Jim Williams defeated three-time world finalist Tony O’Shea in straight sets in the first-round of the BDO World Championship for the second year in succession, as Jeff Smith, Mark McGrath and Aileen de Graaf also triumphed at the Lakeside Country Club on Saturday evening.
Thirteenth seed Williams condemned Lakeside legend Tony O’Shea to his fourth successive first-round exit at Frimley Green with a comprehensive 3-0 victory. Both men struggled for large periods, but Williams averaged 82.62 in dropping just two legs, as O’Shea was punished for converting just two of his 27 attempts at double.
Williams clinched the opening set to nil, despite the fact O’Shea was first to a double in each of the three legs. The Welshman escaped with a hold of throw in the first leg as ‘Silverback’ spurned four darts at tops to break.
The second leg followed a similar pattern. O’Shea squandered five darts at double as Williams again pinned D16 to double his tally. The three-time world finalist had a chance at 108 to stay alive in the set but he failed to pin D14, as the Welshman clinched the opener with a clinical 78 kill.
O’Shea’s double woes continued early in set two. The 55-year-old missed two darts at D16 and Williams broke with a nerveless 101 checkout on D18, to the exasperation of the Stockport ace. Ironically, O’Shea opened his account in the first leg where Williams was first to a double, with Tony landing a cracking 104 finish to break back.
The third-leg was a nerve-jangling affair. Both players missed a multitude at double before ‘Silverback’ eventually hit D1 to hold. Nevertheless Williams responded superbly; landing his first maximum and taking out 76 to force a set decider, before doubling his lead after following his second 180 with a 15-dart break on D9.
This seemed to relax Williams, who performed superbly in set three to seal his progression. He hit the front with a clinical 106 checkout, before landing another maximum and taking out 98 to round-off an accomplished 12-dart break.
The Welshman was oozing confidence as he approached the finishing line and sealed his progression with a 13-darter on D16. O’Shea’s preparation for this tournament had been severely hampered by a knee problem but the 55-year-old remained typically gracious in defeat, as Williams prepares to take on Jamie Hughes or Martin Atkins in round-two.
Last year’s Lakeside finalist Jeff Smith came through an attritional preliminary tussle against Japanese star Seigo Asada to set up a first-round clash against twelfth seed Brian Dawson. ‘The Silencer’ had been struggling with illness in the lead-up to this game and averaged a modest 84.63, but he produced some key shots at critical moments to prevail.
Smith made an imperious start to the contest by winning the opener without reply. He kicked off proceedings with a 13-dart hold, before converting a 46 kill to extend his lead in the set. Last year’s Lakeside finalist then wrapped up the set via D4, having wired the bull for a 132 finish in the preceding visit.
Asada opened his account early in set two with a 16-dart hold on D8. Smith then squared up the set with a composed 63 finish, before Asada followed up a timely visit of 139 with D13 for another 16-dart hold of throw.
Smith appeared poised to force a set decider after leaving 70 after 12 darts, but the Canadian bust his score before spurning six darts at double, as the Japanese star stepped into seal the set on tops.
The third set was a largely scrappy affair. Asada produced his best leg of the contest to break Smith in 14 darts, but ‘The Silencer’ delivered an instant riposte; taking out 69 to level. Smith then regained the initiative on D5, before exploiting a number of missed doubles from Asada to move to within a set of victory.
Asada bounced back impressively from this setback early in set four with a majestic 161 finish. This sparked the match into life as Smith hit his first maximum and eventually pegged D5 to draw level.
The Canadian then capitalised on five missed darts from the four-time Japan Open winner to move to the cusp of victory, which he duly sealed with a clinical 87 checkout on the bullseye to round off a 15-dart hold and seal his spot in the first-round proper.
Mark McGrath produced a spirited fightback from 2-0 down to edge out Roger Janssen in a hard-fought ‘battle of the debutants’ in another preliminary tie. McGrath won nine of the final eleven legs to prevail with an 81.60 average, to set up a first-round clash with 2015 world champion Scott Mitchell on Sunday afternoon.
Janssen pinned D18 to win a scrappy opening leg, before extending his cushion with a 16-dart break of throw via D5. The Belgian then missed one set dart at D18 as McGrath registered successive 17-dart legs to stay afloat in the set, but Janssen regained his composure and hit tops to draw first blood.
McGrath posted his first maximum and converted a 76 kill for a 15-darter early in set two, before extending his advantage on D9. The Kiwi then spurned two set darts as Janssen fired in successive 18 dart legs, before a dramatic fifth leg ensued. McGrath missed a further eight darts at double as Janssen gratefully sank D2 to double his lead.
The Belgian was in control, but the 48-year-old Kiwi began his fightback in set three. He hit the front with a quality 13-darter, before doubling his lead on D8 having wired the bull for a 126 kill in the preceding visit. McGrath was gradually growing in belief and the New Zealand Masters winner clinched the set to nil with a clinical 66 checkout on tops.
Janssen kicked off set four with his second maximum before going fifteen darts without a treble as McGrath pegged D10 for his fourth straight leg. The New Zealander then converted a clinical 82 checkout on D12 and although Janssen finally stopped the rot on D10, ‘The Cowboy’ forced a fifth and deciding set with a nerveless 108 kill on D18.
McGrath had the momentum but the former Hal Masters winner drew first blood in the decider with an impressive 98 finish on D16. Nevertheless, McGrath levelled on D9 before landing a 96 outshot for a 15-darter to move to the cusp of victory. This deflated the Belgian and McGrath pounced; taking out a regulation 57 kill to complete the comeback.
In the women’s section, third seed Aileen de Graaf set up a quarter-final clash with ten-time world champion Trina Gulliver after defeating the experienced Rachel Brooks in convincing fashion. De Graaf averaged 76.44, landed a maximum and took out a ton-plus finish as she dropped just one leg en route to victory.
De Graaf cruised to the opening set without reply, despite missing fourteen darts at double. The 26-year-old drew first blood; making a fantastic adjustment on D10 to win a scrappy opening leg.
The Dutch star then landed her first maximum and hit the same target to extend her lead, having missed D10 for a 140 finish earlier in the leg. Brooks was really struggling in the scoring department and the third seed hit D10 for the third consecutive leg to wrap up the set, with the 53-year-old afforded just the solitary dart at double.
Brooks responded strongly after the interval, posting successive 140’s and opening her account on tops. De Graaf fired back however, levelling on D12 before moving to within a leg of victory with a classy 116 finish. The Dutch ace had dominated from the outset and she rounded off a comprehensive victory with a regulation 60 checkout; again via D10.
Photo Credit: David Gill
Evening session (1900-2200)
TV Coverage: BT Sport
Seigo Asada 1-3 Jeff Smith (P)
Roger Janssen 2-3 Mark McGrath (P)
Aileen de Graaf (3) 2-0 Rachel Brooks
Jim Williams (13) 3-0 Tony O’Shea