Ian White and Mensur Suljovic were the first to enter the stage of the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. White, who is known for his good performance in the floor tournaments, was allowed to start the match. Unfortunately, the Englishman lost that advantage on the first interruption. Suljovic managed to break in the third leg and then cashed in that break with a 104 finish. The Austrian was then able to punish White’s mistakes mercilessly and was given plenty of room to take the game to himself. ‘The Gentle’ received no less than seven match darts from White: 3-6.
Durrant not quite old yet, Dobey starts sharply
Glen Durrant also failed to make it to the second round. ‘Duzza’ was outclassed in his match by an excellent playing Mervyn King: 1-6. 50-year-old Durrant managed to break the first leg, but King then showed that he is in excellent shape. ‘The King’ geared up a gear, won six legs in a row and will compete against Rob Cross in the second round.
Not only Durrant, but also Dimitri van den Bergh was very disappointing. Scoring, the 26-year-old Belgian came quite short of, a sharper-looking, Chris Dobey. The Englishman opened strongly by breaking immediately and was able to capitalize on that break. Van den Bergh was then able to draw the same level with some difficulty, but ‘The Dream Maker’ could not prevent ‘Hollywood’ from winning four legs in a row: 2-6.
Revenge for Whitlock, finishes don’t help Smith
Simon Whitlock has managed to take revenge on the Pole Krzysztof Ratajski. At the World Cup the Australian went down hard against ‘The Polish Eagle’ (4-0 in sets), but this time Ratajski had no chance. Whitlock alternated good legs with sublime legs and eventually won with clear numbers: 2-6. Whitlock will face Scotsman Peter Wright in the second round.
After a very attractive English get-together, between Michael Smith and Adrian Lewis, it was ‘Jackpot’ that won the prize. Lewis was allowed to start the match and was able to make a hole by breaking in the fourth leg. Smith fought back in an unprecedented way through a 132 finish and by throwing a 170 finish for the second time. The men remained evenly matched after that, Smith threw another 150-finish, but ‘Bully Boy’ could not put enough pressure in the legs that Lewis was allowed to start. So it became 5-6 in favor of Lewis.
Clayton wins nice fight, Cullen again very strong
Jonny Clayton is the opponent of Michael van Gerwen in the second round. The Dutchman can get his chest wet, because ‘The Ferret’ won after a nice fight 5-6 against Jose de Sousa. De Whelsman threw an average of more than 102 against an average of 101 for De Sousa. After four legs, there was a tie in which both men kept their own leg and managed to break once. The break in the third leg was also the last. ‘The Special One’ was the closest to a break, but it failed. Clayton was allowed to start the decisive leg and threw a finish of 130 and then stepped off the podium as the winner.
Joe Cullen played a very strong match at the World Cup against Michael van Gerwen and he brought that form to The Masters. With two 12-darts players, a 13-darter and finishes of 134 and 100, he left Bunting on the podium in the break, trailing 4-1. In this way ‘The Bullet’ could throw extra warmth and that seemed to have an effect. Bunting could fight back, but unfortunately could not come alongside. ‘The Rockstar’ now clearly had less nervousness and won the match 6-4.