Richard Veenstra produced a record-breaking display to defeat 15-year-old sensation Luke Littler at the WDF World Championship on Wednesday evening, setting a new highest average at the Lakeside.
Veenstra posted a stunning 104.91 average to topple the teenager, eclipsing the 103.83 achieved by his decorated compatriot Raymond van Barneveld back in 2004.
Littler illustrated his prodigious talent in his opening round win over Ben Hazel, and the 15-year-old was equally impressive against ‘Flyers’, but he was simply outclassed by his imperious opponent.
Veenstra fired in a spectacular 164 checkout en route to securing the opening set, before doubling his tally with an incredible 120 average in set two, courtesy of 14, 11 and 12-dart legs.
The interval did little to disrupt Veenstra’s momentum, as he returned to complete a 15-dart break before sealing his progression with a wonderful 121 checkout – his third 12-darter of the contest.
The 2016 semi-finalist will meet top seed Brian Raman in a blockbuster quarter-final tussle, after the Belgian demolished Jarred Cole in straight sets.
The 25-year-old breezed through the opener in emphatic style, before defying a 15-dart hold from Cole with another sequence of three successive legs, in 13, 15 and 15 darts.
The pair traded holds to kick off set three, before back-to-back 13-darters from Raman saw him triumph with a 97.47 average and clinical 91, 86, 84 and 79 combination finishes.
Elsewhere, reigning world champion Wayne Warren produced a stirring fightback to defeat debutant Lee Shewan and set up a thrilling third round clash against Scottish star Cameron Menzies.
Warren has endured a tumultuous period since lifting the BDO World Championship title in January 2020, and Shewan appeared to be adding to his woes, punishing his opponent’s profligacy to establish a two-set cushion.
Nevertheless, the Welshman exploded into life in set three, kicking it off with successive 180s and reducing the deficit with a majestic 11-darter.
Shewan was unable to compete with Warren’s relentless scoring power, and the third seed claimed eight of the final nine legs to prevail with a 94.53 average and six maximums.
Second seed Thibault Tricole survived a major scare in Wednesday’s curtain-raiser, after Canada’s Shawn Burt squandered six match darts to dump out the Frenchman.
Tricole drew first blood in an edgy opening set, although Burt exploited his opponent’s issues on the outer ring to respond, surviving multiple set darts in the second en route to establishing a 2-1 advantage.
‘The French Touch’ rallied to complete a clean sweep in set four, before profiting from a host of missed opportunities from Burt in a last-leg shootout, sinking a nerveless 74 kill on tops to sneak through.
Tricole will take on the veteran Steve Hine for a place in the quarter-finals, after ‘The Muffin Man’ recorded a straight-sets success over American debutant Leonard Gates.
The scoreline didn’t reflect the competitive nature of the contest, with Gates having darts to win each of the last two sets, but Hine’s exemplary timing saw him advance with an 86.41 average and two ton-plus finishes.
In the evening’s opener, Scott Marsh edged out James Richardson in an absorbing five-set affair, averaging 90, landing four maximums and taking out three ton-plus checkouts.
Richardson drew first blood in a topsy-turvy opening stanza, surviving six set darts having trailed 2-0. Marsh regained the initiative with back-to-back sets, and although ‘Ruthless’ fought back to force a decider, Marsh pinned a trio of double 10s in the fifth to triumph on his Lakeside bow.
The 39-year-old will now play Belgium’s Andy Baetens in the last 16, after the seventh seed underlined his credentials with an impressive 3-1 victory over Dave Parletti, averaging 92.35 and crashing in five 180s.
The Belgian stormed to the opening two sets without relinquishing a leg, but a sublime 156 checkout from Parletti sparked a mini-revival, which saw him clinch set three and reduce the arrears.
This only provided Parletti with a temporary reprieve however, as Baetens followed up a majestic 11-darter with legs of 14 and 17 darts to keep his title hopes alive.
In the women’s draw, Australian qualifier Tori Kewish produced the performance of her life to dispatch top seed Deta Hedman in six straight legs.
Kewish made a blistering start – seizing the initiative with clinical 120 and 80 combinations, before eventually nailing double one in a scrappy conclusion to the set.
That proved to be a rare blemish however, as Kewish posted legs of 15, 15, 19, 16 and 15 darts to triumph, landing two 180s in the closing stages to deny Hedman another tilt at an elusive World Championship title.
Kewish will take on 2019 World Championship runner-up Lorraine Winstanley in the last eight, after the former World Masters champion defeated Sweden’s Vicky Pruim 2-0.
The 46-year-old wrapped up a hard-fought opening set inside 17 darts, before converting a sublime 121 checkout for a 12-darter midway through the second, which inspired Winstanley to a convincing 2-0 victory.
Images: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics