Gary Anderson produced some of the finest darts of his career on his way to winning the Players Championship 2 in Wigan on Tuesday evening. The Flying Scotsman was incredibly one shot away from a nine-dart finish on three separate occasions and recorded a career-best average as he opened his account in 2024.
Ryan Searle stormed to his second final in as many days after falling short against Luke Littler in a thrilling 8-7 showcase – despite averaging a sensational 111.7 – at Monday’s Players Championship 1.
But Anderson was at his best throughout the day and capped it off with an 8-5 victory in the final, averaging 101.14 to Searle’s 91.33.
The 53-year-old started his campaign with a 6-3 win against Germany’s Daniel Klose before cruising past Czech Republic’s Adam Gawlas 6-0.
He faced familiar foe Daryl Gurney in the third round and was too strong for the Northern Irishman, progressing with a 6-2 triumph.
But Anderson saved the performance of the day – and one of the best of his illustrious career – for Belgian talent Andy Baetens in the quarter-finals.
He thrashed the Lakeside champion 6-0 to book his spot in the final four, averaging a new personal record of 117.12, which surpasses the 115.15 he threw at a Players Championship in 2017.
Baetens threw well enough to win almost any other encounter, averaging 101.25, but Anderson was relentless, producing an 11-darter, 13-darter, 14-darter and 170, 125 and 124 finishes.
Anderson barely slowed down against fellow Scotsman Peter Wright in the semi-finals, averaging 108 to win the clash 7-5.
Before winning his final two legs with just 11 darts, Anderson came so close to taking the third with a nine-darter but narrowly missed the double 12. He made no mistake with his 10th dart.
And in the final against Searle, the tungsten icon did the exact same thing not once but twice and was audibly frustrated at his bad luck after his third close call of the day.
Having brushed the wire of the double 12 with his shot that would’ve stunningly clinched the title, Anderson grimaced, clapping the air and slapping his rear as Searle laughed in the background.
As he walked back past the oche, Anderson said, “You son of a gun,” before pretending to kick the wall of the room.
Searle, still on 216 to score, couldn’t take advantage, and the Scot once again wrapped things up with his 10th dart to win the day.
Anderson will hope his momentum from his title win in Wigan can continue as the season progresses.