2019 UK Open – Day Two Report!

Premier League stars Rob Cross, Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price all progressed through to the UK Open quarter-finals on a dramatic day of action at Butlin’s Minehead Resort, as James Wade, Daryl Gurney and Mensur Suljovic became the latest big names to exit the tournament.

Following an extraordinary opening day which saw former champions Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld all crash out of the tournament, the shocks continued in Minehead.

The Premier League trio of Cross, Smith and Price all booked their spots in the last eight, alongside World Championship semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall and former Lakeside champion Steve Beaton, who is through to his first UK Open quarter-final for 15 years.

Meanwhile, Josh Payne, Simon Stevenson and Ross Smith all progressed through to their first major PDC quarter-finals, as ‘The FA Cup of Darts’ continues to throw up a multitude of surprises.

However, the performance of the day was produced by 2017 finalist Price. The Grand Slam champion is unbeaten so far in this year’s Premier League and after dispatching Joe Cullen in round-four, he posted successive ton-topping averages against Jamie Hughes and Krzysztof Ratajski.

The Welshman, who secured back-to-back Players Championship titles last weekend, trailed ‘Yozza’ 4-1 and 6-3, before taking out a brilliant 167 finish in leg ten to reduce the arrears. He then moved 8-6 ahead, before producing his second 167 outshot of the contest to seal victory with a 101.40 average.

In the last eight, Price faced former World Masters champion Ratajski, who defeated him on this stage in November’s Players Championship Finals. Nevertheless, the world number seven delivered a devastating display to thrash the Pole 10-3; taking out finishes of 117, 144 and 145 and averaging 105.70.

World number two Cross is into the quarter-finals for the second consecutive year after claiming hard-fought wins over Mervyn King and Cristo Reyes respectively.

Cross was pitted against Michael van Gerwen’s conqueror King in round-five, but ‘The King’ was unable to replicate those heroics as ‘Voltage’ ran out a comfortable 10-5 winner with a 97.10 average. The 2018 world champion then battled to a 10-6 victory over an out-of-sorts Cristo Reyes in the evening’s finale.

World Championship finalist Smith defied his injury woes to reach the last eight of the UK Open for the first time in 11 attempts. ‘Bully Boy’ underwent emergency surgery on an abscess on Monday, but the St Helen’s star battled through the pain barrier to seal his place in finals day.

Smith edged out his fellow Premier League star Daryl Gurney in a gripping last-leg decider on the Main Stage on Saturday afternoon, before sending the last remaining Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena crashing out of the tournament; averaging 101.60 to close out a 10-3 win.

Elsewhere, the evergreen Beaton reached his first UK Open quarter-final since 2004 after claiming the scalps of former World Youth champions Keegan Brown and Dimitri Van den Bergh on day two in Minehead.

‘The Bronzed Adonis’ defeated reigning champion Gary Anderson 10-8 on Friday evening, averaging 98.60 to defeat the returning two-time world champion. Beaton then defeated Brown by the same scoreline with a 96.60 average, before edging out Van den Bergh in a scrappy sixth-round affair.

Stevenson continued his remarkable giant-killing run at this year’s UK Open to reach his first televised PDC quarter-final. ‘The Mirror Man’ defeated Adrian Gray, former Lakeside champion Mark Webster and Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld on Friday, before repeating his heroics on Saturday.

The Plymouth ace claimed a hard-fought 10-6 win over Kim Huybrechts to reach the last 16, where he produced an inspired fightback to dump out five-time major finalist Dave Chisnall. ‘Chizzy’ led 8-4 but Stevenson took out finishes of 150, 104 and 128 in three straight legs, before converting a nerveless 82 kill to prevail in a last-leg decider.

Ross Smith is also in to his first major PDC quarter-final after claiming the scalps of Steve West and James Wade. Smith eased past West 10-5 with a solid 95.90 average, before securing the biggest win of his career to dump out two-time UK Open winner Wade 10-7; averaging 96.70 in the process.

Payne became the third player to reach his first senior televised quarter-final on a gruelling day of action at the Butlin’s Minehead Resort. ‘The Maximum’ thumped Kyle Anderson 10-2 in round-four on Friday night and maintained his fine form on day two.

The former World Youth finalist defeated 2018 World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis 10-7 with a 98.50 average, before beating his close friend Simon Whitlock by the same scoreline to set up a quarter-final showdown with tournament favourite Cross.

Elsewhere, World Championship semi-finalist Aspinall continued his fine form to reach the UK Open quarter-finals for the first time in his career. ‘The Asp’ kicked off his campaign with victory over Toni Alcinas, before he edged out Christian Kist in a dramatic last-leg decider on Friday evening.

The 27-year-old breezed into the last 16 with an emphatic 10-2 win over Madars Razma, to set up a showdown against fellow Premier League contender Steve Lennon. The Irishman led 7-3, but Aspinall responded by reeling off seven of the final eight legs to complete the comeback.

The quarter-final draw was made live on the Main Stage by Chris Mason and Keith Deller shortly after the last 16 action concluded, but the remaining Premier League stars all avoided each other.

Cross will face Payne in Sunday’s first quarter-final, while Michael Smith plays Beaton in an intriguing last eight tussle. Elsewhere, Price faces Stevenson, before Aspinall locks horns with Ross Smith in the fourth and final quarter-final clash.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Saturday March 2
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT start)

Fifth Round
Main Stage

James Wade 10-7 Max Hopp
Michael Smith 10-9 Daryl Gurney
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-9 Mensur Suljovic
Rob Cross 10-5 Mervyn King

Stage Two
Nathan Aspinall 10-2 Madars Razma
Simon Whitlock 10-8 Gabriel Clemens
Josh Payne 10-7 Jamie Lewis
Gerwyn Price 10-7 Jamie Hughes

Stage Three
Steve Beaton 10-8 Keegan Brown
Krzysztof Ratajski 10-7 Jonny Clayton
Simon Stevenson 10-6 Kim Huybrechts
Jermaine Wattimena 10-8 Luke Woodhouse

Stage Four
Steve Lennon 10-8 Mickey Mansell
Dave Chisnall 10-5 Martin Schindler
Ross Smith 10-5 Steve West
Cristo Reyes 10-7 Richard North

Evening Session (1900 GMT start)
Sixth Round
Main Stage

Ross Smith 10-7 James Wade
Gerwyn Price 10-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael Smith 10-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Rob Cross 10-6 Cristo Reyes

Stage Two
Nathan Aspinall 10-8 Steve Lennon
Simon Stevenson 10-9 Dave Chisnall
Steve Beaton 10-8 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Josh Payne 10-7 Simon Whitlock

Sunday March 3
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT start)

Quarter-Finals
Main Stage

Rob Cross v Josh Payne
Michael Smith v Steve Beaton
Simon Stevenson v Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall v Ross Smith

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2017 PDC World Championship: Day Three Afternoon Report!

Terry Jenkins.jpg

Nine-time major finalist Terry Jenkins rolled back the years as he produced four ton-plus checkouts to edge out impressive youngster Josh Payne, as Benito van de Pas and Andrew Gilding also tasted victory on day three at the Alexandra Palace on Saturday afternoon.

Jenkins produced a vintage display to book his spot in the second-round after a hard-fought victory over 2016 Pro Tour winner Josh Payne. ‘The Raging Bull’ averaged 93.66, landed four maximums and converted 38% of his double attempts to prevail, despite Payne firing in seven maximums.

Missed doubles plagued the nine-time major finalist in a hard-fought first set. Jenkins opened his account with a fine 13-darter but Payne drew level with a 75 finish, before Jenkins defied a second maximum from the youngster to hold throw with a fine 106 outshot.

Payne stayed alive in the set by pinning D9, but Jenkins had the advantage of throw in the set decider.’The Raging Bull’ seemed destined to clinch the set but spurned six darts at double as the 22-year-old pounced on tops to secure the lead.

However, the former Ally Pally semi-finalist bounced back in set two. Jenkins pinned tops to break after the interval, before hitting the same target to extend his lead after Payne wired the bull for an 81 kill. Payne nailed D10 to heap the pressure on Jenkins, but the Ledbury ace defied a fourth maximum from the Gravesend ace to level on D10.

The pair traded maximums in the first-leg of set three, but Jenkins clinically converted a 100 outshot to hold. The 53-year-old then hit D10 to break, before clinching the third set without reply on D6, with Payne struggling to match Terry’s consistent scoring power.

Payne stopped the rot on D16 after Jenkins spurned three darts at D18 and D9 respectively to win his fifth consecutive leg, before a dramatic second leg ensued. ‘The Maximum’ posted successive maximums to set up a potential 9-darter, but after leaving 90 after 9 darts he wasn’t afforded a shot as Jenkins converted a majestic 140 finish to hold.

Jenkins’ magnificent finishing continued as he produced a brilliant 121 checkout (T20, T15, D8) to record his fourth ton-plus checkout to move within a leg of victory, but Payne broke back to keep his hopes alive. However, ‘The Maximum’ then spurned two darts at D8 to force a fifth and deciding set, which allowed Jenkins to finally close out victory on D16.

Jenkins was understandably thrilled with both the performance and result.“I was nice and relaxed; I felt comfortable. I haven’t put a lot of practice in just lately because every time I step up to the board I keep hitting 180’s, so I think why do you need to put the practice in, just leave them alone and that’s what I’ve done.

“I used to practice a lot when I was a youngster, but I think 90% of it is in your head and down to experience. ” Jenkins will face fifteenth seed Benito van de Pas in round-two, but Terry is relishing the prospect. Benito’s playing well, he’s another youngster that’s on form at the moment, but he’s got to play well to beat me.”

Van de Pas overcome dogged qualifier Tengku Shah to scramble through to round-two. The Dutchman averaged 91.18 as he prevailed 3-1, but his finishing was the decisive factor; Benito converted 61% of his double attempts compared to Shah’s 22% ratio, but the Malaysian acquitted himself extremely well, averaging 87.86 and landing four maximums.

Shah overcame Japanese star Masumi Chino in Saturday’s preliminary qualifier to book a showdown with ‘Big Ben’. The Malaysian won a nerve-jangling first set dominated by missed doubles, but Chino drew level with 117 and 106 finishes. Despite this, Shah held his nerve and won the final set without reply to progress to round-one with an 83.44 average.

However, the soft-tip ace was unable to dump out the Dutch star. Van de Pas performed an act of darting burglary in the opening set, winning it despite Shah being first to the double in all five legs. The Malaysian converted just two of his thirteen double attempts and the world number fifteen capitalised with clinical finishes of 72 and 78.

The pair exchanged breaks in the early stages of set two, before Van de Pas seized command with a stylish 125 finish (25, T20, D20). Shah then missed three darts to force a set decider and Van de Pas continued his clinical run of finishing to extend his lead.

Shah kicked off the third set with an exhibition 99 finish (S19, D20, D20). However Van de Pas fired back impressively, moving to the cusp of victory after reeling off successive legs in 14 and 12 darts respectively. Nevertheless, Shah fought valiantly and broke back on D10, before clinching the third set with a 13-darter to spark jubilant celebrations.

Any hopes of an incredible turnaround were quickly extinguished however. Van de Pas kicked off set four with a solid 16-dart hold, before hitting his second maximum and firing in a 13-dart leg to move to within a leg of round-two. This time ‘Big Ben’ made no mistake, sealing his progression with a classy 108 kill culminating on D18.

In his post-match press conference, Van de Pas admitted he was simply relieved to have secured the win, admitting: “The draw came out two weeks ago and from then I was so nervous because everybody expects you to win this game. I didn’t have a lot of confidence today; I was practicing really bad, but the win is there.

“I’m taking it game by game; the next one is Terry Jenkins, he is a good player. I played Terry at the World Grand Prix and it was a really nice game, and hopefully we have another nice game. I’m looking forward to it,” the 23-year-old added.

Finally, Andrew Gilding produced an inspired comeback from 2-0 down to edge out John Henderson in a pulsating sudden-death battle. ‘Big John’ appeared in cruise control but Gilding fought back superbly, averaging 90.94 and registering eight maximums to set up a second-round meeting with world champion Gary Anderson.

Gilding fired in three maximums in the opening set, but Henderson claimed the spoils in a hard-fought affair. The Scotsman squandered two set darts in the fourth leg but was afforded another opportunity moments later, which he duly took by pinning D16.

Gilding emerged from the interval with a 14-darter, but Henderson delivered an instant riposte with 121 finish on the bull. ‘Big John’ then seized command with an impressive 14-dart to break throw, before clinching the second set with a 15-dart hold on tops after Gilding had wired the bull for a 164 finish in the preceding visit.

