Auckland Darts Masters- Day One Report!

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Photo: Jason Oxenham

Raymond van Barneveld eased past highly-fancied Kiwi Cody Harris in the first-round of the Auckland Darts Masters, whilst Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson both fired in 106 averages, as all eight Oceanic representatives suffered defeat at the Trusts Arena on Friday.

Van Barneveld, a runner-up at last year’s Auckland Darts Masters, dispelled any talk of an upset with a dominant display against Harris. The five-time world champion averaged 97.36 and hit four maximums, whilst he missed four match darts for a 6-0 whitewash.

Harris missed the bull to clinch the opening leg and Barney finished on D8 to lead, before the 49-year-old hit his first maximum and converted a 64 finish to double his advantage. The Dutchman then fired in an 11-darter to extend his cushion, before registering his third maximum en route to a 4-0 cushion.

Van Barneveld hit tops to complete a 64 finish to lead 5-0, but the Den Haag star missed four match darts in the sixth leg, and Harris opened his account on tops.

Barney posted his fourth maximum to kick off the seventh leg, but Harris doubled his tally by following up his first 180 with a sublime 12-darter. Nevertheless, this was not to be the start of a historic fightback. Raymond pounced on an indifferent leg from his Oceanic opponent and converted a 72 checkout to complete a comprehensive win.

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2016 Auckland Darts Masters Draw

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Adrian Lewis will begin the defence of his Auckland Darts Masters title against debutant Stuart Leach when the tournament gets underway at the Trusts Arena on Friday night. Lewis, seeded fifth in New Zealand, will face the Brisbane-based Leach, who secured a place in his first televised event by winning through in qualifying on Tuesday.

Jackpot is hoping to replicate last year’s success when he kicks off his title-defence tomorrow. “It was fantastic last year. In any new country you go to, you want your name on the trophy straight away so to do that was a brilliant achievement.¬†Hopefully my form’s picking up and I’ll make sure I’m right. I’ll be fighting and hopefully I can win it again.”

World champion Gary Anderson, who won his maiden World Series title in Dubai last month, takes on another big-stage debutant Bernie Smith. Anderson defeated Michael van Gerwen in the final of the Dubai Darts Masters last month, and ‘The Flying Scotsman’ is the number one seed in Auckland as a consequence.

The third and final debutant in Auckland, Ken Moir, takes on eight-time major winner James Wade in the last 16 on Friday, with ‘The Machine’ seeded 7th this weekend. Wade could face Michael van Gerwen in round-two, if the world number one can defeat Damon Heta, who won last month’s DPA Australian Singles championship.

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