World champion Gary Anderson began his bid for a maiden World Matchplay crown with a comprehensive win over Alan Norris, whilst Adrian Lewis and Peter Wright also eased through to round-two. However, former winner James Wade suffered a surprise first-round exit at the Winter Gardens on Sunday.
Wade was beaten by an inspired Mervyn King in the opening match of Sunday’s evening session. ‘The King’ averaged 99.45, hit three maximums and converted an impressive 67% of his attempts at double, to dethrone ‘The Machine’ by a 10-5 scoreline.
Wade was uncharacteristically profligate on the doubles, as King stormed into a commanding 6-1 advantage. The left-hander missed three darts at double in the opening leg, and King capitalised on his opponent’s wastefulness, taking out finishes of 82, 100 and 120 to put one foot into the last 16.
Wade scored strongly in the latter stages of the contest, but it was to no avail. King missed D8 for a match-winning 136 outshot, and he was almost punished as Wade wired the bullseye for a 161 finish. However, King, a semi-finalist at the Winter Gardens in 2009, returned to post D4 and seal his second-round spot.
Gary Anderson stormed into the second-round of the World Matchplay, reeling off ten successive legs to thrash debutant Alan Norris 10-1. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ hit six maximums and averaged in excess of 101 to demolish the former BDO world finalist.
Norris got off to a fine start, converting a fine 104 checkout on D18 to claim the opening leg. ‘Chuck’ very nearly doubled his advantage, wiring D18 for a 153 finish in the following leg. However, Norris struggled for consistency, and the Scot took out finishes of 139 and 108 in successive legs, before sealing his progression with a 58 kill on tops.
The world champion will meet Terry Jenkins in round-two, after the 2007 finalist edged out Justin Pipe in a gruelling battle. Jenkins averaged just 85, but Pipe’s miserly 18% on the doubles ultimately cost him. Both men struggled in the opening stages of the contest, but ‘The Force’ moved 4-2 ahead by virtue of a majestic 11-darter.
Jenkins continued to fight back, but Pipe opened up the eleventh leg with a maximum, before converting 81 for a 12-darter to move 6-5 ahead. Yet, the nine-time major finalist won three straight legs after a series of fine finishes, to establish an 8-6 advantage.
‘The Raging Bull’ missed three clear darts to move within a leg of victory, and Pipe posted D4 to reduce the deficit to 8-7. Nevertheless, Pipe returned the favour, missing three clear darts at double in each of the next two legs, as Jenkins managed to complete a hard-fought triumph.
Two-time world champion Adrian Lewis fended off a spirited performance from former world champion Mark Webster to book a last-16 berth. Lewis averaged a modest 93.96, hitting five 180’s and 42% of his doubles. The Welshman was typically tenacious and performed well early on, averaging over 100 as he established a 3-2 lead.
The contest was evenly poised at 6-6, before Webster’s game began to disintegrate. The former Lakeside champion has suffered with dartitis over recent years and he struggled with his release in the latter stages, and Jackpot took full advantage to seal a 10-6 victory.
Lewis will face Gerwyn Price in the second-round, in a repeat of last year’s showdown, where Price prevailed in a memorable tie. ‘The Iceman’ booked his place in the last 16 with a fine comeback win against 13th seed Kim Huybrechts.
Huybrechts led 7-5 and appeared in command, but Price hit D2 to reduce the arrears, before levelling up with a 14-darter on tops. The Welsh ace converted 78 to edge 8-7 ahead, before the Belgian hit back with a classy 126 finish culminating on D8.
Price kicked off the next leg with a sublime 177 and despite double-trouble, he pinned D2 to move within a leg of the second-round. Huybrechts had the advantage of throw and appeared destined to force a tiebreak, but he squandered three clear darts at D16, and Price stepped in, clinically converting 88 in two-darts to round off a fabulous triumph.
Last year’s quarter-finalist Mensur Suljovic won a high-quality affair against former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting in the opening match of Sunday’s marathon double session. ‘The Bullet’ averaged 102.48, but Suljovic registered five maximums and boasted 50% on the doubles, as he sealed a narrow 10-8 victory.
The opening two legs were shared, before three successive breaks of throw saw ‘The Gentle’ establish a 3-2 cushion at the interval. This proved to be the final break of throw in the contest. Bunting scored prolifically, but Suljovic was rock-solid on his throw, taking out shots of 76, 96 and 134 to set up a potential round-two tie against Phil Taylor.
Fifth seed Peter Wright eased past the in-form Joe Cullen in the final match of Sunday’s evening session. Snakebite averaged 99.66 and hit six maximums to seal a comfortable 10-5 victory over Cullen, who threw excellently in patches, but lacked the leg-on-leg consistency to trouble last year’s semi-finalist.
Cullen hit four maximums himself, but the decisive factor was his 33% checkout percentage. Wright led 9-4 and appeared poised to hit tops to seal the win, but Cullen showed his class with a magnificent 124 finish culminating on D11. However, this wasn’t the start of an inspired comeback, as the Scot nailed D16 to win through.
In round-two, Wright will lock horns with Ian White, who cruised in to the second-round with a comprehensive 10-2 win against debutant Daryl Gurney, hitting an incredible eight maximums en route to victory. However, the Northern Irishman didn’t do himself justice, averaging a meagre 84 and hitting just 13% of his doubles.
White stormed into an early 3-0 lead, but Gurney responded strongly, winning successive legs to bring the game back on throw. Nevertheless, Daryl was unable to make any further inroads. The Stoke-on-Trent star clinched seven legs in succession to secure his win, finishing with a 91.46 average in the process.
BetVictor World Matchplay
Sunday July 17
Stephen Bunting 8-10 Mensur Suljovic
Kim Huybrechts 8-10 Gerwyn Price
Terry Jenkins 10-7 Justin Pipe
Ian White 10-2 Daryl Gurney
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
James Wade 5-10 Mervyn King
Adrian Lewis 10-6 Mark Webster
Gary Anderson 10-1 Alan Norris
Peter Wright 10-5 Joe Cullen
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