Adrian Lewis and James Wade made winning starts as the 2018 European Tour got underway in Leverkusen, whilst Vincent van der Voort, Dimitri van den Bergh, Steve Beaton and Jonny Clayton were all sent packing on a dramatic day of action at the Ostermann Arena on Friday evening.
Lewis survived one match dart as he recovered from 5-3 down to defeat Ritchie Edhouse and set up an enthralling second-round tussle against world champion Rob Cross. Edhouse made an electric start to the contest, but experience paid dividends as ‘Jackpot’ triumphed with a 97.06 average, two 180’s and a 67% checkout success rate.
Lewis drew first blood on throw, but Edhouse then reeled off three consecutive legs in 16, 13 and 14 darts to establish a 3-1 cushion with a 106 average. Edhouse also led 5-3 but Lewis stayed alive with a 12-dart hold, before surviving a match dart at the bull to force a decider, which he closed out expertly with a 13-dart hold on D4.
James Wade sealed his progression to round-two in more serene fashion, as he defeated Steve Beaton 6-3 to set up a meeting with 14th seed Jelle Klaasen. The eight-time major winner claimed the solitary break of throw in the fourth leg and produced a solid display to triumph; averaging 96.93 and posting ten 140’s in a strong display of scoring.
Elsewhere, Marko Kantele produced a fine display of finishing to stun former European Tour winner Vincent van der Voort. Van der Voort averaged over six points higher than his opponent but posted an abject 25% conversion rate, as the Finnish star took out two ton-plus finishes and converted six of his nine double attempts to triumph.
World Youth champion Dimitri van den Bergh was another high-profile name to tumble, as he was beaten 6-3 by Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp. The opening six legs were shared, but Meulenkamp rattled off the remaining three legs in quick succession to prevail with a 90.37 average- subsequently setting up a round-two tie against Daryl Gurney.
Jermaine Wattimena eased past Players Championship Finals runner-up Jonny Clayton to set up a second-round tie against 16th seed Alan Norris. Clayton converted just two of his 12 attempts at a double and ‘The Machine Gun’ took full advantage; averaging 90.55 and boasting an impressive 55% conversion rate en route to a commanding 6-2 win.
Former Lakeside finalist Danny Noppert marked his European Tour debut with a hard-fought 6-4 win over his fellow countryman Jeffrey de Zwaan. De Zwaan established an early 2-0 lead but struggled to produce his trademark scoring power, as ‘Noppie’ won six of the remaining eight legs to close out victory with a 91.99 average.
Jamie Hughes produced a fine comeback on his European Tour debut to defeat former World Youth champion Max Hopp. ‘Yozza’ trailed 4-3 against the German number one, before he conjured up finishes of 96, 126 and 131 in the final three legs to complete the comeback and prevail with a 92.09 average.
The third former BDO man to triumph on their Euro Tour debut was Cameron Menzies. The Scottish star recorded an emphatic 6-2 win over Mark Wilson; averaging 94.83, landing four maximums and converting finishes of 100 and 140, to set up a tasty second-round tie against world number one Michael van Gerwen.
Chris Dobey continued his fine form to dismantle the veteran Wayne Jones 6-1 on Friday evening. Dobey reached his second PDC Final in Milton Keynes last weekend and reeled off six legs in succession from 1-0 behind to seal his progression with a 93.08 average; having dispatched a 164 outshot in the penultimate leg of the contest.
Darren Johnson produced the performance of the afternoon to defeat last year’s Development Tour winner Luke Humphries. Humphries averaged an impressive 99.55 on his European Tour debut, but an inspired ‘Dynamite’ averaged 103.22, registered three maximums and converted 50% of his double attempts to run out a 6-2 winner.
Gabriel Clemens is the solitary host-nation qualifier through to round-two, after he thrashed his compatriot Thomas Junghans 6-1. Clemens dominated the tie from start to finish; averaging 99.06, crashing in two 180’s and dispatching 46% of his attempts at a double, as he prepares to play Mervyn King on Saturday afternoon.
World Grand Prix semi-finalist John Henderson produced a stunning display of doubling to seal his progression to round-two. ‘The Highlander’ averaged 95.82, registered three maximums and converted 86% of his darts at a double to ease past Maik Langendorf 6-2, to book a showdown with Kyle Anderson on Saturday afternoon.
Polish star Tytus Kanik capitalised on some profligate finishing from Jan Dekker to set up a second-round meeting with Premier League star Simon Whitlock. Dekker averaged 92.27 compared to Kanik’s 87.45, but the Dutchman missed 10 of his 13 attempts at double, with Kanik taking out a brilliant 140 checkout en route to victory.
Justin Pipe overcome a spate of double-trouble to set up a second-round clash against 12th seed Ian White. ‘The Force’ squandered 20 darts at double in his opening-round tie against Austrian ace Michael Rasztovits, but still ran out a comprehensive 6-2 winner with a modest 82.84 average.
Richard North stormed into the second-round with a whitewash win over European Tour debutant Martin Atkins. Atkins endured a nightmare in the finishing department, missing all fourteen of his attempts at a double as ‘The Lionheart’ cruised to victory with an 85.89 average and a 40% checkout conversion rate.
Earlier in the day, Luke Woodhouse produced an impressive display to defeat Ryan Meikle in the tournament’s opener. Woodhouse averaged 94.74, crashed in three maximums and dispatched 46% of his darts at a double to close out a 6-2 victory, to set up a second-round showdown against world number two Peter Wright.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2018 European Darts Open
Friday March 23
Afternoon Session (1pm local time, 12pm GMT)
Luke Woodhouse 6-2 Ryan Meikle
Martin Atkins 0-6 Richard North
Mark Wilson 2-6 Cameron Menzies
Jan Dekker 3-6 Tytus Kanik
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Max Hopp
Darren Johnson 6-2 Luke Humphries
Justin Pipe 6-2 Michael Rasztovits
John Henderson 6-2 Maik Langendorf
Evening Session (7.15pm local time, 6.15pm GMT)
Marko Kantele 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Wayne Jones 1-6 Chris Dobey
Danny Noppert 6-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Jonny Clayton 2-6 Jermaine Wattimena
Thomas Junghans 1-6 Gabriel Clemens
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Ritchie Edhouse
James Wade 6-3 Steve Beaton