Matildas draw 1-1 with China after Michelle Heyman’s stoppage-time equaliser

The Matildas’ final preparations for the Paris Olympics have got off to a rusty start after a scrappy 1-1 draw with China in Adelaide on Friday.

Australia’s coach Tony Gustavsson fielded a largely experimental line-up for the opening hour of the Adelaide Oval fixture, but they were upstaged by the reigning Asian Cup champions, with a well-organised and disciplined China keeping the Matildas shotless for the first half.

And while a sell-out 52,912 people had packed in to see the Matildas strut their stuff, they were instead silenced in the 30th minute after Chinese winger Zhang Linyan opened the scoring, volleying home a cross from Central Coast Mariners winger Wurigumula.

But veteran striker Michelle Heyman came to the rescue in stoppage-time of the first half, tapping in from a goal-mouth scramble after a Mary Fowler free kick was fumbled by China’s goalkeeper.

Before the match, Gustavsson said he remained undecided on four spots for the 18-woman squad to contest the Paris Olympics starting in late July. The team’s starting XI reflected his need to test out those peripheral players, beginning without big guns Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, Ellie Carpenter, Hayley Raso and Kyra Cooney-Cross.

But the team that started the game struggled to break down a tightly-packed Chinese defence, and regularly coughed up possession before being punished by quick transitional counter-attacks.

While the momentum of the game began to swing after five senior players were substituted on in the 60th minute, winger Caitlin Foord lasted just 15 minutes, leaving the field after being felled in a tackle, despite appearing in no great discomfort.

Following a tepid opening 29 minutes, China struck on the half-hour when a fast break down the right flank left Australia’s Kaitlyn Torpey sprawled in the grass after grappling with powerful striker Wurigumula.

As the pair jostled, Torpey slipped and fell to ground — replays showed a slight tug on her jersey from her opponent — while Wurigumula was quick to recover from the contact, her follow-up cross into the box deflected into the path of Zhang, who scored with a reflex right footer.

After half time, Australia showed far greater attacking intent and almost had a reward in the 56th minute when Cortnee Vine swung a cross into the box.

The ball landed near Fowler who was set to pull the trigger and shoot, but advancing China keeper Xu Huan knocked the ball away. Six minutes later, Gustavsson made five substitutions, summoning Catley, Foord, Raso, Carpenter and Kyra Cooney-Cross.

The injection of the Matildas mainstays had instant impact, with the Australians crafting a series of scoring chances through Raso and Fowler, though a scrambling China kept the Matildas scoreless.

But in a bizarre series of events in stoppage time, where Australia won a free kick just outside China’s penalty spot after the goalkeeper slid out to collect an innocuous ball only to hand-ball it and give a set piece away, a powerful striker by Fowler was fumbled by Xu and duly poked home by Heyman.

The Matildas meet China again in Sydney on Monday night and Gustavsson will announce his Olympic squad the following day.

Check out how the game unfolded in our live blog below.

Key events

See you Monday!

I still think Heyman’s (and Fowler’s) issues tonight were more about distribution. They both should be on the plane to Paris. But maybe those in midfield (who aren’t feeding through enough quality ball) should be a bit worried – they need to step up and do better in the next leg.

– Ingrid

I think tonight that those who are already locked in to the Olympic squad are there for a reason…not sure any of the questions Tony had about the remaining four players were really answered tonight

– Tania

I think we’re all on the same page about tonight’s game: the Matildas definitely didn’t show enough against China to convince us of anything, so they’ll really need to step it up in the second match in Sydney on Monday to settle out nerves about their readiness for the Olympics.

We’ll have a match report out shortly, but for now, thanks so much for engaging with the blog tonight, and I’ll see you all again here on Monday night from 7:00pm AEST!

Until then, enjoy your weekend, and gooooo Tillies!!!

So what did you make of that?

Redemption rocks. Phew! Okay, how do you pick an optimal 18 squad out of that? I guess that’s why Tony’s paid the big bucks. More questions than answers, maybe the answers’ll arrive on Monday. Thanks Sam!

– Big Ben

High energy and effort leads to chances and finally a goal. Why did they play so conservatively for the first 88 minutes? Raso showed the way

– Tobi

Matildas lack quality. Any squad with EVE and Polkinghorne hasn’t hope against the new top nations.

– The bill

Great to see Michelle Heyman score at the death to salvage the draw, she’ll definitely be on the plane to Paris in July.

– Adam

What’s the answer? Give them time (and hope Ford’s injury heals)

– Betty

Whenever the Matildas have two-game windows, they do tend to be quite rusty and slow in the first of the two matches. So in that context, tonight’s game isn’t a huge surprise, nor is it a shock given the five changes Tony Gustavsson made to the starting line-up.

And yet… with Paris less than two months away… the Matildas don’t really have time to be this sloppy, do they? They certainly won’t be forgiven for it against the USA, Germany, and Zambia.

But who do you reckon impressed tonight? Did any player convince you that they should go to the Olympics? Or do we need another game to figure it out?

Heyman redemption!

Let the scoreboard show that it was Michelle Heyman who equalised. I won’t hear a bad word said about her! (even if she didn’t have a great game 🙂 ⚽️💚💛

– Leo

michelle heyman doesn’t miss in front of goal! she might not be sam kerr but she should be in paris as a CF.

– alex

– Samantha Lewis

I was literally typing a post about Michelle Heyman’s game tonight, and then she just goes and scores.

Maybe that’s why she goes to Paris: because she can be there right until the very end.

Full time: Australia 1 – 1 China

The commentators curse Sam…Michelle Heyman unseen all night…bobs up in the 95min…extraordinary!

– stumcin

Yeeeeeeesssssssss!!!! 🥳🥳🥳

– Tania

YYYYYYYYY3EEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAASHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

– Natty

FInally!!!!!!

– M

I feel that goal should be given to the china goalkeeper. She put a lot of effort to make australia score

– First

Michelle is back online!!!

– Micko

Geez. Oztraylia. You got damn lucky with that goal at the end! Coulda/shoulda done better. And sooner.

– Ingrid

Whew

– sandye

Hurray

– jag

Just like the last time they played, a stoppage-time equaliser rescues the Matildas after a pretty sluggish display.

Absolute scenes from the sold-out stadium – and from all of you – right at the death!

94′ GOAL AUSTRALIA

MICHELLE HEYMAN EQUALISES AFTER A TRULY BIZARRE SERIES OF EVENTS!

A free kick just outside China’s box was awarded after their goalkeeper came sprinting off her line and seemed to hand-ball it after a miscontrol?

Mary Fowler stood over the ball, sending her rocket of a right foot through the set piece towards the front post, where the keeper isn’t able to catch it and the deflection falls right to the feet of Heyman, who pokes it home.

1-1!

93′ Where are our goals coming from?

The hole left by Sam Kerr’s absence is starting to look bigger and bigger with every minute that goes by tonight!

– stumcin

Hopefully Caitlin Foord doesn’t have a serious injury, this would be disastrous for the Matildas 55 days out from the first game in the Olympics.

– Adam

As I wrote at the start of tonight’s blog, the Matildas really haven’t figured out the answer of how to score goals without Sam Kerr.

As Adam says, this injury to Caitlin Foord is a worry. She was massive for the Tillies during the World Cup when Kerr was unavailable. Mary Fowler’s wobbly form in this game is a concern, as has Michelle Heyman’s kinda-nothing performance.

So what’s the answer?

91′ Chance China!

Another counter-attack from China sees Wu Chengshu through one-on-one with Clare Hunt, who’s backtracking into her own box, trying to hold up the energised substitute.

Chengsu twists and turns and finds a half-space, swinging her foot through the ball, but she doesn’t quite connect and it fizzes into Mackenzie Arnold’s hands.

Five minutes of added time

87′ Hunt gets crunched

A wildly spinning aerial ball from Hayley Raso that deflected off a Chinese player falls dangerously towards the top of the box, where Clare Hunt and substitute Wu Chengshu both race towards it, trying to nick it out of the air and do something.

Hunt is the tallest of the two and is able to head it away in time, but Chengshu barrels straight through the centre-back, sending her crashing into the grass.

There’s a couple words exchanged between the Chinese striker and Steph Catley afterwards as Hunt catches her breath. Not so friendly after all, this.

86′ Big Woman Up Top

I don’t know how you folks feel, but when I see Alanna Kennedy thrown up front into the centre-forward position, that’s when I know that Tony Gustavsson is running out of ideas.

Like, I get it. She’s tall and good in the air. But so is Michelle Heyman. Is this really Plan B if the Matildas are behind during the Olympics?

Loading

85′ China substitutions

Mengwen Li is off for Mengyu Shen.

Shuang Wang Shuang is replaced by Cong Yuan.

And Yanwen Wang is off for Jiali Tang.

82′ Michelle Heyman’s gone missing

Another watcher/reader (Olive) mentioned that Mary Fowler was “struggling to do her Mary magic here”. I wonder if both her and Michelle Heyman are suffering from not being fed enough good balls? Hopefully, the subs will change that and improve distribution.

– Ingrid

Is hayman in her space jam version?

– First

She’s really just been a warm body out there for this second half, hasn’t she? It’s like the game has been happening around her and she’s just kinda been watching from a really awesome front-row seat.

I do think that the build-up play has affected her tonight, though. She barely connected with the two midfielders in the first half, and now is having to deliberately involve herself in plays to try and get anywhere near the ball.

