Jelle Klaasen came out on top on Night Seven of the PDC’s innovative Home Tour event on Thursday night, although the former world champion was forced to deny allegations of cheating in his victory over Gabriel Clemens.
The Dutchman secured top spot via legs difference at the expense of Ryan Meikle, despite suffering a 5-4 reverse against the Suffolk star in his third and final group stage clash. However, earlier wins over Gavin Carlin and Clemens were enough for Klaasen to advance as group winner.
‘The Cobra’ kicked off Thursday’s proceedings with a clinical 5-2 success over Carlin. Both men averaged 85 but whilst Carlin squandered 13 darts at double, Klaasen was clinical – taking out 74, 81 and 95 checkouts and boasting an impressive checkout success rate of 72% to boot.
The 35-year-old then defeated Clemens 5-3 in an entertaining affair, averaging 93.03, posting four maximums and converting 50% of his attempts at double. However, the Dutchman was forced to defend himself following allegations that he claimed a dart at double top that wasn’t in.
In the second leg of the contest, Clemens was poised on double 12 to level, only for Klaasen to take out 70. Having found the single 10 with his first dart, the former Premier League star hit the single 20 before pinning tops, although some sceptics questioned whether the dart at tops went high.
The PDC Home Tour is streamed directly from the players’ respective homes to provide entertainment for the darting public during the coronavirus pandemic, therefore there are no match officials present and players are responsible for calling out their own scores.
Nevertheless, following an initial social media frenzy, footage emerged that appeared to show that Klaasen’s dart at tops nestled into the top left corner of the double 20 bed, with the Dutchman’s long points combined with a slightly blurry image on the stream proving deceptive.
The 2006 BDO world champion went on to lose 5-4 to Meikle in his final game of the evening, as the Englishman recovered from 4-2 down to triumph with a 94.57 average and a 63% checkout success rate, having reeled off the final three legs in 13, 13 and 14 darts.
It wasn’t enough to dethrone Klaasen at the top of the table, although after securing his progression to the last 32, the Dutchman took to social media to strongly refute any allegations of foul play.
“First of all I would like to say I’m happy to win the group, but I’m a bit disappointed people would think I cheated on that 70 finish,” said Klaasen. “My points are long and the image is blurry because of the live stream, but I can guarantee you it was in the corner of tops.
“I will be changing my set-up next time I’m playing. One extra camera so I can record everything myself and have some extra footage that will be extra sharp. Maybe a good tip for everyone involved in playing darts online,” he added.
Footage of the incident can be viewed below, where PDC Tour Card holder Matthew Edgar published an excellent video which seemingly absolves Jelle of any wrongdoing.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC