Vincent van der Voort and Keegan Brown produced brilliant displays to dump out Premier League stars Dave Chisnall and James Wade on a night of shocks at the Alexandra Palace on Sunday evening.
Van der Voort returned to form with a bang, thrashing eighth seed Dave Chisnall in straight sets to storm into the second-round. The Dutchman averaged 98.90, landed six maximums and converted 56% of his attempts at double to close out an emphatic victory and leave Chisnall’s Premier League hopes hanging by a thread.
The opening two legs of the contest were shared, before Chisnall piled in a majestic 132 outshot (25, T19, Bull) to break throw. However, the St Helen’s star then produced two mediocre legs and Van der Voort pounced to steal the set with a crucial last dart on tops.
Chisnall is one of the most prolific scorers in world darts but he was being totally outscored by the ‘Dutch Destroyer’, who landed three maximums in a stunning two-leg burst. ‘The Yellow Peril’ had the advantage of throw to level up the tie at one apiece but Van der Voort pounced; following up his fifth 180 with an 86 finish for a 12-dart break.
This gave the Dutchman a two-set lead and he refused to relent in set three. He landed his sixth maximum and took out 61 to hold throw, before conjuring up a majestic 130 finish (T20, T20, D5) to move to the brink of victory. Chisnall piled in his second 180 in a valiant bid to stay alive, but it was to no avail, as Van der Voort pegged D5 to seal victory.
Vincent appeared on the verge of retiring this time last year, but he rolled back the years in sensational style and claimed: “If you don’t play here, you don’t count, that’s my opinion. Dave Chisnall is a top eight player, so if you win 3-0 that is a big bonus. I expected myself to win 3-1 or 3-2 or maybe lose, but 3-0 was a big bonus.”
Keegan Brown produced a superb display to stun seven-time major winner James Wade in a dramatic last-set decider, in the biggest upset of the World Championship so far. Wade converted 64% of his attempts at double but was completely outscored by Brown, who prevailed with a 95.45 average and four maximums.
The former World-Youth champion made a blistering start; following up a classy 124 on the bullseye with legs of 13 and 14 darts to clinch the set without reply. Wade responded in a tightly contested second set, dispatching finishes of 110 and 72 to restore parity at one apiece.
Wade drew first blood in the third with a clinical two-dart 89 combination, but Brown replied with his second 180 and a 102 checkout for a 12-darter, regaining the lead in sets with a tidy 13-darter. However, the Isle of Wight ace temporarily went off the boil in the fourth set and ‘The Machine’ took full advantage to force a fifth and final set.
Brown hit the front in the decider after following up his fourth maximum by pinning D4, but Wade maintained his flawless finishing by pegging tops at the first time of asking. ‘The Needle’ defied a timely 162 by Wade to wrestle back the initiative with a 14-darter, before wrapping up a brilliant win on D16, after ‘The Machine’ failed to take out 122.
Brown admitted: “It feels good. Words are very hard to describe at the moment. James, I’m going to be honest, is my hero along with Phil. I’ve played well in the last six months to get to this stage and I just thought take your time, don’t rush relax and I got the job done.”
Ian White defeated spirited preliminary qualifier Cody Harris to set up a second-round showdown against UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price. Harris reeled off four straight legs midway through the match, but ‘The Diamond’ won six legs on the spin to prevail with a 96.89 average, four maximums and a 56% checkout conversion rate.
Earlier in the night, Harris prevailed in a topsy-turvy preliminary tie against American ace Willard Bruguier. Both men struggled in the finishing department but Harris prevailed with an 84.30 average, three maximums and a 30% checkout conversion rate. However, he was unable to oust ‘The Diamond’ in an entertaining first-round tie.
The Stoke-on-Trent star took out 67 to open his account, before pegging D2 for a 12-darter, having kicked off the leg with six perfect darts. Harris produced a classy 121 on the bull to get off the mark, but White replied with his second maximum and another 67 finish to claim the opening set.
White kicked off set two with an accomplished 13-darter, but out of nowhere Harris levelled up proceedings with three straight legs, capped off with a fine 118 finish. The New Zealand number one claimed his fourth straight leg with an early break in set three, but ‘The Diamond’ showed all his experience to turn it around.
He converted a nerveless 95 kill to claim an instant break, before firing in back-to-back 14-darters to move 2-1 ahead in sets. This deflated the Kiwi and White continued the procession, winning the fourth set without reply to cap off a professional display.