She leaps onto a moment now, spinning on the ball after a China error, and takes a couple charging steps into the box, but just as she tries to shoot, a Chinese defender gets a toe on the ball and it spins into the keeper’s arms.

80′ Chance Australia!

They’re throwing more bodies forward now, trying to overload China’s backline and create a bit of chaos.

Another corner is taken short, with Fowler delivering the ball to the very back of the box, where Hayley Raso nods it back towards the penalty spot.

Kennedy is there, and tries an acrobatic sideways kick, but she doesn’t quite catch it and it spins over the bar.

79′ Not many beliEVErs on the blog tonight

Surprised TG left EVE out there….thoughts?

– Tania

not sure why tony is so keen on emily van egmond? she cannot play as a striker and as a midfielder not anymore effective than clare wheeler or yallop…

– alex

Honestly? I agree. Emily Van Egmond doesn’t seem to have the speed or style that you associate with this high-intensity Matildas team, so it’s odd that she’s played such a pivotal role in the side for so long.

78′ Aaaaaand she misses

Kennedy goes for it, trying to whip the ball up and over China’s wall and into the top corner, but it flies over the crossbar instead.

78′ Matildas win a dangerous free kick

Emily Van Egmond was clipped from behind by a clumsy Chinese player just outside the top of the box.

Steph Catley and Alanna Kennedy are standing over it. China have five players in the wall…

Crowd: 52,912

Hectic. Well done, Adelaide!

76′ Australia substitution

Uh oh.

Caitlin Foord, who came on only 15 minutes ago, goes down in the grass, gesturing towards her hamstring.

A minute later, she walks off the field, replaced by Brisbane Roar winger Sharn Frier.

75′ China substitution

Goal-scorer Zhang Linyan is off for Liu Yanqui.

74′ Chance Australia!

A more characteristic passage from Australia with Ellie Carpenter slotting through the speedy Hayley Raso down the right wing.

She cuts the ball back from the by-line, aiming for the penalty spot, where Mary Fowler is steaming in to meet it.

But Carpenter is there instead, and gets in the way of Fowler’s swing, so she doesn’t quite meet it properly and the ball deflects off a China defender and bounces away up-field instead.

Bugger.

Source link

#Matildas #draw #China #Michelle #Heymans #stoppagetime #equaliser

Champions League: Napoli draw with Barca, Porto beat Arsenal

Victor Osimhen was described as “a huge player” after marking his return for Napoli with a goal that gave the Italian champions a 1-1 draw with Barcelona and hope that a dreadful season might have reached a turning point.

Nigeria forward Osimhen rolled home the leveller with 15 minutes left of the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, in his first match since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 25-year-old equalised Robert Lewandowski’s 60th-minute opener, which seemed likely to be the decisive goal as Barca were for long periods the better team, with Napoli’s first and only shot on target.

“He’s a huge player for us,” said Napoli skipper Giovanni Di Lorenzo to Amazon Prime Video.

“He’s come back with the right attitude. We knew he would though as he’s a great player and professional. He’ll give us a hand in the matches to come.”

Osimhen had last played for Napoli in a 2-0 defeat at Roma just before Christmas, when he was one of two players from his team to be sent off.

His ninth club goal of the season came at a crucial time, not just in the match but in Napoli’s campaign as they play under their third manager of the season in Francesco Calzona, their league title defence up in flames.

Calzona had less than 48 hours to prepare for his first match in charge after replacing Walter Mazzarri on Monday night, and Osimhen gave Napoli a chance of progressing despite a disjointed performance by his team.

Napoli head into next month’s second leg in the Catalan capital knowing that with Osimhen in the team there is always a chance of a goal regardless of the overall team display.

“It’s a good starting point,” added Di Lorenzo.

“We know that we need to do more but we’ve taken a step forward and now we have a chance in the return leg. It’s all to play for.”

Osimhen saves Napoli

For Barca meanwhile it was the latest misstep of a complicated campaign at the end of which coach Xavi will leave, assuming president Joan Laporta doesn’t sack the coach before then.

The away side had the better chances but couldn’t put Napoli away and could yet pay for their wastefulness.

“We’re a little disappointed with the result because we could have come out with a win,” said Ronald Araujo to Movistar.

“Napoli had a lot of the ball in the last 15 minutes but they barely created a chance. The Champions League is like that.”

Barca showed why they were pre-match favourites in the opening exchanges, dominating the ball and creating shooting opportunities which dulled an initially raucous crowd.

Teen sensation Lamine Yamal come close to becoming the Champions League’s youngest ever scorer when his ninth-minute effort was well-saved by Alex Meret.

In the 23rd minute, the away side twice went close to taking the lead, Lewandowski’s flicked finish kept out by Meret who then tipped away Ilkay Gundogan’s long-range rocket.

From that point on Napoli’s presence in the game grew, but the hosts failed to let off a single effort on goal before the break despite pushing their opponents on back.

Gundogan forced another smart save from Meret shortly after the restart after being put through by Yamal before blasting over another presentable chance.

Barca had the lead their performance deserved on the hour when Lewandowski collected Pedri’s pass and drilled a perfect low finish past Meret.

With the away side looking like they would push home their advantage, Osimhen pounced as Inigo Martinez slipped on the edge of the area to level the scores and transform the atmosphere in the stadium.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and substitute Giovanni Simeone both had efforts off target with the home side’s tails up, but it was Barca who went inches away from snatching a late win.

Gundogan’s frustrating night in front of goal continued deep into stoppage time as his low effort flew just wide.

Galeno stuns timid Arsenal with late Porto winner

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta bemoaned his team’s lack of cutting edge as Galeno’s sublime stoppage-time goal earned Porto a 1-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.

Appearing in a first knockout match in Europe’s premier club competition for seven years, Arsenal struggled to break down an organised Porto defence before Galeno’s stroke of brilliance in the 94th minute.

The defeat ended Arsenal’s eight-game unbeaten run against Portuguese opposition and the Gunners with plenty of work to do in the return leg in London on March 12.

“We lacked threat. We lacked aggression, especially when we had the ball in the final third,” Arteta told TNT Sports. “So we will tweak a few things to attack better. We can do better.”

Arsenal last made it to the Champions League quarter-finals in 2010, when they beat Porto in the last 16, but it is the Portuguese club who now have the upper hand. 

“I think it’s a team that’s very well-organised defensively and they break your rhythm all the time,” said Arteta.

“We want to be in the quarter-finals, you have to beat your opponent and this is what we have to do at the Emirates.”

Arsenal failed to register a single shot on target as their recent goal spree came to a shuddering halt.

“When it’s 0-0, you look up at the clock and it’s 93 minutes gone, if you aren’t going to win the game then don’t lose it,” said Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice.

“It’s a real kick in the teeth because we’ve conceded late but we know what to do. We’re not going to let our heads drop.”

Arteta stuck with the same starting line-up for the third game in succession following his team’s 5-0 demolition of Burnley at the weekend.

Porto defender Pepe, who turns 41 next week and is the oldest outfield player in Champions League history, made his 119th appearance in the competition. 

By comparison, Arsenal’s starters had combined for a total of 104 before kick-off at the Estadio do Dragao.

While short on Champions League experience, Arteta has said his squad have the belief they can mix it with Europe’s best.

Flee-flowing attack stalls 

The Gunners have started 2024 with five successive wins in the Premier League, scoring 21 goals in those games, and are firmly in the race for a first title in two decades. 

As well as reigning supreme in England for the first time since 2004, the north Londoners are convinced they can also conquer Europe, spurred on further by the prospect of a Wembley final.

Arsenal have never won the Champions League — losing their only final appearance against Barcelona in 2006.

Porto, European champions in 1987 and 2004, are a disappointing third in Portugal this term, but frustrated Arsenal throughout. 

They were happy to cede possession and allow Arsenal to dictate the tempo in the first half, but it was the hosts who created the best chance. 

Francisco Conceicao darted in from the right and slid over a cross that looped off a sliding Gabriel, with Galeno rifling against the far post and then steering the rebound wide after the ball came right back to him.

William Saliba and Kai Havertz headed wide at corners either side of a Nico Gonzalez drive that sailed over in a physical opening 45 minutes.

Leandro Trossard, deployed again as the leader of the attack alongside Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, lashed over on the volley from Rice’s driven corner early in the second half.

Arteta made his lone change with a quarter of an hour left, replacing Trossard with Jorginho, but Arsenal’s lack of a prolific striker was exposed and they were ultimately undone by a moment of magic from Galeno.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Source link

#Champions #League #Napoli #draw #Barca #Porto #beat #Arsenal

World Darts Championship: Luke Littler’s dreams ended by Luke Humphries in sensational final

Luke Littler defeated 7-4 by world No 1 Luke Humphries in final; Premier League Darts returns to Sky Sports on Thursday February 1 as Cardiff kicks off the 17-week extravaganza all the way through to the Play-Offs on Thursday May 23 at London’s O2

Last Updated: 03/01/24 10:51pm


Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Humphries hits the winning darts to defeat Luke Littler 7-4 in the World Darts Championship final

Humphries hits the winning darts to defeat Luke Littler 7-4 in the World Darts Championship final

Luke Littler’s World Darts Championship dreams were finally ended by world No 1 Luke Humphries in a sensational final at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night.

Humphries fought back from 4-2 down to win five consecutive sets and win his maiden world title 7-4 to make it four major victories in a row following his success at the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts, and Players Championship Finals in recent months.

“I’ll draw a lot from this and this will be a moment that will never be forgotten,” Humphries told Sky Sports. “I don’t want to say that I’ve completed darts but everything that you want on the resume I’ve done now, so now it’s now about motivating yourself to do more and more.

World Darts Championship Final

Luke Humphries 7-4 Luke Littler

Humphries said he couldn't ask for more after claiming the World Darts Championship title

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Humphries said he couldn’t ask for more after claiming the World Darts Championship title

Humphries said he couldn’t ask for more after claiming the World Darts Championship title

Littler said: “It has been unbelievable. The one negative was I lost too many legs with my throw so Luke could break me.

“That was the only negative, I just couldn’t hold my own throw and I didn’t win. Every game has been good but that one has just really annoyed me, especially the three missed to keep it going.

“That’s what the crowd wanted but fair play to Luke, he deserves it.”

Humphries started the better by capitalising on a slow start from Littler to take the opening set 3-1 with a 99.2 average despite eight missed darts at doubles.

It didn’t take ‘The Nuke’ long to discover his best in the second set, coming from 2-1 down by producing two 12-dart legs with the aid of a spectacular 142 checkout and a ‘Shanghai’ 120 finish.

Littler hit a 142 and a 120 checkouts to win the second set

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Littler hit a 142 and a 120 checkouts to win the second set

Littler hit a 142 and a 120 checkouts to win the second set

The third set also went the distance with ‘Cool Hand’ edging it from 2-0 down to regain the upper hand with a 116 checkout to take it, but the Warrington teenage sensation struck back to secure the fourth set 3-1 and restore parity with a 99 average and an impressive 47 per cent on the doubles.

It was 2-2 in sets and 9-9 in legs with nothing to separate the two players.

Littler nailed this 122 checkout to the despair of Humphries

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Littler nailed this 122 checkout to the despair of Humphries

Littler nailed this 122 checkout to the despair of Humphries

For the first time in the match, the player who started the set won it after nine break of throws in 22 legs, with World Youth Champion Littler going ahead for the first time in the match before wrapping up the fifth set, averaging a ton.

The new world No 1 found himself under pressure here as Littler made it nine legs from the last 11 to open up a two-set advantage at 4-2.

Humphries reeled in his second 170 finish in a matter of days in a seventh set which was full of carnage.

Humphries took out 'The Big Fish' in the final

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Humphries took out ‘The Big Fish’ in the final

Humphries took out ‘The Big Fish’ in the final

Littler responded with a third ton-plus finish of the final – a 122 checkout – which Wayne Mardle described as “spiteful, dirty, nasty!” in the commentary box, before Humphries survived a set dart before sealing it on double 14 to reduce the deficit.

And Humphries piled in a classy 121 checkout on the bull to make it back-to-back sets to get back on level terms with a 114.17 set average but it also coincided with Littler slightly dropping off.

Humphries took out this 121 checkout in a sensational final

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Humphries took out this 121 checkout in a sensational final

Humphries took out this 121 checkout in a sensational final

The 28-year-old Newbury thrower threw back-to-back 108 checkouts to lead 2-0 in the ninth set and although the teenager battled back to level up, a 180 to start the set and a 36 checkout enabled Humphries to win the leg and set in 11 darts.

Humphries pinned back-to-back 108 checkouts

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Humphries pinned back-to-back 108 checkouts

Humphries pinned back-to-back 108 checkouts

A relentless Humphries made it four sets on the spin as he took full control of the final to go within a set of the title, despite Littler reeling in a ‘Big Fish’ of his own.

However, it was ‘Cool Hand’ who got his hands on the Sid Waddell Trophy to become the 12th different PDC World Champion after pinning double 8 in the 11th set.

Talking about Littler, Humphries said: “I’m not just saying this because it will please everyone, but Luke has been an unbelievable talent.

“Not just about the dartboard, he has been fantastic with all the media that has come about with him and he took the defeat so well.

“He said go on and celebrate. You will never see another down-to-earth 16-year-old kid like him who is just something else.

“I really hope he’s in the Premier League because, if he don’t want to play in it fair enough, but I think he’d be a pleasure to play alongside this year.

“He’s one of the best players in the world, there is no doubt about that.”

Littler nailed his own 170 checkout in an incredible final

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Littler nailed his own 170 checkout in an incredible final

Littler nailed his own 170 checkout in an incredible final

Social media reaction to Humphries win…

Premier League Darts returns to Sky Sports on Thursday February 1 as Cardiff kicks off the 17-week extravaganza all the way through to the Play-Offs on Thursday May 23. Stream Sky Sports Darts without a contract through NOW



Source link

#World #Darts #Championship #Luke #Littlers #dreams #ended #Luke #Humphries #sensational #final

Luke Littler reaches World Darts Championship final after beating Rob Cross at Alexandra Palace

Luke Littler, 16, moves one win away from Alexandra Palace glory after crushing Rob Cross 6-2 in semi-finals; Littler will face Luke Humphries in final; We’re back at 7.30pm on Wednesday for the World Darts Championship final – live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 03/01/24 12:15am


Luke Littler defeated 2018 champion Rob Cross to reach the World Darts Championship final

Teenager Luke Littler made it through to the World Darts Championship final after crushing Rob Cross to go within one match of a remarkable maiden title at Alexandra Palace.

Littler averaged 106.05, hitting 16 maximums and ton-plus finishes of 149, 142 and 132 en route to a magnificent 6-2 victory against 2018 winner Cross at the age of 16.

He will face another in-form player in Luke Humphries, who hit top gear to whitewash Scott Williams 6-0 in the second semi-final to become the new world No 1 and stretch his unbeaten run to 18 matches.

“No words! Crazy to think I’m in a World Championship final in my debut,” Littler told Sky Sports. “I was happy winning one game but I could go all the way!

“You’re playing Rob, he’s a world champion and won on debut. Rob told me ‘God bless, you’re a step away, do it’.

“I’ve just settled on the stage. It took me a few legs to settle in the game and once I found that rhythm I was good to go.”

World Darts Championship Semi-Finals Results

Rob Cross 2-6 Luke Littler
Scott Williams vs Luke Humphries

Littler was greeted by the Warrington Wolves’ mascot during an electrifying walk-on, but it was Cross who stormed out of the blocks and edged a quality set in a deciding leg with a 108.6 average.

It was the first time Littler had lost the first set in the tournament.

Littler showed no signs of nerves as he took out this majestic 142 checkout

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Littler showed no signs of nerves as he took out this majestic 142 checkout

Littler showed no signs of nerves as he took out this majestic 142 checkout

The teenager recovered from 2-1 down in the next set and a crucial 74 checkout in the deciding leg saw him draw level with a 101 average and four 180s.

Cross, the 2018 champion, appeared flummoxed by Littler’s incredible accuracy on the treble 20 bed and it wasn’t long before the 16-year-old moved ahead by cracking in a stunning 142 checkout before hitting the front with a 101.6 average.

The teenager nails an incredible 147 finish during his semi-final with Cross

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The teenager nails an incredible 147 finish during his semi-final with Cross

The teenager nails an incredible 147 finish during his semi-final with Cross

Littler opened the fourth set with an 11-darter and he then struck with a mammoth 149 on double 16 to move 2-1 up in legs.

‘Voltage’ levelled and he then hit six perfect darts in the next leg, but it was the world youth champion who extended his lead with a magnificent 11-darter to move 3-1 ahead averaging 103.8 with nine 180s and 65 per cent on the doubles.

What an extraordinary leg! Cross nearly hits a nine but Littler wins it in 11 darts

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

What an extraordinary leg! Cross nearly hits a nine but Littler wins it in 11 darts

What an extraordinary leg! Cross nearly hits a nine but Littler wins it in 11 darts

Cross, who made a remarkable comeback from 4-0 down to beat Chris Dobey 5-4 in their quarter-final on Monday, pinned an unorthodox 138 checkout in the second leg of the fifth set.

Littler missed one set dart at tops to extend his lead, allowing former electrician Cross to pounce and close the gap to 3-2 in sets.

‘The Nuke’ wrapped up the sixth set 3-1 with a 107 average compared to Cross’ 91.58 to restore a two-set cushion with 14 maximums.

Littler had one foot in the final after closing out the seventh set by the same scoreline, averaging 110.55 for sets six and seven.

Littler was running riot at Ally Pally and he produced this outrageous 132 finish in the eighth set on his way to victory

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Littler was running riot at Ally Pally and he produced this outrageous 132 finish in the eighth set on his way to victory

Littler was running riot at Ally Pally and he produced this outrageous 132 finish in the eighth set on his way to victory

The teen star was showboating by now and he raised the roof with a 132 checkout by using the bullseye on his way to Wednesday’s final against three-time major champion Luke Humphries or Scott Williams.

Looking ahead to the final, Littler added: “I’ll do what I’ve been doing. In the morning, go for a ham and cheese omelette, then come here have a pizza and then practice. That’s what I’ve done every day.”

Littler got better the longer the match went on. In the last three sets (13 legs) he averaged 112.62

106.05 match average

12x 180s

47% doubles

Humphries produced a statement victory against ‘Shaggy’ Williams with a 108.74 average, 14 180s, a breath-taking display on the doubles and a sensational six ton-plus finishes.

“It was amazing. I would never have imagined myself to be the world No 1. That is a special feeling. And to do it in style,” said a delighted Humphries.

“I’m really pleased with that performance. But, world No 1 can last for a couple months, World Champion is forever so I’ve got a really tough task tomorrow against Luke.”

