Norris comes from behind as the Power stakes his claim for another world championship.
Alan Norris come from 2 sets down to defeat Greek qualifier John Michael as elsewhere there were wins for Gurney and Phil Taylor.
Our first game featured another preliminary qualifier and what I felt would be the best out of all the prelim games as John Bowles was bowled over by David Platt who hit an unbelievable 156 finish to knock out the Widnes thrower.
I have met Bowles a lot during my time marking the PDC and he is a great player on his day capable of beating most players but he ran into an in form Platt who his 42.86% on his doubles.
A slow start from both saw Platt take advantage of 3 missed darts by Bowles to win the first leg with his 3rd dart in hand at double 12. Bowles missed double 20 for a 116 finish but he come back to the board to hit double 10 to level the game. A 16 darter from Platt on double tops saw him hold throw and he missed 3 darts to break throw to win the first set 3 allowing Bowles to hit double 6. However a great 15 darter from Platt secured the first set as he pinned double 8.
The second set had a very similar pattern with both players holding throw in the first four legs. Bowles opened up with a 110 finish which was followed by a double 16 from Platt. A 55 from Bowles saw him regain the lead and he had a chance of his own to take the set 3-1 but he missed a dart at bull and bust 25 allowing Platt to hit double tops to level. And the drama wasn’t over there as Bowles missed double top for a 118 finish he looked set to come back to finish 40. Platt seemed to have an issue with his arrows and had to change his equipment while he was sat on 156 as his opponent was politely waiting on double top to take us to a deciding set but Platt his an incredible 156 finish to end his opponents hopes of a tie against the greatest darts player of all time.
Verdict: Platt clearly has some stones hitting a superb 156 for the match while his opponent was sat waiting on double tops but he will have to add at least 8 points to his average if he is going to beat the Power. For Bowles he will look back on his chances. He has had a poor year and that could of turned it all around. He needs to dust himself down and start again next month.
Our second game saw the young Irishman Darryl Gurney against the young Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena. Wattimena is a funny old thrower and I will let you all know about a time I marked him last year on the Pro Tour. Wattimena had 59 left which I’m sure 99.9% of us would go single 19 double top. Jermaine first dart hit the 14 bed. I stood puzzled for a second or two. He was going for treble 9 double 16. Anyway he hit single 13 and double 16 so he clearly liked double 16. So the next leg he had 65 left. I though oh he will go treble 11 double 16 he mustn’t like double top. Nope he outer bull double top. That is how strange but brilliant this kid can be.
We all know how good Gurney is. I remember back in his BDO days he attended a competition at my local connie club. He won it but you could see the potential he has. It’s good to see over the past 18 months he’s fulfilling it and even though he broke his hand a few months ago he’s still had a great year.
The first throw of the game from Gurney let us know what we could expect over the next 45 minutes as he kicked off with a 180 and won the first leg on double 1, before hitting double 5 for the second leg and double tops for the third as he was averaging over 100 even after missing 6 darts in the first leg.
Gurney instantly broke the throw in the second set as he hit double 8 for a 76 finish before hitting double 16 as Wattimena looked on helplessly. Wattimena did eventually win the next leg on double 9 as both players struggled to win to hit the double before a 15 darter from Gurney give him a 2 set to nil lead.
Superchin went on to win the first leg of the 3rd set hitting double 10 for a 74 finish which Wattimena followed up with a double 3 to level. Wattimena hit double 18 for a superb 90 finish to break the throw before securing the set on double 10.
Gurney started the next set with a 180 but he missed 3 darts at tops, and he was punished by the Dutchman who hit tops to just hold throw. But Gurney didn’t let that get to him as he won 3 successive legs hitting a couple of double tops and a double 16 to qualify for the second round.
Verdict: Jermaine will be a great player in the future but he run into an inform Gurney who was excellent. He’s one of very few people who have beat MVG this year and certainly has the game to beat him. He is a terrific scorer and a pretty good finisher. He’s proved this year he can beat anyone.
Our penultimate game saw Alan Norris face John Michael with the Greek impressing despite narrowly losing to last year’s quarter finalist.
Michael started brilliantly taking advantage of 2 missed darts at double tops to hit a 52 finish and he shocked Chuck who missed 4 darts at double to his a 60 finish again on double tops and the finishes we’re just getting going as he hit an excellent 141 finish to secure the set 3-0.
A similar pattern followed in the second setas Norris missed 2 darts at 10’s and 5’s. Michael again defied the odds hitting a superb 93 finish 25, 18, bull to lead to take an early advantage and punish more poor finishing from Chuck. Norris finally hit a double in the next set, that double being double 1, which was the same double he hit to win the 3rd leg and he looked odds on to go on to win the set. However a lovely 78 two dart kill on double 12 and a double 5 saw Michael looking set for a shock victory. An excellent 144 left tops and Michael nailed that to go 2 sets up.
Norris opened the 3rd set with a 13 dart leg and Michael returned the favour hitting double 10 for a 14 dart leg and an 80 finish. Another steady hold from Norris on tops was again followed by another great ton plus finish and Norris finally got a set on the board by hitting double 5.
The standard from both players dropped in the fourth set with Michael really struggling to find the treble especially in the opening couple of legs. Norris opened up a 2-0 lead before Michael won the next 2 legs to be throwing for the match however he couldn’t quite find the scoring power he needed as Norris hit a 180 and a 136 to leave tops after 12 darts before converting in 13 to send us to a deciding set.
And Norris secured victory winning a poor final set 3-1 with a double 10 after a nervy tight final set.
Norris will be hoping he doesn’t have another performance on the doubles like that as he can do damage on his day to any of the big players. Norris wasn’t scoring great either. He’s usually a great 180 hitter. On that evidence I can’t see him getting far this week. Michael can be proud of his display. 57.89% on finishing is very good especially someone not really used to the big stage. He really gave Norris a great game but fatigue seemed to kick on later in the encounter.
In our final game Phil Taylor routinely saw off David Platt in 3 sets to send out a message to the rest of the big guns averaging 101.93 on the way.
Platt started well on his own throw hitting a 174 but scores of 137 and 131 helped Taylor mop up 40 to break in the very first leg. A 15 darter followed and it was already started to look ominous for the Aussie as Taylor hit double 5 for the first set.
The Power was going through the gears and he returned from the break with another 15 dart leg before the Aussie finally got a leg on the board with a 47 finish. Taylor bossed the third leg hitting tops with his opponent way back on 147 and a great 11 darter was finished by hitting treble 18 double 16 and Phil was flying.
The third set was opening by the Aussie as he won his second leg of the tie hitting double 10 before a 72 finish and another 15 darter saw Phil level. Taylor punished a poor 29 in the 3rd leg by hitting double 16 to go from within one of the match and an 81 finish on double 12 secured victory for the Power.
Phil will take some beating this week. He’s played very well all year and as I’ve said in the past he is nowhere near past it. People may no longer be scared of him but MVG won’t want to play him because he never got out of first gear and still had a great average. For Platt he come through a very tough prelim and always had an impossible task. He’s a good player but it was a dreadful draw.
|Player||Player||Score||Match Average||180s||Checkout %|
|John Bowles (P)||–||David Platt (P)||0||2||88.96||86.92||0||1||28.57%||42.86%|
|Daryl Gurney||–||Jermaine Wattimena||3||1||96.85||91.9||5||2||29.41%||29.41%|
|Alan Norris||–||John Michael||3||2||91.61||86.05||4||4||28.95%||57.89%|
|Phil Taylor||–||David Platt||3||0||101.93||86.94||3||1||50.00%||28.57%|
Photo :Courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC