Day two at the Lakeside kicked off with The Beatles blasting through the PA system and then the echoing howls of a wolf before Duran Duran explained they were on the hunt and after you. It could only mean one thing; Martin Adams was back on the stage and this time he was up against Ryan Joyce in the first match of the afternoon session.
A 100 got Adams off followed by a 140 to get him off to a steady start and open up a first shot at 140 for the leg. He managed to leave 20 that he secured last dart on double 5. A lacklustre 58 from Joyce was committed to history as he fired in the first 180 of the match on his next throw. With 100 left Joyce nicely put it away on double 10 to level. The players traded ton’s in the third leg before a neat 140 from Adams handed him a chance on 61. He fired over the 16 bed with the last dart; Joyce unable to cash in gave Adams another chance but he hit the wrong bed. Joyce took it on double 11 to break the throw and give him a good chance of winning the set. Joyce sensing his opportunity fought his way to a finish first, leaving 132 that was instantly pressured by Adams with a 180. Joyce fell short and Adams just missed tops for an immediate break back on 116, so with 74 left Joyce repositioned himself and took the set 3-1.
The second set started with Joyce racing to a two dart out shot, leaving 60 with Adams way back, Adams produced a 180 that was enough to unsettle Joyce who missed on tops. Adams with a rekindled interest in the leg took out 86 to move one leg up. It was dart for dart in the second leg before Adams squeezed to a 56 out chance. Two darts later and Adams was in control of the set doubling tops to go 2-0 up. A bounce out for Joyce wasn’t punished by Adams who responded with a 47 in leg three but he soon found himself needing just 56 for the set; a big 16 was met with only a single 20 letting Joyce in. Joyce missed his chance but again Adams plotted his own downfall missing with all three again. Joyce this time popped in double 2 to pull a leg back. Adams held his throw to nab the set producing a 118 checkout, finishing it off on tops with Joyce trailing considerably.
Joyce produced an 11 dart leg on 44 to take the opening leg of the third set to instantly break Adams’ throw. Another bounce out from Joyce left Adams well placed for an immediate break back but with only a 60 recorded from 181 he still had a lot to do. Adams attacked the 121 but agonisingly just missed the bull, leaving 25; Joyce missed the bull on his throw and Adams tidied up to make it 1-1. Adams punished a slack 42 from Joyce to give him first chance at a finish, leaving 115. Adams rolled back the years with treble 20, single 15 and tops to put his nose in front. Joyce refused to lie down steadying himself for a 130 with Adams not on a finish; Joyce left 72 but missed double 16 but returned to close it out on his next throw. The deciding leg saw Adams take a slight advantage but wobbled with a loose 60 mid set. Joyce followed suit and Adams was first to a finish; Joyce clocked in with a 180, enough to put off Adams who ended up missing tops for a 115. Joyce secured 42 on double 16 to take the third set.
Adams needing the break to stay at Lakeside responded in the opener of set four, settling it on tops to break Joyce. The next leg was littered with low scores, neither player able to take a grip. Joyce eventually left 52 that he made in two darts and more importantly break back. A maximum number three from Adams was followed by a 140, another 140 set up a 41 chance that he sorted out two darts later to produce yet another break. Back to back 140’s was the measure of leg four for Adams, he then added another to leave 81 for the set. He fired wide of the doubles but it was not pressured by Joyce still on 199. Adams took the set emphatically and it was now a case of do or die in the final set decider for both players.
