Nine-time major finalist Terry Jenkins rolled back the years as he produced four ton-plus checkouts to edge out impressive youngster Josh Payne, as Benito van de Pas and Andrew Gilding also tasted victory on day three at the Alexandra Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Jenkins produced a vintage display to book his spot in the second-round after a hard-fought victory over 2016 Pro Tour winner Josh Payne. ‘The Raging Bull’ averaged 93.66, landed four maximums and converted 38% of his double attempts to prevail, despite Payne firing in seven maximums.
Missed doubles plagued the nine-time major finalist in a hard-fought first set. Jenkins opened his account with a fine 13-darter but Payne drew level with a 75 finish, before Jenkins defied a second maximum from the youngster to hold throw with a fine 106 outshot.
Payne stayed alive in the set by pinning D9, but Jenkins had the advantage of throw in the set decider.’The Raging Bull’ seemed destined to clinch the set but spurned six darts at double as the 22-year-old pounced on tops to secure the lead.
However, the former Ally Pally semi-finalist bounced back in set two. Jenkins pinned tops to break after the interval, before hitting the same target to extend his lead after Payne wired the bull for an 81 kill. Payne nailed D10 to heap the pressure on Jenkins, but the Ledbury ace defied a fourth maximum from the Gravesend ace to level on D10.
The pair traded maximums in the first-leg of set three, but Jenkins clinically converted a 100 outshot to hold. The 53-year-old then hit D10 to break, before clinching the third set without reply on D6, with Payne struggling to match Terry’s consistent scoring power.
Payne stopped the rot on D16 after Jenkins spurned three darts at D18 and D9 respectively to win his fifth consecutive leg, before a dramatic second leg ensued. ‘The Maximum’ posted successive maximums to set up a potential 9-darter, but after leaving 90 after 9 darts he wasn’t afforded a shot as Jenkins converted a majestic 140 finish to hold.
Jenkins’ magnificent finishing continued as he produced a brilliant 121 checkout (T20, T15, D8) to record his fourth ton-plus checkout to move within a leg of victory, but Payne broke back to keep his hopes alive. However, ‘The Maximum’ then spurned two darts at D8 to force a fifth and deciding set, which allowed Jenkins to finally close out victory on D16.
Jenkins was understandably thrilled with both the performance and result.“I was nice and relaxed; I felt comfortable. I haven’t put a lot of practice in just lately because every time I step up to the board I keep hitting 180’s, so I think why do you need to put the practice in, just leave them alone and that’s what I’ve done.
“I used to practice a lot when I was a youngster, but I think 90% of it is in your head and down to experience. ” Jenkins will face fifteenth seed Benito van de Pas in round-two, but Terry is relishing the prospect. Benito’s playing well, he’s another youngster that’s on form at the moment, but he’s got to play well to beat me.”
Van de Pas overcome dogged qualifier Tengku Shah to scramble through to round-two. The Dutchman averaged 91.18 as he prevailed 3-1, but his finishing was the decisive factor; Benito converted 61% of his double attempts compared to Shah’s 22% ratio, but the Malaysian acquitted himself extremely well, averaging 87.86 and landing four maximums.
Shah overcame Japanese star Masumi Chino in Saturday’s preliminary qualifier to book a showdown with ‘Big Ben’. The Malaysian won a nerve-jangling first set dominated by missed doubles, but Chino drew level with 117 and 106 finishes. Despite this, Shah held his nerve and won the final set without reply to progress to round-one with an 83.44 average.
However, the soft-tip ace was unable to dump out the Dutch star. Van de Pas performed an act of darting burglary in the opening set, winning it despite Shah being first to the double in all five legs. The Malaysian converted just two of his thirteen double attempts and the world number fifteen capitalised with clinical finishes of 72 and 78.
The pair exchanged breaks in the early stages of set two, before Van de Pas seized command with a stylish 125 finish (25, T20, D20). Shah then missed three darts to force a set decider and Van de Pas continued his clinical run of finishing to extend his lead.
