Canada’s Jeff Smith needed a win to fly the BDO flag in the opening match of the afternoon session in day two of the Grand Slam. In his way stood teenage sensation Ted Evetts who took the opener on 64 to settle any nerves. A superb 120 shanghai finish from Smith made it one a piece but Evetts produced a stunning 171 before converting tops to regain the lead. Smith levelled again but had to watch Evetts fire in double 10 to go back in front. Again it switched back to Smith, splitting double 18 to restore parity in a real see saw of a match. Evetts clocked in a 180 and finished 72 on tops to give him a bit of daylight and put him on the brink of victory, 4-3. Back came Smith on double 10, setting up a deciding leg and it was the BDO man who wrapped up the match with a cool calculated 76 combination to secure his first points of the weekend.
Man of the moment Mensur Suljovic was hoping to entertain the gathered crowd as he has done recently in his tie against Nathan Aspinall. Aspinall got off to a flier, sticking in a 128 combination against the throw. He went one better in the next with a stunning 137 to double his advantage. Suljovic under the force of Aspinall’s attack produced a critical 75 checkout to remain in touch at 2-1. Suljovic messed up the fourth leg, missing double 18 and being fully punished by Aspinall on tops to give the youngster a 3-1 advantage. Suljovic shocked into action, upped his game taking the next two legs to square it all off, with a tops and 103 combination. The big Austrian took the next with the momentum gathering in his favour to lead for the first time in the match. He made no mistake soon enough, making sure of 46 on double 7 to claim the points 5-3 after an almighty scare.
Welshman Gerwyn Price took on former Grand Slam winner Scott Waites with both hoping to get off the mark in the league table. Price got us under away with a ton, matched by Waites. A steady opening leg saw Waites miss double 18 and double 9, Price miss double 7 and double 2 allowing Waites to return to snatch the leg. Waites stole more ground in the next being first on a finish with Price back on 280; he conspired to miss a stack of darts on the double letting Price sneak in to level a leg he should’ve had no chance of winning. Price went 2-1 up in another poor leg, both players missing a hatful of doubles, both ending up in the mad house. More slack darts from Price, slipping into the single number allowed Waites in to level proceedings once again. A first maximum was celebrated by Price in the fifth leg on his way to claiming double top to go one leg ahead in the race to five. Another 180 for Price and a steady ton gave him a 164 chance, which he was unable to see off. He was allowed to return and despite another miss throw, went 4-2 up having to take out the unorthodox double 15. Scott Waites was totally out of sorts and was glad to see the match end in the very next leg, much to the relief of Price who was disjointed himself but nevertheless took the points winning 5-2.
Dave Chisnall was up next versus Jamie Hughes, Hughes missing plenty of chances in his opening game was looking to get his first scalp, whilst Chisnall also fresh from an opening game defeat was desperate to make sure he stayed in the tournament. BDO’s Hughes drew first blood putting away 32 with his last dart under severe pressure. Hughes kicked off leg two with a 180 and added another before banging in double 8 for an eleven dart leg going 2-0 up. Chisnall responded instantly to half the deficit but Hughes made it 3-1 in the fourth putting up another 180 on the way. A narrow miss on double 5 gave Chisnall a chance to pull one back but missed himself, letting Hughes back in to claim the leg in the mad house. Hughes made no mistake taking advantage to claim the match in the sixth leg to record a 5-1 victory and move up the table.
Youngster Dmitri van den Bergh danced onto the Wolverhampton stage with Robert Thornton looking suitably unimpressed watching on in the background like a parent who’d seen his teenage son misbehaving outside the off licence with his mates. Van den Bergh had mixed fortunes in the opener, collecting a 180 but having a bounce out letting Thornton in. The big Scotsman was unable to weigh in and van den Bergh returned to go one up. Thornton filled in the 60’s and added 138 to leave himself 68, amazingly van den Bergh smashed 127 on the bull to go two to the good. He went 3-0 up after Thornton missed the bull to pull one back, picking off double 4. A smart 140 put Thornton first on a finish but he only managed a 60; luckily for him van den Bergh was way back on 265 and offered little in the way of resistance, Thornton made it 3-1 on tops. Thornton broke van den Bergh on double 7 to make it 3-2 and close the gap further. The young Belgian was left rueing a dart to go two legs ahead, watching Thornton equalise on double 10, 3-3. Van den Bergh slotted a 180 and just missed the bull for a 121 checkout; Thornton couldn’t respond and van den Bergh went one leg away from the match on double 8. Thornton held on tops on his throw to set up a decider. Both started poorly but a 140 from van den Bergh and a bounce out for Thornton added to the tension and drama of the last leg. A poor 58 was punished by Thornton with a 140, giving him 55 for the match but he blew it on tops; but so did van den Bergh, tops again providing his nemesis. Thornton stepped up and under extreme pressure went back to the top of the group, doubling 5 to take the decider.
The battle of the James’s was next, Wade took on Wilson in a match that would put the winner through to the knockout stage. Wilson went two legs up with Wade looking a bit dishevelled early on. Wade pulled one back before adding another to his tally with steady darts, calling in 96 on double 8. Wade struggled with some calculating issues during the fifth leg as Wilson polished off double 18 to regain the lead on his throw. Wade raced clear to level at three all, taking out 65 on tops however he couldn’t capitalise on Wilson’s poor start but still managed to win the leg when an unfortunate bounce out and missed double put Wade in control, needing one more leg for the contest. And so it was to be, Wade producing a fantastic 157 on tops to win with a visit that was slightly out of place in what was a scrappy match, 5-3.
Two Dutchmen and yesterdays winners, Danny Noppert and Raymond van Barneveld were next to battle it out as the noise of the crowd increased. Van Barneveld opened the scoring to go one up against his compatriot. The first 180 from Noppert was quickly followed by his first leg to make it 1-1. Van Barneveld responded with a maximum himself before securing 81 to nose in front again, 2-1. A missed tops from Noppert to level proved to be disastrous as van Barneveld broke his throw on double 18 to put clear daylight between them. Another maximum from van Barneveld kicked the crowd off again with a cacophonous chorus of support ringing out for the PDC man but it was not enough to spur him on as Noppert produced a superb double 12 to break back, 3-2. A maximum from van Barneveld, followed by a 140 set up an easy double 8 finish, letting him break back immediately. A missed 121 on the bull from Noppert had van Barneveld sensing victory and indeed that was that, finishing off 96 on double 18 with a dart in hand to go clear in the group and certainly put him into the last 16.
The final game of the afternoon was the returning to form Simon Whitlock versus often the nearly man, Peter Wright. Wright was soon into his stride with a 180 on the way to a 12 dart leg in the opener. Whitlock was quick to a double in the second leg, leaving a 170 chance with the knowledge that he’d have six darts at it. A poor throw left him still on 144, causing him to stare at the board quizzically throwing his arms into the air. Wright was right back in and split the red on tops to go two up with Whitlock still fuming, shaking his head and looking totally bemused. Wright took the third as Whitlock’s averages slipped into the 80’s, adding a fourth leg with Whitlock still reeling. Whitlock was all over the place, concentration obviously broken as Wright moved to onto 38, missed but returned to 19 that he took out to whitewash the Australian five legs to nil.
Day Two Results:
Ted Evetts 4-5 Jeff Smith (C)
Mensur Suljovic 5-3 Nathan Aspinall (F)
Gerwyn Price v Scott Waites (B)
Dave Chisnall 1-5 Jamie Hughes (G)
Robert Thornton 5-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh (B)
James Wade 5-3 James Wilson (G)
Raymond van Barneveld 5-2 Danny Noppert (F)
Peter Wright 5-0 Simon Whitlock (C