Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld stormed into the third-round of the William Hill World Darts Championship with comprehensive victories, as fourth seed Daryl Gurney was sent packing by the giant-killing John Henderson on a dramatic day of action at the Alexandra Palace.
Phil Taylor breezed into round-three after thrashing a forlorn Justin Pipe in straight-sets. Pipe received an extremely volatile reception from the Ally Pally crowd and Taylor reeled off eleven consecutive legs to dismantle ‘The Force’, averaging 99.37, landing two maximums and converting 55% of his attempts at double to triumph.
Pipe started strongly and secured an early 2-1 lead in the opener, but he spurned two set darts in the fourth and this proved to be hugely costly. Taylor capitalised to clinch the first set inside 13 darts, before punishing more missed doubles early from the Taunton ace early in set two.
‘The Power’ then crashed in a 10-darter to double his lead in the set, before posting another 13-dart leg to move 2-0 ahead. The third set was also a procession for the 16-time world champion. He dispatched classy 71 and 119 checkouts to secure the it without reply, as Pipe was floundering in the face of a very tough atmosphere.
The Stoke-on-Trent veteran had won eight consecutive legs and that run continued. Taylor kicked off set four with a convincing hold on D16, before Pipe spurned three at double to stop the rot. ‘The Power’ converted a brilliant 96 finish (S20, D18, D20) to move to the brink of victory, which he duly sealed with a clinical 66 outshot.
Elsewhere, Raymond van Barneveld produced a vintage display to defeat Kyle Anderson and book a third-round showdown against his fellow countryman Vincent van der Voort. The five-time world champion averaged 102.78, fired in seven maximums and converted 43% of his attempts at double to record an impressive 4-1 victory.
Van Barneveld made a blistering start to the contest, landing four maximums and winning the opening set with a 121.86 average with legs of 12, 14 and 11 darts. The second-set was a tightly contested affair with the first four legs all going against throw, but RvB held his nerve in the decider; pinning D9 to double his cushion.
‘The Original’ fought back superbly in the third, registering legs of 13 and 11 darts on his own throw and punishing missed doubles from the Dutchman to sink a classy 114 kill to clinch the set without riposte. Anderson then secured his fourth straight leg via D3 after Barney missed a further five darts at double, but the legendary Dutchman responded.
Van Barneveld fired in legs of 13 and 14 darts to regain the initiative, before restoring his two-set buffer with a regulation 48 checkout, after the Australian ace missed D17 for a 154 finish in the preceding visit.
This visibly deflated the Auckland Darts Masters champion and Van Barneveld ran riot in the fifth set to romp home. He kicked off the set with a clinical 96 checkout to break, before piling in a fine 13-darter to move to the cusp. Anderson had nothing left in the tank and Barney closed out an emphatic triumph with a 14-dart leg culminating on D6.
John Henderson caused another shock at this year’s World Championship by dumping out fourth seed Daryl Gurney in a topsy-turvy tussle. Henderson lost to Gurney in the World Grand Prix semi-finals back in October but exacted his revenge; averaging 95.89, landing five maximums and converting 47% of his attempts at double to prevail 4-2.
‘Super-Chin’ won the opening two legs of the contest, but Henderson fought back to snatch the first set, after Gurney had missed a dart at tops for it. The Northern Irishman also led the second, but Henderson doubled his lead in sensational style; converting finishes of 121 and 100 in consecutive legs.
However, the World Grand Prix champion responded. He capitalised on five missed darts from ‘The Highlander’ in a nervy third leg; dispatching finishes of 76 and 65 to halve the deficit to 2-1. He then produced a blistering surge to level the contest; courtesy of successive 11-darters. Nevertheless, the pendulum then swung once again.
Gurney squandered five darts at double to break midway through the fifth as Henderson regained the lead in sets with a tidy 13-darter, before the Scot fired in another 13-dart leg in the sixth to close in on victory. Gurney had an opportunity to save his skin but failed to take out 67, as ‘Hendo’ returned to sink a 52 checkout to wrap up a brilliant win.
Rob Cross survived two match darts as he defeated Michael Smith in one of the greatest games ever staged at the Alexandra Palace. In a game containing an incredible 29 maximums, Cross prevailed 4-3 with a 102.65 average, 16 maximums and 39% on the doubles, as Smith bowed out despite averaging a brilliant 103.29.
‘Bully-Boy’ enjoyed the perfect start, racing to the opening set without reply. He then continued his winning sequence of legs to establish a 2-0 cushion in the second, but Cross opened his account in magnificent style with a 164 checkout, which saw him power to the set and level up proceedings at one apiece.
Smith continued his prolific maximum hitting to move 2-0 ahead in the third, but for the second set in succession, ‘Voltage’ reeled off three legs on the spin to steal it, courtesy of 13, 14 and 13-dart legs. Nevertheless, the St Helen’s star responded superbly.
He clinched the fourth set without reply, taking out a crucial 116 checkout in the second leg of the set, before running riot in an astonishing fifth set. The 13th seed extended his winning sequence of legs to six to move 3-2 ahead, winning the fifth set inside just 36 darts at an average of 125.
Smith then had the opportunity to round-off a stunning 4-2 victory in a dramatic sixth set, but he spurned two match darts at a 96 checkout. Cross sank D14 to make it three apiece, before producing exquisite darts in the final set- landing six maximums in just four legs- including four in the final two legs, to prevail in an absolute classic.
Steve West set up a third-round showdown against third seed Gary Anderson after easing past quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena. It wasn’t a vintage display from the Waltham Abbey ace, but he punished a profligate display from ‘The Machine Gun’ to prevail with an 87.92 average and four maximums.
Wattimena stormed into an early 2-0 lead in the opening set but gifted the advantage to West after spurning six darts at double to claim the opener. The Dutchman responded by kicking off the second set with a 106 checkout, but West then took out stunning finishes of 160 and 134; winning nine of the next ten legs to establish a commanding 3-0 cushion.
Out of nowhere, Wattimena won the fourth set to reduce the arrears to 3-1, but this didn’t spark an inspired comeback. It was a case of normal service resumed for West in the fifth; as he reeled off three consecutive legs to triumph 4-1 and seal a spot in the last 16 of the World Championship for the first time in his career.
Keegan Brown will face 16-time world champion Phil Taylor in the third-round, after defeating Austrian qualifier Zoran Lerchbacher in a scrappy affair. Brown struggled to replicate the performance he produced to dump out James Wade in round-one, but prevailed with an 87.50 average to reach the last 16 at the Ally Pally for the first time.
The pair shared the opening two sets, before Brown fired in a maximum and converted a clinical 82 kill to secure a tightly-contested third set. Lerchbacher then claimed the fourth set without reply to level up proceedings once again, before Brown regained the initiative after crashing in a timely 13-darter in another set decider to lead 3-2.
The Isle of Wight ace won the opening two legs of set six to move to the brink of victory, but Lerchbacher forced a set decider after posting tidy 15 and 13 darters. However, the Austrian then missed one dart at tops to force a seventh and final set, which enabled Brown to dispatch a nerveless 108 checkout to cap off a hard-fought win.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Afternoon session (1pm)
Keegan Brown 4-2 Zoran Lerchbacher
Michael Smith 3-4 Rob Cross
Steve West 4-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Evening session (7pm)
Daryl Gurney 2-4 John Henderson
Phil Taylor 4-0 Justin Pipe
Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 Kyle Anderson