Singapore caused arguably the biggest shock in World Cup history with a sensational victory over top seeds Scotland on a dramatic opening night at the 2017 World Cup in Frankfurt on Thursday evening.
The legendary 63-year-old Paul Lim- who posted the first televised nine-darter in 1990, performed superbly alongside his younger namesake Harith to stun the Scottish duo of Gary Anderson and Peter Wright- ranked second and third respectively on the PDC Order of Merit.
Paul Lim kicked off the contest with a maximum and converted D10 to clinch the opening leg for the qualifiers, but Scotland levelled the tie after Wright pegged tops for an instant break back. However, Singapore secured the third successive break of throw, as Paul Lim followed up his second 180 by hitting tops to regain the initiative.
Harith Lim hit the same target in the following leg as Singapore extended their cushion, but the pair missed five darts at double in the following leg after Paul Lim had registered his third maximum, which allowed Anderson to reduce the arrears to 3-2 for the Scots.
Nevertheless, the Singapore duo were undeterred. Snakebite missed one dart at D5 to restore parity and Paul Lim capitalised; pinning D8 to move to the brink of an astonishing victory, which they duly clinched moments later, as Paul Lim converted a clinical two-dart 100 kill to finish with an individual average of 98.20.
Gerwyn Price produced the performance of the opening night as he inspired Wales to a dramatic deciding-leg victory over Finland. The Finnish pair of Marko Kantele and Kim Viljanen led from the outset, but Wales registered seven perfect darts to force a decider, before snatching victory in a dramatic finale after Finland spurned two match darts.
Price was partnered by former Lakeside world champion Mark Webster, and the pair averaged a mightily impressive 100.14- the highest average of the opening night. Price performed sublimely and registered an individual average of 115.67; landing four maximums and a 177 in what was a real high-quality affair.
Former finalists Australia also survived match darts as they edged out Denmark in a thrilling tussle. Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson were huge favourites against Denmark’s Per Laursen and Daniel Jensen, but they survived a major scare as Laursen missed D16 for a 92 outshot in the decider, as Anderson found tops to seal the Aussie’s progression.
The Belgian brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts kicked off their campaign with a convincing victory over New Zealand, who were represented by the experienced Rob Szabo and the emerging talent Cody Harris. The Kiwi’s established a 2-1 lead, but Belgium reeled off four straight legs to progress, with Kim averaging 100.62.
The Spanish duo of Cristo Reyes and Antonio Alcinas survived a minor scare as they fought back to dump out Japan; setting up a second-round showdown with Scotland’s conquerors Singapore. Japan were captained by World Cup veteran Haruki Muramatsu, who took out a fine 112 finish to give Japan a 3-1 advantage.
Nevertheless, the Spaniards fought back valiantly. Reyes dispatched tops to reduce the deficit, before capitalising on missed darts from the Japan duo to level up proceedings. Alcinas- who reached the semi-finals with Spain in the tournament’s inaugural staging in 2010, then took out 64 to secure the initiative, before Reyes clinched victory via D8.
The Republic of Ireland produced an impressive display to defeat a dangerous Polish side- spearheaded by European Tour ever-present Krzysztof Ratajski. However, Ratajski’s teammate Tytus Kanik stole the early headlines; following up a fine maximum with a spectacular 144 checkout in the fourth leg.
Ratajski then pinned tops to secure the lead for the Polish duo, but the Republic of Ireland produced a fine comeback. Mick McGowan levelled via D8, before following up a maximum with an exhibition 100 checkout (S20, D20, D20). William O’Connor then sealed victory for the Irish- nailing D10 for a 15-darter, to round off a 5-3 victory.
Elsewhere, Russia defeated last year’s quarter-finalists Hong Kong to set up a second-round tussle with former finalists Australia. Boris Koltsov and Aleksandr Oreshkin sealed their first win as a pairing- defying two maximums and a 110 checkout from Hong Kong captain Royden Lam to record a battling 5-3 triumph.
Finally, Greece secured their first victory on the World Cup stage with a hard-fought triumph against Thailand in the tournament’s curtain-raiser. Thailand secured an early 2-1 lead, but Greece- represented by John Michael and Ioannis Selachoglou- won four of the final five legs to prevail and set up a second-round tie with 2013 finalists Belgium.
The first round concludes on Friday evening with reigning champions England – represented by World cup debutant Dave Chisnall and Adrian Lewis – up against Gibraltar’s Dyson Parody and Dylan Duo. Meanwhile, 2015 winners Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld are also in action for the third seeds Netherlands.
Betway World Cup of Darts
Thursday June 1 (8pm local time, 7pm BST)
Greece 5-3 Thailand
Russia 5-3 Hong Kong
Republic of Ireland 5-3 Poland
Spain 5-3 Japan
Belgium 5-2 New Zealand
Australia 5-4 Denmark
Singapore 5-2 Scotland
Wales 5-4 Finland