Coverage continues on Sunday with a bumper double session from the Winter Gardens; the afternoon begins at 1pm with the evening underway at 7.30pm
Last Updated: 21/07/19 12:03am
Gerwyn Price was the first high-profile casualty of the World Matchplay as Gary Anderson began the defence of his title with a 10-6 victory over Danny Noppert.
The top 32 players in world darts descending on Blackpool for what is traditionally the sport’s second-biggest event with perhaps the highest quality field ever assembled and the result was a couple of early casualties among the seeded names.
World No 7 Price was the biggest name to perish, losing 13-12 to Stephen Bunting in an extra-time thriller and that came after Mervyn King had kicked off the evening by knocking out in-form UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall with a 10-5 victory.
The big guns hit back in the final two matches of the evening. Anderson claimed his first Blackpool title last year and he set up a date with King in the second round despite making hard work if his clash with Dutchman Noppert.
Rob Cross saved the classiest performance until the end of the night, beating Chris Dobey 10-3 with the minimum of fuss to advance in a half of the draw that has opened up thanks to Price’s exit.
Live World Matchplay Darts
July 21, 2019, 1:00pm
World Matchplay – Sunday’s Matches
|Afternoon Session||Darren Webster (15) v Krzysztof Ratajski|
|Dave Chisnall (12) v Max Hopp|
|Ian White (10) v Joe Cullen|
|Michael Smith (5) v Jamie Hughes|
|Evening Session||James Wade (8) v Jeffrey de Zwaan|
|Mensur Suljovic (9) v Jermaine Wattimena|
|Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton|
|Adrian Lewis (16) v Glen Durrant|
Gerwyn Price 12-13 Stephen Bunting
Grand Slam of Darts champion Price has had an indifferent year after making his major breakthrough in Wolverhampton last year and had been highly fancied for a strong run at the Winter Gardens.
However, in an early classic the Iceman came up short in a game that saw both men fritter away chances before Bunting eventually prevailed.
Price looked to be heading for a straightforward evening as he forged three legs clear on two separate occasions early on but Bunting continued to chip away.
From 8-6 down, The Bullet reeled off two more legs to level and the pair could not be separated until Bunting led 12-11 via a classy 86 kill on the bull.
Four match darts went begging for the man from St Helens allowing Price to level before Bunting sealed the win – fittingly after Price had missed a dart at bull for the match himself.
Gary Anderson 10-6 Danny Noppert
Anderson is back in big stage action for the first time this year having missed the Premier League with a back injury.
The four-day World Cup of Darts brought a first success with Peter Wright as Scotland lifted the trophy, but The Flying Scotsman is on his own on the Blackpool oche this week.
With Noppert starting slowing, Anderson found his range early on, brilliant combination finishes of 135 and 111 have him within three of the second round at 7-3 in front.
But with the Scot’s level slipping, Noppert seized his chance to take out four consecutive legs, drawing within one and the prospect of another surprise on opening night.
However, Anderson sensed his moment and rose to the challenge once again, a classy 160 check-out the highlight of his four-leg run to the winning post.
Rob Cross 10-3 Chris Dobey
Voltage had little trouble in seeing of Dobey in what looked like being one of the more keenly contested matches of the first round.
Despite his 2018 world title, Cross is playing just his third World Matchplay and has been knocked out in the second round in each of his previous two appearances.
But he was in cruise control early against an out-of-sorts Dobey, easing to 3-0 and 6-1 leads, a 14-darter from Hollywood doing little to lift his spirits.
The man from Newcastle also took out a 145 finish but those moments were few and far between as Cross went through the gears to claim his place in the last 16 with a brilliant 130 check-out.
Nathan Aspinall 5-10 Mervyn King
King rolled back the years to get the better of 13th seed Aspinall in a topsy-turvy contest to bring the curtain up on this year’s event.
Four of the first five legs when the way of King, a semi-finalist in 2009, and he led 4-1 after the first break in play.
But Aspinall, seeded 13th and the US Darts Masters champion in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, took the second session by the same scoreline to leave the pair locked at 5-5.
King kept his cool and took every chance that came his way, punishing missed darts at double by Aspinall to power down the stretch and seal his date with Anderson courtesy of an 11-dart leg.
Follow every dart from every session in Blackpool as the World Matchplay continues through to the final on Sunday, July 28.