There were some surprising results on Day 3 and some very flattering scorelines. The big difference was the ability to hit a double.
First game of the day saw Robert North against Robert Marijanovic. After seeing North missing his chance for the first set, Marijanovic quickly went 2 sets up. It seemed like North had a mountain to climb, despite playing well. The next 2 sets could have gone either way, but North increased his scoring power to draw level. In the fifth set,North asserted his authority and pulled away. Marijanovic could count himself unlucky, but he certainly missed chances to take the match. Next up for North is Steve West, which also looks like it could go the distance.
Next was the experienced Mickey Mansell against Canadian qualifier,Jim Long. Mansell looked good and took the first set. Then both players seemed to struggle, Mansell in particular. He hit a series of '1s' which took his average way down. Long capitalised on this poor form and gradually took set by set, eventually winning 3-1. It was a scrappy match and Mansell was well below his best,but all credit to Long for taking his chance. Both players could only manage 75 averages, so Long will certainly need to score better to trouble BenitoVan de Pas in the next round.
On paper match 3 Josh Payne v Jeff Smith was a 50/50 match and so it proved to be. Smith took control of the first set with some consistent darts, however he couldn't keep this up and Payne took his chances including a couple of 3 figure finishes. Smith came fighting back to bring the match to 2-2, but Payne pulled away and got the win 3-2. A good match and Payne showed that he may be one to watch as the tournament progresses.
The last match of the afternoon was the second round match between Max Hopp (pic) and Danny Noppert. Again, this was a 50/50 match. However the scoreline suggested otherwise. Hopp raced to a 2-0 lead,with Noppert missing his chances at the doubles. Noppert tried to fight back in the third set, but it was too late and Hopp kept his nerve to secure a 3-0 victory. The result flattered Hopp slightly, as Noppert did play well, he just couldn't finish the legs off unfortunately.
The evening session began with Toni Alcinas (pic) taking on the New Zealand qualifier Craig Ross. From the off, it was clear there was a significant gulf in ability.Ross did hit some 100+ shots, but they were few and far between. Alcinas took advantage and won the first 6 legs taking a comfortable 2-0 lead. Ross did claim a leg in the final set, but was way too late and Alcinas closed the set and progressed. Alcinas plays Peter Wright next, which could be a very interesting match.
Next match was a quick fire match between rising stars Ryan Searle and Stephen Burton. Both have played well on tour this season and were hitting 90+ averages throughout. Searle rattled through the first set, as Burton missed a double for the set. It was much the same after this and Searle grabbed another set. The difference was definitely the ability to finish as both scored heavily. However Burton just couldn't seem to find a double. Burton fought back in the third set, but Searle maintained his focus and took it, winning 3-0 in the end. If Ryan Searle plays like this in the next round, he will be a tough opponent to beat.
The third match was Keegan Brown against Czech player Karel Sedlacek. Sedlacek took the first two legs, which seemed to motivate Brown.Brown then hit some big scores, and some excellent finishing saw him take the first set. He then won the second set comfortably and the pressure was now on Sedlacek. This pressure told as Brown kept his momentum to win 3-0. Sedlacek did show he was a very good player,but he caught Brown on a particularly good day. Maybe Brown is finally fufilling his potential.
The final match between Michael van Gerwen and Alan Tabern was marred by an incident at the walk-on. A member of the crowd threw a drink over van Gerwen, which menat he had to go back to the dressing room and change his shirt and clean himself up. Needless to say the crowd member was ejected and is likely to be banned from darts events for a very long time.
Van Gerwen was clearly affected by this, but as the game progressed he gained his composure. Alan Tabern didn't back down though and took the third set, sighting a possible upset. However van Gerwen was playing with a 100+ average and ultimately Tabern couldn't keep pace. The match finished 3-1 to van Gerwen. Let's hope Round 3 is incident free as there is no place for the sort of antics that occurred pre match.
My tips weren't great today, although they were slightly shock results(excuses!)
Stephen Burton to beat Ryan Searle Lost
Mickey Mansell and Richard North double to beat Jim Long and Robert Marijanovic Lost.
Tomorrow is another day......
Richard North 3-2 Robert Marijanovic Round One
Jim Long 3-1 Mickey Mansell Round One
Josh Payne 3-2 Jeff Smith Round One
Max Hopp 3-0 Danny Noppert Round Two
Toni Alcinas 3-0 Craig Ross Round One
Ryan Searle 3-0 Stephen Burton Round One
Keegan Brown 3-0 Karel Sedlacek Round One
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Alan Tabern Round Two
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