Joyce got into gear with an early 140 but it was Adams who had the early chances at the doubles. Adams missed four chances for the leg but needing only one dart for his double Joyce broke throw to put him in pole position for the match. Adams struggled to hit a treble in the next with his first six darts. Joyce needed only 129 with Adams back on 384 and played safe setting up 41 after a miss throw. Joyce made it 2-0 on double 16. Adams with his work cut out just to stay in the match opened up with a 180 in the next; Joyce stuttered allowing Adams a go at 129 knowing he would have at least six darts at it. Adams only needed three, battering in the 129 to the crowds approval and to keep him hanging in the match. More great darts from Adams gave him the throw with some 140’s at a crucial time. With 86 left Adams nailed double 7 to put him back on level terms and invoke the two clear legs decider rule for the first time this year at the Lakeside, 2-2. Who would hold their nerve? Joyce needed 129 in six darts with Adams not on a finish, he left 36 that he got no problem first dart to leave him throwing for the match. A 96 was Joyce’s start but he then slipped in the wrong beds; Adams made a poor 45 and Joyce sensing his opportunity left himself 140 with Adams way back on 255. Joyce left 65 and a 140 gave Adams a glimmer of hope. A missed double 18 for the match from Joyce let in Adams who brought the house down on tops with a special 115 take out. Joyce again pulled away and left himself 36 again for the next leg. This time he slotted it first dart with Adams watching on in the background. As if a sense of déjà vu was creeping into the game Adams took control of Joyce’s throw in the next leg needing 161 with six darts. He left 24, next throw it was 4-4. Adams nearly slotted a 161 but missed the bull to need 25; under immense pressure he returned to slot the double with his final dart. A 140 from Adams got the tenth leg away and he soon added another 140 to leave 140 for the match. Adams picked off two treble 20’s but missed the double ten for the match. Joyce then had the crowd going wild producing an amazing 164 with a bull finish to stay in the tournament and set up a last leg decider. Adams with his face concentrating like Toy Story’s Lotso plotting an evil scheme won the bull off and set off with a 140, soon he was adding a 180 to leave 161 for the match. He left it on 72 with Joyce hot on his tail needing 128. Adams missed double 9 and was this the chance for Joyce? Trebling 18 he narrowly missed the second treble and you could feel the weight of the Lakeside pushing in on the players. Adams went a long way over the top of double 9 before sharing a joke with the crowd to relieve the nerves; with the second dart he howled with delight as it sunk deep into the green of the double and the crowd joined in the madness.
Having to produce some darts to match the magic of the first game Paul Hogan faced Tom Sawyer in what on paper sounded like some sort of Hollywood blockbuster. It was Boston versus Basingstoke on the Lakeside stage. Hogan held his throw in the opening leg, doubling 8 with Sawyer breathing down his neck on 32. Hogan had the chance to break in the next leg and he did on tops to see off 80. A 123 from Hogan followed by 100 put him favourite for the set as Sawyer struggled to find any sort of darts. Sawyer then slotted a 140 and it was Hogan’s time to produce little. Hogan was to return for 28 for the set but he totally messed up, ending up in the mad house. Sawyer eventually picked off double 2 in a leg he shouldn’t have even been involved in. Hogan soon rectified the situation taking out 24 for the first set.
Needing 114 with Sawyer back on 258 , Hogan left himself a 40 chance that he made under no pressure at all on tops for the opening leg in the second set. The second leg saw no real scoring as both players struggled hitting the trebles and then out of the blue Hogan produced a perfect 150 finish on double 18 to move two legs up. Again both struggled with the trebles in the next leg when a couple of 100’s put Hogan in control and he took out 16 for the set despite missing six darts under no real pressure.
The match was in danger of becoming a procession if Sawyer didn’t step up and at least try and force Sawyer into some mistakes. Hogan was first to a finish again needing 139 that he left on tops but it was Sawyer who nailed 118 on tops to stop the rot. Hogan was away again, punishing a 45 from Sawyer with a 139. He then clinched the leg with a 118 finish in the exact same way as Sawyer to level it off. Hogan was now in total control and needed only 41 after twelve darts in the third leg. Hogan made it 2-1 and looked sure to win the match. Unexpectedly, Sawyer fought back with a 140 and a ton to give him the advantage in a leg he needed to stay alive; after a poor 28 he clocked up a 180 maximum and double 6 to make it 2-2. Hogan was now throwing for the match and he was given a helping hand when Sawyer was cursed with bounce outs; Hogan took on the bull for the match when he had time in lieu, hitting 25. Hogan made sure of his place in round one on his very next visit and a whitewash under his belt.
The 2015 champion Scotty Mitchell was last up for the Sunday afternoon session where he took on qualifier Mark McGrath. The former world champion took the first leg on 32 in what was a steady opener to get both players settled into the match. McGrath made a 140 to start leg two but a 125 from Mitchell kept him in close contention. They closely followed each other there on in until McGrath missed tops for a 60 out shot and Mitchell made tops from 56 to make it two nil. A bit of a disjointed leg was brought to life with a 174 from Mitchell, leaving him 52 for the set that he took out on tops as easy as you like.
Mitchell edged in front in the opening leg of set two leaving 118 to break McGrath’s throw. McGrath responded well and he too left himself 118; he had a chance at it when Mitchell faltered leaving forty. McGrath struggled and it was up to Mitchell to take the leg, he made sure he did on tops. Mitchell was first to a finish in the second leg leaving 116 but he managed only 60 giving McGrath a shout at 156 to get a point on the board. Alas, it wasn’t to be for the New Zealander; Mitchell again on tops put away 56 to make it five legs on the run and cement his superiority. A couple of steady tons kept the third leg close and McGrath got up and running seeing off 77 to pull a leg back. Mitchell throwing for a two set advantage opened up a huge lead in leg four needing just 170 with McGrath back on 376. Mitchell left 36 and under no pressure at all knocked home double 18 for the second set.
Mitchell was now needing to hold his throw in the third set to progress to the second round. He opened up a decent lead with a couple of 140’s and soon found himself on 56 with McGrath languishing on 276. Mitchell made it one nil in the third set on tops yet again. McGrath looked out of sorts, starting the next leg with a 45 that was duly punished with a 140 from Mitchell. Then it was Mitchell’s time to make a mistake with 45 of his own; McGrath couldn’t make hay and it was Mitchell who left 111 for the second leg; he floundered and McGrath stepped in to ping in 90 on the bull to the astonishment of the sell out crowd. Mitchell started with a 180 in the next followed by 100 and quickly was down to 121 where he knew he would have six darts. Mitchell finished again on tops to move within one leg of the match. A poor 45 from McGrath let in Mitchell in the fourth leg and when Mitchell bagged a 140 it looked like it was all over. McGrath then inexplicably hit 26 to give Mitchell the chance he needed; it was tops again for Mitchell to take the leg, set and match.
It was two qualifiers who entered the fray in this evenings opener, Polish Krzysztof Ratajski faced Dutchman Willem Mandigers for a place in round one. Mandigers took the first leg seeking out double 8 to claim the opening leg. Ratajski levelled the match with a 32 out shot after firing in a 135 and 140 on his way. A superb 146 out shot from Mandigers livened up the crowd and he looked delighted about it all. Not be outdone Ratajski produced his own ton plus finish in the very next leg, completing a twelve dart leg with a 108 to level proceedings. In the deciding leg nerves seemed to creep in as poor scoring dominated the proceedings. Eventually, Mandigers saw off 20 after twenty two darts to move one set up.
Ratajski got the second set under away and struggled with two poor opening throws that were capitalised by the Dutchman. Ratajski found some form suddenly posting two 140’s on the trot to give him a chance. He managed to waste six darts for the leg but Mandigers wasted three on double 2 giving Ratajski a reprieve that he took full advantage of to take the first leg. Mandigers took the next leg in 16 darts, finishing off 24 to level up. Ratajski threw a 180 in the next and produced a 60 out on tops to move 2-1 up, needing just one leg for the second set. Mandigers made a 180 of his own in the next leg but both players struggled before Mandigers managed to tie up 40 to make it 2-2 and set up another deciding leg. Ratajski made sure of the set hammering Mandigers slack darts to take the leg with his opponent back on 183.
A big 180 from Mandigers and a 32 out was enough to put the Dutchman one up in the third set but some superb scoring from Ratajski in the next levelled the set with a smart fifteen dart leg. Again it was another see saw set with a fantastic 104 check out for Mandigers putting him 2-1 up. Ratajski scored heavily in the fourth leg and nailed a 32 with the Dutchman waiting in the wings on 72 ready to capitalise on any mistake. It was decider time again and two consecutive 140’s got Mandigers off to a flier; Ratajski not to be out done scored a maximum 180 but had to watch in vain as Madingers took the set with a 32 game shot.
Set four started with the Pole notching a 180 and he was soon on a 123 finish that he didn’t attempt with Mandigers way back. He set up 32 and returned to go one up in the set. In the next Ratajski fired in a 140 and another to give him at least six darts at 122 with Mandigers back on 181. Ratajski left it handy on 25 but missed the vital doubles, chasing 8 and 4 around the board. Luckily for him Mandigers snatched with his last dart at double and Ratajski was allowed to return to break and move two nil up. Both rattled in a 180’s in the third leg before Mandigers missed a chance on 81, Ratajski missed his chance on 86 and Mandingers sneaked in on 12 to double 6. The fourth leg was all about the Dutchman, a 180 left him needing 100 after nine darts and he nailed it to level the set. Mandigers now needed this leg for the match. After a couple of shared 100’s, Mandigers produced a 140 on the way to leaving 108 then he totally lost his composure with some poor darts. Ratajski needed 16, doubling 8 to level the whole match and set up a final set decider.
