The second day of the last 16 got under way in Dublin, with Alan Norris and Simon Whitlock, straight from his pro tour victory arriving on stage to thunderous applause.Whitlock took first blood with a 65 finish to go 1-0 up. The Australian was straight off in the next and soon added a maximum 180 and a 177 to superbly set up 12. Nailed, first dart, he was one away from the opening set. Norris pulled his darts all over the place when throwing to save the set but knocked in his first maximum to put the pressure on Whitlock’s 150. Unbelievably Whitlock fired in the 150 checkout to whitewash Norris 3-0.
Norris struggled to get off in the opener of the second set whilst Whitlock coasted along to leave 130. Unfortunately Norris left 171 unable to add any real pressure. Whitlock fired in 65 to claim his fourth leg on the bounce. This time Norris got away and soon rattled in a 140 setting up a 60 finish that he took out with consummate ease, showing little sign of nerves. The third leg of the set was a scrappy affair as Norris missed three arrows at tops but Whitlock couldn’t see out 51. Sadly for Norris he missed all three again but there was no let off this time at Whitlock doubled four to snatch the leg and go 2-1 up. Norris was the more likely in the next leaving himself a handy 54 with Whitlock way back. Again he couldn’t close out missing 5 darts at the double. Whitlock from a considerable distance in scores away went 2 sets up with a simple tops finish.
Norris looked more fired up at the start of the third set, shouting “Come on” between his darts to remind himself what he is capable of. It worked as he took out a magnificent 106 with Whitlock lurking on a two darter. Whitlock responded with the next, calmly responding with a neat 52 finish. A 180 from Norris in the next put him well clear and he smartly buried a 104 combination leaving him with a chance of getting a set on the board. And this he did, claiming the next to prolong his stay here in Dublin.
Whitlock took the opener on his throw and watched as Norris missed all three darts in the next to get away. He couldn’t punish Norris as he missed with his three opening darts. Norris got away but poor scoring handed over the initiative to Whitlock who left himself 102. He couldn’t manage it and Norris after an awful attempt at tops finished on double 10 to level it up. Norris still had to break if we were going to go to a deciding set, he planted a 180 to race ahead before adding tops for the third leg. Now with the throw, Norris had his chance. A 140 left 140 of which he took down to leave tops. Whitlock couldn’t finish and from two sets down Norris squared it off and inexplicably was now favourite for the match.
Despite the tension of a deciding set, the crowd fell a bit flat as poor darts and little in the way of scoring saw Whitlock bumble his way to open the set and transfer all the pressure onto Norris as he now needed to break back. And that’s exactly what he had planned. A 180 and a sloppy 45 left 86 for the Scotsman which he nailed in two darts. Norris flew out the traps in the next, with a 120 and a 100 but Whitlock replied with a maximum. Norris now had six darts to put himself ahead for the first time and need only one leg, he picked it off easily to go within one of the match.
Disaster struck for Whitlock when his dart got tangled in the other two throwing for the double start; almost condemning him to defeat. Norris banged in a perfect 180, Whitlock replied in the same manner and then amazingly woke the crowd up with a 150 three dart combination to claw himself back from a certain defeat. Whitlock inspired, chucked another 180 but Norris refused to be shaken off and was still in tow with a 116 left. Whitlock had saved the best until last and couldn’t be stopped as he wrapped up a 10 dart leg under serious pressure to win the match by 3 sets to 2. With the crowd now in full voice, the jewel in the Irish crown Brendan Dolan was up next versus Robbie Green’s conqueror Dave Chisnall.
Chisnall started well, quietening the Dublin crowd, claiming the first two legs under no real pressure from Dolan. A missed 136 chance from the Irishman, saw Chisnall close out the opening set, 3-0 against the darts.
Chisnall got the second set away but Nolan made the first inroads with a 140, 180 and just missing a sensational out shot. Chisnall had his own bad luck, clipping the wire on the bull for a 170 checkout. Dolan broke the throw to go 1-0 up in the set. A special 177 set up Chisnall for 16 and a chance to break back instantly. He missed all three at double 8 but managed to return and sink double 4 wrestling the throw back. Chisnall threw a maximum double start on his way to leaving 24 in the next, taking it out with his last dart, putting him 2-1 to the good.
Dolan’s trebles were few and far between, whilst Chisnall rattled in a 140 and 100. Dolan had a chance with 102 remaining but was just inside the wire to give Chisnall a chance. Amazingly, Chisnall missed the single number then hit treble 1 to completely mess up and let Dolan sneak the leg to make it two apiece.
Both players got away with 120 in the decider and a 131 from Chisnall left him on 52 for a two dart checkout. Chisnall held his nerve despite a section of the crowd booing to close out the set and put him in total command, 2 sets to nil up.
Dolans’ body language suggested that he’d had enough, frustrated with his game and puffing his cheeks after every throw. He settled with a 180 as Chisnall struggled a long way back. Dolan missed 3 darts at the double but was allowed the luxury of returning to see out double 8. Chisnall was away instantly in the next whilst Dolan got nowhere near a double after the bed was blocked by the first dart. Chisnall finished off 16 to make it one all. The home crowd were getting slightly restless and seemed to have given up on Dolan, sadly he was doing little to inspire them. Suddenly from nowhere he nailed a 141 three dart combination and parts of the crowd sprung into life. Chisnall pulled out a fine 12 dart leg to set up a decider, to see if Dolan could force another set. Dolan left 52 and with Chisnall on 84 he stepped up and sank double top to clinch the set.
Dolan, still needing a break to save the match struggled in the opener, Chisnall scored consistently and pulled off a brilliant 122 finish. Dolan should’ve been the first to the out shot in the next despite a maximum 180 from Chisnall but only hitting single scores gave him too much to do. Chisnall looked like winning but some jeering from the crowd may have unnerved him as he missed all three darts at the double, watching on as Dolan made it 1-1.
A 180 was Chisnall’s reply in the next on the way to a 12 dart leg, pushing him within 1 leg of the finishing line. Dolan replied with 5 perfect darts as the crowd held its breath expecting another 9 darter from the Irishman. Sadly, he missed the treble with the 6th dart but saw out the leg easily to send us to a final leg in the set yet again.
Chisnall raced away as Dolan struggled with his trebles early on, Chisnall then added his 6th 180 to leave 60 for the match. Chisnall made no mistake and lashed home tops through the flight of his first dart to book his place in the quarter final, winning 3 sets to 1.
Steve West, fresh from beating Phil Taylor was up against Daryl Gurney. Both players suffering in some way, Gurney hurting his hand in a freak accident and West constantly battling with his leg problems that had reduced him to using crutches a few weeks ago. Either way, someone would be feeling more pain before the night closed.
The first two legs went with throw. West had a chance to break but hit the wrong trebles leaving him unable to finish. Gurney closed the leg out to go 2-1 up. West was in control of the next and doubled 10 to once again level. West in the next had a 167 to break but it was a bridge too far and Gurney saw out 58 and the leg to take the set 3-2.
West came back from the break with a quick fire 180 and a stunning 106 checkout on his way to winning the first leg of the second set. Gurney levelled with a cool 88 out, with West breathing down his neck, making it one all. West fired in a tremendous bull finish to claim the next before Gurney traded a blow back with a 56 finish, despite a 180 from West. Into the decider and both players failed to get away on their first throw. West suffered from a couple of poor throws handing Gurney the initiative. Gurney made no mistake to go two sets to the good.
Gurney with the throw in the third set just needed to hold his throw to make sure he would be returning for another night on the stage. A big 180 mid leg was enough to put him on his way and despite 5 chances for West to get off the mark, Gurney pinged double 16 to go one up. West’s luck seemed to be deserting him as a bounce out ruined a maximum but he dug in to equalise, 1-1. In the next, West failed to get in first time, giving Gurney breathing space and time to mess up throws. Eventually Gurney finished 32 and needed one leg for the match.
Gurney had the first chance but fluffed a 161. West fired in his third ton plus finish claiming a 104 to make sure Gurney had to win the match on his throw. Gurney blasted a 180 and had 6 darts to seal the match. He struggled with his first attempt giving West the chance to take out the highest 170 finish to stay alive in the match. The first 60 hit its target but the second dart fell just short. Gurney stepped up and ended West’s tournament.
Michael van Gerwen took on surprise package James Wilson in the last match of the evening. A truly wonderful 156 checkout in the first leg saw Wilson go one up before a missed bull for 2-0 saw van Gerwen respond with a 96 to tie the match. Gerwen raced through the next two legs and claimed the first set 3-1 leaving Wilson wondering what could’ve been.
Van Gerwen was now cruising, finding his trebles with alarming regularity to swiftly go 2-0 up in the second set. Away again with a 160 start van Gerwen added two more trebles but missed the next, unable to set up the magical 9 darter. Wilson followed suit, matching van Gerwen dart for dart but that extra bit of class on the finishing saw the Dutchman find a 64 finish and push him to a 100 average.
Wilson took the opener in the third set and opened up with a 156 to set him on his way. Miraculously van Gerwen despite not starting beat Wilson to the double and made it 1-1. Again van Gerwen struggled and Wilson strolled to a finish with van Gerwen miles back. Incredible scenes, as van Gerwen started with a maximum off, followed up with another perfect three darts to set up a potential 9 darter. Unfortunately it was not to be as the seventh dart landed in the single 20 to the dismay of the crowd. Three darts later, van Gerwen made it 2-2 to set up a deciding leg. The world number one polished Wilson off in the next to make it 3-0 in both legs and sets and move on to Simon Whitlock in the next round.
Day Four Results:
Simon Whitlock 3-2 Alan Norris
Dave Chisnall 3-1 Brendan Dolan
Daryl Gurney 3-0 Steve West
Michael van Gerwen 3-0 James Wilson