William Hill World Darts Championship – Day Ten Round-Up

William Hill World Darts Championship - Day Ten Round-Up
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Phil Taylor continued his pursuit of a 17th William Hill World Darts Championship title with a commanding 4-0 victory over Justin Pipe, as Rob Cross won a thriller against Michael Smith on the final night of action before Christmas.

Taylor, 57, is playing in his 29th and final World Championship as he bids to end his career in style, and he certainly made no mistake against Pipe by winning 11 legs on the bounce to go through after seeing the Taunton man crucially miss two darts to win the opening set.

Taylor averaged 99, hit two 180s, took out 54 percent of his doubles and hit a ten-darter as he overcame a testing atmosphere inside Alexandra Palace to set up a last 16 meeting with Keegan Brown.

“I’ve had 30 years of experience and I’ve never played in a game like that in my career, it was very, very strange,” said Taylor, referring to the reception Pipe received from the crowd following an incident in his first round win over Bernie Smith which has been referred to the Darts Regulation Authority.

“It was very difficult to concentrate, it was really hard, I just wanted to pinch that first set as I knew it’d be hard to concentrate for him with the crowd.”

Taylor still insists he is happy to be walking away from darts after this tournament, but his competitive instincts mean he is desperate to go out on a high – and he’ll spend one last Christmas preparing for a big push towards the title.

“Even though I’m really looking forward to finishing after this I still want to win it, but I’m not playing well enough to win it,” Taylor added.

“I need to go home and get some rest in, it’s all about rest for me now, getting my energy levels up to compete against these young lads like Michael and Gary. This is definitely the last time for me.”

Former World Youth Champion Brown will get his dream tie against Taylor in the last 16 after he won a tough battle with Austrian Zoran Lerchbacher 4-2.

“I went a set up and thought about playing the winner of Phil Taylor or Justin Pipe, and I thought about that for the next four sets!” admitted the Isle of Wight thrower. “That’s my fault and it wasn’t my best performance.

“I’m very happy to get into the last 16 and words can’t describe what it will be like to play Phil.

“I’ve read his autobiography about 20 million times over. As a kid all you saw was Phil Taylor, playing and winning.”

Taylor’s old sparring partner Raymond van Barneveld continued his fine form as he averaged 102.78 during his 4-1 win over Australia’s Kyle Anderson to set up an all-Dutch showdown with Vincent van der Voort.

“The first two sets I was calm and I felt so comfortable up there,” said Van Barneveld. “I’m really pleased, I’m really happy with my game.”

William Hill World Darts Championship – Day Ten Round-Up
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Rising star Rob Cross proved he can handle the pressure of being amongst the tournament favourites in his debut this year as he won arguably the match of the tournament 4-3 against Michael Smith.

Smith averaged 103, hit 13 180s and won three more legs than Cross, who had 16 maximums and showcased the grit and determination he needed to go along with his obvious talent to show he is a real contender for the title.

“It was a good win for me but I will need to shape up because in certain sets there I wasn’t brilliant throughout,” said the Hastings ace.

“Going forward I need to be playing a more all-round game, and in every set I need to push. If I can do that then I’ve got every chance.

“Michael played fantastic darts and had two match darts, and I’m grateful that he missed. In the last set I gave it my all, and it was my day today.”

Cross now faces John Henderson in the last 16, after the Scot took out well-fancied fourth seed and World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney with an impressive 4-2 victory.

“It was very nerve-wracking at the end I must admit,” said Henderson. “I thought I let a lot of doubles slip early doors to take advantage but Daryl fought back.

“I’m so relieved to get the win as I was shaking! I was feeling the heat up there tonight so to get through that means everything to me.”

Steve West is enjoying his best run in the tournament as he beat Jermaine Wattimena 4-1 to claim a huge last 16 tie against two-time winner Gary Anderson.

“I’m over the moon,” said West. “It took me seven attempts to get through the first round and now I’m into the last 16.”

The tournament now enjoys a three-day break for the Christmas period before resuming on Wednesday December 27.

The remaining second round ties see Simon Whitlock play Darren Webster, Alan Norris up against James Richardson, Kevin Munch playing Toni Alcinas and Peter Wright taking on Jamie Lewis.

The third round also begins on Wednesday, when reigning champion Michael van Gerwen plays Gerwyn Price and 2007 winner Van Barneveld meets Van der Voort.

William Hill World Darts Championship
Saturday December 23
Afternoon Session
Keegan Brown 4-2 Zoran Lerchbacher
Michael Smith 3-4 Rob Cross
Steve West 4-1 Jermaine Wattimena

Evening Session
Daryl Gurney 2-4 John Henderson
Phil Taylor 4-0 Justin Pipe
Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 Kyle Anderson

Wednesday December 27
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)
Second Round
Simon Whitlock v Darren Webster
Alan Norris v James Richardson
Kevin Munch v Toni Alcinas

Evening Session (7pm)
Peter Wright v Jamie Lewis
Third Round
Vincent van der Voort v Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price

Thursday December 28
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)
Kevin Munch/Toni Alcinas v Simon Whitlock/Darren Webster
Mensur Suljovic v Dimitri Van den Bergh
John Henderson v Rob Cross

Evening Session (7pm)
Peter Wright/Jamie Lewis v Alan Norris/James Richardson
Phil Taylor v Keegan Brown
Gary Anderson v Steve West

Friday December 29
Quarter-Finals
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)
2x Games

Evening Session (7pm)
2x Games

Saturday December 30 (7.30pm)
Semi-Finals

Monday January 1 (8pm)
Final

Keegan Brown 4-2 Zoran Lerchbacher
(3-1, 2-3, 3-2, 0-3, 3-2, 3-2)
KEEGAN BROWN booked his place in the last 16 of the William Hill World Darts Championship for the first time as he battled his way to a 4-2 win over Zoran Lerchbacher.

Brown put out James Wade in the first round, and although this display was not as spectacular as Sunday’s triumph, the win over the Austrian was even more important.

A ding-dong battle saw neither man able to impose himself until the former World Youth Champion took two successive sets to break the deadlock and close out the win.

Brown took an edgy first set 3-1 before a run of 11 straight legs won on throw saw the pair exchange sets with a sprinkling of quality thrown in.

Lerchbacher hit a 180 then took out 80 to claim the second set in a decider, and the third was a carbon copy in Brown’s favour as he hit a 180 and took out 82 in leg five.

Lerchbacher grabbed a break of throw on the way to a clean sweep in the fourth set to level the match up at 2-2.

Brown survived a couple of near misses from Lerchbacher to hold his throw in the fifth set, but he certainly won it in style, with a 13-darter putting him 3-2 up in the match.

Boosted by that finish, Brown stormed 2-0 up in the sixth only to seemingly stumble at the winning line as Lerchbacher levelled the set, before the Isle of Wight ace recovered to take out an excellent 108 for the match.

“I’m delighted,” said Brown. “It was a battle and a half, but I went ahead and then started thinking about the prospect of playing Phil Taylor or Justin Pipe and then I found myself a two-two.

“I didn’t want it to go to the last set, and the 108 was as sweet as a nut.”

On the prospect of potentially playing 16-time World Champion Taylor in round two, Brown added: “Words can’t describe it.

“I’ve read Phil’s autobiography about 20 million times over as a kid all you saw was Phil Taylor, playing and winning. If Phil wins then he wins and I’ve got him, if not then I’ve got Justin Pipe – that’s it.”

Michael Smith 3-4 Rob Cross
(3-0, 2-3, 2-3, 3-0, 3-0, 2-3, 1-3)
ROB CROSS proved his William Hill World Darts Championship credentials in some style as he emerged with a thrilling 4-3 victory from an instant classic against Michael Smith.

Smith can count himself unlucky to be heading out of the tournament after averaging 103, hitting 13 maximums and winning 16 legs in a performance that would have won many a second rounder.

Cross actually won three fewer legs than Smith, taking the bare minimum of 12 needed for victory as he couldn’t match Smith’s hot streaks as he lost three sets 3-0.

However, Cross showed that he has the determination to match his obvious ability as he dug deep and hit the bulk of his 16 180s in the crucial closing stages to punish two missed match darts from the St Helens man.

