Dave Chisnall, Terry Jenkins and Wes Newton all progressed through to the second-round of the World Championships, but Dean Winstanley became the ninth seed to depart the tournament, losing in a fifth set tiebreak to Ronny Huybrechts, at the Alexandra Palace on Tuesday evening.
Chisnall stole the show, as he produced a fine display to defeat exciting Austrian youngster Rowby-John Rodriguez 3-0 in the first-round of the World Championships at Alexandra Palace on Thursday evening. ‘Chizzy’ averaged 99.37 and posted four maximums to overcome ‘Little John’.
However, Rowby acquitted himself well; all three sets went to a fifth and deciding leg, but Chisnall ultimately delivered the goods in critical junctures of the contest.
Chisnall won the opening set in a fifth and deciding leg, despite averaging ten points higher than his opponent. He was scoring prolifically and winning his legs with consummate ease, whereas Rowby was being pressurised by Chisnall throughout; hence the disparity in the averages.
The second-set was another tight affair, as it once again went the distance. Rowby-John took out a classy 107 to edge ahead, but the St Helen’s star responded with a terrific 100 checkout.
Chisnall was throwing superbly, averaging just over 105; yet in the decisive fifth leg, the Austrian squandered a fantastic opportunity to restore parity, missing four darts at double.
In set three, Rowby produced a piece of sheer brilliance, taking out a maximum 170 finish; the first of the tournament. He then broke Chisnall in the next leg, punishing a mediocre scoring leg from the two-time major finalist.
Nevertheless, Dave rallied superbly, producing a magnificent 11-darter to level up the set, before taking out 96 for a 14-darter to seal his serene progession.
Speaking exclusively to Josh’s Dartistry, Chizzy claimed that facing a player of Rowby’s talent was a good test for him. “Playing Rowby-John today, I know he can play darts. He took out the 170 and the 107, and I knew I needed to step up, and I did.
“I’ve been playing some great darts; I always play well throughout the year, but when it comes to the final two tournaments, probably the most vital tournaments, I don’t perform, but this year, I’m hoping for a lot better,” he added.
Chisnall faces 2012 Lakeside winner Christian Kist in the second-round and was in bullish mood. “I’m feeling confident. I’ve played Christian quite a few times. It’s pretty even at the moment. I just have to tighten up my doubles, and then I’m confident I’ll win the game.”
9-Time major finalist Terry Jenkins survived a minor scare as he defeated veteran American Darin Young to reach the last 32. Jenkins trailed 1-0 in sets and was on the verge of facing a 2-0 deficit, but he rallied to complete a much-needed comeback.
The first set was a very hard-fought affair. Jenkins started strongly, edging 2-1 ahead in the opening set with a 98 average, but ‘Big Daddy’ fought back valiantly, winning the fifth and deciding leg with a tremendous 100 checkout to steal the set from Jenkin’s grasp.
Young had the momentum and continued his charge after the break. He broke Jenkins, before taking out 240 in just five darts to move one leg away from a two-set advantage.
However, Jenkins showed his class when placed under considerable pressure; he restored parity in the set with a confident 104 finish, before clinching the set with an accomplished 13-darter.
Jenkins won his fourth successive leg courtesy of a tremendous 116 checkout, before moving to the cusp of a 2-1 lead after eventually pinning D5. However, Jenks narrowly missed D16 for a 131 checkout, enabling Young to stop the rot and preserve his hopes of regaining the lead.
After the imposing American failed to take out 62, Jenkins pounced, converting D20 to take the lead for the first time in the contest.
The fourth set followed a similar pattern; it was topsy-turvy, with Jenkins dominating the scoring, but struggling to close out legs. Young led 2-1 and we appeared poised for a final set, but Jenkins regained his poise, winning back-to-back legs to seal a 3-1 victory. After Christmas, Terry will take on former Lakeside Champion Mark Webster in a tasty round-two clash.
Elsewhere, Ronny Huybrechts edged past former Lakeside finalist Dean Winstanley in an enthralling clash to open the evening session. In a topsy-turvy contest, the Belgian veteran hit three ton-plus finishes to prevail in the deciding set.