Luke Humphries is in scary form after he hit six-ton-plus finishes in his demolition against Scott Williams

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Luke Humphries is in scary form after he hit six-ton-plus finishes in his demolition against Scott Williams

Luke Humphries is in scary form after he hit six-ton-plus finishes in his demolition against Scott Williams

Live World Darts Championship

January 3, 2024, 7:30pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

How social media reacted to Littler’s win…

The sport’s biggest event sees the final two players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. Stream Sky Sports Darts without a contract through NOW



Source link

#Luke #Littler #reaches #World #Darts #Championship #final #beating #Rob #Cross #Alexandra #Palace

World Darts Championship: Michael van Gerwen suffers shock exit to Scott Williams in quarter-finals


Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

A look back the best of the action from the evening session of the World Darts Championship quarter-finals at Alexandra Palace

A look back the best of the action from the evening session of the World Darts Championship quarter-finals at Alexandra Palace

Michael van Gerwen’s hopes of a fourth World Darts Championship title were dashed in stunning fashion by Scott Williams at the quarter-final stage on New Year’s Day.

Williams pulled off a sensational 5-3 scalp of Van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace, punishing 27 missed darts at doubles from the three-time champion to set up a meeting with Luke Humphries.

World Darts Championship: New Year’s Day Evening Results

Michael van Gerwen 3-5 Scott Williams
Luke Humphries 5-1 Dave Chisnall

Rob Cross, only former PDC world champion left and in the semi-finals for the first time since winning the title on debut

Luke Littler, 16 years old, in the semi-finals on his debut

Scott Williams in his first major semi-final

Luke Humphries, the pre-tournament favourite, into his first Ally Pally semi-final

Seasonal prize money prior to the World Championship: £32,750

Minimum prize money at the World Championship: £100,000

Scott Williams is in to the semi-finals and the world’s top 32

Scott Williams produced one of the biggest shocks in World Darts Championship history by beating Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Scott Williams produced one of the biggest shocks in World Darts Championship history by beating Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals

Scott Williams produced one of the biggest shocks in World Darts Championship history by beating Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals

Williams came charging out of the blocks by winning the opening set in straight legs, but ‘Mighty Mike’ took out 81 for back-to-back 11-darters to close out the second set 3-1 with a set average of 116.71 despite missing 12 darts at double.

Van Gerwen took out a magnificent 121 checkout before pinning double 16 to seize the initiative in the third set.

Van Gerwen hits this magnificent 121 finish during his quarter-final clash against Williams

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Van Gerwen hits this magnificent 121 finish during his quarter-final clash against Williams

Van Gerwen hits this magnificent 121 finish during his quarter-final clash against Williams

However, the Dutchman threw in a stinker of a set, averaging just 78, and Williams railroaded it 3-0 to get back on level terms at 2-2.

Van Gerwen appeared to have fallen off a cliff when Lincolnshire showman Williams made it six legs on the spin to lead 3-2, but the three-time World Champion soon restored parity in three consecutive legs to stop the rot.

‘Shaggy’ punished more crucial mistakes from the world No 2 to seal the seventh set 3-1 and go within one of a sensational victory before taking the eighth 3-1 to secure a last-four meeting with either Luke Humphries or Dave Chisnall.

Williams said he probably should have beaten Van Gerwen a bit easier after knocking out the pre-tournament favourite

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Williams said he probably should have beaten Van Gerwen a bit easier after knocking out the pre-tournament favourite

Williams said he probably should have beaten Van Gerwen a bit easier after knocking out the pre-tournament favourite

“I just knocked the best player in the world out,” Williams told Sky Sports.

“He wasn’t the Michael van Gerwen we’ve seen over the last couple of games but that’s not my problem.

“I hit the doubles and probably should have won it a little bit easier. I’m absolutely loving it up there. I love a crowd.”

Wayne Wardle was surprised at how 'erratic' Van Gerwen was during his loss

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Wayne Wardle was surprised at how ‘erratic’ Van Gerwen was during his loss

Wayne Wardle was surprised at how ‘erratic’ Van Gerwen was during his loss

Wayne Mardle called Williams’ win a “massive shock”, but also admitted he did a “number” on the Dutch ace.

“Michael van Gerwen normally loses to someone who is a big hitter already, a world champion or a major champion,” ‘Hawaii 501’ said.

“Scott Williams did a number on him. He was there to clean up when he had to clean up and he held it together so well.

“Even Luke Littler and Rob Cross are giving it… ‘WHAT!?’ What an opportunity for everyone left in the tournament.”

Michael van Gerwen missed 30 doubles in his first three games. He missed 27 against Scott Williams

52.4 per cent (33/63) – First 3 games

29.0 per cent (11/38) – vs Williams

Luke Humphries made it through to the semi-finals with this magical 117 checkout

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Luke Humphries made it through to the semi-finals with this magical 117 checkout

Luke Humphries made it through to the semi-finals with this magical 117 checkout

Williams will take on Humphries in the semi-finals after ‘Cool Hand’ thrashed Dave Chisnall 5-1 with a 103.50 average, a dozen 180s, 40 per cent on the doubles and a high checkout of 164.

The World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship winner made it 17 victories in a row to break new ground at Ally Pally.

“It felt strange to be the frontrunner for once,” said Humphries. “I have been used to a lot of comebacks for the last few days and it has just been nice to be me.

“It was nice to be in front and keep pushing hard and I didn’t relent. Chizzy played really well, he made it really tough for me.

“I haven’t been myself in the first couple of games. Tonight, we saw the form I have been showing in the last few majors.

“I played as well as I needed to.”

Humphries thinks the Worlds is wide open after Van Gerwen's exit to Williams

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Humphries thinks the Worlds is wide open after Van Gerwen’s exit to Williams

Humphries thinks the Worlds is wide open after Van Gerwen’s exit to Williams

How Littler set up Cross semi-final…

A look back the best of the action from the afternoon session of the World Darts Championship quarter-finals

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

A look back the best of the action from the afternoon session of the World Darts Championship quarter-finals

A look back the best of the action from the afternoon session of the World Darts Championship quarter-finals

World Darts Championship: New Year’s Day Afternoon Results

Rob Cross 5-4 Chris Dobey
Luke Littler 5-1 Brendan Dolan

In the afternoon, Luke Littler’s amazing Alexandra Palace journey continued after he became the youngest semi-finalist ever after he beat Brendan Dolan 5-1 in the quarter-final.

‘The History Maker’ Dolan had beaten former World Champions Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson but could not compete with Littler, who finished with an average of 101.93 to thrill his adoring fans inside Ally Pally.

All the best moments from Luke Littler in his quarter-final clash against Brendon Dolan

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

All the best moments from Luke Littler in his quarter-final clash against Brendon Dolan

All the best moments from Luke Littler in his quarter-final clash against Brendon Dolan

“It feels unbelievable. I would never have thought I would have got to the semis on my debut year,” he said.

“Brendan was just another opponent in my way and I have brushed him aside and now I am into the semi-final.

“It’s going to take a lot to stop me, based on my performances so far. But it is about whatever Luke Littler turns up.

“I have got the ability to go all the way, if it’s not to be tomorrow night, it’s not to be.

“I know I have got a good chance and I have got a good feeling I could go all the way tomorrow.”

Littler believes he is one of the best in the game at board management and he's thinking about lifting the title

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Littler believes he is one of the best in the game at board management and he’s thinking about lifting the title

Littler believes he is one of the best in the game at board management and he’s thinking about lifting the title

He will meet Rob Cross for a spot in the final after ‘Voltage’ looked dead and buried when he was 4-0 down after barely 45 minutes as Chris Dobey played one of the matches of his life.

However, the off-stage break worked wonders for Cross as the former electrician sparked into life.

He reeled off four sets of his own and then took out 130 to seal a remarkable win but he will have to improve if he is stop the Littler train.

“Everyone loves an underdog story,” he said. “As the public and people looking at the game, everyone loves an underdog story.

“I am not being rude, I am on his side, I love an underdog story.

“It took a bit of pressure off me winning it first time as well.

“He’s fantastic and he deserves all the luck in the world, he is a nice young boy. Tomorrow we play darts, though, and I have to go down to business.”

Cross came back from 4-0 down to Chris Dobey to complete a 'darting miracle!'

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Cross came back from 4-0 down to Chris Dobey to complete a ‘darting miracle!’

Cross came back from 4-0 down to Chris Dobey to complete a ‘darting miracle!’

The teenager was taking selfies after beating Brendan Dolan

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The teenager was taking selfies after beating Brendan Dolan

The teenager was taking selfies after beating Brendan Dolan

What’s happening on semi-finals night at the World Darts Championship?

Luke Littler returns to the Ally Pally stage when he aims for a spot in the World Championship final

Luke Littler returns to the Ally Pally stage when he aims for a spot in the World Championship final

Littler will take on 2018 winner Cross in the first semi-final having already proven he is ready to compete on the biggest stage after taking out UK Open winner Andrew Gilding and his hero Raymond van Barneveld on his way to the last eight and he maintained that form against Dolan on New Year’s Day.

Cross produced one of the most memorable Alexandra Palace comebacks having gone 4-0 to Chris Dobey before reeling off four sets of his own and then taking out 130 to seal a famous win.

Live World Darts Championship

January 1, 2024, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

Luke Humphries will face Scott Williams in the second semi-final on Tuesday

Luke Humphries will face Scott Williams in the second semi-final on Tuesday

Having knocked out three-time World Champion Michael van Gerwen, ‘Shaggy’ Scott Williams will take on ‘Cool Hand’ Luke Humphries as he continues his quest for a maiden Ally Pally title.

