Day 1 – Jose de Sousa claimed victory on the first day, with an 8-1 final defeat of Luke Humphries, to include an outstanding average of 114. The Portuguese thrower also enjoyed similar averages earlier of 101 v Mach Kuivenhoven, a 111 against Brendan Dolan and a semi final 104 over Krzysztof Kcluk. ln the final, legs of 10,11,11,14 and 12 were just too much for the former World Youth Champion, Humphries.
Current Premier League star Nathan Aspinall, fired in a 9 darter, but eliminated in the last 16. MvG and Barny crashed out in the fist round.
Day 2 – More fireworks in the 2nd Players Championship, with two 9 darters, the 1st from de Sousa, in his whitewash of Jermaine Wattimena, with a 117 ave. only to lose in the last 8. The 2nd from Stephen Bunting in another Ron Meulenkamp whitewash, in the 2nd round.
World no. 8 Michael Smith, was the eventual winner, 8-5 over Ross Smith, the victor overcoming Dimitri van den Bergh 6-2 in the top 16 and a tasty 114.5 ave thrown in. Barny made the last 8.
Day 3 – A very happy Dutchman Dirk van Duijvenbode, claimed his 1st PDC ranking title, 8-6 over compatriot Martijn Kleermaker, who missed 5 darts in the 14th leg to force a decider. MvG only made it to the last 64 and Barny withdrew from the touney on medical grounds. Rob Cross lost in the quarters to Dolan6-4.
Day 4 – Closing SS3, van Duijvenbode, almost made it 2 on the trot, losing out in the final to Dimitri 8-7 , surprisingly his 1st ProTour victory. His first 4 wins were all achieved with 100+ averages. Duijvenbode had earlier whitewashed Simon Whitlock, in the top 16 with a 100+ ave. the Aussie despatching MvG 6-3 a round previous. Krzysztof Ratajski landed yet another 9 dart leg in his opener to Keanne Barry.
lt’s all to play for at the Marshall Centre, Milton Keynes, as last week’s penultimate session concluded. May 24th – 27th will be the last opportunity for the 8 players to make the K.O. semi final stage on May 28th.
Night 10 Highlights
Jonny Clayton 8 – James Wade 5, Jose de Sousa 8 – Gary Anderson 3, Dimitri van den Bergh 3 – Michael van Gerwen 8, Peter Wright 5 – Nathan Aspinall 8.
Wade took an early 3-1 advantage, to include 86 and 121 checkouts, Clayton missing 4 darts in the 4th after hitting 180 and 171 to leave D8. He made up for it in the 6th , requiring 134, nailed T18 followed by 2xD20 to level. From that point he was never behind, twice hitting 2×180 in a single leg, the 11th leg in just eleven with throw.
lt was to prove pivotal as Wade was finding some form, the 10th scoring a 159 set up leaving D12, closing next throw. Clayton tidied up the last 2 legs cleanly, the 13th on 76 for a nice 105.33 ave. Wade didn’t quite match his previous four 100+ averages, but did achieve a 100% closing stat for his 5 legs.
De Sousa was 5-0 up in a blink, with 93, 99 and 88 outs, including a 12 darter against the throw. Anderson was never going to win this one, he did however win the 6th on D5, but only after 10 attempts. The Portugal man livened up after his shortcomings in the 6th, adding 4×180, 171, and a final 15 dart legfor a 99.28 ave.
Expectations are always high when MvG is on stage and despite recent flops, didn’t disappoint playing Dimitri. lt was an outstanding exhibition match, MvG winning the first 6 legs in 12, 13, 15, 13, 11 and 14 darts, that included 3×180, a 174, plus 126 and 123 outs both on the bull. Dimitri’s response 3×180, 177, but no doubles.
He did however claim the next 3, MvG definitely wobbling in the 7th and 8th legs. Regaining his composure, he used just 11 darts in the 10th, winning the match with a 13. Dimitri 106.78, MvG 109.96. Breathtaking !
The 4th and last match of the evening, featured a troubled Wright , using yet another set of darts and Aspinall who looks totally at home rubbing shoulders with the games ” big guns “. l’ve never seen so many loose darts from Wright and whilst he won 5 legs, with occasional flashes of brilliance, if he’d played either of the 2 previous players, he would come away legless. The Asp returned 5×180, 177 and an outrageous 161 out in the 9th.
Night 11 Highlights
Aspinall 6 – Dimitri 8, Wade 7 – de Sousa 7, Anderson 8 – Wright 3, MvG 8 – Clayton 5.
Dimitri completed a P.L. double over Aspinall to draw level with the Asp at the league summit. The Belgian recorded a 102.89 ave. 4×180, and a 61% success on the outs. Aspinall 103.33 ave.
With both de Sousa and Wade on the periphery of the top 4 and finals night, it wasn’t surprising they ended up sharing the spoils. The Portuguese broke throw in the first on a 65 out and didn’t look back as he opened a 6-2 lead, Wade’s main contribution a 13 darter. De Sousa showed his brilliance , or if you prefer folly, by taking out 72 on two D18’s.
Missed opportunities however, allowed Wade to recover to 6-5, before his opponent nailed D5 for 7-5 and a point. A further 3 missed chances allowed Wade to get to 7-6. De Sousa should have taken the last for victory but missed his 4th match dart, Wade accepting his generosity for a draw. De Sousa 10×180.
Wright’s woes continued in his encounter with former World Champ Anderson, a possible shoulder injury the reason for his lack of form. However, Anderson’s form in this match, may still have been beyond Wright, injury or not. The Scot was close to his best with a 105.24 ave. a 57% double stat and 5×180. There’s no way back for Wright.
Clayton has got the better of MvG of late, but not this time. Both didn’t produce what they are capable of, MvG’s experience just tipping the scales. An early 117 out from the Dutchman pointed to another exhibition display but it wasn’t to be. A 14,13 and the match winning 124 out on the bull, from the Green Machine, the highlights from this dogged encounter.
Night 12 Highlights
Wright 1 – de Sousa 8, MvG 8 – Wade 3, Clayton 8 – Aspinall 6, Dimitri 4 – Anderson 8.
Wright was never in this match, although appearing composed, he’s far from it. Once again changing darts mid game is not recommended. De Sousa was 6-0 up in a flash, reeling off steady legs of, 15, 15, 14, 15, 14, 16 darts, prior to Wright getting his 1st chance of a double in the 7th, which he took on D5. De Sousa completed the rout using a further 28 arrows, despite 2×180 from Wright in the last leg with throw. De Sousa 102.9 ave. Wright 84.3.
MvG versus Wade was one the best matches you are likely to see. Van Gewen’s tally of 5×12 dart legs, absolutely incredible, Wade enjoyed two, but the averages whilst not the best, make interesting reading. MvG ended with 107.44, Wade even better on 110.28. Explanation – the Green Machine’s clinical finishing meant Wade’s average hardly included any wasted double double darts.
A good example was the last leg where MvG won the tie on a 128 in 12. Wade’s 3 scoring shots 100, 140, 140. The Dutchman added a nice bull T15, D20 for 135 in the 6th.
The Asp lost his 2nd consecutive game to Clayton in a tentative contest that included a 24 darter on D1. There were numerous wasted darts, unsurprisingly both players ending with low 90+ averages.
Sticking my neck out l don’t think the Asp will qualify for the K.O. stage, but his time will surely arrive, but not in this tourney. 5×180 from the Asp, but a low 21% double conversion. Clayton a slightly better 27% and an 11 dart leg.
Shame a 2 week break precedes P.L. resumption as Anderson would definitely be a danger. He seems to have found his mojo beating an in form Dimitri in style.
The Belgian opened on a 14, the Scot unfazed replied with an 11, including 2×180. Anderson levelled in the 4th and then won the next 5 with 123, 146 and 84 outs. Dimitri stopped the rot with a 132 on the bull, adding another in the 11th.
Anderson wrapped up the match next leg with 180, 140, 89, S20 and 2xD18 for a 12 dart finale. The man is back. Anderson 107.85 Dimitri 104.4.