Coral UK Open – Day 2 and Qtr Final Preview
Matters moved up a gear, or three, on day two of the FA Cup of Darts. The Green Machine added his latest piece of darting history. Amateur qualifiers made names for themselves and created unforgettable moments, a couple of old favorites threaten to stage remarkable returns and another Aussie looks to stake his claim.
In the meantime “The Power” simply kept on winning, quietly, almost without anyone noticing.
MVG Runs Wild.
In his first game MVG had looked at little out of sorts, almost as if he was struggling to produce his best form, His recent epic efforts mean expectations have risen, but MVG seemed to find it hard when his young opponent was not quite up to it. Many feared the same again, when The Green Machine drew another qualifier, in the person of electrician, Robert Cross.
Cross though was to confound this view. His quality play and positive attitude could teach many his professional counterparts a thing or two. He hit seven maximum 180’s and was certainly up with MVG early on. Cross gave the big celebrations and generally refused to be cowed despite what MVG was building up to.
Next though showed what happens when you pull a tiger by the tail! Suddenly MVG responded to Cross and the crowd. Toward the end of the next leg he set up a 170 finish with a 130+ score, then the 170 was duly taken out. This was followed by 180, 180 and 141 for a perfect 9 dart leg. Not content with this, and with the crowd going mental, he opened the next leg with another 180! This could be described as 18 perfect darts and is unprecedented.
MVG returned to the stage later in the evening to dispatch Kim Huybrechts with relative ease. No need for history, unlike Cross Kim did not rise to the occasion this time.
Biggest Darts Shock Ever?
While this was happening on the main stage, an even bigger drama was unfolding on stage two. Qualifier Barry Lynn had threatened to smash reigning World Champion Gary Anderson, all over the board, when surprised with his draw by the TV presenter the previous night. Many thought he must be joking, some even though him arrogant and too cocky.
A more careful look however shows a player who has totally committed to the event and where darts may take him. The binman from Essex was completely focused and had a solid belief in what he was about to do. Leading from early on in the game Lynn never held back, never wobbled and finally checked out to complete the most shocking, and comprehensive, defeat of a reigning world champion you are likely to see. This from a player who, despite a few notable results, does not regularly play at any official high level.
Continuing his exploits, Lynn then returned to the lesser boards to take on and defeat Stuart Kellet in the last 16. Again, despite what is an exhausting event for those not used to the nerves, adrenaline surges and the concentration needed for multiple long games in a single day, Barry outlasted his opponent. Coming through strongly in the later part of the game and producing a fine 9-5 win capped off with a Bull, 25, Bull finish.
In another revealing but rash interview Lynn revealed he was happy to take on anyone except MVG, who he said would smash him up! The draw, for the first qualifier ever to reach this stage, was listening. Lynn will take on Mighty Mike later today!
The Lakesiders return!
Both Mark Webster & Jelle Klassen have won the Lakeside/BDO, World Championship. Both had good spells in the PDC after making the switch. Then they hit the buffers. Klaasen lost form and was involved with scandal, Webster meanwhile simply seemed to fade away. Both dropped to the edges of the elite group and looked desperate. Yet over the last year each has completely reemerged. Klassen has been in Qtr Final after Qtr Final and Webster has rolled back the years looking almost back to his very best. Could they maintain this resurgence over the weekend?
The answer appears to be a resounding yes. Webster made the Qtr’s again here with a superb win over the very in form Mensur Suliavic. Meanwhile “The Cobra” looked as if he was going to destroy Adrian Lewis, a bit of needle crept into the game and Adrian began to stage a comeback. Jelle was not to be denied and, after a down spell, managed to stamp his authority on the last leg to win 9-7.
The best player not to have won a major? The title is bandied about in all sports, but Peter Wright would certainly be in contention in darts. Wright is a crowd favorite and the party loving Minehead supporters would love to cheer him home. Not quite pulling up trees so far, but Snakebite has had to defeat a varied batch of opponents, on all boards and with no gimme games. He has been efficient and relaxed so far. Peter defeated the tenacious Darren Webster and in the Qtrs he will meet Joe Cullen, after “The Rockstar” defeated Bullit Bunting.
Anyone noticed Phil?
Whilst all this phenomenal action has been happening the five time champion seems to be quietly carrying on regardless. After a slow but effective start, against Aaron Monk, yesterday Phil Taylor drew RVB in the last 32. The Power turned up, won the first few leg easily, RVB wilted, and Phil strolled out a comfortable winner. Although games against such rivals are never as easy as they appear.
A few hours later he was back again, this time to tackle Vincent Van de Voort. Again a solid start, picked up after the break and despite VVV’s valiant efforts, at dragging himself back in,” The Power” completed a 9-7 win with a superb bullseye out-shot.
As if by right, Phil is in the Qtrs where he will take on the aforementioned Webby! This could be the key to the event. If either player could get a good early lead and win relatively easily they could go on and win the championship. Yet the likelyhood is a tough drawn out affair decided by the odd leg or two. Thus both will then have to play two more highly ranked and in form players who may have had an easier afternoon!
Kyle Anderson is finally showing, what he do, on our screens. If you think MVG is impressive, it may interest you to know that Kyle Anderson’s record competitive average is a full 9 points higher than that set by MVG on TV a couple of weeks back. Anderson averaged over 132 in a pro tour event. Despite slipping under the radar, in this event, dart fans have been aware of “The Original” for quite some time. His gamble of leaving a young family in Australia to become a success in PDC darts may finally be about to pay off.
With Qtr’s, Semi and Final played almost back to back, across two sessions, winning will be at least as much about stamina as great darts. MVG could get a quick result against anyone but should Bary Lynn take any time to adapt to the big stage things could go very quickly indeed. If however Lynn can get amongst it, and drag MVG into any type of tussle then, the others should thank him for it!
Snakebite is capable of defeating anyone, but the more energy and adrenaline he retains early the better. Webster and Taylor could drain each other and take a long time doing it. Klaasen & Anderson could make a thriller of a match. The winner of it may do so in double-quick time even if the scoreline is close.
It would be predictable and safe to nominate MVG, to claim the title again, but I suspect that he may not. Klaasen has a decent record against him and its nearly always a crunching encounter. Phil had darts to win their last encounter and Wright has lost out narrowly a couple of times before. Webster is not that MVG scarred, due to his poor spell, and may be able to retain his composure.
If I were forced to nominate a winner, let’s go for “The Cobra”.