Humphries came into the tournament as the favourite after winning three of the last four majors but had endured a bumpy ride to the last eight, surviving a sudden death leg against Joe Cullen in the last round.

But he was back to his best in his quarter-final, dispatching Dave Chisnall 5-1.

The sport’s biggest event sees the remaining players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. Stream Sky Sports Darts without a contract through NOW



Source link

#World #Darts #Championship #Michael #van #Gerwen #suffers #shock #exit #Scott #Williams #quarterfinals

World Darts Championship: Michael Smith is dethroned by Chris Dobey as Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson win

Michael Smith dethroned by Chris Dobey as Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson both win; The World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Saturday at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 30/12/23 1:00am


Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

A look back the best of the action from the evening session of Day 12 of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

A look back the best of the action from the evening session of Day 12 of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

Michael Smith’s reign as World Darts Champion came to an end with an emphatic 4-0 whitewash at the hands of Chris Dobey on Friday night at Alexandra Palace.

Smith, who claimed the Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time in January, was humbled by ‘Hollywood’ with a 102.5 average and three ton-plus checkouts to claim a huge win.

World Darts Championship: Friday Evening Results

Boris Krcmar 1-4 Gary Anderson (R3)
Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Stephen Bunting (R4)
Michael Smith 0-4 Chris Dobey (R4)

Dobey dumped out Smith after producing an exceptional performance on the Ally Pally stage

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Dobey dumped out Smith after producing an exceptional performance on the Ally Pally stage

Dobey dumped out Smith after producing an exceptional performance on the Ally Pally stage

Dobey signalled his intent with a stunning 130 checkout to kick off proceedings, and after wrapping up set one, he doubled his lead after Smith missed a dart at tops to level the contest.

The Bedlington star then moved a set away from glory with clinical 100 and 87 combinations, before Smith struck back with a magnificent 140 finish to open set four.

However, Dobey was unfazed, following up a 14-dart break with back-to-back 12-darters to cap off another imperious display.

Watch all Dobey's ton-plus finishes from his superb win over Smith

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Watch all Dobey’s ton-plus finishes from his superb win over Smith

Watch all Dobey’s ton-plus finishes from his superb win over Smith

“Michael is a great lad. I’ve got all the time in the world for him, but there could only be one winner and I’m pleased it was my night tonight,” said Dobey.

“I don’t think anybody underestimates me; they know what I can do. I’ve been pretty consistent in this competition, and I’m going all out. I want to be the champion.”

Michael van Gerwen was in bullish mood ahead of his quarter-final clash against either Scott Williams or Damon Heta after thumping Stephen Bunting

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Michael van Gerwen was in bullish mood ahead of his quarter-final clash against either Scott Williams or Damon Heta after thumping Stephen Bunting

Michael van Gerwen was in bullish mood ahead of his quarter-final clash against either Scott Williams or Damon Heta after thumping Stephen Bunting

Three-time World Champion Michael van Gerwen whitewashed Stephen Bunting 4-0 with a 99.8 average and nine 180s to become the first man through to the quarter-finals.

The Dutchman has won all 11 sets he played so far in the tournament and 33 out of 45 legs with Damon Heta or Scott Williams set to challenge him in the quarter-finals next.

“There was definitely fire in the belly. We all know what Stephen Bunting can do. You have to show your best game,” said Van Gerwen.

It wasn't vintage, but Gary Anderson ddid more than enough to defeat Boris Krcmar and make the last 16 of the Worlds

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

It wasn’t vintage, but Gary Anderson ddid more than enough to defeat Boris Krcmar and make the last 16 of the Worlds

It wasn’t vintage, but Gary Anderson ddid more than enough to defeat Boris Krcmar and make the last 16 of the Worlds

Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson put on a convincing display as the Scot proved too strong for Boris Krcmar with a 4-1 demolition job.

‘The Flying Scotsman’ put on the afterburners after losing the first set by winning 12 out of next 16 legs with a 99.3 average and nine 180s to set up a meeting against Brendan Dolan.

“When Boris won the first set I thought this was going to be a struggle,” admitted the 53-year-old.

“I got it back to 1-1 and the next two sets, the third set was tight but fourth set comfortable. The last set, I kind of had him.”

World Darts Championship: Friday Afternoon Results

Damon Heta 4-3 Berry van Peer (R3)
Jonny Clayton 4-2 Krzysztof Ratajski (R3)
Jim Williams 1-4 Raymond van Barneveld (R3)

Raymond van Barneveld says he's not worried about facing anyone including Luke Littler and believes he has the form to beat him

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Raymond van Barneveld says he’s not worried about facing anyone including Luke Littler and believes he has the form to beat him

Raymond van Barneveld says he’s not worried about facing anyone including Luke Littler and believes he has the form to beat him

Raymond van Barneveld set up a mouth-watering clash with teenage sensation Luke Littler after fighting through to the last 16 of the Worlds.

Van Barneveld was far from at his best but still beat Jim Williams 4-1 to secure a Saturday clash with 16-year-old Littler, who was born 21 days after the Dutchman won the most recent of his five world titles in 2007.

Van Barneveld told Sky Sports: “I will love to play Luke Littler. When I was 16 I was playing with Lego and Playmobile, we didn’t have the internet or whatever.

“This guy is amazing, and I am looking forward so much to that game. He is a quality player and I can’t wait to meet him tomorrow night.”

Ahead of their last-16 meeting at the Alexandra Palace, Littler proves he's always been a fan of Van Barneveld! Credit:@LukeTheNuke180

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ahead of their last-16 meeting at the Alexandra Palace, Littler proves he’s always been a fan of Van Barneveld! Credit:@LukeTheNuke180

Ahead of their last-16 meeting at the Alexandra Palace, Littler proves he’s always been a fan of Van Barneveld! Credit:@LukeTheNuke180

Littler, the world youth champion, is the youngest player to reach the last 16 after reeling off three impressive victories, including averaging over 106 in his first round win over Christian Kist.

Jonny Clayton joined Van Barneveld in the last 16 as he saw off Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski 4-2, while Australia’s Damon Heta edged to a 4-3 win over Dutchman Berry van Peer.

Damon Heta sealed a stunning 4-3 victory over Berry van Peer by taking out this epic 151 checkout

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Damon Heta sealed a stunning 4-3 victory over Berry van Peer by taking out this epic 151 checkout

Damon Heta sealed a stunning 4-3 victory over Berry van Peer by taking out this epic 151 checkout

What’s happening on Saturday at the World Darts Championship?

Raymond van Barneveld says he's not worried about facing anyone including Luke Littler and believes he has the form to beat him

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Raymond van Barneveld says he’s not worried about facing anyone including Luke Littler and believes he has the form to beat him

Raymond van Barneveld says he’s not worried about facing anyone including Luke Littler and believes he has the form to beat him

The fourth round will conclude with Scott Williams and Dave Chisnall in action, while 2018 World Champion Rob Cross takes on ‘The Ferret’ Jonny Clayton.

Live World Darts Championship

December 30, 2023, 12:30pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

World Darts Championship: Saturday Afternoon Fixtures

Scott Williams vs Damon Heta
Daryl Gurney vs Dave Chisnall
Rob Cross vs Jonny Clayton

On Saturday evening, five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld faces teenage sensation Luke Littler with Luke Humphries up against ‘The Rockstar’ Joe Cullen.

The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final take place from January 1-3.

Live World Darts Championship

December 30, 2023, 7:30pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

World Darts Championship: Saturday Evening Fixtures

Brendan Dolan vs Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld vs Luke Littler
Luke Humphries vs Joe Cullen

The sport’s biggest event sees the remaining players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



Source link

#World #Darts #Championship #Michael #Smith #dethroned #Chris #Dobey #Michael #van #Gerwen #Gary #Anderson #win

World Darts Championship: Nathan Aspinall and Josh Rock suffer shock early exits at Alexandra Palace

Ricky Evans stuns Nathan Aspinall, while Josh Rock is knocked out by Berry van Peer; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Wednesday 27 at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 23/12/23 11:07pm


Ricky Evans stunned World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall at the World Darts Championship

Ricky Evans produced the upset of the World Darts Championship by crushing World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall in straight sets on Saturday night.

Evans averaged close to 100 in annihilating Aspinall 3-0, while Josh Rock saw his hopes go up in smoke as the youngster suffered a shock second-round exit to Dutch debutant Berry van Peer.

World Darts Championship: Saturday Evening Results

Ryan Searle 3-1 Tomoya Goto (R2)
Josh Rock 1-3 Berry van Peer (R2)
Stephen Bunting 3-0 Ryan Joyce (R2)
Nathan Aspinall 0-3 Ricky Evans (R2)

 Evans got the Ally Pally crowd into the festive spirit by walking on with the Christmas hit 'Merry Christmas Everyone' by Shakin' Stevens

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Evans got the Ally Pally crowd into the festive spirit by walking on with the Christmas hit ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens

Evans got the Ally Pally crowd into the festive spirit by walking on with the Christmas hit ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens

Aspinall became the 11th seeded player to exit the Worlds at the hands of ‘Rapid’ Ricky.

Following his traditional festive walk-on, Evans secured the first break of throw for a 2-1 lead, and he pinned double 10 to seal an impressive opening set before storming to a sixth leg on the spin to double his lead with a 104 checkout to leave Aspinall on the brink of an early exit.

Evans ended up losing just two legs in the contest, and averaged 99.38 with a 60 per cent checkout success to go through.

