Dutch youngster Wessel Nijman secured four consecutive victories to prevail on the opening day of the Modus Icons of Darts Live League on Monday.
The Icons of Darts Live League features players from past and present battling it out in a round-robin format from the comfort of their own homes, with Monday’s action streamed exclusively on a number of betting websites.
The legendary Raymond van Barneveld – who retired from professional competition following last year’s World Championship – was highly fancied to top Group One, although the five-time world champion slipped to four successive defeats on his return.
However, his younger compatriot Nijman stole the show, as the 19-year-old Development Tour Event winner dropped just nine legs across his four matches to triumph on the opening day of the tournament.
Nijman kicked off proceedings with a thumping 5-1 win over his veteran countryman Van Barneveld, before producing an astonishing display of finishing to edge out David Evans in his second showdown, averaging 100.60 and converting finishes of 149, 68, 83, 147 and 84.
The Dutchman then crashed in four maximums to defeat 2010 Players Championship Finals winner Paul Nicholson with a 94 average, before delivering another dominant display to defeat former BDO world champion Mark Webster – averaging 96.70 and landing four maximums once again.
Evans occupies second spot after claiming three wins from his opening four matches. The BDO World Championship quarter-finalist edged out Webster in a scrappy opener before succumbing to Nijman in arguably the match of the afternoon.
The 30-year-old then fought back from 3-1 down to defeat Van Barneveld in a match dominated by missed doubles, before rounding-off Monday’s action with another comeback victory – reeling off four straight legs from 2-1 adrift to claim the scalp of Nicholson.
Despite losing his final two group games, ‘The Asset’ sits in third position after registering wins over Webster and Van Barneveld. The Welshman survived a late rally from ‘Webby’ in the tournament’s curtain-raiser, before averaging over 95 en route to a 5-2 success against RvB.
Van Barneveld was below-par for much of the afternoon, although his best performance came in a narrow 5-4 loss against Webster. The doyen of Dutch darts averaged just under 99 and fired in two 12-dart legs, only for the Welshman to prevail with a nerveless 13-darter in the decider.
The Icons of Darts Live League continues on Tuesday, with former PDC World Championship semi-finalist Andy Jenkins stepping in for Webster, as Nijman, Evans, Nicholson and Van Barneveld all return.
Photo Credit: Evert Zomer
Day One Results
Mark Webster (73.2) 4-5 Paul Nicholson (79.5)
Raymond van Barneveld (83.5) 1-5 Wessel Nijman (92.5)
David Evans (82) 5-4 Mark Webster (83)
Paul Nicholson (95.6) 5-2 Raymond van Barneveld (88.3)
Wessel Nijman (100.6) 5-4 David Evans (97.4)
Mark Webster (91.7) 5-4 Raymond van Barneveld (98.2)
Paul Nicholson (94.5) 3-5 Wessel Nijman (94.3)
David Evans (84.7) 5-3 Raymond van Barneveld (80.2)
Mark Webster (76.8) 1-5 Wessel Nijman (96.7)
Paul Nicholson (98.3) 2-5 David Evans (88.9)