The first day of morning and afternoon sessions produced some great darts and one or two surprises.
First up was Michael Barnard v Jose De Sousa . In terms of averages, perhaps not the highest scoring, but in terms of excitement, this was right up there. I would say Barnard raced into a 2 set lead, but he is not the quickest player in the world,but nevertheless, he did go 2-0 up. It seemed that maybe it was a step too far for de Sousa,although he had been playing well.But a sudden burst of good form soon saw him level the match2-2. He looked to have the momentum, but Barnard seemed to move up another gear and eventually won through. The Portuguese player, however was very unlucky.
The second game was also another close affair as Alan Tabern took on the Australian Raymond Smith. In a game almost identical to the first Alan Tabern went 2 sets up. Smith did have chances, but didn't take them. However, he held his nerve and played some fantastic darts to level at 2-2. This seemed to take a little out of him though as Tabern continued to score well, which Smith was unable to match. And what a prize for Tabern as he plays Michael van Gerwen in the next round
Next saw Paul Nicholson play Kevin Burness,(pic) with the winner set to play GaryAnderson. Many pundits were tipping Nicholson to win. He had the experience and had been playing well of late. But maybe as Burness is relatively unknown, people under estimated him (including myself!). Admittedly Nicholson was not at his best, but Burness capitalised on his mistakes and won comfortably 3-0.
Last game of the Afternoon session was the second round match between Jamie Lewis and Cody Harris. There was definitely a feeling of deja vu as Lewis raced into a 2 set lead. He showed glimpses of last year's form and seemed too much for Harris. However Harris rallied and showed the good form that he had in the first round to level the scores. Like Raymond Smith earlier, this seemed to exhaust Harris as Lewis took command of the final set winning 3 legs to 0. This certainly isn't the last we will hear of Harris, but Lewis just had too much power in the end.
The first game of the evening session was Danny Noppert v Royden Lam. Although Noppert is a much higher ranked player, Lam has had a lot of experience on the World Championship stage and this looked as thought it could have been close as Lam took the first leg. However that was as good as it got for Lam as Noppert was dominant and won the next 9 legs in a row for a very comfortable 3-0 win.
Next was an intriguing matchbetween the 21 yearold Ted Evetts (pic) against Simon Stevenson. They were equally matched going into the match and hard to call a winner. However it was Evetts who took the first set with some impressive finishing. After the break Stevenson tried to rally,but Evetts hit the big scores when needed to, constantly put on the pressure. After he took the second set, he Stevenson crumbled slightly giving him the opportunity to wrap up the match 3-0. The scoreline did flatter Evetts, and Steveson actually had a higher average, but Evetts took his chances at important times.He looked impressive and will certainly give Adrian Lewis a headache in the next round.
Chris Dobey versus Boris Koltsov was next and was nearly as one sided as the Noppert v Lam match. Dobey won the first 6 legs to race into a 2 set lead. Koltsov put up some resistance in the third set,but Dobey held his throw complete the whitewash and will go into the next round with a lot of confidence.
Final match of the evening was Gary Anderson versus Kevin Burness in the second round. Anderson was a 1/40 chance going into the game, and a whitewash was expected. However, Burness was underestimated again,(well for a while anyway). Anderson took the first set,but Burness played brilliantly to draw level and put Anderson under real pressure. The third set would be crucial and Anderson moved up a gear to win 3 legs to 0. And he repeated it in the 4th set to win fairly comfortably in the end. But kudos must be given to Burness, who has equipped himself well at his first World Championship and I expect to see him on more televised events next year.
Update on my World Championship darts tips.
So far: (to a £10 level stake)
Martin Schindler to beat Cody Harris 4/7 Lost
Rob Cross to beat Jeffrey de Zwaan 1/2 Won
Michael Barnard to beat Jose de Sousa and Jamie Lewis to beat Cody Harris at 1.83/1 Won
Simon Stevenson to beat Ted Evetts 6/5 Lost
Chris Dobey to win 3-0 or 3-1 vs Boris Koltsov 4/6 Won
So I am exactly level! Hopefully profit tomorrow:)
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