Winstanley, who walked out to Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’ was certainly ‘into the groove’ early on, as he averaged 96 in claiming the opening set without reply. He was throwing with conviction and his 75% checkout ratio certainly provided him with a ‘ray of light’.
Nevertheless, Ronny is a tenacious competitor and capitalised on an indifferent set from Winstanley to level up proceedings. The first two legs were shared, before the Belgian converted 72 and 64 finishes to make it one-set apiece.
‘The Rebel’ had chances to take the lead in set three, but Winstanley held his nerve to edge ahead once more. The first four legs in set three were shared; however Huybrechts had one dart to break in each of Winstanley’s legs. The fifth and decisive leg was claimed by ‘Over the Top’, who posted a delightful 120 checkout to reclaim the initiative.
Despite this, Huybrechts once again displayed tremendous character to restore parity in this contest. Winstanley was hitting maximums with relative ease, but his overall game was rather erratic at times. This enabled Ronny to clinch the set without reply, as he clinically converted finishes of 72, 80 and 65 to force a fifth and deciding set.
The final set was an absolutely gripping affair. The encounter went to a tiebreak, before Huybrechts took out a fantastic 102 to ensure he’d throw for the match.
However, after he missed three clear match darts in the following leg, it appeared that he’d squandered the opportunity. Nevertheless, he recovered remarkably, taking out 164 and 104 in successive legs to seal a memorable victory.
In his post-match press conference, Huybrechts admitted that after wasting match darts, he thought his chances were over. “After I missed the D20, I said to myself; that’s the game. You had your chances, and you missed them. At the end, of course I’m very proud, because I won the game. But it could have been a lot easier.”
Ronny was also full of praise for his opponent. “I’ve known Dean for such a long time. Dean is a good friend; such a gentlemen. After the game he wished me all the best, and not everybody does that,” he added.
Meanwhile, former World Number 5 Wes Newton posted one of the lowest winning-averages in World Championship history as he defeated Cristo Reyes 3-1 in a repeat of last year’s first-round. The former Premier League ace averaged just 77.80, but his proficient 47% on the doubles proved decisive for the Fleetwood flinger.
Newton won a bizarre first set, despite averaging a miserly 67. Reyes stormed into a 2-0 legs advantage, nevertheless, the Spaniard failed to maintain his composure. He missed seven set darts, which allowed ‘The Warrior’ to steal the opener.
The second set followed a similar pattern. Reyes dominated the scoring stakes, but his fragility in the latter stages of legs proved extremely expensive. Newton couldn’t believe his luck, extending his set advantage despite averaging just 73.
The Spaniard appeared baffled, but he regained himself at the interval and won the third set in emphatic style, averaging 107 and converting a classy 105 checkout to reduce the arrears to 2-1.
However, Reyes surrendered the initiative by missing three clear doubles in the opening leg of set four, enabling Newton to break once again.
In a contest layered with mediocrity, the 26th seed produced a glimpse of sheer class, hitting his first maximum before taking out 161 to move to the cusp of victory. Cristo eventually hit D1 to preserve his hopes, but Newton took out a clinical 76 to seal an unlikely triumph.
Speaking exclusively to Josh’s Dartistry, Newton admitted that he the underdog tag could play into his favour when he faces James Wade in round-two. “I think when you’re underdog, it helps a lot to be honest. There’s definitely a lot more pressure on you when you’re the favourite, as you’ve got to go up there and produce.”
But I know if I turn up, I can beat anyone. I haven’t been number five in the world for nothing, I haven’t been in two Premier Leagues for nothing; I’m just having a bad run,” he added.
Newton was very honest about his struggles in 2015, acknowledging: “At the moment, I’m learning what a mental game darts is, what a lonely place it can be, so when I come through that, which I will, I’m 100% confident I will, I’ll be a lot better player for it.”
Tuesday December 22 (7pm-11pm)
Dean Winstanley 2-3 Ronny Huybrechts
Wes Newton 3-1 Cristo Reyes
Dave Chisnall 3-0 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Terry Jenkins 3-1 Darin Young