Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis all crashed out on the opening day of the Coral UK Open, on an extraordinary evening of shocks at the Butlin’s Minehead resort on Friday.
The tournament has been forced to be held behind closed doors in Minehead with the effects of Storm Emma preventing Butlin’s from opening the complex to the general public, but the ‘FA Cup of Darts’ conjured up a multitude of shocks on a gripping opening day.
However, the big story saw world number one Michael van Gerwen beaten at the first hurdle by his fellow countryman Jeffrey de Zwaan. Van Gerwen, a two-time UK Open winner, was forced to miss out on last year’s event through injury, but his attempts to regain his title were thwarted by a nerveless De Zwaan.
Van Gerwen led 5-4 after converting three ton-plus checkouts, but ‘The Green Machine’ was punished for spurning key opportunities at double and ‘The Black Cobra’ capitalised. He missed a match dart at tops to triumph 10-7, but maintained his composure admirably to prevail inside 14 darts, with a 96.80 average.
Defending champion Peter Wright suffered a shock sudden-death defeat against 18-year-old Irish debutant Nathan Rafferty on the outer boards. ‘Snakebite’ led 9-8, but Rafferty, aided by three ton-plus checkouts, held his nerve to prevail in a dramatic decider with an impressive 91.90 average, to stun the world number two.
Elsewhere, two-time UK Open champion Raymond van Barneveld was beaten 10-4 by Mervyn King in round-three. The five-time world champion survived six match darts to defeat Mike Norton in a second-round thriller earlier in the afternoon, but an exhausted RvB was comprehensively beaten by King, who averaged 99.46 in a fine display.
Adrian Lewis and Robert Thornton were two other former champions to fall at the opening hurdle. Two-time world champion Lewis was convincingly beaten 10-5 by Dirk van Duijvenbode, who defeated Alan Norris earlier in the day, whilst 2012 UK Open winner Thornton suffered a 10-7 defeat at the hands of David Pallett.
Premier League star Simon Whitlock was another high-profile seeded casualty, losing 10-7 to last year’s quarter-finalist Ian White. Meanwhile, four-time major finalist Dave Chisnall suffered a surprise 10-6 defeat against Ryan Meikle, who came from 5-0 down to defeat Mickey Mansell in his first-round clash.
Nevertheless, whilst a number of big names suffered chastening exits, we saw the resurgence of three-time world champion John Part in Minehead. The Canadian dropped just four legs in his three matches, thrashing John Morris, Paul Whitworth and David Evans to breeze into the last 32 of a TV major for the first time since 2013.
World champion Rob Cross also remains in the hat after overcoming former World Youth finalist Nathan Aspinall 10-8 in a gruelling tussle. ‘Voltage’ piled in seven maximums and averaged 98.90 to triumph, as he’ll be hoping to prevail in the tournament where he made his name as an amateur qualifier two years ago.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson also ensured that he wouldn’t become the latest seeded casualty as he eased past Robert Rickwood on the main stage. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ won eight of the final nine legs to close out an emphatic 10-3 win; averaging 97.41 in the process.
Two-time UK Open champion James Wade safely progressed to round-four with a 10-6 win over Simon Stevenson, whilst last year’s finalist Gerwyn Price recorded victories over James Wilson and Alex Roy to book his spot in the last 32.
The Premier League duo of Michael Smith and Daryl Gurney also made it through to the fourth-round. ‘Bully Boy’ has won from four on his Premier League return and defeated former world finalist Kirk Shepherd 10-5, whilst Gurney came from 9-7 down to defeat Jelle Klaasen in a gripping last-leg decider.
Corey Cadby and Krzysztof Ratajski also made winning starts on their UK Open debuts. The pair each triumphed in one of the six qualification events to ensure they would enter at the third-round stage and Cadby eased past Michael Rasztovits, whilst Ratajski dumped out Darren Webster 10-7 to reach round-four.
Auckland Darts Masters winner Kyle Anderson is through after defeating Vincent van der Voort, but in better news for the Dutch contingent, Ron Meulenkamp and Jermaine Wattimena accounted for Dave Prins and Steve Beaton respectively.
