand Prix finalist Simon Whitlock held off Christian Kist's fightback, after the Dutchman came from two legs down to level, before he claimed a 6-3 win from their tie.
 
Whitlock now plays Jan Dekker, who defied a 170 checkout from Michael Smith to claim a 6-3 win, landing six doubles from ten attempts.
 
Kyle Anderson was also eliminated despite landing a 170 checkout as he went down 6-4 to Ron Meulenkamp, who now meets Justin Pipe after the two-time semi-finalist came from two legs down to defeat Mark Webster 6-3.
 
Former Lakeside Champions Steve Beaton and Jelle Klaasen will meet in round two following their impressive 6-4 wins over Ronny Huybrechts and Alan Norris respectively.
 
Welsh duo Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton will face off in round two after both eliminated Dutchmen with 6-4 victories, with Price seeing off Jimmy Hendriks and Clayton overcoming Jeffrey de Graaf.
 
Robert Thornton missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the deciding leg of his tie with James Richardson before surviving a missed match dart to edge through to face Chris Dobey.
 
Youngster Dobey finished six doubles from nine attempts as he defeated Kim Huybrechts 6-3, with Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena matching that finishing ratio in a ten-minute whitewash of Keegan Brown.
 
Darren Webster, a semi-finalist here last year, sealed a 6-3 win over Spain's Toni Alcinas with a ten-dart leg as he moved through to meet Norfolk rival Mervyn King, who won in a deciding leg against Brendan Dolan.

Players Championship Finals 2017 Results


Friday November 24

First Round

Afternoon Session

Main Stage
Darren Webster 6-3 Antonio Alcinas
Robert Thornton 6-5 James Richardson
Joe Cullen 5-6 Jamie Caven
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Joe Murnan
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Kim Huybrechts 3-6 Chris Dobey
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Mike De Decker
James Wade 6-4 Kevin Painter

Stage Two
Steve Lennon 6-4 Zoran Lerchbacher
Justin Pipe 6-3 Mark Webster
Richard North 6-1 Peter Hudson
Mervyn King 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Steve Beaton 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts
Steve West 6-4 Ryan Searle
Jermaine Wattimena 6-0 Keegan Brown
Peter Jacques 6-5 Cristo Reyes

Evening Session

Main Stage
Ian White 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Andy Boulton
Rob Cross 6-2 Robert Owen
Daryl Gurney 6-0 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Gary Anderson 3-6 Mickey Mansell
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Paul Nicholson
Peter Wright 5-6 Steve Hine

Stage Two
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Christian Kist
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Jimmy Hendriks
James Wilson 5-6 William O'Connor
John Henderson 6-2 Darren Johnson
Vincent van der Voort 5-6 Robbie Green
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Jeffrey de Graaf
Kyle Anderson 4-6 Ron Meulenkamp
Michael Smith 3-6 Jan Dekker
Alan Norris 4-6 Jelle Klaasen


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Muffin Man Steve Hine rises to the challenge at the Players Championship Finals

Coventry baker Steve Hine pulled off a huge upset as he dispatched a half-baked Peter Wright in a dramatic deciding leg in the opening round of the Players Championship Finals in Minehead on Friday.

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