Brum joy for Baxter
Blackpool ace wins ranking title in the Midlands
Last Updated: 16/06/12 6:05pm
Birmingham finalists Adrian Lewis and Ronnie Baxter (pic PDC)
Ronnie Baxter defeated world Champion Adrian Lewis to win his first ranking title for 10 months in Saturday's Players Championship in Birmingham.
The Blackpool ace claimed the £6,000 first prize in the tournament at the NIA Community Hall with a brilliant display in the final, taking a 6-3 win over Lewis in a heavy-scoring contest.
Baxter showed strong form throughout the event in wins over Steve Grubb, Dennis Smith, Joe Cullen, James Hubbard and Peter Hudson to reach the semi-finals, where he hit back from 4-1 down to defeat Wes Newton.
Baxter could have taken a 6-4 win only to miss his chance to win the game as Newton forced a decider, before the world number five missed two darts for victory himself in the final leg as his local rival prevailed.
Baxter then raced into a 3-0 lead against Lewis in the final, aided by back-to-back 13-dart finishes before Lewis traded 180s with the Blackpool star to win the fourth in the same manner.
Lewis also hit a 180 in leg five, but missed the bull and two darts at double eight to hit back as Baxter finished double ten to lead 4-1.
Lewis produced a superb 11-darter to win his second leg, but another miss on the bullseye allowed Baxter to follow up another 180 with a third-dart double five to move a leg away from the win.
The pair also traded maximums in the eighth leg as Lewis produced a 14-darter to keep the match alive, but Baxter's sixth 180 of the game pushed him clear in the next before he landed double ten for victory.
Baxter finished the final with an average of 100.55, hitting six 180s plus a 174 and a 171, while Lewis hit four maximums and averaged 105.79.
The win could prove vital for Baxter in his bid to qualify via the ProTour Order of Merit for next month's World Matchplay in his home town, cementing his place amongst the 16 qualifying positions.
Lewis' run saw him reach the final of a ProTour event for the first time since March 2011, as he earned £3,000 prize money on the day.