A tough task for the Loxley sponsored players today, as they were drawn to face both current, and former champions at nearly every stage! I follow Ryan Searle, Matthew Edgar and Aaron Beeney in the first day of the PDC Winter Series, as they look to get their campaigns off to a strong start. Heartbreak for two of the three yesterday, with Ryan and Matthew coming within touching distance of a Grand Slam spot. A fresh mindset is needed, if they want to progress over the course of the week – in a last bid to qualify for the PDC World Championship next month.
Drawn to play the second game on Board 2, Ryan faces a very difficult task against former BDO World Champion, and World Masters Champion, Steve Beaton. Sharing his board is another World Champion, with Adrian Lewis set to take on the ‘German Giant’, Gabriel Clemens, shortly after.
Unfortunately for Ryan, he ran into an inspired ‘Bronzed Adonis’, falling to a 6-2 defeat, averaging 97.1. A tough defeat to take, with Beaton averaging 0.5 less than Ryan, and yet Ryan did well to try stage a comeback after falling 4-0 down thanks to some impressive finishing from the former World Champion. Back-to-back legs of 13 and 12 darts helped Ryan claw his way back into the game, but by then it was too late, as Steve held throw, then broke to take the last two legs.
Just two boards across, on Board 4, Matthew takes on a World Champion of his own in Jelle Klaasen, who rose to fame after defeating Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld to win the BDO World Championship, back in 2006. Drawing parallels again to Ryan Searle’s board, two-time back-to-back World Champion, Gary Anderson, also features on Matthew’s board. A player he knows all too well – should they meet, Matthew will want to emulate his recent victory over the ‘Flying Scotsman’, in which he hit a 170 checkout to claim the victory (not that he ever mentions it).
A very close encounter between Matthew and Jelle, but it was the Dutchman that unfortunately denied ‘Prime Time’ a spot in the L64, defeating him 6-5. A poor performance all things considered, with Matthew averaging 82.6 in a game that he will feel he should’ve won with ease. Nevertheless, four more opportunities for redemption, as the hunt goes on for Matthew’s first senior PDC title on the professional tour.
A great opportunity for Aaron to take on one of the men-of-the-moment, as he faces 2020 World Matchplay champion, and recent World Cup semi-finalist Dimitri van den Bergh in what promises to be a thrilling encounter. After a disappointing performance yesterday in the Grand Slam qualifier, Aaron will want to put things right – what better way than to knock out the young Belgian star?
With both Ryan and Matthew falling at the first hurdle, it was now up to Aaron to claim Loxley’s first win of the day, and of the Winter Series. Unfortunately for Aaron, this wasn’t the case, as Dimitri cruised to a 6-2 victory at Aaron’s expense, despite a steady 84.6 average from Aaron. A 145 checkout to seal the fifth leg seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for Aaron, who now has the tough task of picking himself back up again for tomorrow’s action.
A disappointing day all-round for team Loxley – they’ll all know things must improve if they each want to achieve their individual goals over the course of the week. All three go again tomorrow in Day 2 of the PDC Winter Series!
Images credited to the PDC
Author: Joe Reid