Cross was the favourite for the match after winning four events on a sparkling year on the circuit, but if there were any doubts about him being able to go all the way on his World Championship debut they will have been silenced after such a performance.

Smith rattled off the opening set 3-0 in the blink of an eye and it took Cross five legs to get his name on the board – but he did it in style with a 164 helping power him to the set.

Smith was banging in the 180s as he went 2-0 up in the third set, but Cross dug in wonderfully and reeled off three on the spin in 13, 14 and 13 darts to move ahead.

The response from Smith was magical with six straight legs then putting him back in front – with the fifth set particularly impressive as Smith won it in just 36 total darts for a 125 set average.

Nobody would have blamed Cross for buckling under such a barrage of big scoring, but he came again to win a nervy sixth set in five legs after Smith had missed two darts for the match.

Any doubts about Cross’ credentials were silenced in a spellbinding final set as he produced some scintillating darts, landing six 180s which included four in the last two legs as he powered to the winning line.

“It was weird, from my own performance I felt a bit up then a bit down,” said Cross. “I didn’t settle as well as I wanted to, but at the same time I went into that seventh set feeling good.

“A week ago I was having this conversation and saying every time anyone has match darts against me they go in, but this time it fell my way. I believe everybody needs a bit of luck here and there.”

Cross says he was not entirely happy with his overall game and knows he’ll need to improve to push the likes of Michael van Gerwen, but is not shying away from the fact that he can be a title contender if he can be more consistent.

“You just get to a standard now and you just keep playing like that,” added the Hastings ace. “I will need to shape up because in certain sets there I wasn’t brilliant throughout.

“Going forward I need to be playing a more all-round game, and in every set I need to push and if I can do that then I’ve got every chance.”

Steve West 4-1 Jermaine Wattimena
(3-3, 3-1, 3-0, 0-3, 3-0)
STEVE WEST had not won a World Championship match of any description before this tournament, but has now bagged two victories after defeating Jermaine Wattimena 4-1 to move into the last 16 at Alexandra Palace.

Wattimena started off brightly and was in total command of the first set before missing six darts to claim the lead, and the Dutchman never fully recovered from that.

West needed just an 87.92 average and four 180s to see off his opponent, but now faces a hugely tougher task as he booked a third round tie with Gary Anderson after the Christmas break.

A strange opening set saw Wattimena coast into a 2-0 lead but then miss six darts to claim the set as West took three legs on the spin to move in front.

Wattimena looked to have instantly recovered as he took out 106 at the start of the second set, but West responded immediately with a 180 and a brilliant 160 checkout.

That gave the Essex man a huge boost and he ran away with the next six legs, with a 134 outshot the highlight, to take command at 3-0 up having won nine of the last ten legs.

Wattimena pulled a set back by taking the fourth without reply, but it was just a temporary reprieve as West won the last set with ease to set up his date with Anderson in the last 16.

“I’m over the moon,” said West. “It took me seven attempts to get through the first round and now I’m into the last 16.

“Jermaine scored well but he didn’t really take his chances, and I punished that. I wasn’t great and I wasn’t comfortable up there, but I’ll take that.

“My first dart wasn’t going in as I wanted and I don’t know why, but I’ll make sure it’s better next time.”

Daryl Gurney 2-4 John Henderson
(2-3, 2-3, 3-1, 3-1, 1-3, 1-3)
JOHN HENDERSON enjoyed arguably the biggest win of his career as he knocked fourth seed Daryl Gurney out of the William Hill World Darts Championship with a 4-2 second round success.

Henderson is the last man to beat Michael van Gerwen after downing the defending World Champion in the World Grand Prix in October – an event Gurney went on to win after putting out the Scot.

Henderson gained revenge for that loss in Dublin with an impressive victory in a match he always seemed to have the upper hand in, despite allowing Gurney back in with some wayward doubling.

Gurney had darts to win both the opening two sets but Henderson was scoring and finishing well and took the deciding leg in both for a 2-0 lead.

Missed doubles started to creep into Henderson’s game as he wasted five in one leg to hand Gurney the third before the Northern Irish ace produced his best darts with an 11-darter on his way to set four.

