Vincent van der Voort survived a valiant fightback from Adrian Lewis in a thrilling first-round tie in Hamburg, as Brendan Dolan, Max Hopp, Darren Webster and Christian Kist were all dumped out on an eventful opening day of action at the 2017 European Darts Matchplay.
Vincent van der Voort fended off an inspired fightback from Adrian Lewis to dump out the two-time world champion in a dramatic first-round tussle. The Dutchman stormed into an almost unassailable 5-0 lead and appeared on the verge of a whitewash, but Jackpot fought back magnificently.
Lewis fired in seven maximums as he reeled off four consecutive legs to reduce the arrears to 5-4. He also wired D12 for a nine-darter in the ninth leg, which would have been the first on the European Tour in four years. However, Van der Voort held his nerve to prevail with a 95.36 average, four 180’s and a 46% checkout success rate.
Former World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton survived two match darts as he came from 5-3 down to edge out German World Cup star Martin Schindler. It was a scrappy affair for large periods, but Schindler missed two match darts in the tenth leg as ‘The Hammer’ reeled off three consecutive legs to progress with an 84.49 average.
Schindler’s World Cup partner Max Hopp was also dumped out as Mike De Decker reeled off six straight legs to stun the former World-Youth champion. Hopp took out a sensational 170 checkout in the opener, before doubling his lead with a 101 kill. However, the young Belgian then won six straight legs to prevail with a 92.60 average.
Justin Pipe produced the performance of the afternoon session to edge out European Tour ever-present Krzysztof Ratajski in a high-quality tussle. ‘The Force’ averaged 98.52, landed four maximums and converted 46% of his double attempts to triumph 6-4 as Ratajski was edged out despite averaging 96.81 and crashing in three maximums.
Kyle Anderson survived two match darts as he edged out Christian Kist in a nerve-jangling contest to round off the evening’s action. The former Lakeside world champion missed one match dart in each of the final two legs, as ‘The Original’ sneaked home with a 91.75 average, three maximums and a 21% checkout success rate.
Former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting secured a much needed victory against Belgian starlet Kenny Neyens to set up a second-round tie against seventh seed Jelle Klaasen. ‘The Bullet’ averaged a modest 87.23, but finished impressively; converting 66% of his attempts at double to safely book his place in round-two.
Dirk van Duijvenbode will face third seed Mensur Suljovic in round-two after completing a fine opening-round victory over Darren Webster. Van Duijvenbode averaged 87.40, landed the solitary maximum, converted 46% of his attempts at double and dispatched a classy 122 checkout to dump out ‘The Demolition Man’.
Peter Jacques edged out Chris Dobey in a sudden-death nail-biter plagued by missed doubles. Jacques missed 24 darts at double but edged through with an 83.94 average, as Dobey was ruthlessly punished for squandering four match darts himself. Jacques will now take on Ian White for a place in Sunday’s last 16.
Peter Hudson produced a clinical display of finishing to thump Brendan Dolan in the tournament’s curtain-raiser. ‘The Rock’ averaged 96.26, dispatched finishes of 161 and 100 and converted 85% of his attempts at double to record an emphatic 6-1 triumph, setting up a second-round clash against eighth seed Kim Huybrechts.
Dolan’s Northern Irish compatriot Mickey Mansell suffered the same fate, losing out to European Tour debutant Richard North by the same 6-1 scoreline. Mansell converted just one of his eight attempts at double, as North prevailed with an 88.03 and a 37% checkout success rate as he prepares to take on 16th seed Mervyn King on Saturday afternoon.
James Wilson came from 2-0 down to defeat European Tour debutant Lee Bryant in a hard-fought affair. Bryant acquitted himself well; averaging 87.45 and converting 50% of his double attempts. However, ‘The Jammie Dodger’ piled in five 180’s to win six of the final eight legs to set up a second-round tie with sixth seed Dave Chisnall.
Jimmy Hendriks claimed his first European Tour win of the year with a 6-4 victory against the veteran Andy Jenkins. There was little to chose between the pair, but Hendrik’s 43% checkout conversion rate proved decisive as he averaged 91.97 to set up a meeting against an in-form Daryl Gurney in round-two.
Marko Kantele survived four match darts against Antonio Alcinas as he edged out the Spaniard in a dramatic last-leg decider. The pair registered three maximums apiece, but Alcinas was punished for spurning 15 darts at double as the Finnish star prevailed with an 81.23 average and a respectable 40% checkout success rate.
Nathan Aspinall will face Spanish star Cristo Reyes in round-two, after advancing through to Saturday’s action with a convincing 6-3 victory over young left-hander Chris Quantock. Aspinall averaged 88.41, landed three maximums and converted finishes of 68 (2) and 74 to round-off a solid start to his campaign.
John Henderson produced a sterling fightback from 4-1 down to defeat host-nation qualifier Mike Holz. The German established a commanding lead, but Henderson averaged 93.84 and landed three maximums en route to reeling off five successive legs, sealing his progression with a majestic 160 outshot.
Finally, German hopes were quashed in the evening’s penultimate clash, as the last remaining home favourite Erik Tautfest was edged out in a decider by Greek star John Michael. Michael recovered from 4-2 down and survived eight match darts to force a decider, before dispatching a stunning 141 finish to complete the comeback.
HappyBet European Darts Matchplay
Friday June 9
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time)
Peter Hudson 6-1 Brendan Dolan
Richard North 6-1 Mickey Mansell
Justin Pipe 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Andy Hamilton 6-5 Martin Schindler
James Wilson 6-4 Lee Bryant
Marko Kantele 6-5 Antonio Alcinas
Mike de Decker 6-2 Max Hopp
Jimmy Hendriks 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Friday June 9
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time)
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Chris Quantock
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Darren Webster
John Henderson 6-4 Mike Holz
Peter Jacques 6-5 Chris Dobey
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Kenny Neyens
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Adrian Lewis
John Michael 6-5 Erik Tautfest
Kyle Anderson 6-5 Christian Kist