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Players Championship 7+8 preview: Van Duijvenbode can continue devastating form

The Pro Tour heads to Hildesheim in Germany for a double-header of Players Championship competitions on Sunday and Monday.

Events seven and eight see a 128-player field compete at the Halle 39 space and there is £12,000 of prize money and ranking points available to the two winners. 

Ross Smith took out event five last week in Barnsley and the Kent thrower was followed into the winners enclosure by Dirk van Duijvenbode in event six. 

WhatPlayers Championship 7 & 8
WhereHalle 39, Hildesheim
WhenSunday 19th March - Monday 20th March
How to watchPDCTV
OddsMichael van Gerwen 5/1, Gerwyn Price 8/1, Michael Smith 8/1, Dirk van Duijvenbode 12/1, Jonny Clayton 16/1, Luke Humphries 16/1

Titan a man in form

Dirk van Duijvenbode claimed the Players Championship event six crown in Barnsley last week and that was the second title of the 2023 series for the Titan. 

The Dutchman beat Ryan Searle in the final of that tournament and that showdown followed an early Pro Tour trend. 

Searle won the opening Players Championship event of the season in February and Heavy Metal has already made three finals this season. 

Van Duijvenbode has lifted two Players Championship titles this term and the Dutchman and Searle have been responsible for an incredible five of the 12 final spots in the 2023 series. 

Searle is defending a fair chunk of prize money this season and it’s to the Devon dartist’s credit that he has been putting up such excellent performances. 

Van Duijvenbode has always been capable of some huge numbers, in terms of three-dart averages, and this season has proved no different. 

The heavy-scoring Dutchman rattled in an average of 103.92 when beating Searle in the final of the Players Championship event 6 and it will be interesting to see if the Titan can translate his fantastic floor form to the major televised events on a more regular basis. 

Van Duijvenbode is 12/1 to make it a hattrick of Players Championship titles, after only seven events, and the Dutchman could be worth backing to shine again.

Premier League stars have faded

Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price, Jonny Clayton, Nathan Aspinalll, Peter Wright, Chris Dobey and Dimitri van den Bergh have been battling it out in the Premier League, and while it’s a fairly small sample size, the traveling demands of that event don’t appear to have been conducive to a good showing on the Pro Tour.

That super eight have already been to Cardiff, Belfast, Glasgow, Berlin, Exeter, Nottingham and Liverpool in the invitational competition this season and there is another away day in store when they head to Germany for the Players Championship. 

None of those top performers have even made a final of this series of events and it’s no surprise given their exertions in the invitational Premier League. 

Van Gerwen is the 5/1 market leader in Hildesheim, and while the Green Machine is a phenomenally talented arrowsmith, there doesn’t appear to be a huge amount of value in the price.

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Smith another serious contender

Ross Smith landed the biggest prize of his career when winning the European Championship last year and the Dover thrower was also a winner in Barnsley last week. 

Smudger is developing into a top-level performer and there are few more frequent maximum hitters on tour. 

Smith beat two-time PDC world champion Gary Anderson in the Barnsley final last week and, at 20/1, another big performance is certainly not ruled out. 

Talented duo looking to double up

Kim Huybrechts and Danny Noppert are the other two players to have won a Player Championship title this year. 

The event three triumph was a welcome victory for Huybrechts, who last lifted a PTC crown way back in 2013. 

The Hurricane had been showing signs of a revival in recent events and the Belgian is 100/1 to double up at Halle 39. 

Danny Noppert is also looking to land a second Players Championship title this year and the Dutchman is 40/1 to realise that feat in Germany. 

The 2022 UK Open champion is a classy performer and it’s fair to say that Noppert was a little unfortunate not to get a call up into this year’s Premier League. 

However, that may well prove to be a net benefit for the 32-year-old, who can continue to make hay on the Pro Tour with a good showing in Hildesheim.

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