Back at two-all, the Scot recovered and pressed ahead in the fifth set as Gurney suffered a bounce out on double 16, and from there it was all Henderson as he booked his place in the last 16.

“It was very nerve-wracking at the end I must admit,” said Henderson, who faces in-form Rob Cross next. “I thought I let a lot of doubles slip early doors to take advantage but Daryl fought back.

“I’m so relieved to get the win as I was shaking! I was feeling the heat up there tonight so to get through that means everything to me.

“I thought I upped my game in the scoring sense but my finishing was dreadful tonight. Daryl must be distraught as I know he can play a hell of a lot better the way he’s been playing lately.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever made it after Christmas as well so I can go home and enjoy Christmas. I’m over the moon.”

Phil Taylor 4-0 Justin Pipe
(3-2, 3-0, 3-0, 3-0)
PHIL TAYLOR continued his pursuit of a dream ending to his incredible career with a commanding 4-0 victory over Justin Pipe in their William Hill World Darts Championship second round tie.

The 16-time World Champion, who will retire following the tournament, came through a nervy first set to pull clear for the win.

Pipe defied the reception which he received from the crowd – following an incident in his first round win over Bernie Smith which has been referred to the Darts Regulation Authority – to lead in the first set, but crucially missed two darts to claim the opener.

Taylor stepped in and never looked back, winning the next 11 legs on the spin to stride away to victory, averaging 99 and hitting two 180s.

The 57-year-old also took out 54 percent of his doubles with checkouts of 68, 71, 96 and 119 seeing him pull well clear of Pipe, who landed just two of 16 attempts at a double.

Taylor also hit a ten-darter during a second set in which he averaged 115, and now goes on to meet Keegan Brown in the last 16 after the Christmas break.

“I’ve had 30 years of experience and I’ve never played in a game like that in my career, it was very, very strange,” said Taylor.

“It was very difficult to concentrate, it was really hard. I just wanted to pinch that first set as I knew it’d be hard to concentrate for him with the crowd.”

Taylor still insists he is happy to be walking away from darts after this tournament, but his competitive instincts mean he is desperate to go out on a high – and he’ll spend one last Christmas preparing for a big push towards the title.

“Even though I’m really looking forward to finishing after this I still want to win it, but I’m not playing well enough to win it,” Taylor added.

“I need to go home and get some rest in, it’s all about rest for me now, getting my energy levels up to compete against these young lads like Michael and Gary. This is definitely the last time for me.”

Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 Kyle Anderson
(3-0, 3-2, 0-3, 3-1, 3-0)
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD’S impressive start to the William Hill World Darts Championship continued as he defeated Kyle Anderson 4-1 to set up a last 16 showdown with fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort at Alexandra Palace.

The five-time World Champion averaged 102.78 and hit seven 180s to follow up his first round defeat of Richard North with another strong performance.

Anderson showed flashes of his top form but it was only enough to get him a set on the board as Van Barneveld pulled clear in the later stages.

Van Barneveld started superbly with a sublime first set which contained just 37 darts in total as he hit four 180s and an 11-darter for a 121 set average.

Anderson hit back strongly in the second was denied by a 3-2 scoreline as the five-time World Champion doubled his lead, but there was no stopping the Australian in the next as he hit a 13-darter and took out a 114 outshot to claim hit back 3-0.

A fourth leg in a row for Anderson threatened a big comeback, but Van Barneveld found top gear again and quickly rattled off six legs on the spin to not only take the fourth set but walk the fifth to progress.

“In the first two sets I was calm and I felt so comfortable up there,” said Van Barneveld. “I lost focus a bit, and Kyle was hitting 180s in the second set.

“I’m really pleased, I’m really happy with my game.”

Van Barneveld is now looking forward to facing compatriot and good friend Van der Voort, who has not dropped a set yet in this year’s event.

“Me and Vincent go back for many, many years we’ve teamed up for the national team – he’s a very good friend,” he added.

“But to be fair only one can go through, friends or no friends in the end we’ll decide on the 27th who’s the best on the day.”

Written by Paul Higham for the PDC