Shah kicked off the third set with an exhibition 99 finish (S19, D20, D20). However Van de Pas fired back impressively, moving to the cusp of victory after reeling off successive legs in 14 and 12 darts respectively. Nevertheless, Shah fought valiantly and broke back on D10, before clinching the third set with a 13-darter to spark jubilant celebrations.
Any hopes of an incredible turnaround were quickly extinguished however. Van de Pas kicked off set four with a solid 16-dart hold, before hitting his second maximum and firing in a 13-dart leg to move to within a leg of round-two. This time ‘Big Ben’ made no mistake, sealing his progression with a classy 108 kill culminating on D18.
In his post-match press conference, Van de Pas admitted he was simply relieved to have secured the win, admitting: “The draw came out two weeks ago and from then I was so nervous because everybody expects you to win this game. I didn’t have a lot of confidence today; I was practicing really bad, but the win is there.
“I’m taking it game by game; the next one is Terry Jenkins, he is a good player. I played Terry at the World Grand Prix and it was a really nice game, and hopefully we have another nice game. I’m looking forward to it,” the 23-year-old added.
Finally, Andrew Gilding produced an inspired comeback from 2-0 down to edge out John Henderson in a pulsating sudden-death battle. ‘Big John’ appeared in cruise control but Gilding fought back superbly, averaging 90.94 and registering eight maximums to set up a second-round meeting with world champion Gary Anderson.
Gilding fired in three maximums in the opening set, but Henderson claimed the spoils in a hard-fought affair. The Scotsman squandered two set darts in the fourth leg but was afforded another opportunity moments later, which he duly took by pinning D16.
Gilding emerged from the interval with a 14-darter, but Henderson delivered an instant riposte with 121 finish on the bull. ‘Big John’ then seized command with an impressive 14-dart to break throw, before clinching the second set with a 15-dart hold on tops after Gilding had wired the bull for a 164 finish in the preceding visit.
Henderson won his fourth straight leg with a regulation 54 checkout, but out of nowhere ‘The Highlander’ lost his focus and Gilding pounced, winning three successive legs and reducing the arrears to 2-1 in sets by eventually pinning D1.
The momentum had shifted completely as Gilding registered his fourth straight leg via D19. Henderson arrested his slump by hitting his second maximum followed by a 98 finish for a 12-darter, but Gilding regained control of the set with a 15-dart hold, before converting a clean 80 kill to force a fifth and deciding set.
Henderson secured first blood in the decider with a quality two-dart 85 finish, but ‘Goldfinger’ fired straight back on D10. The Scot then regained the lead on tops with his last dart in hand after Gilding wired bull for a 94 finish and a break, but the Englishman forced a tiebreak after converting a clinical 101 kill on D12.
‘Goldfinger’ then hit his seventh maximum and nailed a spectacular 143 checkout to complete a 12-darter to break and lead for the first time since the opening leg. However, the former UK Open semi-finalist endured a torrid leg at the most inopportune moment by leaving 104 after 18 darts, as Henderson capitalised to hit D16 and stay afloat.
‘Big John’ made it back-to-back legs by pinning D20 at the first attempt, but the Scot missed one match dart at the bull before Gilding posted D2 to prolong the drama. The next two legs were shared as the contest went to a sudden-death leg and Gilding prevailed after winning the bullseye and converting a nerveless 75 finish on tops.
Gilding admitted to Josh’s Dartistry: “At 2-0, if John had hit a couple of 12-darters which he’s capable of, there would have been nothing I could do. But I just kept plugging away. There’s been little bits in my technique I’ve been working on. Maybe I slacked a little bit and relaxed after that UK Open success and took things for granted. But I’m really working on my technique now.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
William Hill World Darts Championship
Saturday December 17
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Tengku Shah 2-1 Masumi Chino (P)
Terry Jenkins (18) 3-1 Josh Payne
John Henderson (31) 2-3 Andrew Gilding
Benito van de Pas (15) 3-1 Tengku Shah