After a brilliant Thursday night, the aim for tonight’s players was to replicate some of the sensational darts we saw yesterday. The one complaint we can have from last night is the one-sidedness of some games, hopefully tonight will produce some tighter affairs. All matches were played on the best of 9 legs.
New Zealand kicked off proceedings by being the first team to knock out a seeded nation. ‘The Kiwis’ took the first leg after a combined 15 missed darts at double. Canada fought back straight away with Ken MacNeil hitting double top at the first time of asking. The game continued to go with the throw as New Zealand took the third leg. MacNeil took the fourth and fifth legs with some exhilarating darts, taking out shanghai 20’s for a crucial break of throw. MacNeil was at 6’s and 7’s for the following leg as New Zealand immediately struck back after his mistake. The unseeded team had the advantage and team Canada new they needed to break gain if they were to have any chance of going through, but they couldn’t and New Zealand progressed for the first time running away 5-4 winners.
Hungary were the second nation to knock out a seeded duo with Nandor Bezzeg and Gabor Takacs recording 5-2 victory over Sweden. They took the opening leg as Sweden’s Magnus Carus had a nightmare throughout. Daniel Larsson carried his experienced partner through the second leg as they stole it from the fingertips of Bezzeg. Larsson was not messing around, and he took advantage of some poor finishing to give Sweden the lead. From then on it would be all Hungary. Takacs scored big with 174 and Bezzeg applied the finishing touches to an impressive performance from the first timers.
Hong Kong were the third unseeded side to progress with an exceptional display against Wales. The Welsh talisman Mark Webster opened confidently with a 180 and a 72. ‘The Spider’ fell apart in the second leg as Hong Kong levelled. Scott MacKenzie and Royden Lam would go on to take a 4-2, in the process hitting a 12 dart leg and Lam checking out 131. Wales took the seventh leg to turn up the heat, but Lam stayed cool under pressure to send a deafening roar around the Eissporthalle.
Republic of Ireland breezed past a poor Poland duo that never really got out of second gear with their scoring. Connie Finnan provided the ruthless finishing that Sweden and Wales had lacked earlier on in the night. Finnan finished the first four legs before O’Connor closed out the 5-0 whitewash with his third dart at double one. Both of the Irish pair had been in fantastic form heading into the tournament with both breaking into the top 64.
Next to play was the 5th seeds Northern Ireland and Thailand, who had no previous experience of the World Cup of Darts. The opening couple of legs went with the throw as Thanawat Gaweenuntawong took every chance he was handed. The team of World number 10 Brendan Dolan and the experienced Mickey Mansell were not able to break the throw of the resilient Thai’s until the fifth leg when Dolan took out double 18. Brendan Dolan created a two leg cushion after taking advantage of Thailand’s 9 missed darts at a double. He made sure it was over and done despite the early scare with a routine dart at double 16 securing a 5-2 victory
Scotland booked a spot a spot in the second round with a convincing win over Singapore. In Gary Anderson and Peter Wright they have two of sports most in-form players amongst their ranks and therefore are therefore amid the favourites for the tournament. As always ‘Snakebite’ Peter Wright had a bit of fun with his darts and relaxing only helped his performance as he took out the doubles that handed Scotland the opening three legs. Paul Lim is still dangerous at the age of 61 but became overpowered by the superior Scots the longer the game continued. He rescued some pride in the fifth leg by hitting double top to peg a leg back, but his efforts came to n avail as Wright hit a 12 dart leg.
Pre-tournament favourites the Netherlands took on the USA, who were made up of Darin Young and 1994 World Matchplay champion Lee Butler. Dutch maestro Van Gerwen took out 150 (T19, &19, D18) for an early lead, and doubled it not long later. The Americans would capture the fourth leg which would prove to be a consolation as the world number one hit tops to extend the lead. Lee Butler reduced the arrears to 4-2 before Raymond Van Barneveld secured the path to the round of sixteen with a simple shot at double 12.
The final match of the day saw South Africa’s Graham Filby and the ‘dancing’ Devon Peterson with the seeds making hard work of what could have been a simple victory. There was a much more subdued atmosphere for the later games after the earlier antics of Hong Kong and New Zealand. The Finish pair looked focused on the task at hand whereas Peterson looked more concerned with his opponents rather than concentrating on his own game. South Africa clawed the game back to 2-2 before wasting the chance to take the lead. Graham Filby kept his nerve to level it at 3-3 with a dart at double 12 and hit a 180 in the following leg to help ease them ahead. Marko Kantele took it to a deciding leg, but the seeds had the darts, Peterson wrapped up the match and the brilliant night of darts with a double 10, tomorrow we will see singles matches come into the brand new format and hopefully some more sensational darts.