PDC World Cup of Darts: Wales and Northern Ireland Out on Opening Day
Northern Ireland and Wales were eliminated on day one of the 2019 World Cup of Darts by minnows South Africa and Singapore.
Hamburg hosted the World Cup of Darts for the first time since 2014 and its opening day did not disappoint for drama and darting distinction. A night which had many talking points from two huge shock exits to the return to form for both Gary Anderson and Peter Wright.
Gibraltar (D. Parody & A. Lopez) 4-5 Japan (S. Asada & H. Muramatsu)
An intriguing match-up started the tournament with supposed ‘dark horses’ Japan taking on a Gibraltar side lacking any star talent.
A match that the Asian duo were expected to comfortably overcome became far from easy when they displayed some lacklustre form.
The pair’s average finished at a disappointing 78.63 which allowed Gibraltar to play their part in a low quality but high drama affair.
Dyson Parody, a familiar name to Euro Tour enthusiasts, was showcased his boisterous nature on the big stage. Most prominently when hitting a 177 to set up partner Antony Lopez with a 24 checkout.
A match of many missed doubles allowed Japan to take a 4-2 lead and then squander it to take the tie to a last leg decider. Despite Parody’s 137 to leave 42, Seigo Asada would take out 104 to snatch the victory.
A disappointing performance from the Japanese who will surely improve in the next round.
Northern Ireland (D. Gurney & B. Dolan) 4-5 South Africa (D. Petersen & V. Bouwers)
The second match kicked the World Cup in to another gear with the arrival of four tour-card holders and a PDC debutant set to do battle.
Northern Ireland entered the tournament with a strong team on paper and in form whilst their opponents would concede they haven’t had the best of times lately.
The opening leg of the match was plain sailing for the Northern Irish duo who held throw in 16 darts. Despite Vernon Bouwers making his debut, he started the contest in dazzling style posting high score after high score.
Many legs would slip South Africa by with the pair missing too many opportunities at doubles. A lack of composure on the outer ring was something the Northern Irish didn’t share with their African opponents.
The UK duo would lead 4-3 and miss three match darts before an inspired Devon Petersen dragged the South Africans over the line in an emotional end to a tense match.
New Zealand (C. Harris & H. Puha) 5-1 Lithuania (D. Labanauskas & M. Barauskas)
One of the fixtures of the night where neither the bookies nor the punters could split the two nations. A debuting Lithuanian side with an in form Darius Labanauskas and New Zealand squad which contained a quality captain in Cody Harris.
It was a one man show from the quartet on the oche and that man was Harris. His first visit was a maximum and he managed to hit all five doubles for his country.
Harris’ partner Haupai Puha played his part in a surprisingly strong showing from the Oceanic team which made light work of the debutants. Despite a 5-1 defeat, the Lithuanian duo were unfortunate on the outer ring lacking the necessary experience to pose a real threat.
Lucky D’s luck had ran out when the star of the show Harris finished off his wonderful display with a 124 check out on double eight.
An unexpected test awaits them in the next round in South Africa.
Belgium (K. Huybrechts & D. Van den Bergh) 5-1 Hong Kong (R. Lam & K.F. Leung)
A usual tip as a dark horse; Belgium entered this tournament relatively unspoken of. Despite possessing two top 32 players, the European side were overlooked for more in-form duos.
They began their World Cup charge against a tricky Hong Kong side which included the vastly experienced and spectacle donning Royden Lam.
Both sides finished the match with averages above 91 yet Belgium took home the spoils. It was a familiar site as Van den Bergh treated the crowd to yet another impressive big stage performance.
Six perfect darts at the end of the sixth leg (180 followed by a 136 checkout) sealed Hong Kong’s fate who ended their campaign with a disappointing 16% on their doubles; the only real downside to their game. Although the one double that was hit for the Asian pair being a double twelve from Lam on the back end of a 141 check out.
An impressive display by the Belgians who will look to pick up where they left off when they face home favourites Germany.
Brazil (D. Portela & A. Valle) 1-5 Sweden (D. Nilsson & M. Caris)
The legendary career of Magnus Caris is in to single figures in terms of how many matches are left with this tournament being his last. With a career on the line, this tense matchup has an extra spice to it.
Like the New Zealand versus Lithuania affair, this match was seen to be an even contest but ended up being one-way traffic.
It all started so well for the sole South American pair with Diogo Portela pinning tops to put the Brazilians ahead.
Unfortunately for the samba boys it was all downhill from there. Checkouts of 71 and 141 from Dennis Nilsson ignited the Swedish onslaught as they went on to win five legs on the bounce.
Wales (G. Price & J. Clayton) 3-5 Singapore (P. Lim & H. Lim)
Singapore’s heroics two years ago against then tournament favourites Scotland will forever be remembered as on of the greatest shocks of darting history.
Now seen as a banana skin for any team in the tournament, Wales drew the short straw. A team of Gerwyn Price and Johnny Clayton is good enough to beat anybody, but form and the German crowd were not on their side.
The beloved Pail Lim took the first leg for the Asians but Price wouldn’t lie down dragging his nation to a 2-1 advantage courtesy of missed doubles from Harith Lim.
However, despite the younger Lim struggling on the outer ring, so was the experienced PDC professional Clayton.
Both sides were evenly matched at three legs each. But it was Singapore who would find an extra gear with finishing the final two legs in 15 and 18 darts respectively to knock out a team which many fancied to end the England-Netherlands dominance of the PDC World Cup.
Germany (M. Hopp & M. Schindler) 5-1 Hungary (P. Szekely & J. Vegso)
Germany always enter this tournament as a wildcard squad as the home nation favourites always have the crowd on their side. Using that to their advantage has been a trait which they’ve utilised in the last year.
Both Schindler and Hopp have established themselves on the PDC tour with the latter winning multiple non-major titles. Statements which could not be said for their European opponents.
An easy ride to the second round was expected for the German duo and they delivered with an 87 average and five straight legs after losing the first leg with a slow start.
A 137 checkout from Schindler was the highlight of a relatively straight forward match which was devoid of drama.
Scotland (G. Anderson & P. Wright) 5-0 Denmark (P. Laursen & N. Heinsoe)
The main event of the night was reserved for the British pair of Gary Anderson returning from back injury and Peter Wright. A team full of a scary amount of quality.
Many questions were asked on the fitness and form of both players going in to the tournament with many reluctant to call them potential winners.
Despite the concerns, the Danish team were never fancied to trouble the pair who just possesses too much natural ability.
The first whitewash of the tournament occurred as both Anderson and Wright laid down the gauntlet to every other team in the competition. A 101.55 average remains the highest of the tournament so far by some distance.
Denmark were simply outscored and outclassed by a pair of world class players. The Scottish team were all smiles after their cruise to victory, a potentially terrifying sight for the Swedish team who await them in the next round.