Fourth seed Jamie Hughes saw off Lakeside veteran Martin Atkins to set up a second-round tie with Welsh star Jim Williams, as Krzysztof Ratajski, Raymond Smith and Fallon Sherrock also triumphed on a nerve-jangling night of action at the Lakeside Country Club on Sunday evening.
Jamie Hughes posted his highest ever average in a BDO World Championship as he defeated the veteran Martin Atkins to reach round-two. The 30-year-old Tipton ace averaged 94.4 and landed four maximums to triumph, as Atkins’ twelfth World Championship appearance culminated with a first-round exit.
Atkins made an imperious start, posting his first maximum and taking out 98 to break inside 14 darts. Hughes responded in kind however, landing his first 180 and nailing D10 for a second successive 14-dart break.. ‘Yozza’ then converted a 76 kill for a 15-dart hold, before clinching the opener on D5 after four missed darts at double from Atkins.
Hughes was growing in confidence and the Tipton ace clinched his fourth straight leg with a clinical 79 finish, before seizing command of the second set with a two-dart 60 kill as his average approached the 100 mark.
Atkins stopped the rot on tops, before hitting the same target to round-off a 15-dart break of throw after ‘Yozza’ squandered two darts at tops for a two set cushion. The fourth seed was afforded another opportunity to wrap up the set, but he wired tops for a 107 checkout as ‘The Assassin’ converted a 71 finish on the bull to level up proceedings at one set all.
Hughes responded strongly after the interval however; converting 260 in five darts after following his third maximum with an 80 finish. Atkins squared up the set on D10 after ‘Yozza’ missed the bull for a 170 outshot, but the Black Country ace regained the initiative with a nerveless 106 checkout, before defying Atkins’ fourth 180 to seal the set on D12.
The Yorkshireman’s profligacy continued into set four, as Hughes won his third straight leg via D12. Hughes then found tops to move within a leg of victory and although ‘The Assassin’ took out 70 to stay afloat, last year’s semi-finalist landed his fourth maximum and fired in a 177 to seal his progression with a 14-darter on tops.
Krzysztof Ratajski came through an entertaining preliminary tussle against Dutchman Willem Mandigers to set up a first-round clash with Wesley Harms on Tuesday afternoon. Ratajski averaged 88.05 and landed four maximums to secure his first win on the Lakeside stage, eight years on from making his World Championship debut.
Mandigers won the opening leg on D8, before Ratajski levelled with D16. The 40-year-old Pole then threatened a break, until Mandigers produced an inspired 146 finish (T19, T19, D16) to hold. Ratajski responded with a clinical 108 outshot but then missed six set darts in the set decider, as the Dutchman gratefully sank D10 to seal the early initiative.
Missed doubles again plagued the Hungarian Classic winner early in set two, but Ratajaski eventually pegged D2 at the tenth time of asking after Mandigers also spurned eight darts at double.
The Dutchman squared the set with a commanding 16-dart hold on D12, before both players landed their first maximums en route to holding throw and forcing another set decider. The pair were lacking conviction in the finishing department, yet Ratajski regained his composure to pin D1 and square up the contest at one set apiece.
There had yet to be a break of throw in this contest and that pattern continued in set three. Mandigers fired in his second maximum and hit D8 to lead, before Ratajski replied with a confident 15-dart hold.
The 27-year-old Dutch ace regained the initiative with a classy 102 kill (S20, Bull, D16) but the Pole forced a third successive set decider via D18. Ratajski landed his second maximum as he attempted to break, but Mandigers held firm with a 16-darter, to maintain the unblemished record of fifteen consecutive holds of throw in the opening three sets.
Ratajski hit the front in set four by following up his third maximum with a 14-darter. The 40-year-old then secured the first break of throw in the match, winning a scrappy leg on D2.
Ironically, having waited 16 legs for a break, we saw two in successive legs as Mandigers registered his fourth maximum before firing in a 13-darter. The Dutchman then landed another 180 to round off his second straight 13-dart leg, but Ratajski displayed impressive resilience by holding on D8 to force a fifth and final set.
