IAN WHITE lifted his first European Tour title after defeating Ricky Evans 8-5 in the final of the Dutch Darts Championship in Maastricht.
White was playing in his 63rd European Tour event, more than any other player, and was left in tears as he became the third new winner on the continent this year.
The £135,000 tournament at MECC saw runner-up Evans reach his first European Tour final, but it was White's weekend as the Stoke star found double top with his last dart in hand to clinch the £25,000 top prize.
"It's been a long time coming, I'm getting older so it's just magical to finally win one," said White, who now has ten PDC titles to his name.
"I was so pleased to see that double top go in to get me over the winning line because I got a bit nervy towards the end.
"Now I've won one hopefully there will be a few more to come - it's just a magnificent feeling to win a title on stage at last.
"I'm playing well and enjoying the game and I want to start going far in TV events and maybe win one but right now I'm going to enjoy this moment."
White kicked off his charge to the title with a 102.26 average in his 6-4 victory over Arron Monk on Saturday before reaching the quarter-finals thanks to a convincing 6-2 defeat of Mervyn King.
The Players Championship Order of Merit number one got the better of fellow-Stoke thrower Adrian Lewis in the quarter-finals and then edged past Peter Wright to reach the final, six years to the day since last European Tour final appearance.
Both players made a strong start to the final with White getting off the mark with a 14-dart hold of throw, only for Evans to hit back with a 13-darter.
The first break of the match went to Evans as the Northamptonshire man went 2-1 up, but White hit straight back with an 11-darter to level at 2-2.
The players exchanged holds of throw to make it 3-3 before White took out 96 to hold and followed it up with another 14-dart leg to open up a two-leg advantage for the first time.
Evans found double 16 with his last dart to break throw and stay in the tie, only for White to respond in kind and then hold to go within a leg of victory after both players ended up on double one.
There was no double trouble in the next leg for Evans who hit double top at the first attempt to make it 5-7 and then applied pressure in the following leg but White held his nerve, pinning tops for the title.
Despite coming up just short in the final, it was a weekend to treasure for Evans, who became an Internet sensation and Dutch crowd favourite thanks to his 'Baby Shark'-inspired walk-on music.
Evans' impressive run to his first PDC ranking final in almost five years saw the Kettering thrower record impressive victories over Jan Dekker, Steve West, William O'Connor, Joe Cullen and Ritchie Edhouse.
"I'm not normally a person who thinks about nerves but I was very nervous there,"Evans admitted.
"I'm chuffed to bits to get to the final and it makes me feel very happy to get this reception from the crowd, they've been very helpful today.
"Hopefully this could be the start of me winning more games on the big stage."
The Dutch weekend was also a memorable one for semi-finalist Edhouse, who ended a run of six European Tour appearances without victory, while O'Connor inflicted world number one Michael van Gerwen's first round two exit in Europe for almost three years.
The PDC European Tour continues from September 14-16 with the International Darts Open in Riesa, Germany with coverage to be broadcast at PDCTV-HD and through a series of bookmakers' websites worldwide.
2018 Dutch Darts Championship
Friday September 7
Darren Johnson 6-4 Kevin Munch
William O'Connor 6-2 Karel Sedlacek
Barrie Bates 6-3 Jelle Klaasen
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-3 Robert Marijanovic
Ryan Searle 6-3 Andy Boulton
Ricky Evans 6-3 Jan Dekker
Darius Labanauskas 6-3 Toni Alcinas
Josh Payne 6-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Wayne Jones 6-2 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-5 Paul Nicholson
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Dawson Murschell
Kevin Painter 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Ross Smith 6-2 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Arron Monk 6-3 Robert Thornton
Kyle Anderson 6-0 Christian Bunse
Cristo Reyes 6-4 James Wilson
Saturday September 8
Ricky Evans 6-5 Steve West
Mervyn King 6-2 Darius Labanauskas
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Joe Cullen 6-4 Barrie Bates
Josh Payne 6-3 Darren Webster
Darren Johnson 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Adrian Lewis 6-1 Wayne Jones
Ross Smith 6-5 Max Hopp
Ian White 6-4 Arron Monk
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 James Wade
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Ryan Searle
Peter Wright 6-2 Kevin Painter
William O'Connor 6-1 Michael van Gerwen
Kyle Anderson 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Cristo Reyes
Sunday September 9
Ricky Evans 6-2 William O'Connor
Joe Cullen 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Ritchie Edhouse 6-2 Ross Smith
Kyle Anderson 6-1 Jeffrey de Graaf
Peter Wright 6-1 Dave Chisnall
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Darren Johnson
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Josh Payne
Ian White 6-2 Mervyn King
Ricky Evans 6-5 Joe Cullen
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Kyle Anderson
Peter Wright 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Ian White 6-1 Adrian Lewis
Ricky Evans 7-5 Ritchie Edhouse
Ian White 7-4 Peter Wright
Ian White 8-5 Ricky Evans
ARTICLE BY JOSH PHILLIPS