Ratajski got the decider away with a poor 40 because of a frustrating bounce out. Mandigers capitalised with 140’s and ton’s to leave a 107 chance. Mandigers left it on 60 with Ratajski on 166 offering little threat. Mandigers returned to claim the leg on tops. Ratajski this time got away well opening up a hundred plus lead. He added a 134 to leave 36; beautifully slotted next dart. Another bounce out cost Ratajski a maximum and it left him one hundred behind needing a 164 with Mandigers on 64; Mandigers made it on his last dart to lead 2-1. Ratajski kept up with the script of staying on throw leaving 76 that he made on double 8 to set up a sudden death shootout with two legs advantage needed for the set. Mandigers started with a 140 and a ton and he was first on a combination needing 105; he missed tops but returned as Ratajski was unable to see off 151, Mandigers taking the leg. A poor 80 from Ratajski was not punished by Mandigers replying only 81 in response but he pulled away next throw with a good 140 to effectively give him the darts. Mandigers needing 120 for the match, missed tops and Ratajski saved the match. Mandigers needed 100 for the next leg but had time on his side as Ratajski was not on a finish; he left 40 but couldn’t finish it off. Ratajski added pressure clocking up a 134 and amazingly he was to return to take the leg after Mandigers fluffed his line missing all three at the double. Ratajski now throwing for the match raced away and completed a superb 104 checkout with Mandigers not even on a combination throw.
Raymond Smith bounced onto the stage before his match with Davy van Baelen, dancing around and trying to stir up the crowd. The Australian despite moving with quick steps on the stage methodically throws his darts in a thoughtful manner. Van Baelen missed tops to hold his throw and watched on as Smith pulled the same double out of the bag to take the first leg. Van Baelen was first to an out shot needing 121 but he could only manage 71. With fifty left he was allowed to return but once again fell foul missing a double 10 for the leg. Smith galvanised by van Baelen’s missed chances slotted 53 for the second leg. A superb 131 left 36 for van Baelen to open his account that he picked off to make it 2-1 and hold his throw. Smith now throwing for the match hit a 140 on the way to leaving 91 for the set; Smith left 40 with van Baelen well back and took the set, his first ever at the Lakeside.
Smith took the opening leg of the second set with a sixty on tops despite a 134 to pressure the shot by van Baelen. in the next Van Baelen knocked in a 94, leaving him 167 with Smith hanging around on 170. He hit a 128, leaving 39 and returned to double 4 to level it at one leg apiece. Two steady tons from Smith and a 97 gave him a slight advantage at being first on the outshot. With 144 left Smith suffered a bounce out and van Baelen produced a show stopper to get the crowd up in appreciation. With 132 remaining he pinned two bulls and doubled 16 to move in front and take the accolades. Van Baelen now throwing for the set struggled and it was Smith who had first chance on 84. He missed and van Baelen cashed in taking out 46 for the set and to level the match.
A 140 left van Baelen with 120 required and another stunning checkout, shanghai on the 20’s gave him first blood in the third set. Smith raced ahead in the second leg needing 112 with van Baelen back in the 250’s. Knowing he would have at least six darts for the leg he decided to do it in three on double 16. A decent 140 from van Baelen coupled with a 96 put him in with a shout of 114 in the third leg. Again guaranteeing six darts at least he left a perfect 16 for him to pick off next throw; that’s exactly what he did doubling 8 to move 2-1 up. Two 85’s and 100’s from the duo kept leg four tight. Van Baelen eventually needed 94 for the set and Smith 116. van Baelen left 63 but missed and Smith missed his 56 attempt. Van Baelen now with 18 remaining doubled 9 on his next throw to take the set.
The first leg of the fourth set had both players left on 170 with van Baelen first at the oche. He left 40 to Smith’s 120, both missed their doubles and van Baelen struggled to hit 10, unconvincingly Smith also missed 10. Van Baelen eventually finished off the leg in the mad house to leave him just needing to hold his throw in the set for the match. Van Baelen was slightly behind in leg two until he perfectly timed a 180 to set him up with a 46 chance. 2-0, two darts later. Again it was a tense affair as both players matched each other throw for throw in the next leg. Smith had a go at 84 but missed the double 6, giving van Baelen 144 for the match but he could only muster 58. Smith couldn’t step in and again missed three darts at double 6. With 86 for a place in the next round van Baelen got it tactically wrong and didn’t leave himself with a double. Smith made it 2-1 finally getting the elusive double 6. Van Baelen was now throwing for the match but it was Smith better placed to finish needing just 76 but he missed double 4 to give van Baelen a shot at 81 but again he messed up and Smith took full advantage to send the set into a decider and keep his championship alive. Smith now throwing for his Lakeside life had a catastrophic 40 that was punished with a 105 to leave a 167 for van Baelen. With only 108 left van Baelen had six darts with his opponent not on a finish. He left 32 with three darts in hand but he missed double 16 and double 8. Luckily he was back with 8 needed; he failed dismally and Smith who was dead and buried pulled off double tops for the most unlikeliest set victory, surviving six match darts and a series of van Baelen’s blunders to stay alive.
A maximum 180 from van Baelen helped him to the opening leg of the deciding set, taking out 83 on double 8 for his first double in four legs. The second leg was stretched with no player making any sort of headway until a 167 attempt from van Baelen was missed on the bull; Smith picked off double 6 to level the whole contest. More meagre scoring made for a cagey third leg with a 21 from Smith not really punished by van Baelen. Van Baelen needed 80 with Smith lingering on 60 but missed double tops to move ahead. Amazingly Smith targeted tops superbly and went ahead, now he needed one for the match. Throwing for the match Smith started with a 140 to put pressure on the Belgian but couldn’t add anything to it. Smith had 156 for the match but only scored 60 and van Baelen finished off 80 with double 10 to trigger the tie breaker situation. The longest game of the Lakeside so far was still offering no clues as to which one would be going through. Smith blasted in tops for a 76 and put him in front and now throwing to win the match. More lacklustre darts early on was broken when Smith locked in a 140 to give him some daylight, needing 160 for the match with van Baelen back on 181. Smith left 60 and a 30 from van Baelen offered no sort of challenge. Smith stepped up and mistakenly clattered into tops first dart but was switched on enough to double 10 to win an absolute marathon of a match.
Jamie Hughes versus Martin Atkins was the battle of the no nonsense men and promised some quick flying darts. Hughes got us away with a neat 140 before plotting his way down to double 8. Sadly his dart covered the double bed and after shifting along the oche was unable to take it. Atkins stepped in to make it 1-0. A 180 and a 140 put Hughes in total control of the next leg that he took out on double 10 with Atkins back on 113. Now back on throw, Hughes notched two 100’s to give him a slender lead over Atkins before a brilliant 76 on double 8 put him 2-1 to the good. More steady ton’s from Hughes and a 140 wasn’t enough as a180 from Atkins put him in prime position for the fourth leg. Atkins missed 44 on double 9 but with Hughes wiring tops on 116 he had another chance; again he missed and Hughes took the set picking of 20 on double 5.
Another 180 from Atkins was not enough to stop Hughes collecting the opening leg of the second set on tops to keep his momentum going. Hughes was first to the combination finish again leaving 118 that he left nicely on 60 for his return. Not even a 140 from Atkins could dishevel Hughes as he singled 20 and doubled tops for another leg. Three perfect darts opened up the third leg for Hughes but was brought down to earth next throw with a 45. Atkins stopped the slide on tops to see off 40 and to get on the board in the second set. A couple of 140’s gave Hughes the upper hand needing 139 for the set but had to settle for leaving 57. Atkins managed to get down to 50 to add some pressure and it was enough for Atkins as he slotted tops to make it 2-2 and a deciding leg. A 140 got Atkins away and a 100 for Hughes. A slack 59 from Hughes saw Atkins work his way to 98 but a poor 27 left him 71 with Hughes on a 107 chance. After missing tops for the set Hughes watched on stunned as Atkins rifled home the bull with his last dart to not only save the leg but to take the set and level it off at 1-1.
Hughes conjured up five perfect darts at the end of the first leg of the third set to make double 10 to go one nil up. He just missed a 170 on the bull for two nil but Atkins missed tops on 80 to give Hughes another chance. Hughes looked confident but over threw his darts and this time Atkins polished off double 10 to tie it up at one all. A slack 58 from Hughes let Atkins in but he couldn’t make anything worthwhile and Hughes had a 106 chance that he made with his last dart on double 16. A big 180 from Atkins was let down with a 26 but it was enough to just keep him ahead in the leg. Atkins had a 99 effort that he left on 40 whilst a 144 from Hughes was nearly rattled home after two treble 20’s set up double 12 but the last dart went over the top. Atkins looked favourite for the leg but he missed at the double and Hughes powered home 24 for the set.
Atkins again was left to rue missed chances, missing a hatful of chances on the doubles; Hughes crept up and took out double 12 to win the leg against the throw. A great 140 from Hughes left a 137 out chance; he made 97 to leave tops to go 2-0 up and leave him one leg from victory. Hughes made no mistake and Atkins was now left with a huge task to keep his world championship alive. A good 140 in the next on his throw put Atkins in charge but a poor 60 left him a big ask leaving 160 that he couldn’t get. Hughes needed a 170 but was a long way off and Atkins hanging in the set took the leg. A maximum 180 from Hughes and a superb 177 in the next leg gave Hughes a chance of an 11 darter but he missed tops with two darts. Atkins had little in the way of response and Hughes was allowed to return. Stepping up, he looked up slotted double top and took the match .