Dobey is a force to be reckoned with
Our first game saw one of our local lads Kevin Simm of Tyldesley face Gilbert Ulang of the Philippines with both sets of players struggling to find full form in a nervy encounter. It was quite a shock when Simm qualified for the World Championships considering his best results of his first year in the PDC was a couple of last 16 appearances on the Challenge Tour before his excellent day in Wigan a month ago. It’s not the first time we have seen Ulang on our televisions after he reached the last 16 of the World Cup of Darts back in June.
The first leg gave us an incline into what we were going to see over the next half an hour or so with nervy doubles and inconsistent scoring being the highlight of the encounter. 27 darts from Simm saw him secure the first leg but Ulang will be kicking himself as he had enough chances to get an early break of throw. He did hold throw in the second leg hitting the first of 3 180’s that we saw in the game before hitting double 5 and the pair shared the next two legs with throw before Simm held his nerve to hit a 100 finish to win the first set.
Simm won the second set 3-2 against the throw producing a key break of throw with the scores level at 1-1. Scores of 140,121 and 100 before a double five saw him break for the first time in the match. This was then replicated in the final 2 legs of the match as Ulang hit a 56 finish before double nine from Simm secured his place in the last game of the afternoon session against his former county team mate Ian White.
Ulang was very poor in this tie, his scoring simply wasn’t good enough and he never really troubled his opponent. If Simm is going to win his next game he is going to need to up his game massively. A 76 average isn’t going to trouble Ian White.
Our second game featured Chris Dobey and Justin Pipe with Hollywood looking to keep up his great form against a very tough opponent in The Force. Dobey started the first leg in great fettle hitting double tops for a 13 dart leg whi,ch was followed up by a 71 finish on double 16 for a 15 dart leg after Pipe had incredibly scored scores of 180,140,140 to leave 41 before missing 5 darts at double. Pipe broke back hitting double 18 for a 76 finish however double tops secured the first set for Dobey on his World Championship debut.
The second set saw Dobey again win the opening two legs, breaking throw in the first leg with a 56 finish after a poor start from Pipe on his own throw; before holding his own throw with an 11 darter hitting his first 180 of the match along the way. Pipe again, after giving himself a mountain to climb won the third leg of the match on double 8 which didn’t faze Hollywood who his double 16 for a 101 finish and a 2 set lead.
It appeared Dobey started to tighten up a tad after the second set with Pipe racing into a 2-0 lead in the set hitting a 48 finish and a double nine before Dobey won back to back legs to give him an opportunity to win the match 3-0. However uncharacteristic of how the game was going, Dobey missed 2 darts at tops and tens as Pipe hit a excellent 78 finish on double 12 to win the set 3-2 and reduce the deficit to 2-1.
You felt Pipe needed the luck he got in that last leg to pick his game up and charge on but he instantly allowed Hollywood to open up a 2-0 lead with finishes of 100 and 105. Pipe got himself back into the set hitting double 3 in a leg he bossed from start to finish before levelling the leg hitting double 8 for a 70 finish. However Dobey belatedly got what he deserved punishing 4 missed darts at double from The Force to hit double tops for a 74 finish and the match.
Pipe will be upset with his display earlier on averaging just short of 86 with a poor 20.59% on his doubles. We saw some promising signs that The Force is coming back to his best with some great legs but he is far too inconsistent at the moment. Dobey though was good in his win and is getting used to the big stage. He hit some good big finishes, something he is very well known for but he knows he will need to up his scoring if he is to get to the latter stages of the tournament.
Our third game saw Mark Webster and another local lad to me Joe Murnan face each other with The Spider looking to extract some revenge on Shaggy who has won the last 3 meetings between the pair.
It’s always difficult for me to watch a Mark Webster game; someone I have been a fan of since he came over to the PDC who like me struggles with Dartitis, because I know how it feels to struggle to let go of the dart and not play your natural game. At the same time it’s never easy to watch a mate play knowing how well they really can play without the pressures of the television cameras. That said Joe played well and this game could have been very different had it not been for the near perfect finishing of Webster.
Shaggy started well too hitting double top for a 68 finish after a slow start from Webster and Murnan was left to rue two missed darts at double tops for a 43 finish as Webster finished 60 hitting 20, double tops to level and hold his throw. Webster never really looked back after this hitting bull, 3 double 6 for a 65 finish, before a 70 finish again on double tops saw Webster win the first set 3-1.
The second set started much like the first set as Murnan hit 2 140’s accompanied with a scores of 97,28 and 56 to leave tops. Shaggy looked set to win the first leg and hold throw but a devastating 129 finish hitting treble 19, treble 16 double 12 hit Murnan like a Kevin Davies tackle and give The Spider a valuable lead in the set. This was turning into a masterclass from Webster on the doubles as he hit a 88 finish on double 14 for a 2-0 lead before Murnan held throw hitting double 16 double 12 however you couldn’t see Webster losing the tie as he upheld his 100% checkout success rate hitting top for a 59 finish to win the set and open up a 2-0 lead as Murnan looked on bewildered in the background.
The third set saw Murnan again win the opening leg with a 70 finish before Webster continued his amazing finishing statistic hitting 7 out of 7 so far before Shaggy hit double 4 to regain his lead in the set. The fourth leg of the set saw Webster sacrifice his perfect checkout success rate as he missed 2 darts but Murnan couldn’t finish 104 allowing Webster hit double 5 for the leg and Webster punished Murnan for 5 missed darts in the final leg to pull a set back as he hit double 12 for a 84 finish.
I said before the game that if Joe was going to beat he had to stand on the jugular very early on and hit Webby with some big shots in hope that it would tighten the shoulder. Neither played particularly poorly and Webby showed that class is permanent with some great finishing and if he can add a good 10 points to his average he could go very far this week. He is one of the best finishers in the game and a tremendous treble 19 hitter. He will take some beating.
Our final game saw the return of our first winner Kevin Simm as he faced his former county team mate Diamond Ian White with White shining like a diamond. Simm started well hitting a 180 on the way to winning his first leg but 3 missed darts at 38 give White the chance to win an unlikely leg and White turned it all around winning the 3rd leg on double 16 and 4th leg on double tops for a 1 set to nil lead.
Simm won the second leg of the second set with a 60 finish and despite a 180 he again failed to win the second leg as White nailed double 16 for an 11 darter. The pair broke each other in the next 2 legs as White hit tops and Simm hit the same target and that set us for an outrageous last leg. Simm had a lead of 207 when he was sat on 80 and he went on to miss 5 darts at double for the set. White sneaked in and hit bull for a great 130 finish to break the heart of the Lancastrian.
The final set again went to a decider as both players held throw and White hit double top for a 58 finish to secure victory and take his place in round two.
What has happened to Ian White? He was one of the steadiest players in the world 12-18 months ago. His finishing was good but he needs to up his scoring if he’s going to have a good tournament this year.
|Player||Player||Score||Match Average||180s||Checkout %|
|Kevin Simm (P)||–||Gilbert Ulang (P)||2||0||76.05||73||1||2||27.27%||28.57%|
|Justin Pipe||–||Chris Dobey||1||3||85.94||90.7||7||2||20.59%||55.00%|
|Mark Webster||–||Joe Murnan||3||0||87.78||88.84||1||3||81.82%||36.36%|
|Ian White||–||Kevin Simm||3||0||87.2||82.16||2||4||52.94%||25.00%|
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC