It was a day to remember for Ryan Searle when he picked up his first PDC ranking title in Playere Championship 3, where he defeated the world number one Michael van Gerwen in the final, as he sealed an empathic 8-6 victory over the Dutchman.
Searle, 32, who came so close to a first PDC ranking title back in 2018 where he reached the final, finally got over the line and followed up his impressive World Championship campaign by picking up the £10,000 prize at the Robin Park Arena.
The 2016 Unicorn Challenge Tour runner-up started the day with a more than difficult draw, as he took on the back-to-back Grand Slam winner Gerwyn Price. Price established a 4-1 leg lead over Searle, as he looked like he was going to close out the match. However, Searle reeled off five legs on the spin to win the match 6-4, with the winning leg being checked out in eleven darts.
As Searle progressed through, he then took on Michael Barnard and Josh Payne, which were games he won fairly comfortably as he sealed 6-3 and 6-2 wins. In both games, just like he did in his first game against Price, Searle averaged just below 97.
The consistency in Searle’s game continued where he took on the former World Youth Champion Michael Smith in the last sixteen. Searle lost the first leg but followed that up to seal three legs on the spin which helped him maintain the lead for the rest of the game as he then closed out the match 6-4.
Searle progressed into the quarter-finals where he took on the three time BDO World Champion Glen Durrant. The game started off exactly like the previous game did, as Searle salvaged a 3-1 lead over Durrant. Durrant fought back to make it three apiece and then lost the next two legs as Searle was only one leg away of winning the match. Again, Durrant fought back to force the game into a last leg decider, which in the end Searle won as he progressed through to the semi-finals.
Searle then put in his best performance of the day in the semi-finals as he played against Jeffrey de Zwaan. A 101 average from Searle was enough to seal the win and checked out all 7 legs in 18 darts or less.
The biggest challenge for Searle was yet to come as he took on the world number one Michael van Gerwen in the final. The encounter was a real test for the man from Somerset. Searle raced into a 3-0 lead against the three time PDC World Champion and came close to extending it to a four leg lead but missed the bullseye. MVG came back by sealing a four legs on the spin and each player exchanged legs until it was 5-5. Searle stopped the pattern by making it 6-5 and as MVG levelled it up again, Searle got the job done by sealing the next two legs and won the match with a 13 dart leg.
Searle said ‘”I just can’t believe it. It’s extra special to beat Michael in the final, it’s a dream.
“I’ve been practicing a lot in my little man cave back home and playing out scenarios in my head – playing Michael in a final was one of them.
“When you get these chances you just have to take the opportunity and thankfully I did today.
“I think I let myself down a bit at the World Championship where I lost to Gary Anderson.
“I still don’t think I’ve played my best, but I know what I can do.
“Nathan Aspinall beat me in the final of his first Players Championship win and look what has happened to him since then. Maybe it will be the same for me.”
By Henry Cheal
Henry Cheal is a darts journalist currently writing a book about Glen Durrant’s tale.
As well as this, Henry (Twitter) also is doing media duties for Luke Humphries, Chris Dobey and Ryan Searle.
Henry writes blogs in his spare time and writes all different types of blogs, varying from darts news, interviews, mini biographies about dart players, reports and media blogs regarding the players above.