Wayne Mardle produced a sensational fightback to defeat world number one Michael van Gerwen and secure a place in the semi-finals of the inaugural PDC Walk-On World Cup, as Raymond van Barneveld edged out Daryl Gurney to reach the last four.
The darting calendar has been decimated by the Coronavirus pandemic, therefore last Friday the PDC devised the Walk-On World Cup competition via their official twitter account, encouraging fans to determine who has the best entrance in the sport.
The tournament features current stars and former professionals and fans are able to cast their votes via a series of social media polls. ‘Unibet’ have offered an outright market under their ‘Odds Boost’ section on site, with all profits set to be donated to Parkinson’s UK charity.
Mardle, originally 6/1 with Unibet, dumped out pre-tournament favourite Phil Taylor in the second round, in a repeat of their iconic clash at the 2008 PDC World Championship. However, fresh from defeating the 16-time world champion, Mardle added another huge scalp to his growing haul.
Van Gerwen eased past Darren Webster, John Part and Gabriel Clemens to reach the last eight and ‘The Green Machine’ had the early initiative against the Sky Sports expert, securing 63% of the early votes. Nevertheless, Mardle sparked a sensational fightback via a series of inspired social media posts.
Although Mardle stepped away from competitive darts almost a decade ago, his ‘Hawaii Five-0’ walk-on still delights fans on the exhibition circuit and having vowed to recreate the walk-on in his garden in return for votes, he pulled off a remarkable comeback to prevail with 53% of the 16,670 votes.
Mardle will now meet his Sky Sports colleague Devon Petersen for a place in the final. The South African star was a 9/1 outsider ahead of the tournament and he received 57.9% of the votes against Robert Thornton, with his slick dance moves prevailing against The Proclaimers’ classic.
Elsewhere, five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld narrowly saw off Daryl Gurney in a titanic showdown. Van Barneveld cruised past Adrian Lewis, Mensur Suljovic and Simon Whitlock to progress to the quarter-finals, but he was involved in a nail-biting clash against Gurney.
Van Barneveld’s iconic ‘Eye of The Tiger’ entrance stole an early march, yet Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ – played across a multitude of sporting venues – saw Gurney threaten a comeback of his own, only for the Dutchman to defy a late rally from ‘Super Chin’ and reach the semi-finals.
Barney will take on world champion Peter Wright, who breezed past Dave Chisnall. The Scot came through three gruelling matches against Nathan Aspinall, John Henderson and Vincent van der Voort, but Wright was a convincing winner against ‘Chizzy’, claiming almost 73% of the votes.
The tournament will conclude on Wednesday, with the semi-finals taking place from 12pm GMT, before the final gets underway later in the evening. The Walk-On World Cup is contested purely through social media polls and you can cast your vote via the PDC’s official twitter account.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC