Three-time world champion Martin Adams edged out debutant Ryan Joyce in a thrilling sudden-death leg, as Scott Mitchell, Paul Hogan and Lisa Ashton all recorded emphatic straight sets victories at the Lakeside Country Club on Sunday afternoon.
Lakeside legend Martin Adams prevailed in a sudden-death classic against debutant Ryan Joyce in the match of the tournament thus far on Sunday afternoon. ‘Wolfie’, appearing in his 24th BDO World Championship, averaged 91.74, landed five maximums and took out four ton-plus checkouts as he survived a match dart to triumph in an epic.
Adams drew first blood with a 15-dart hold on D5, but Joyce levelled after following up his first maximum by dispatching a 100 finish on D10. The man nicknamed ‘Relentless’ then pegged D11 to break after the fifth seed missed four darts to hold, before defying Adams’ first maximum to wrap up the opening set with a clinical two-dart 74 kill.
However, ‘Wolfie’ responded strongly in set two, landing his second maximum and taking out a quality two-dart 86 finish to break. The 60-year-old cemented this with a comfortable hold on tops, before spurning five set darts. Nevertheless, he rectified this error with a classy 118 checkout in the following leg to restore parity at one-apiece.
Both players sparked into life after the interval. Joyce fired in his second maximum to complete a brilliant 11-darter to break, but after he wired the bull for a 121 outshot, Adams fired straight back on D8. The three-time world champion then registered his second ton-plus finish of the contest; taking out 115 to lead for the first time since the first leg.
‘Wolfie’ appeared to be establishing control, but the 60-year-old was then punished for key missed doubles. Adams squandered three set darts as Joyce forced a set decider, before the Newcastle ace crashed in his third maximum to leave 42 after 12 darts. The fifth seed missed tops for a 116 kill, as Joyce completed a 14-darter to steal the set.
Adams was at the point of no return, but he hit the front in set four by breaking on tops. Joyce responded strongly however, punishing an indifferent leg from ‘Wolfie’ to break back immediately.
The Newcastle-upon-Tyne ace was just two holds of throw away from the biggest victory of his career, but Adams showed his class by producing two superb legs. He posted his third maximum en route to an 11-dart break of throw, before following up three successive 140’s with a 14-dart hold culminating on D3 to force a fifth and final set.
Nevertheless, Joyce displayed impressive resolve to establish a 2-0 lead in the deciding set. He converted a 61 kill on D4 to break, before pegging D16 at the first time of asking with ‘Wolfie’ well back after a mediocre scoring leg.
Adams fought back magnificently however; hitting his fourth maximum and dispatching a 129 finish (T19, T12, D18) to stay afloat, before taking out an imperative 86 finish on D7 for his second straight 12-darter to force a tiebreak.
Joyce appeared unfazed and regained the lead with a 13-dart break, but after ‘Relentless’ missed one match dart at D18, Adams conjured up an inspired 115 checkout to save the match. ‘Wolfie’ was unable to cement this break as Joyce broke back with yet another 13-darter, but Adams continued to battle and pinned D6 to deny the North East debutant.
The 60-year-old finally secured the lead in the final set with a 15-dart hold, before a dramatic tenth leg ensued. Adams missed D10 for a 140 checkout, before Joyce produced a majestic 164 checkout on the bull to force a sudden-death leg. Adams won the bull in the decider and landed his fifth maximum before nailing D9 to prevail in an epic tussle.
Second seed Scott Mitchell breezed into round-two after dispatching New Zealand’s Mark McGrath in straight sets. The 2015 world champion dropped just two legs en route to victory, averaging 87.81 and converting nine of his fifteen double attempts.
Mitchell opened his account on D16 in a scrappy leg, before capitalising on two missed darts from McGrath to extend his lead with a regulation 56 checkout. ‘Scotty Dog’ then posted a brilliant visit of 174 to leave 52 after 12 darts, and he duly cleaned up the checkout to clinch the first set to nil.
Mitchell won his fourth straight leg with a 16-darter on tops, before continuing the procession with another 56 kill. McGrath opened his account after following up a timely 140 with a two-dart 77 finish, but the second seed responded by doubling his advantage via D18 moments later.
Mitchell’s dominance continued after the interval, as he opened up set three with a 15-darter. McGrath continued battling however and registered his second leg with an excellent 90 finish on the bull.
This gave the Kiwi confidence and he left D18 after 12 darts in the following leg, but he wasn’t afforded a shot as Mitchell found tops for a 14-darter to edge closer to victory. McGrath had the darts to force a set decider, but failed to take out 99, as Mitchell returned to take out 52 in two darts to round-off a professional performance.
Former Lakeside quarter-finalist Paul Hogan set up a first-round clash with former World Master Martin Phillips after easing past American Tom Sawyer in a scrappy preliminary tussle. Hogan wasn’t at his best, but dropped just three legs as he secured victory with a 85.55 average.
‘Crocodile Dundee’ hit the front after rounding off a lacklustre opening leg on D16. He then doubled his tally moments later with a clinical 80 kill inside 15 darts, before spurning six set darts as Sawyer opened his account. Nevertheless, this error didn’t have serious repercussions as Hogan wrapped up the opener with a 16-dart leg via D12.
Hogan’s dominance continued early in set two as he pegged another 16-darter on tops to establish control. Sawyer produced a solid scoring leg as he threatened an immediate break back, but Hogan produced a stunning 150 checkout to hold, before sealing the second set without reply after triumphing in a nervy leg culminating on D8.
The American kicked off set three in style with an accomplished 118 finish. Hogan replicated that feat in the next leg, before rounding off a 15-darter to move to the cusp of victory. Sawyer prolonged the contest on D6, but Hogan sealed his comprehensive progression on D8; having wired the bull for a 122 kill in the previous visit.
Two-time world champion Lisa Ashton kicked off her World Championship campaign in impressive fashion, with a straight sets victory over former semi-finalist Sharon Prins. Ashton averaged 87.06, fired in two maximums and converted 60% of her double attempts to complete an excellent all-round display.
Ashton won a hard-fought opening set which saw all five legs go with throw. ‘The Lancashire Rose’ kicked off proceedings by following up successive 140’s with a clinical 70 checkout on tops, but Prins squared up the set with a confident 64 kill.
The theme of clinical finishing continued in set three, as Ashton landed her first maximum and dispatched a two-dart 79 finish (T13, D20) to regain the initiative. Prins pegged D10 to force a set decider, but missed the bullseye to clinch the set, as the two-time world champion stepped in to draw first blood on D16.
Whilst the opening set was fiercely contested, the second was a procession for the Lancashire ace. She kicked off the set with a nerveless 66 finish to round-off a 14-darter, before producing a stunning 140 checkout for a 12-dart leg. Prins couldn’t match Ashton’s relentless brilliance and Lisa sealed her emphatic progression with a 107.37 set average.
Photo Credit: David Gill
Sunday January 8
First Round (best of five sets)
Afternoon session (1300-1600)
TV Coverage: Channel 4
Martin Adams (5) 3-2 Ryan Joyce
Tom Sawyer 0-3 Paul Hogan (P)
Lisa Ashton (2) 2-0 Sharon Prins
Scott Mitchell (2) 3-0 Mark McGrath