Players Championship Finals runner-up Jonny Clayton continued his fine form in Minehead to defeat the experienced Michael Barnard 10-6, whilst Robert Owen thrashed World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis 10-2 in a battle of the Welshmen.
Former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting breezed past Taunton star Justin Pipe on board eight, whilst Kim Huybrechts continued his good start to the season with a narrow 10-8 win over in-form German star Gabriel Clemens.
Paul Hogan is the last remaining amateur qualifier left in the field, after he defeated Paul Nicholson 10-6. Hogan defeated Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis en route to reaching the last 16 twelve months ago, whilst Nicholson was unable to follow up wins over Terry Jenkins and Richard North by defeating ‘Crocodile Dundee’.
German ace Martin Schindler only just made it to Minehead due to extreme weather conditions, but ‘The Wall’ was rewarded for his perseverance as he defeated Ryan Harrington 10-7. Harrington had dumped out Richie Burnett earlier in the day, but he was unable to complete the coveted hat-trick.
Chris Dobey stormed into the last 32 with a comprehensive 10-2 win over Harry Ward, having edged out Lee Evans in a decider in round-two. Meanwhile, Matthew Edgar accounted for World Grand Prix semi-finalist, wrapping up a convincing 10-4 victory.
Former World Youth champion Keegan Brown edged out Joe Cullen 10-8 in the final match of round-thre, whilst former World Youth finalist Ricky Evans defeated Development Tour winner Luke Humphries. Elsewhere, Jason Lowe eased through to Saturday’s afternoon session with a comfortable 10-3 win over qualifier David Airey.
Steve West survived a major scare as he edged out amateur qualifier Darryl Pilgrim in a last-leg decider, as former BDO star Jamie Hughes enjoyed a stress-free evening, having received a bye to round-three due to the withdrawal of Austrian ace Zoran Lerchbacher. The full list of results and the fourth-round draw can be viewed below.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2018 UK Open- Third Round Results
Rob Cross 10-8 Nathan Aspinall
Mervyn King 10-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Jeffrey de Zwaan 10-8 Michael van Gerwen
Gary Anderson 10-3 Robert Rickwood
Jason Lowe 10-3 David Airey
John Part 10-2 David Evans
David Pallett 10-8 Robert Thornton
Ricky Evans 10-6 Luke Humphries
Kyle Anderson 10-7 Vincent van der Voort
Jermaine Wattimena 10-8 Steve Beaton
Robert Owen 10-2 Jamie Lewis
Kim Huybrechts 10-8 Gabriel Clemens
Steve West 10-9 Darryl Pilgrim
Keegan Brown 10-8 Joe Cullen
Krzysztof Ratajski 10-7 Darren Webster
James Wade 10-6 Simon Stevenson
Nathan Rafferty 10-9 Peter Wright
Chris Dobey 10-2 Harry Ward
Corey Cadby 10-5 Michael Rasztovits
Matthew Edgar 10-4 John Henderson
Paul Hogan 10-6 Paul Nicholson
Michael Smith 10-5 Kirk Shepherd
Ian White 10-7 Simon Whitlock
Daryl Gurney 10-9 Jelle Klaasen
Martin Schindler 10-7 Ryan Harrington
Dirk van Duijvenbode 10-5 Adrian Lewis
Gerwyn Price 10-6 Alex Roy
Stephen Bunting 10-3 Justin Pipe
Ryan Meikle 10-6 Dave Chisnall
Jonny Clayton 10-6 Michael Barnard
Ron Meulenkamp 10-4 Dave Prins
Bye – Jamie Hughes
Main Stage – Red’s
Daryl Gurney v Kim Huybrechts
Gary Anderson v Ricky Evans
Rob Cross v Kyle Anderson
Corey Cadby v Martin Schindler
Chris Dobey v Jason Lowe
Mervyn King v Jonny Clayton
Ryan Meikle v Michael Smith
John Part v Ron Meulenkamp
Robert Owen v Nathan Rafferty
David Pallett v James Wade
Steve West v Matthew Edgar
Keegan Brown v Krzysztof Ratajski
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Gerwyn Price
Jamie Hughes v Ian White
Stephen Bunting v Jermaine Wattimena
Paul Hogan v Jeffrey de Zwaan