Berry van Peer stunned Josh Rock in the second round of the World Darts Championship

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Berry van Peer stunned Josh Rock in the second round of the World Darts Championship

Berry van Peer stunned Josh Rock in the second round of the World Darts Championship

Former world youth champion, Rock, went down 3-1 to the world No 107 Van Peer.

Rock was punished for six missed darts at doubles as Van Peer clinched the first set 3-1 despite an average of 84.

The Northern Ireland thrower then fired in a 107 checkout to force a second set decider, but Van Peer replied with a sensational 121 for a 12-darter to move within a set of a major upset.

Van Peer landed this epic 121 checkout en route to a famous victory against Rock

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Van Peer landed this epic 121 checkout en route to a famous victory against Rock

Van Peer landed this epic 121 checkout en route to a famous victory against Rock

However, 22-year-old Rock showed pure class to produce finishes of 101, 112 and 82 with Van Peer failing to land two match darts in the third set decider to halve the deficit.

But the debutant, who has racked up four Challenge Tour titles over the last 12 months, set up a clash with Damon Heta by taking out 48 to finish off 23rd seed Rock and continue his dream run.

Bunting praises the crowd after crushing Ryan Joyce 3-0 in a stunning performance

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Bunting praises the crowd after crushing Ryan Joyce 3-0 in a stunning performance

Bunting praises the crowd after crushing Ryan Joyce 3-0 in a stunning performance

Stephen Bunting put on a show with a magnificent 107.28 average – the highest of the tournament – five maximums and 9/19 on the doubles as he put Ryan Joyce to the sword in a whitewash victory.

“I’m so happy to play like that and show my potential,” said the former Lakeside champion, who faces German Florian Hempel next. “I’ve come here with a lot of confidence from my last two events, but I’ve played nowhere near like that.

“I’m a bit speechless, but I can enjoy Christmas now, go home, regroup and get ready for the next game.”

Stephen Bunting conducted the crowd during his entrance song 'Titanium' by David Guetta feat. Sia

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Stephen Bunting conducted the crowd during his entrance song ‘Titanium’ by David Guetta feat. Sia

Stephen Bunting conducted the crowd during his entrance song ‘Titanium’ by David Guetta feat. Sia

Ryan Searle overcame Tomoyo Goto 3-1 as he set up a mouth-watering meeting with Joe Cullen

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ryan Searle overcame Tomoyo Goto 3-1 as he set up a mouth-watering meeting with Joe Cullen

Ryan Searle overcame Tomoyo Goto 3-1 as he set up a mouth-watering meeting with Joe Cullen

Ryan Searle set up an intriguing meeting with Joe Cullen after making it through to the last 32 for the sixth year running.

‘Heavy Metal’ hammered in four 180s and a spectacular ‘Shanghai’ 120 finish in his 3-1 victory against a gutsy Tomoyo Goto from Japan.

“I got there in the end. I was throwing back stage and thought I was going to come out and break some records…but it didn’t quite happen,” revealed Searle. “I got over the line, can enjoy my Christmas now, and I’ll be back.”

World Darts Championship: Saturday Afternoon Results

Kim Huybrechts 0-3 Richard Veenstra (R2)
Callan Rydz 2-3 Ricardo Pietreczko (R2)
Jonny Clayton 3-1 Steve Lennon (R2)
Daryl Gurney 3-1 Steve Beaton (R2)

Two-time quarter-finalist Daryl Gurney produced consecutive ton-plus checkouts to clinch a 3-1 win over Steve Beaton in the afternoon session, while there were also victories for Jonny Clayton, Ricardo Pietreczko and Richard Veenstra.

Gurney pinned successive checkouts of 132 and 136 to defeat Beaton 3-1 and end the hopes of ‘The Bronzed Adonis’.

‘SuperChin’ averaged 100.79, winning seven of the first eight legs before Beaton – who has announced his intention to walk away from the sport following the 2024 season – rallied, taking the third set after his opponent had missed a match dart on double 19 attempting a 155 checkout.

Daryl Gurney nailed two massive checkouts against Steve Beaton, including a 136 finish to win the match

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Daryl Gurney nailed two massive checkouts against Steve Beaton, including a 136 finish to win the match

Daryl Gurney nailed two massive checkouts against Steve Beaton, including a 136 finish to win the match

Beaton, 59, had the throw in the fourth set but it was Gurney who closed it out to set up a post-Christmas meeting with Evans.

Earlier on, ninth seed Clayton won a match of ample missed doubles, defeating Steve Lennon 3-1 – Clayton’s doubling success was only 28 per cent but Lennon, who is now in danger of losing his Tour Card, was way worse on 15 per cent, squandering 34 darts out of 40.

Ricardo Pietreczko and Callan Rydz exchanged some big finishes during their clash

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ricardo Pietreczko and Callan Rydz exchanged some big finishes during their clash

Ricardo Pietreczko and Callan Rydz exchanged some big finishes during their clash

Elsewhere, ‘Pikachu’ Pietreczko pipped the seeded Callan Rydz 3-2, while the session began with Veenstra sweeping 2012 quarter-finalist Kim Huybrechts 3-0 in sets and 9-0 in legs as he set up a showdown with fellow Dutchman Michael van Gerwen.

Clayton will face ‘The Polish Eagle’ Krzysztof Ratajski after the festive break, while German star Pietreczko plays title favourite Luke Humphries.

Richard Veenstra thrashed Kim Huybrechts without dropping a single leg

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Richard Veenstra thrashed Kim Huybrechts without dropping a single leg

Richard Veenstra thrashed Kim Huybrechts without dropping a single leg

What’s happening after Christmas at the World Darts Championship?

Teenage sensation Luke Littler is back in action on Wednesday night when he takes on Canadian Matt Campbell with three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen and reigning champion Michael Smith also playing on a bumper evening.

World Darts Championship: Wednesday Afternoon Fixtures

Scott Williams vs Martin Schindler (R3)
Dave Chisnall vs Gabriel Clemens (R3)
Rob Cross vs Jeffrey de Graaf (R3)

Elsewhere, 2018 champion Rob Cross, Scott Williams and last year’s semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens will be among the high-profile names taking to the stage in the afternoon.

World Darts Championship: Wednesday Evening Fixtures

Matt Campbell vs Luke Littler (R3)
Michael van Gerwen vs Richard Veenstra (R3)
Michael Smith vs Madars Razma (R3)

The sport’s biggest event sees 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



Source link

#World #Darts #Championship #Nathan #Aspinall #Josh #Rock #suffer #shock #early #exits #Alexandra #Palace

World Darts Championship: Teenager Luke Littler defeats Andrew Gilding to continue dream run at Alexandra Palace

Teenager Luke Littler makes it through to the third round after knocking out the experienced Andrew Gilding; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Friday at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 22/12/23 12:42am


Luke Littler continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after recording a second win in as many days

Teenage sensation Luke Littler made it through to the third round of the World Darts Championship on his debut following a 3-1 win over UK Open champion Andrew Gilding on Thursday night.

The 16-year-old, who averaged an astonishing 106.12 in his demolition of former Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in the first round, continued his dream run on the Alexandra Palace stage by upsetting the experienced Gilding.

World Darts Championship: Thursday Evening Results

Andrew Gilding 1-3 Luke Littler (R2)
Danny Noppert 0-3 Scott Williams (R2)
Gabriel Clemens 3-1 Man Lok Leung (R2)
Damon Heta 3-1 Martin Lukeman (R2)

Littler was born in Runcorn, Cheshire, on January 21, 2007 and began playing darts aged nine.

He won the England Youth Grand Prix in 2019 and began to rack up tournament wins.

He became England Youth Open champion in 2021 and won his first senior title at the Irish Open later that year.

In 2022 he won the Welsh Open and this year notched further senior titles at the Isle of Man Classic, Gibraltar Open, British Open and British Classic.

The 16-year-old is a back-to-back JDC World Champion and reigning World Youth Champion. He doesn’t turn 17 until January 21.

Gilding nailed this 130 on the bullseye but still lost the opening set

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Gilding nailed this 130 on the bullseye but still lost the opening set

Gilding nailed this 130 on the bullseye but still lost the opening set

Gilding produced a stunning 130 checkout to level up the first set but Littler sealed it in the decider thanks to a 13-darter, averaging 101.36 with 75 per cent on the doubles.

Littler could not hold back his emotions after winning the second set

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Littler could not hold back his emotions after winning the second set

Littler could not hold back his emotions after winning the second set

‘Goldfinger’ then squandered a pair of set darts to make it all-square with World Youth Championship Littler taking full advantage by landing double 16 with his last dart in hand to double his advantage.

The 16-year-old continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after upsetting Gilding

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The 16-year-old continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after upsetting Gilding

The 16-year-old continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after upsetting Gilding

However, 53-year-old Gilding reeled off a hat-trick of legs to halve the deficit as the doubles evaded ‘The Nuke’.

But the fearless Littler continued his remarkable run at the tournament by winning the fourth set 3-1 as he pinned double 10 to set up a meeting with Canadian Matt Campbell after Christmas.

Littler plans to celebrate his sensational win over Gilding with another kebab!

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Littler plans to celebrate his sensational win over Gilding with another kebab!

Littler plans to celebrate his sensational win over Gilding with another kebab!

“I think when I went two up I gave it a bit and lost all my energy,” Littler told Sky Sports. “I was nervous as it is, I don’t know how I got over the line but I’ve done it.

“I said to myself this morning, but when I went 2-0 up I just put loads of pressure on my shoulders. But I’ve done it.”

Scott Williams was 'gutted' about missing out on a nine-darter but was happy with his win

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Scott Williams was ‘gutted’ about missing out on a nine-darter but was happy with his win

Scott Williams was ‘gutted’ about missing out on a nine-darter but was happy with his win

Scott Williams came agonisingly close to an unorthodox nine-dart finish as he sealed a superb straight-sets win over seventh seed Danny Noppert.

Despite an opening 170 salvo from Dutchman Noppert, it was Williams who stormed into a 2-0 lead, and after taking first leg of the third set, ‘Shaggy’ struck six perfect darts before hitting treble 16, treble 19 but then landing his ninth dart millimetres below double 18 for what would have been the first perfect leg of this year’s tournament.

'Shaggy' just missed out on a nine-darter after just clipping the wire during his win against Danny Noppert

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

‘Shaggy’ just missed out on a nine-darter after just clipping the wire during his win against Danny Noppert

‘Shaggy’ just missed out on a nine-darter after just clipping the wire during his win against Danny Noppert

Williams, ranked 52nd in the world, didn’t let it affect him, though, as he completed a 12-dart leg and he soon wrapped up the biggest win of his career with a neat 80 checkout.

Gabriel Clemens pulled this 140 checkout out the bag en route to victory against Man Lok Leung

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Gabriel Clemens pulled this 140 checkout out the bag en route to victory against Man Lok Leung

Gabriel Clemens pulled this 140 checkout out the bag en route to victory against Man Lok Leung

Last year’s semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens sealed a 3-1 success over tricky Man Lok Leung with 53 per cent on the doubles and three ton-plus finishes (140, 120, 120) to set up a last-32 tie against Dave Chisnall.

Australian No 1 Damon Heta breezed past Martin Lukeman with a comprehensive display to send out a warning to his rivals.

Damon Heta brings 'The Heat' in a bizarre walk-on for his clash against Martin Lukeman

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Damon Heta brings ‘The Heat’ in a bizarre walk-on for his clash against Martin Lukeman

Damon Heta brings ‘The Heat’ in a bizarre walk-on for his clash against Martin Lukeman

‘The Heat’ took out 68 in the deciding leg to edge the opener and he steamrolled the second in three unanswered legs to double his lead.

Lukeman upped his averages to win the third and halve his deficit, but Heta quickly took control of the fourth set with two breaks to complete a 3-1 win.

 Cross says 16-year-old debutant Littler had no fear after his first-round victory against Christian Kist

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Cross says 16-year-old debutant Littler had no fear after his first-round victory against Christian Kist

Cross says 16-year-old debutant Littler had no fear after his first-round victory against Christian Kist

Former champion Cross up and running at Ally Pally

World Darts Championship: Thursday Afternoon Results

Mickey Mansell 3-0 Xiaochen Zong (R1)
Luke Woodhouse 2-3 Berry van Peer (R1)
Madars Razma 3-1 Mike De Decker (R2)
Rob Cross 3-0 Thibault Tricole (R2)

Former World Champion Rob Cross got campaign off to a winning start in a comfortable victory against Frenchman Thibault Tricole in Thursday afternoon’s session.

The 2018 champion, who has not progressed beyond the last-16 since his historic title victory against Phil Taylor in his debut year, took out a finish of 114 to secure the second set, having trailed his opponent by two legs initially, and then went even better with a 126 checkout en route to winning the final six legs.

Rob Cross admits he wasn't at his best, despite coming through his second-round clash with Thibault Tricole

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Rob Cross admits he wasn’t at his best, despite coming through his second-round clash with Thibault Tricole

Rob Cross admits he wasn’t at his best, despite coming through his second-round clash with Thibault Tricole

But while one Englishman progressed, another dropped out as Luke Woodhouse finished on the wrong side of a 3-2 thriller against Berry van Peer.

The Dutch debutant suffered two bruised ribs after falling down the stairs and almost couldn’t practice ahead of his clash with ‘Woody’.

Luke Woodhouse and Berry van Peer traded blows with clinical checkouts in their thrilling encounter

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Luke Woodhouse and Berry van Peer traded blows with clinical checkouts in their thrilling encounter

Luke Woodhouse and Berry van Peer traded blows with clinical checkouts in their thrilling encounter

Madars Razma, meanwhile, also impressed in his second-round match against Mike De Decker. The Latvian triumphed 3-1 to set up a post-Christmas clash with reigning champion Michael Smith.

Mickey Mansell had opened the day with what in the end proved a comfortable 3-0 win over Xiaochen Zong in the other remaining first round tie.

Steve Beaton hopes to qualify for the World Championship next year and get the chance to step down on the biggest stage of all

Steve Beaton hopes to qualify for the World Championship next year and get the chance to step down on the biggest stage of all

In other news, Steve Beaton has confirmed his decision to retire from the PDC circuit at the end of next season.

“My full focus will be of course playing my best darts in 2024 in the PDC, and in 2025 I will be playing the World Seniors Darts Tour, which after turning 60 next April probably will suit me better,” said ‘The Bronzed Adonis’.

What’s happening on Friday at the World Darts Championship?

Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld headlines the action on Friday at Alexandra Palace

Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld headlines the action on Friday at Alexandra Palace

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, Chris Dobey and Dirk van Duijvenbode headline the action at Alexandra Palace.

Live World Darts Championship

December 22, 2023, 12:30pm

Live on Sky Sports Main Event

World Darts Championship: Friday Afternoon Fixtures

Brendan Dolan vs Mickey Mansell (R2)
Jose de Sousa vs Jeffrey de Graaf (R2)
Krzysztof Ratajski vs Jamie Hughes (R2)
Dirk van Duijvenbode vs Boris Krcmar (R2)

Elsewhere, Jose de Sousa, Krzysztof Ratajski, Brendan Dolan and Dimitri Van den Bergh will be among the high-profile names in action.

Live World Darts Championship

December 22, 2023, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

World Darts Championship: Friday Evening Fixtures

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Florian Hempel (R2)
Martin Schindler vs Jermaine Wattimena (R2)
Raymond van Barneveld vs Radek Szaganski (R2)
Chris Dobey vs William O’Connor (R2)

The sport’s biggest event sees 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



Source link

#World #Darts #Championship #Teenager #Luke #Littler #defeats #Andrew #Gilding #continue #dream #run #Alexandra #Palace

World Darts Championship: Can 16-year-old Luke Littler make shock title bid after stunning debut win?

Wayne Mardle and Mark Webster believe it is not out of the question that “incredible” Luke Littler could be in the mix to win the title after a stunning debut match win; Teenager straight back in action on Thursday against Andrew Gilding live from 7pm on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 21/12/23 6:22am


Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Luke Littler showed skills and composure far beyond his years as he demolished Christian Kist and looks a genuine contender to win the World Darts Championship

Luke Littler showed skills and composure far beyond his years as he demolished Christian Kist and looks a genuine contender to win the World Darts Championship

Sky Sports’ Wayne Mardle has hailed teenage sensation Luke Littler as “probably the most naturally gifted player I have ever seen in my life” and believes the 16-year-old could go all the way and win his debut World Darts Championship.

Littler, the reigning world youth champion, announced himself on the biggest stage in darts in the most extraordinary fashion at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night.

The third-youngest player to appear at the tournament, Littler stunned 37-year-old Dutchman Christian Kist, the 2012 BDO champion, with a stunning 3-0 victory which featured seven 180s and a blistering three-dart average of 106.12.

Littler fired a 106 average and posted seven 180s during his impressive win

Littler fired a 106 average and posted seven 180s during his impressive win

Having excelled at youth level and secured his PDC Tour Card for 2024-25, Littler’s debut on the senior stage had been highly anticipated. The emphatic nature of his maiden success is only likely to heighten the hype around the teenager from Warrington, who now faces 53-year-old compatriot Andrew Gilding in Round Two on Thursday evening.

“I can’t remember a better [debut] than that,” declared an impressed Mardle on Sky Sports Darts.

“I can’t remember someone going up there with such a swagger and just banging in 180s and hitting 11 and 12-darters like they are going out of fashion.

A look back the best of the action from day six of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

A look back the best of the action from day six of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

A look back the best of the action from day six of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

“I’m a darts fan first and foremost, I was watching it and I had goosebumps watching him. I love people achieving and that was a boy achieving something on the world stage.

“We may never see the like again. We saw it with Phil Taylor and then we saw it with Michael van Gerwen. This may be the third coming of that. I don’t know, but I’m a little bit carried away.”

Mardle, the 2001 World Championship semi-finalist, then added: “I think he’s probably the most naturally gifted player I have ever seen in my life.

“I have seen Adrian Lewis in full swing, Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen, I have seen them all.

“I don’t think I have ever seen the like.”

‘Why can’t he win it?’ Webster and Mardle agree Littler in title contention

Wayne Mardle is convinced 16 year-old Luke Littler is going to the very top and says everyone talks about his age apart from him

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Wayne Mardle is convinced 16 year-old Luke Littler is going to the very top and says everyone talks about his age apart from him

Wayne Mardle is convinced 16 year-old Luke Littler is going to the very top and says everyone talks about his age apart from him

Darts’ new young star will be back on the Ally Pally stage as early as Thursday night when he takes on No 23 seed Gilding, this year’s UK Open champion, as part of an evening session which starts at 7pm live on Sky Sports Darts.

So how deep into this tournament can Littler now possibly go? Sky Sports’ Mark Webster believes repeats of his “incredible” opening-match form could conceivably take him all the way to the January 3 final in a side of the draw that has unexpectedly been opened up by the surprise early exits of seeds Peter Wright and James Wade.

“That isn’t just a statement performance, that’s title-winning form, and he’s a serious threat in this competition now,” said Webster, the 2008 BDO champion and two-time PDC World Championship semi-finalist.

Asked how far he thought the teenager could go in this tournament, Webster then replied: “I’m going to get carried away with it: I think he can win the whole thing!

“You play like that on your debut, there’s no nerves. Look, there’s going to be a lot more coming at him, particularly in the next round. Andrew Gilding will make it difficult.

“Christian played okay but he wasn’t allowed to play and if he [Littler] does that to Gilding, that’ll send out another message. Then it’s the possibility of Matt Campbell next…if you play like that, you can win the title.”

Fellow pundit Mardle agreed.

“I loved what Mark Webster said [while] sitting here that he can win it.

“Why can’t he win it? Why can’t he win the world championship? Who has been better in their first game?

“He was pushed for a set and a bit there, he dismantled a very, very good player.

“I am just so excited because it’s the way he plays the game, it’s how good he is, it’s the fact that he shows you how good he is. He wants the crowd to be involved. There is absolutely nothing to dislike about the way [he plays]. He’s just such a natural.”

Littler on debut win: ‘That’s for you, Phil’

Littler fired a 106 average and posted seven 180s during his impressive win

Littler fired a 106 average and posted seven 180s during his impressive win

The man of the moment, meanwhile, had a message for 16-time world champion Phil Taylor after delivering arguably the performance of the tournament so far at the very first attempt.

“My debut, my first game, and I can’t believe how quickly I settled into the game,” a delighted Littler told Sky Sports.

“When I was walking on I felt a bit nervous but as soon as I found the rhythm, I was in.”

Asked where the win ranked in his short career so far, the 16-year-old replied: “[Tonight has] got to be at the top. I’ve been playing since I was 18 months old, obviously looking up to Phil Taylor. I know he’s watching – that’s for you, Phil!

“Absolutely over the moon.”

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



Source link

#World #Darts #Championship #16yearold #Luke #Littler #shock #title #bid #stunning #debut #win

World Darts Championship: Gerwyn Price breezes into third round with 3-0 whitewash of Connor Scutt

Hong Kong’s Man Lok Leung hit 11 maximums in a scintillating 3-2 comeback win over Dutch prodigy Gian van Veen in the first round; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Tuesday at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 18/12/23 11:49pm


Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

A look back at some of the best action from Day Four of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

A look back at some of the best action from Day Four of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

Gerwyn Price dropped only two legs on his way to an emphatic 3-0 whitewash of Connor Scutt in their second-round clash at the World Darts Championship on Monday night.

Price averaged 98.01, wrapping up victory in less than 30 minutes to book his place in the third round, with only a mini wobble in the third set to perturb him

Welcomed on stage with the smattering of boos that traditionally greet his Alexandra Palace appearances, the 2021 champion played along with the reception, smirking away as he clapped the crowd.

World Darts Championship: Monday Results

Mario Vandenbogaerde 1-3 Thibault Tricole (R1)
Gian van Veen 2-3 Man Lok Leung (R1)
Martin Lukeman 3-1 Haupai Puha (R1)
Gerwyn Price 3-0 Connor Scutt (R2)

Behind Price’s calm exterior though was a steely determination to get the job done and he romped through the first two sets without dropping a leg.

Scutt finally got on the board to open the third set and he might have had Price briefly worried when breaking the Welshman as he threw for the match, forcing a final-leg decider.

But it merely sparked another gear in Price as he produced a 12-dart leg to break straight back, taking out 96 to clinch a most comfortable of victories.

Gerwyn Price eases to a 3-0 victory over Connor Scutt that will the Welshman playing again after Christmas in the third round.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Gerwyn Price eases to a 3-0 victory over Connor Scutt that will the Welshman playing again after Christmas in the third round.

Gerwyn Price eases to a 3-0 victory over Connor Scutt that will the Welshman playing again after Christmas in the third round.

Price: Crowd were brilliant | ‘I wasn’t going to play’

After his win, Price praised the crowd while also commenting that that he pondered perhaps not playing in the tournament.

Gerwyn Price reacts to his 3-0 second round win over Connor Scutt in the 2024 World Darts Championship.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Gerwyn Price reacts to his 3-0 second round win over Connor Scutt in the 2024 World Darts Championship.

Gerwyn Price reacts to his 3-0 second round win over Connor Scutt in the 2024 World Darts Championship.

He told Sky Sports: “I was sat in my house at 6 o’clock yesterday and probably wasn’t going to play the tournament. I wasn’t even on my way to London.

“It is really difficult to come here with crowds on your back but credit to the crowd. If they keep on like this, there is no reason I can’t win it.”

Price added: “It wasn’t my A-game – first-round jitters – but I am happy to get through… I played pretty decent.

“The crowd were brilliant. Last year they got on my back but this year they were brilliant. I was a bit apprehensive but fair play to them.”

Leung announces himself with epic comeback win

Hong Kong’s Man Lok Leung had earlier stolen the show with his scintillating 3-2 comeback victory over 21-year-old Dutch prodigy Gian van Veen, Leung throwing as many as 11 maximums in the match!

Despite missing a staggering 22 darts at double, struggles which dug him an early 2-0 hole in sets, Leung’s sensational scoring – averaging 96.26 – eventually saw him get the better of his opponent.

Man Lok Leung claims the victory over Gian Van Veen in a closely thought battle between the pair in the first round of the World Darts Championship.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Man Lok Leung claims the victory over Gian Van Veen in a closely thought battle between the pair in the first round of the World Darts Championship.

Man Lok Leung claims the victory over Gian Van Veen in a closely thought battle between the pair in the first round of the World Darts Championship.

Van Veen, a European Championship semi-finalist this year – beating Damon Heta, Daryl Gurney and Michael van Gerwen during his run – wrestled the first two sets away from Leung thanks to superb checkouts of 116 and 112 in the fourth legs of both.

But, despite the deficit, Leung was never disheartened and he eventually made his superior scoring count, claiming each of the next three sets 3-1 to book a matchup with 22nd seed Gabriel Clemens in the next round.

Thibault Tricole made history when beating Mario Vandenbogaerde 3-1 to open the evening, the first Frenchman to compete on the Ally Pally stage winning on his World Darts Championship debut.

Tricole, a beaten finalist in the 2022 WDF world final, came back from a set down to defeat Vandenbogaerde in a real back-and-forth contest in which all four sets went into a final-leg decider.

In the first two sets, both Tricole and Vandenbogaerde let a break advantage slip, wasting opportunities when throwing for the set, with the latter taking out the first of two ton-plus checkouts on his way to claiming the first set.

Thibault Tricole throws his last dart to the floor despite winning the second set to level up the game against Mario Vandenbogaerde.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Thibault Tricole throws his last dart to the floor despite winning the second set to level up the game against Mario Vandenbogaerde.

Thibault Tricole throws his last dart to the floor despite winning the second set to level up the game against Mario Vandenbogaerde.

But Tricole fought back, angrily celebrating winning the second set by throwing one of his darts on the floor, and he eventually battled through to beat the Belgian and book a second-round clash with 2018 Worlds winner Rob Cross.

Martin Lukeman made relative light work of New Zealand’s Haupai Puha in the remaining first-round clash of the night, triumphing 3-1.

Martin Lukeman cruises to a 3-1 first round victory over Haupai Puha as he finished up with 50% on the doubles and will meet Damon Heta in the second round.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Martin Lukeman cruises to a 3-1 first round victory over Haupai Puha as he finished up with 50% on the doubles and will meet Damon Heta in the second round.

Martin Lukeman cruises to a 3-1 first round victory over Haupai Puha as he finished up with 50% on the doubles and will meet Damon Heta in the second round.

The Englishman quickly raced out into a 2-0 lead in sets, claiming six of the opening seven legs, thanks to his superior work on the doubles.

Puha battled hard to edge the third set 3-2, but it merely inspired Lukeman to take his game up another level as he swept the fourth to confirm his passage through to the second round where he’ll play Damon Heta.

Live World Darts Championship

December 19, 2023, 12:30pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

Live World Darts Championship

December 19, 2023, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

What’s happening on Tuesday at the World Darts Championship?

Michael van Gerwen will be aiming to win a fourth World title

Michael van Gerwen will be aiming to win a fourth World title

Three-time champion Michael van Gerwen enters the fray on Tuesday, while Steve Beaton – making a record-extending 33rd consecutive World Championship appearance – plays Dutch debutant Wessel Nijman in round one.

World Darts Championship: Tuesday Afternoon Fixtures

Ian White vs Tomoya Goto (R1)
Ritchie Edhouse vs Jeffrey de Graaf (R1)
Keegan Brown vs Boris Krcmar (R1)
James Wade vs Matt Campbell (R2)

Four-time semi-finalist James Wade will headline the afternoon session, before Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki makes her World Championship return against Germany’s emerging star Ricardo Pietreczko in the evening session.

World Darts Championship: Tuesday Evening Fixtures

Steve Beaton vs Wessel Nijman (R1)
Mike De Decker vs Dragutin Horvat (R1)
Ricardo Pietreczko vs Mikuru Suzuki (R1)
Michael van Gerwen vs Keane Barry (R2)

The sport’s biggest event sees 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



Source link

#World #Darts #Championship #Gerwyn #Price #breezes #whitewash #Connor #Scutt