Mark Webster booked his place in the second round following a straightforward victory of Irish qualifier Mick McGowan. Quang Sun had earlier fallen short to the Irish Matchplay Champion in a match that presented little quality. The final match of the session was much less dramatic, ‘Webby’ gliding to a 3-0 win. A sensational 126 check-out wrapped up the opening set, quickly followed by a 3-2 win in the second set to double his advantage. McGowan took the Welshman to a final leg once again in the final set, but his experience shone through as he secured that 3-0 victory.
The Welshman’s name sake Darren Webster also secured a post Christmas meeting with MVG or the winner on tonight’s preliminary round. You never know crazier things have happened. In his post match interview Webster said he “could play ten times better”, he may have to if the world number is to taste an early exit. It was not all plain sailing for the ‘Demolition man’ as John Henderson took the opening set in a nerve ridden start to the match. If anything, becoming the overriding underdog spurred Webster on, not allowing a lacklustre ‘Hendo’ a sniff in what was an excellent three sets of darts.
The seeds continued to tumble, Justin Pipe the next to fall at the hands of Christian Kist. The once formidable Dutchman has failed to find his feet since that inaugural Lakeside World Championship win in 2012. Kist found his rhythm quickly consistently hitting tons and not messing about on the doubles either. As for Pipe, he struggled to find his once methodical tempo, much like in lasts years opening round match with Loz Ryder, this time even worse. ‘The Force’ averaged just 76 over the three sets, making it plain sailing for the rejuvenated Kist.