Alan Norris booked his place in round-two with a comprehensive straight sets victory over Kim Viljanen. The 15th seed averaged 95.41, landed four maximums and converted 41% of his attempts at double to triumph in dominant fashion.
Norris clinched the opening set in a matter of minutes, with Viljanen averaging a poultry 72. However, the Nordic qualifier made a blistering start to the second set; moving 2-0 ahead with 13 and 12-dart legs. Despite this, Norris found D5 to stay alive, before following up his second maximum with a clinical 81 kill on the bull for a 12-dart hold.
This forced a set decider and Viljanen crumbled; spurning six darts for the set as ‘Chuck’ sank D6 to double his lead. The Finnish ace responded by kicking off set three with a 15-dart break of throw, but Norris upped the ante; dispatching impressive 80, 120 and 85 combination finishes in successive legs to wrap up an emphatic victory.
After his victory, Norris reflected: “Every game here at Ally Pally is a final, there’s no gimmes, you’ve got to produce on the day, you’ve got to put the time and effort in and keep your focus. I love the crowd, it’s awesome. Why wouldn’t you want to play in that atmosphere? I really enjoyed it.”
Elsewhere, Kyle Anderson fended off battling debutant Peter Jacques to set up a potential second-round showdown against Raymond van Barneveld. ‘The Original’ wasn’t at his vintage best but capitalised on 16 missed darts at double from Jacques; averaging 93.08, posting four maximums and a 55% checkout conversion rate to prevail 3-1.
The Australian made a sluggish start as Jacques drew first blood with a 75 finish, which he soon followed up with a maximum. However, this sparked Anderson into life; he cleaned up a clinical 109 kill, landed his first maximum en route to an 11-dart break of throw, before taking out 70 to secure the opening set.
Jacques again claimed an early lead in set two, but once more he was unable to take advantage. He spurned five set darts in the fourth leg, as ‘The Original’ completed a two-dart 80 outshot to extend his cushion inside 14 darts. ‘The Terrier’ halved the deficit in a scrappy third set, but he was unable to make any inroads in the fourth.
Anderson reeled off three straight legs in the fourth set, as Jacques was again ruthlessly punished for his profligacy. In contrast, Kyle was clinical, pinning all three darts at double at the first attempt, admitting: “You get confidence from any win you get in a match. You do get nervous, it’s just a matter of how it comes out on the day.”
Finally, Jamie Lewis became the first preliminary qualifier to reach round-two since 2014, after he followed up victory over Belgian youngster Kenny Neyens by thrashing his fellow countryman Jonny Clayton 3-0. Neyens landed five maximums in a high-quality prelim tie, but Lewis held his nerve; rounding off victory with a sublime 10-dart leg.
However, his performance against recent Players Championship Finals runner-up Clayton was even more impressive. ‘The Ferret’ was admittedly well below par, but Lewis averaged 99.02, landed five maximums and converted 47% of his darts at a double to seal his progression in impressive fashion.
Lewis drew first blood with a classy 126 finish, before punishing three missed doubles from Clayton to extend his lead. ‘The Ferret’ pegged a 104 finish in response, but Lewis closed out an 11-darter to hit the front. The second set was a scrappier affair, but ‘Rasta’ eventually sank D16 with his sixth set dart to maintain his dominance.
However, the third set was a real high-quality contest. Clayton hit D5 to hold throw, but Lewis responded with a tidy two-dart 90 combination to level. Clayton regained the initiative with a clinical 68 kill, but Lewis followed up an effortless 130 outshot on the bull by firing in a majestic 11-darter to cap off one of his best ever televised displays.
Lewis claimed: “I had a baby before the start of the year, moved into a new house and I kind of put a little bit of pressure on myself that I had to do well, but now I’ve kind of gone back to my old ways, thinking show your ability more than putting too much pressure on myself and it’s coming back together again now.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
William Hill World Darts Championship
Preliminary & First Rounds
Sunday December 17
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)
Kenny Neyens 1-2 Jamie Lewis (P)
Alan Norris 3-0 Kim Viljanen
Kyle Anderson 3-1 Peter Jacques
Jonny Clayton 0-3 Jamie Lewis
Evening Session (7pm)
Willard Bruguier 1-2 Cody Harris (P)
James Wade 2-3 Keegan Brown
Dave Chisnall 0-3 Vincent van der Voort
Ian White 3-1 Cody Harris