The opening two legs of the decider went with throw, before Mandigers took out a 64 kill for a vital 15-dart hold. Ratajski was unfazed however; converting a two-dart 76 finish to force a tiebreak. Mandigers edged ahead once more on D8, before the Pole saved the match on D10 after the 27-year-old had missed one match dart at tops for a 120 outshot.
This appeared to deflate the Dutchman, who spurned a further four darts at double to hold in the following leg. Ratajski took full advantage of his opponent’s profligacy, hitting D2 to break and move to the cusp of victory, which he duly sealed in sensational style by following up a visit of 174 with a 104 finish to complete victory inside 12 darts.
Raymond Smith became the first Australian to win a BDO World Championship game for eight years, after surviving six match darts from Belgium’s Davy van Baelen to prevail in a marathon preliminary tie. Smith was outscored for large periods but produced some key finishes under pressure to triumph with a modest 80.31 average.
The contest began in rather tepid fashion, with Smith winning the opening two legs via 60 and 53 finishes respectively. Van Baelen opened his account with an accomplished 13-darter culminating on D18, but the Belgian couldn’t replicate that against the darts, as Smith landed two 140’s and pinned tops for a 17-darter to seal the opening set.
Smith maintained his clinical finishing by hitting tops to draw first blood in set two, before Van Baelen drew level on D4 having earlier missed the bull for a 167 checkout. The Belgian then secured a precious break after producing a majestic 132 (Bull, Bull, D16) finish, which he cemented with a two-dart 46 kill to restore parity at one set apiece.
The pair exchanged ton-plus finishes to kick off set three, with Van Baelen securing the lead for the first time with a 120 finish, only for Smith to respond with a clinical 112 outshot. The Belgian regained the initiative via D16, before punishing two missed darts from the Australian to seal his second straight set by virtue of hitting D9.
The fourth set began with a multitude of missed doubles, as Van Baelen eventually pegged D1 to break. The Denmark Open finalist then followed up his first maximum with a two-dart 46 kill to move one leg away from victory on his Lakeside debut.
However, Smith wrestled back the initiative in set four by winning back-to-back legs on D6 and D2 respectively, before capitalising on six missed match darts from the Belgian to convert a nerveless 70 checkout on D16 to force a fifth and final set.
The Belgian was clearly desolate after squandering such a wonderful opportunity, but he began set five strongly; following up his second maximum by hitting D8. Van Baelen almost extended his cushion after missing the bull for a 167 outshot, but Smith exploited this reprieve with a decisive 81 kill to level.
The Aussie then took out 60 to break and throw for the match, but Van Baelen displayed impressive resolve, converting a two-dart 80 finish for a 14-darter to save the match. However, the momentum shifted once more as Smith produced a clinical 76 checkout for a third successive break, before completing the comeback win by slotting home D5.
In the women’s section, former world finalist Fallon Sherrock set up a quarter-final showdown with two-time world champion Lisa Ashton after easing past debutant Olive Byamukama in convincing fashion. The seventh seed won six successive legs to secure victory, finishing with an average of 78.39.
Byamukama won the opening leg of the contest via D16, before missing tops for a 125 finish to double her tally. Sherrock squared up the set on D10, before hitting the same target to break throw having hit back-to-back 140’s earlier in the leg. Sherrock was growing in confidence and subsequently wrapped up the set with a clinical 92 kill.
Sherrock continued her dominance early in set two, reeling off her fourth straight leg on D2. The 22-year-old then posted a stunning visit of 174, before completing a 13-darter to move to within a leg of the last eight. The Scottish debutant had no answer, and Sherrock rounded off a comprehensive triumph with a 16-dart leg on D6.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Evening session (1900-2200)
TV Coverage: BT Sport
Krzysztof Ratajski 3-2 Willem Mandigers (P)
Fallon Sherrock (7) 2-0 Olive Byamukama
Raymond Smith 3-2 Davy van Baelen (P)
Jamie Hughes (4) 3-1 Martin Atkins