Joe Cullen was the first man to book his place in round four yesterday evening, and the young gun would repeat the fate after an impressive win over Alan Norris. Norris has been an superb form since the turn of the year and the win for Cullen represents his first major fifth round appearance.
The UK Open is notorious for throwing up some unbelievable shocks, Stuart Kellett taking out Premier League participant Michael Smith is a notable scalp for the Mancunian. Barry Lynn and Rob Cross were the two Riley’s qualifiers to steam through to round four, and in an amazing draw they faced the worlds top two players.
The bookies had both matches down as whitewashes although the amateurs would have something to say about that. Betting slips were ripped to shreds as Barry Lynn produced one of darts biggest upsets, a 9-3 over back to back World Champion Gary Anderson
Fellow Riley’s qualifier Rob Cross fate was almost sealed from the draw, an afternoon meeting with Michael van Gerwen. The reigning champion hit two 170 finishes in his third round match against Ryan Harrington, he would double this Tally against Cross. The Hastings based electrician can walk away from Minehead with his head held high after Collecting five legs against the darting giant. But it will be van Gerwen who will steal the headlines after hitting a first nine-darter at the UK Open since 2012.
Meanwhile on the main stage Benito van de Pas overcame a spectacled Simon Whitlock. Since the change to glasses, the Aussies form has picked up, but from the beginning of the match it was clear to see the Benito was heading through.
Mark Webster cruised to a comfortable victory over Dirk van Duivenbode, while his namesake Darren also progressed. The ‘Demolition man’ was trailing heavily to Kettering’s Ricky Evans before beginning an extraordinary fightback.The match went to deciding leg, where Webster came into his own, his experience telling as he returned to winning ways at the UK Open.
As nice as it was to see Andy Jenkins return to major action, his tournament was ended in the hands of Vincent van der Voort. Many feel the big Dutchman has unfulfilled potential, and as we have seen over the years the open draw can throw up some surprising fixtures. This could be the year for the 2007 runner-up