In a session that was filled with youth, it was the 51 year old Steve Beaton that kicked of the afternoon session; he played the world number 8 and fellow Englishman Michael Smith. It was Smith that quickly found his feet and broke the Beaton throw in the very first leg. The pair then traded holds in throw, which then gave Bullyboy the chance to throw for the set, however a 180 from Steve kept the pressure on and eventually Smith buckled, missing one dart at tops for the set, allowing Beaton to break the throw. That one missed dart proved costly for smith as Beaton held his throw, to make it 3 straight legs to steal the opening set.
After the break, Beaton continued where he left off and had two darts to break the smith throw, however he missed them both and Smith punished him to hold his throw and stop the rot. Those two missed darts could be a big turning point, as Smith checked out with a brilliant 140 finish to break the throw and out daylight between the pair in the second set. The quick fire pace of the game continued as Smith held his throw to win the set 3-0 in just 4 minutes.
The silky smooth throw of Beaton came under pressure immediately in the 3rd set, and the pressure told as Smith checked out 106 to break the throw again. In the 2nd leg smith was never under pressure after starting with a 180, and took his 5th leg in a row. In the 3rd leg, it was smith once again that was putting in the heavy scores and is now averaging 101 as he breaks the throw once again to now take a 2 set to 1 lead and win his 6th leg in a row.
Beaton now needed to win all 3 possible remaining sets, and after both players missed a string of doubles, Beaton finally holds his throw to take the opening leg. The bronzed Adonis then hit the 250th 180 of this years tournament to help him break the throw and now lead 2-0 in this set. And there was no problem in the 3rd leg, and Beaton finally takes his 2nd set of his match to reduce the deficit to 3-2 in sets.
Despite the pressure smith was under, his darts are not showing it, after holding his throw to take the opening leg, Beatons scoring completely disappears from him and it allows Smith to break his throw and now move one leg away from the match. In the leg that Smith needed to win the match, he kicks off with a 98 and a 140 to leave Beaton without much hope, and he takes out tops for a 13 darter to take the 6th set and the match.
Who Michael Smith will play in the last 16 will be decided in this next game, that features two of the best young guns from Europe. Dancing Dimitri van den bergh takes on Big Benito van de Pas, in what could be a big game in both players careers. There were no early nerves from Dimitri as he misses 170 on the bull and comes back to hit double 8 to break the throw in the opening leg, and then in the 2nd leg some more solid scoring allows him to hold his throw. After a few inconsistent scores, the door is open for Benito to take his first leg and it does. In the 4th leg, the leg Dimitri needed to hold to win the set, he misses one dart at double 16 to take the set and Benito breaks the throw to now throw for the set. And after more sloppy scoring eventually van den Bergh breaks the throw once more to take the opening set.
There was no sign of the sloppy scoring from Benito that cursed him in the opening set, although there was plenty of sloppy finishing! He missed 5 darts to break the throw and Dimitri walks through the open door to hold his throw. However Big Ben doesn’t let it affect him as he takes back to back legs to break the throw and now throw for the set. A 180 from van den Bergh puts the pressure on, but Benito hits double 8 to take his first take and level the match at 1-1
Benito is now looking like the better player as he takes the first leg to lead for the first time in this match. However the lead doesn’t last long as Dimitri hits a 180 to leave 38, which he hits to level the set up again. With help of a 85 checkout on the bull, Benito moves one leg away from the set, and after loads of drama, in which both players miss a handful of darts to take the leg Benito finally takes the leg to break the throw and win the set to lead 2-1
Both players hold their throw at the start of the 4th set, and after plenty of treble 19s between the pair of them we go into a deciding leg in the 4th set. Being the most important leg of the match, it was important to get off to a good start, and with scores of 140 and 171 Dimitri is first to a double, and he hits double 8 with his first dart to level the match at 2-2.
More brilliant treble 19 hitting at the start of the 5th set allows Dimitri to break the throw. Although a break isn’t a break unless you hold, and he fails to do that, and let’s Benito straight back in to level the set at 1-1. Big Ben then hits a 16 darter to hold his throw, and after 7 missed darts he finally takes the set to lead 3-2, and now only need one more set to win the match.
More missed darts from Benito means he misses the chance to break the throw in the opening leg of the 6th set, but he makes up for it by hitting tops with his first dart to hold his throw in the next leg. van den Bergh is under huge pressure now to hold his throw, knowing that one mistake could be his last, and after missing 2 darts to hold his throw, Benito truly punishes him to break the throw and now throw for the match. And in the 4th leg Big Ben shows his class to hold his throw and win the match by 4 sets to 2.
In the final game of the session we where promised loads of 180s as two of the biggest treble 20 hitters in the game clash. Australia’s Kyle Anderson takes on the Dutch destroyer Vincent van der Voort. Vincent misses double 16 to win the first leg and Kyle hits the bull to win it, although Vincent doesn’t let it affect it as he takes back to back legs to lead 2-1 and throw for the opening set, and he should of made it 3 legs in a row, but he misses 5 darts for the set, and Kyle punishes him to not only break the throw but also take the opening set.
More missed darts at double by both players at the start of the second set, but eventually Vincent holds his throw, and after 5 perfect darts at the start of the second leg, he breaks the throw to lead 2-0 in the second set. Kyle keeps the set alive, by breaking the van der Voort throw, and holds his throw to take it to a deciding leg. Vincent missed 5 darts to win the opening set, and has now missed one more to win the second set. Finds himself 2-0 down.
Vincent again breaks the throw of Kyle Anderson, hitting double 10 for the first time in this game. Kyle really should of broken back straight away. But after missing 2 darts to break the throw, Vincent checks out 88 on the bull to take a 2-0 lead. After Kyle holds his throw, Vincent finally hits a set darts to reduce the deficit to 2-1 in sets
At the start of the 4th set the 180s keep coming, and after missing double 5 to break the throw Kyle is punished as Vincent holds his throw. After 6 perfect darts from Vincent he slides into the single 1, and ends up losing the leg as Kyle hits double 5. Kyle misses more darts at double, and Vincent again steps in to take back to back legs, and also back to back sets, and the game is now level at 2-2
At the start of the very important 5th set Vincent misses one dart at tops to break the throw, but in the very next leg hits a 180 to help him hold his throw and level the set at 1-1. The pair continue to trade holds, and now Kyle is throwing for the set at 2-2 in the biggest leg of this match so far. Kyles scoring deserts him at the start of the leg and it gives Vincent the advantage, and with his last dart in hand he hits tops to now lead 3-2 after winning 3 straight sets.
A 13 darter at the start of the 6th set allows Vincent to hold his throw, and Anderson looks like those missed set darts are affecting him as Vicent takes control of the match by breaking the throw and is now throwing for the match. And Vincent doesn’t waste any match darts, and completes the comeback by winning 4 straight sets to win 4-2
By Alex Powell – @powellinho97