Eight games on Day 6 and a few contenders inaction.
First game of the afternoon was Robert Thornton against Daniel Larsson. Larsson was the underdog, but Thornton's form has been very sporadic. Larsson took the first set, but Thornton levelled as he looked to be playing well. However this only lasted a little while as the inconsistency crept in and Larsson continued playing steady darts.This led Larsson to take the third set and this seemed to affect Thornton as he played inconsistently in set 4. Larsson played well and hit the big numbers at crucial moments to secure a 3-1 win.
The next game saw Ricky Evans against Rowby-John Rodriguez. Rodriguez needed to do well at the World Championships to keep his Tour card. It was Rodriguez that looked most comfortable as he took the first set. Evans, as always was throwing extremely quick. This, at times, was his downfall,as he hit some inconsistent shots. Evans did get some form together in the second set and rattled through in quick time to level the scores. But Evans hit inconsistency again in the third set as Rodriguez kept his focus and the same story occurred in the 4th set. It was a good result for Rodriguez,as he had been lacking form this season,even though he definitely has the talent.
Third game was a cracker as Krzysztof Ratajski took on Seigo Asada. Ratajski was one of the form players on Tour this season and stamped his authority on the game by taking the first two sets. Asada hadn't been playing too badly and the sets were close, so he didn't panic. He battled to win the third set, which seemed to give him new confidence and Ratajski seemed to lose his. Asada soon levelled the scores and then applied the pressure in the 5th set to gain a remarkable comeback win.
The final game of the Afternoon session was between two experienced Tour Professionals as Darren Webster took on Vincent van der Voort (pic) . Statistically this looked as though it should be close, with perhaps Webster the favourite. However, the story of the match was very much different.Van der Voort was in sublime form and won the first set.After this Webster couldn't get going and won the next 6 legs in double quick time. It was a comfortable win for van der Voort, who looked close to his best,but Webster will be bitterly disappointed.
The Evening Session opened with Steve Lennon against James Bailey. Lennon has been in good form all season and continued in the same vain. Bailey was the outsider but had played well in Australia, so he had the potential to do well. However, Lennon was dominant in Set one and this seemed to give him the momentum. Bailey tried hard to fight back and did pick up legs,but Lennon's overall play was too strong and he won comfortably 3-0. Lennon plays Alan Norris next and will be confident that he can progress further into the tournament.
Second match was a thriller between Ron Meulenkamp (pic) and Diogo Portela. Portela was flying at the start, hitting big scores and some great finishing. He raced into a 2 set lead. Meulenkamp looked out of it and it seemed just a matter of time before Portela closed out. In set 3 Meulenkamp found something extra and this seemed to put the pressure on Portela, who started making mistakes. Meulenkamp then managed to draw level and it looked like Portela had been broken. Some superb scoring from Meulenkamp in the final set and some poor finishing by Portela, led to a very unexpected comeback and win by Meulenkamp. Portela will be bitterly disappointed, but he is a good player and just needs a little more experience. He'll be back next year I'm sure.
The third game was Dimitri van den Bergh against the American Chuck Puleo. From the first set, it was clear there was a large gulf in ability and experience and van den Bergh won the first set comfortably. Although Puleo rallied slightly, van den Bergh always looked in complete control and ran away with the match 3-0. I expect van den Bergh to go quite far in this tournament and this was a nice warm-up for him.
The final game saw Daryl Gurney against Ross Smith. Gurney was the clear favourite and is one of the biggest scorers on tour. He hit a succession of big scores to take the first set, although his finishing was quite suspect. This allowed Smith opportunities to take legs,but he didn't capitalise as Gurney took the first set. This seemed to knock Smith's confidence a little and Gurney picked up his finishing.He was also hitting 180s and 140s regularly, which Smith couldn't quite match. To his credit Smith did play some good darts, but Gurney was in dominant form and showed that you need to be around the 100 average to beat him.
Day 6 Results
Daniel Larsson 3-1 Robert Thornton - Round One
Rowby-John Rodriguez 3-1 Ricky Evans - Round One
Seigo Asada 3-2 Krzysztof Ratajski - Round One
Vincent van der Voort 3-0 Darren Webster - Round Two
Steve Lennon 3-0 James Bailey - Round One
Ron Meulenkamp 3-2 Diogo Portela - Round One
Dimitri Van den Bergh 3-0 Chuck Puleo - Round One
Daryl Gurney 3-0 Ross Smith - Round Two
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