Henderson won his fourth straight leg with a regulation 54 checkout, but out of nowhere ‘The Highlander’ lost his focus and Gilding pounced, winning three successive legs and reducing the arrears to 2-1 in sets by eventually pinning D1.

The momentum had shifted completely as Gilding registered his fourth straight leg via D19. Henderson arrested his slump by hitting his second maximum followed by a 98 finish for a 12-darter, but Gilding regained control of the set with a 15-dart hold, before converting a clean 80 kill to force a fifth and deciding set.

Henderson secured first blood in the decider with a quality two-dart 85 finish, but ‘Goldfinger’ fired straight back on D10. The Scot then regained the lead on tops with his last dart in hand after Gilding wired bull for a 94 finish and a break, but the Englishman forced a tiebreak after converting a clinical 101 kill on D12.

‘Goldfinger’ then hit his seventh maximum and nailed a spectacular 143 checkout to complete a 12-darter to break and lead for the first time since the opening leg. However, the former UK Open semi-finalist endured a torrid leg at the most inopportune moment by leaving 104 after 18 darts, as Henderson capitalised to hit D16 and stay afloat.

‘Big John’ made it back-to-back legs by pinning D20 at the first attempt, but the Scot missed one match dart at the bull before Gilding posted D2 to prolong the drama. The next two legs were shared as the contest went to a sudden-death leg and Gilding prevailed after winning the bullseye and converting a nerveless 75 finish on tops.

Gilding admitted to Josh’s Dartistry: “At 2-0, if John had hit a couple of 12-darters which he’s capable of, there would have been nothing I could do. But I just kept plugging away. There’s been little bits in my technique I’ve been working on. Maybe I slacked a little bit and relaxed after that UK Open success and took things for granted. But I’m really working on my technique now.”

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

William Hill World Darts Championship
Saturday December 17
Afternoon Session (1pm)

Tengku Shah 2-1 Masumi Chino (P)
Terry Jenkins (18) 3-1 Josh Payne
John Henderson (31) 2-3 Andrew Gilding
Benito van de Pas (15) 3-1 Tengku Shah

2016 World Series of Darts Finals Draw & Schedule!

worldseriesofdartsfinals2016podium

Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his World Series of Darts Finals title against either Gerwyn Price or Steve Beaton when the £155,000 tournament gets underway at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena this coming Saturday.

‘The Green Machine’ edged out Peter Wright 11-10 to win the tournament’s inaugural staging last year, which was the culmination of the annual worldwide tour. There were six World Series events held this year, in Dubai, Auckland, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney and Perth.

Van Gerwen will be top seed in Glasgow this weekend after topping the World Series of Darts rankings for the second year in succession. MvG won both the Shanghai and Perth Darts Masters, whilst he was also a runner-up in Dubai, Tokyo and Sydney.

The world number one will begin his campaign against either Gerwyn Price or Steve Beaton. Van Gerwen demolished Price 10-2 in the second-round of last week’s European Championship, whilst he also defeated Steve Beaton in the first-round of last month’s World Grand Prix. Continue reading “2016 World Series of Darts Finals Draw & Schedule!”

World Series of Darts Finals: Eight Global Invitations Confirmed!

Huybrechts & Price.jpg

The eight global invitations for next month’s World Series of Darts Finals have been confirmed and Kim Huybrechts heads the list of global prospects, along with the likes of Benito van de Pas, Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney.

The World Series of Darts Finals features the eight players who competed in the World Series events hosted across the globe this year, with 16 other competitors accompanying them at the Braehead Arena, Glasgow, on November 5th and 6th.

The 16 other participants are made up of four wildcards, eight global prospects, and four further qualifiers. The four wildcards via the PDC Order of Merit were Robert Thornton, Michael Smith, Jelle Klaasen and Mensur Suljovic.

Elsewhere, Simon Whitlock, Steve Beaton, Brendan Dolan & Joe Murnan were the quartet who came through the World Series of Darts Finals qualifier at the Barnsley Metrodome last Sunday.

However, the field of eight global prospects is headed by former Premier League star Kim Huybrechts. The Belgian, currently ranked 15th on the PDC Order of Merit, has enjoyed a strong year in both floor and televised tournaments, reaching the World Grand Prix quarter-finals earlier this month. Continue reading “World Series of Darts Finals: Eight Global Invitations Confirmed!”

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