The European Championship kicked off in spectacular fashion yesterday in Hassalt. Chris Kist was millimetres away from a nine darter, Dave Chisnall and James Wade edged past tricky opposition in the evening session. While home favourite Kim Huybrechts progressed with a morale boosting victory over Mervyn King.
The afternoon’s action followed the script as favourites Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis, and Dave Chisnall made it to the final 8 in Belgium. John Henderson completed the line-up following his 10-2 drubbing of a lacklustre Rowby-John Rodriguez.
As many predicted the clash between St Hellen’s big hitters Stephen Bunting and Dave Chisnall would produce the most exhilarating darts of the session. Chizzy would hit 10 maximums in a game that saw Bunting contribute 7 180’s to a high scoring master class. Both players were quick out of the blocks and we had to wait until the 14th leg until Chizzy opened up the telling advantage. It was breaks of throw galore, with each playing snapping back, determined not to let eachother get away. As with many tournaments it was ‘the Bullet’s’ finishing that let him down, dipping in the final stages.
Back to back World Champion Adrian Lewis mirrors Chisnall’s performances waiting until Justin Pipe had run out of steam, and pouncing on world number 19’s mistakes. Pipe’s methodical and almost tortoise like throw meant he taunted in the opening exchanges. The jeers soon turned to cheers as the Pipe embraced the rowdy crowd. The pair matched eachother step by step, taking it to 5-5 and the second interval. Pipe would’ve felt the game was their for the taking was Lewis failing to find his feet and hit a maximum until the 10th leg. Lewis showed his class in the later stages hitting a further two 180’s and closing out the match 10-7.
Gary Anderson took the scenic route to the quarter finals, eventually running out 10-8 winner over a reinvigorated Simon Whitlock. The Wizard took the first two legs, immediately piling the pressure on the Scotsman. But to the surprise of virtually everyone, he would redeem himself to go into the break leading the match. The Flying Scotsman was halted following the interval. Whitlock hit three legs on the spin as Anderson’s scoring deserted him. With his tournament in the balance Anderson picked up his scoring, levelling matters and then stretching out a two leg lead. Something even ‘The Wizard couldn’t overcome as Anderson wrapped up the triumph with a 136 checkout.
John Henderson will play his inaugural semi final match up on Sunday after demolishing Rowby-John Rodriguez. ‘Hendo’ could’ve led 5-0 at the break but for the young Austrian hitting a double at the first attempt. With RJR struggling to get a foothold in proceedings Big John would continue to dominate. Consistent scoring and ruthless finishing the order of the hour as the Scot took the next four legs. It could’ve perhaps should’ve been five and he missed a jaw dropping 4 shots at his favoured double top to hand Rodriguez a second leg on a plate, delaying the inevitable loss. The onslaught was eventually ceased when Henderson hit the winning double to seal his place in tomorrow’s quarter finals.
John Henderson 10-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Dave Chisnall 10-6 Stephen Bunting
Adrian Lewis 10-7 Justin Pipe
Simon Whitlock 8-10 Gary Anderson