Day two almost mirrored day one with the results producing shocks in the afternoon and more expected winner in the evening. More seeds have fallen by the wayside and parts of the draw have opened right up. There will be many players waking up this morning to realise they are in with a real shout of going some distance this year.
19 year old decorator Rico Vonck set the tone for the afternoon with a straightforward win against an obviously struggling Mark Walsh. You’ve got to feel for Walshy who is rocking and rolling all over the oche when releasing his darts. I for one hopes he can go away and work on his problems to get himself back in the groove and over the mental obstacles he’s obviously battling. Vonck on the other hand couldn’t show any sympathy up there and goes through to face Brian Cyr in round two with his confidence sky high and a good chance of going on.
Cyr it was that overcame Barrie Bates in the next game to book his match with Vonck and become the second Canadian to reach round two. This was a somewhat surprising result given Bates’ form this year but the signs were there early on as debutant Cyr raced into a 2-0 lead. Bates found his form to level at 2-2 but left it too late as Cyr held his nerve in the fifth set tie-break to shut Bates out. This was a disappointing end to 2006 for the Welshman after making such great strides.
PDPA qualifier Darren Webster took out number 23 seed Bob Anderson with a fine win. Anderson had been struggling with a bad back and looked uncomfortable, never really getting into the game. Webster capitalised to improve on last year’s showing and will meet fellow PDPA qualifier Adrian Gray in a second round match that few would have predicted.
The final game of the afternoon went to the seeded player with Dennis Ovens securing a comfortable win against Steve Smith. Smith had been in good form and had beaten Ovens in Las Vegas in June. Ovens had suffered first round exits in the last three televised tournaments and will be hugely relieved to have got through this one with such ease. Smith never found his form but he will be back again and will be one to watch in 2007. For Ovens a second round meeting with Alan Tabern beckons after he knocked out Alan Warriner-Little in the opening evening game.
The Iceman played a stinker only taking one leg off ‘The Saint’ and will need to go back to the drawing board to ensure 2007 does not go the same way as 2006. With his world ranking suffering badly (provisionally ranked 27th on the order of merit) and not guaranteed entry to the big events, he needs to find a consistent run of form next year to stop the rot. Tabern has had a great 2006, stamping his name on the sport and will fancy his chances against Dennis Ovens in round two.
Colin Lloyd, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis all moved smoothly into round two each winning 3-0 in comfortable fashion. Lloyd looked nervous early on and several first round exits would have been playing on his mind. At 2-2 in the first Seyler was missing double after double to take a one set lead and Lloyd took his chance, never looking back. Seyler didn’t win another leg after that and Lloyd can now only get stronger. Next up is Barney in what could be one of the games of the tournament. The winner will be big favourite to make the final. Barneveld only dropped two legs against 16-year-old schoolboy Mitchell Clegg in a game that featured two Purfleet debutants. Clegg made a good start and Barney had to hit big scores to get his nose in front. Only missed double prevented Clegg opening up a lead but Barney hit his and once he’d won the second set there was no looking back. Several legs of 15 or less darts were the difference but Clegg showed enough to convince that he’s a real talent and will no doubt be back here again.
There was only one Fleet in Purfleet but not anymore after Lewis demolished the Aussie 3-0 without losing a leg. Lewis looks confident, his form has been there recently and he averaged nearly 93 to breeze into round two. He’s talking the talk and so far walking the walk. Can he win it?
Day Two Results – First Round – Tuesday 19 December
Mark Walsh 0-3 Rico Vonck
Barrie Bates 2-3 Brian Cyr
Bob Anderson 1-3 Darren Webster
Denis Ovens 3-0 Steve Smith
Alan Warriner-Little 0-3 Alan Tabern
Colin Lloyd 3-0 Tomas Seyler
Raymond van Barneveld 3-0 Mitchell Clegg
Adrian Lewis 3-0 Anthony Fleet
Day Three Matches – First Round – Wednesday 20 December
Wayne Jones v Ian Branks
Lionel Sams v Dave Ladley
Colin Monk v Per Laursen
Andy Hamilton v Gary Welding
Steve Beaton v Gerry Convery
Dennis Priestley v Josephus Schenk
Wayne Mardle v Alan Caves
James Wade v Warren French