Glen Durrant survived four match darts as he produced an inspired comeback from 3-0 down to defeat the veteran Paul Hogan in an absorbing clash, as Jamie Hughes and Darryl Fitton also booked their spots in the World Championship quarter-finals on a dramatic night of darts at the Lakeside Country Club on Wednesday evening.
However, the biggest story of the night saw number one seed Glen Durrant produce a dramatic comeback from 3-0 down to defeat Paul Hogan and secure his spot in the quarter-finals. Hogan stormed into a three set lead but spurned four darts for a whitewash victory, as the Teessider showed admirable resolve to complete an unlikely turnaround.
Durrant was shell-shocked after losing nine of the opening eleven legs but he maintained his composure to reel off four successive sets to keep alive his hopes of winning a maiden world title. The 46-year-old averaged 89.85 and landed five maximums en route to victory, as Hogan was dumped out after averaging 92.01 and hitting 72 ton-plus scores.
Hogan made a blistering start to seal the opening set without reply. ‘Crocodile Dundee’ opened his account with a regulation 52 checkout, before Durrant responded with his first maximum. However, ‘Duzza’ missed three darts to hold and Hogan broke with a sensational 140 outshot, before clinching the set with a clinical two-dart 70 kill.
Hogan continued this clinical finishing throughout the second set. He won his fourth consecutive leg with a tidy 14-darter, before converting a classy 81 checkout on the bullseye to extend his cushion. ‘Duzza’ looked absolutely shell-shocked and his wait for a leg continued as Hogan dispatched a two-dart 44 kill to establish a two set lead.
Durrant finally opened his account after the interval to break via D10. However, Hogan fired straight back with his first maximum and a 13-darter, before producing a nerveless 79 checkout to regain the initiative. Durrant forced a set decider with an 86 checkout but Hogan was unflappable and claimed the set with a two-dart 78 combination finish.
Durrant’s woes continued early in set four, as Hogan continued his exemplary finishing with a stunning 130 checkout on the bull. ‘Crocodile Dundee’ then moved to the brink of victory by pinning D18, before the Teessider stayed alive with a 51 checkout, with Hogan poised on a two-darter.
The Basingstoke star had the darts to secure a whitewash victory but he squandered golden opportunities in a very tense leg. Durrant spurned three darts at double himself but he was afforded another opportunity and this time he took advantage; pinning D10 to stay alive, before winning his first set with a commanding 13-dart hold on tops.
Those missed match darts appeared to be playing on Hogan’s mind early in set five, as the 53-year-old missed a dart at double for 109 and 61 finishes as Durrant extended his winning sequence of legs to five. Hogan stopped the rot with a tidy 84 kill, but the top seed responded by hitting D9 to reduce the arrears to the solitary set.
The world number one held throw in the opening leg of set six after Hogan missed D18 for a 101 checkout, but the preliminary qualifier delivered a positive riposte; squaring up the set with an accomplished 14-darter.
‘Duzza’ dodged another bullet after ‘Crocodile Dundee’ missed D18 for a 156 kill, but Hogan heaped the pressure on the favourite by converting a 66 outshot on D18 to force a set decider. Nevertheless, Durrant held his nerve impeccably; dispatching a 76 finish via tops for a 15-dart hold, to restore parity at three sets apiece and force a final set.
The Teessider landed his fifth maximum to kick off the deciding set as he broke inside 13 darts, after both men initially missed tops for 120 finishes. Hogan had the opportunity to break back instantly but missed a further three darts at double, as ‘Duzza’ eventually slotted home D2 to move to within one leg of completing the comeback.
Hogan was becoming visibly disillusioned and his missed match darts for a whitewash triumph were inevitably haunting him. He showed impressive resolve to prolong the contest with a clinical 83 finish; but it was to no avail, as Durrant produced a stunning scoring leg to seal his progression with a classy 14-dart hold via D16.
The world number one has suffered real heartbreak at the Lakeside over the past two years, but on this occasion he profited from some good fortune. Last year’s winner Scott Waites came from 3-0 down in round-two last year before going on to clinch the title, and the tournament favourite will hope that omen repeats itself this time around.
Fourth seed Jamie Hughes will face three-time world champion Martin Adams in the quarter-finals after defeating his close friend Jim Williams 4-1 in a scrappy affair. Williams completely outscored ‘Yozza’ but was punished for his indifferent 24% checkout success rate, as the Black Country star exploited his opponent’s profligacy to prevail.
Hughes won a hard-fought first set which saw all five legs go with throw. ‘Yozza’ kicked off proceedings with a clinical two-dart 85 finish, before Williams levelled on D16. Hughes then regained the lead with a routine 57 kill and although the Welshman registered a 14-darter via D19, the Tipton ace eventually found D10 to wrap up the opener.
Williams converted a clean 66 kill inside 15 darts for a sixth straight hold, before Hughes capitalised on ‘The Quiff’ missing three darts at double for the first break. The Welshman was left to regret his profligacy as Hughes followed up his third maximum with a 13-dart break via D18, before he took out 70 on tops for a 15-darter to double his lead.
The third set was a real topsy-turvy affair. Williams secured his first break of throw after converting D1 at the ninth attempt. Nevertheless Hughes fired back instantly; landing his second maximum en-route to an 11-darter to break straight back.
The Welsh star secured the third successive break of throw via tops, before he missed a set dart at the same target for a 96 outshot. This miss was ruthlessly punished by the fourth seed, who nailed D10 to wrestle back the initiative, before he defied a 177 from Williams to complete a 14-darter and establish a commanding three set cushion.
The thirteenth seed was scoring strongly but his doubling woes continued early in set four, as Hughes capitalised on nine missed darts from his opponent to sink D4 to register a very scrappy break of throw.
However, Williams bounced back strongly by registering successive 16-dart legs. Hughes crashed in his third maximum as he aimed to force a set decider and heap the pressure on the 32-year-old, but this time ‘Yozza’ displayed fragility on the doubles, as Williams followed his fifth maximum with another 16-darter to prolong the contest.
Hughes stopped the rot early in set five with a scrappy 21-dart leg, but Williams posted another maximum to level with a 13-darter via tops. ‘The Quiff’ hit yet another 180 moments later but missed a dart to break as ‘Yozza’ moved to the brink of victory, and last year’s semi-finalist sealed his progression by rounding-off another nervy leg via D3.
Darryl Fitton overcame a spate of double-trouble to record a hard-fought 4-1 victory over Pip Blackwell to reach the last eight. ‘The Dazzler’ completely outscored Blackwell throughout but missed a staggering 46 darts at double. However, the reigning World Trophy winner still reeled off four consecutive sets to prevail with an 87.75 average.
Blackwell clinched the opening set after Fitton endured a nightmare in the finishing department. The tenth seed missed eleven darts at double in the opening two legs, as Pip capitalised with 72 and 36 finishes. ‘The Dazzler’ landed tops for a 16-darter to stay in the set, but Blackwell nailed tops for a 14-dart leg to secure the early initiative.
Blackwell’s strong start continued as he registered a magnificent 130 checkout on the bull for a 12-dart hold, but Fitton levelled after following his first maximum by hitting D10. The reigning World Trophy champion won his second straight leg by hitting D10 at the sixth time of asking, before levelling up proceedings with a majestic 12-dart leg.
The pair exchanged 17-dart holds to kick off set three, before Fitton endured more double-trouble. ‘The Dazzler’ left 60 after just 9 darts but missed nine darts at double, before eventually converting D1 to hold. ‘Pip the Tip’ forced a set decider by pinning D10, but Fitton managed to prevail in a scrappy leg, hitting D4 to move ahead.
Fitton’s profligacy continued in the early stages of set four, but Blackwell was unable to take advantage as his scoring power diminished. The tenth seed won the opening two legs in 21 and 20 darts respectively, but he established a 3-1 cushion in magnificent fashion; by converting an effortless 134 checkout on D16.
Fitton had desperately struggled in the finishing department earlier in the match but he was beginning to rediscover his clinical edge. He followed that 134 outshot with a classy 152 kill, before moving to the cusp of victory by dispatching a two-dart 78 kill for a 14-darter.
Victory was in sight for ‘The Dazzler’ and he sealed his progression in sensational style, posting back-to-back maximums before pegging D8 for a 15-darter, to set up a quarter-final clash with Scott Mitchell’s conqueror Geert de Vos.
Photo Credit: David Gill
Evening session (1900-2130)
TV Coverage: BT Sport
Darryl Fitton (10) 4-1 Pip Blackwell
Jim Williams (13) 1-4 Jamie Hughes (4)
Paul Hogan 3-4 Glen Durrant (1)