On the back of qualifying for the German Darts Championship in Hildesheim on Friday evening, Josh participated in PDC Players Championship events 13 & 14. The events were played on Saturday & Sunday at Wigan’s Robin Park leisure centre.
At Players Championship 13 on Saturday, Josh took on Daryl Gurney in the first match of the day over on the PDC’s live stream. It was a very closely contested match, Gurney moved into a 2-0 lead early on as he took out 127 on the bull en route. Josh pulled the score line back to 2-1 as he produced a solid 13-dart leg.
Josh produced a superb 127 finish of his own as he levelled up the match at 3-3.
Gurney took the next two legs to move 5-3 ahead, but Josh wasn’t giving in just yet as he battled back to reduce the deficit to 5-4, and he did get opportunities to force a last-leg decider, but he was unable to take up the opportunity as Gurney picked out D4 to progress.
At Players Championship 14 on Sunday, Payne produced a string of solid performances as he reached the board final, only losing out to the tournament winner Peter Wright.
In his opening match, Payne put in a flawless display as he seen off Scott Darbyshire in a 6-0 victory whilst recording an average of 95.9 in what was his best performance of the day.
Then, in round two, Payne came up against Prakash Jiwa. It wasn’t Josh’s finest performance in terms of average, but he had to dig deep at pivotal points in the match. Josh kicked things off with an impressive 106 checkout to move 1-0 ahead, both player continued to hold onto their respective throws successfully as the pendulum swung in both directions.
Jiwa did manage to pull out a huge 158 finish to level the match up at 3-3 as Josh left a three-figure combination to break the throw. As we all anticipated, the match went to an 11th and deciding leg.
In the decider, Payne produced a nerveless hold of throw (his sixth in succession) as he comfortably took out a superb 120 checkout to edge past Jiwa as he progressed to the board one final.
In that board final (last 32 stage) he came up against the World no.2 Peter Wright. Josh had previously got the better of Wright in their last meeting, which was of course the Players Championship 12 final in Barnsley just a few weeks ago. Josh got off to a great start against ‘Snakebite’ as he produced a level 15-dart leg as he took out 62 for a 1-0 lead.
Wright responded with a 14-darter as he took out 56. But, the turning point probably came in leg three as Wright produced an 11-dart break of throw in what was a decent 9-dart attempt as he fired in seven perfect darts. From then on in, it was hard for Josh to mount a fightback with Wright playing so flawlessly. Wright managed to complete a 6-1 victory in the end as he went on to win Players Championship 14.
Overall, It’s been a solid weekend as we move onto the final two Players Championship events before the cut-off for the World Matchplay which will take place in just over a weeks time in Barnsley.