Big guns misfire in Minehead
James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld both lost on the opening day of the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals in Minehead.
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Wade opened a 4-2 lead over Brendan Dolan thanks to a 129 checkout of treble 19, double 18, double 18.
But that proved a turning point of a different kind for the English left-hander as Irishman Dolan won the next four legs to claim a 6-4 victory.
Van Barneveld recovered from 4-0 down to lead Steve Beaton 5-4, only to miss four darts for the match in the next two legs as Beaton prevailed in a decider.
There were no such problems for Phil Taylor, who averaged over 100 in a 6-2 success over Mark Webster.
Wayne Jones whitewashed Dave Chisnall 6-0 in the opening match of the Friday evening session, while world champion Adrian Lewis came through a bad-tempered affair with Richie Burnett 6-3.
In-form Dutchman Michael van Gerwen saw off defending champion Kevin Painter 6-3 to book his spot in the second round.
Elsewhere, Gary Anderson won the last two legs to see off Wes Newton 6-4, while Simon Whitlock broke Jamie Craven in the seventh leg on his way to a 6-3 win.
Local favourite Terry Jenkins lost out after a thrilling deciding leg defeat against Mervyn King in the afternoon matches.
Jenkins is a local for the event being held in Minehead, and the crowd was fully behind The Bull despite him falling 3-0 behind after a fast King start.
Jenkins levelled at 3-3 and the match went to a decider at 5-5 when the nerves got to both men with King missing six darts for the match and Jenkins three.
King had the most chances though and with his seventh attempt he booked his place in the second round to face either Raymond van Barneveld or Steve Beaton.
Paul Nicholson was another big-name casualty as Ronnie Baxter hit back from being on the verge of elimination to win the last two legs to also go through in a deciding leg.
Robert Thornton averaged almost 100 as he easily disposed of Mark Walsh 6-1, while Michael Smith and Peter Wright were both 6-5 winners over Ian White and Colin Lloyd respectively.
Kim Huybrechts won the final three legs of his match with Vincent van der Voort to win 6-3 and set-up a second round clash with Smith.
"Getting the win was the main thing and I'm really happy with that but it wasn't a great game and I didn't think I played too well, so hopefully I can improve for the second round," said the Belgian. "I was a bit nervous because I've a lot of respect for Vincent so it's good to beat him."
Justin Pipe is also a local lad hailing from nearby Taunton, and he was also a 6-3 winner as he made it through a testing tie against Colin Osborne.
"It was a bit of a scrappy game for me but the important thing was that I won," said Pipe. "It's great to win with all three of my children here for the first time, and it's nice that they could come and support me.
"Living in Taunton means I'm only a 40 minute drive home and I can treat the family to dinner, relax in my own bed tonight and come back for the second round nice and fresh tomorrow."
Andy 'The Hammer' Hamilton made light work of Andy Smith following a 6-2 first round victory. He hit six of 14 doubles with a 88 average.