World Matchplay Darts: Gary Anderson, Barney and Rob Cross safely into round two in Blackpool

Gary Anderson in action at the World Matchplay (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Gary Anderson in action at the World Matchplay (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gary Anderson and Rob Cross head the betting for the World Matchplay title after they both reached round two at Blackpool's Winter Gardens on Sunday.

The Flying Scotsman has never won this prestigious major - or indeed ever reached the Winter Gardens final - but became bookies favourite to do so following Michael van Gerwen's shock exit on opening night.

Anderson, who was on course to meet MVG semi-finals if they both negotiated their way through a tough top half of the draw, is now 5/2 with Sky Bet from a pre-tournament 7/1 after seeing off Stephen Bunting 10-7.

The Bullet led 5-3 despite averaging around 10 points lower than his opponent for much of the clash only for the two-time world champion to produce a trademark turbo by taking six of the next seven legs, including to move onto the brink of victory.

Bunting pulled a leg back but it merely delayed the inevitable as Anderson, who averaged 97.48 and hit five 180s.

Anderson told www.pdc.tv: "I'm glad to get past the first around against a tricky opponent in Stephen who matched me for long periods of the game. I was happy with my scoring and once I went ahead at 8-6 I felt comfortable and got the job done from there.

"I'll keep plodding on and see how far I can go, it's well documented that this isn't my favourite tournament but I'll give it a good go."

Anderson will next meet Raymond van Barneveld, who eased past Kyle Anderson 10-6 in the final match of the night.

It was a far from vintage clash with both players averaging 90 but Barney's finishing proved to be the difference as he hit 10 of his 23 attempts at doubles while the Australian missed 12 of his.

The 2010 finalist, who had raced into a 6-1 before Anderson cut the deficit to 7-5, said: "I was relieved to win in the end because I started thinking it wasn't going to happen today.

"I didn't feel comfortable for some parts of the game, I know Kyle can play a lot better than he did. I can produce better than this but I'm happy to be in the next round.

"Against Gary I will have to be a lot better, to win games on this stage you have to play your A game but I will be fully focused in that game."

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Sky Bet's World Matchplay Odds

  • Anderson - 7/2
  • Cross - 4/1
  • Wright - 7/1
  • Smith - 10/1
  • Lewis - 12/1

Click here for all the latest odds


World champion Rob Cross, the tournament's second favourite, recorded the highest average of the tournament so far with 98.58 as he brushed aside Mervyn King 10-5.

Voltage also nailed crowd pleasing checkouts of 153 and 121 as he took out almost 50% of his finishes to set up a clash with Darren Webster, who won during the afternoon session.

Fresh from back-to-back final appearances on the World Series of Darts in Las Vegas and Shanghai, the Hastings star said: "I felt really, really good up there and I grew in confidence as the game went on. The 153 settled me down and after the first break I felt much more comfortable and I was able to play my near my best game.

"It's always a tough game against Darren, he snaps at your heels all the way so I will make sure I am up for that one."

Two-time quarter-finalist Mensur Suljovic recorded his first win over Steve Beaton in nine attempts with a 10-6 success which included three ton-plus checkouts for the Austrian.

The world number six struck impressive finishes of 120, 124 and 112 to go into a commanding 6-2 lead before Beaton reduced the deficit to 7-4.

Suljovic continued his solid display to go within a leg of victory at 9-4, then squandered nine match darts as Beaton fired in a 120 checkout to stay alive at 9-6 only for Suljovic to finish the job on double 18 and advance to the second round where he will face Ian White.

The Gentle told www.pdc.tv: "I am over the moon to win that game, I thought Steve Beaton would retire before I finally beat him! I always give my best, there are so many good players in this tournament so it will be hard to win it but I will give it my best shot."

Afternoon round-up

Joe Cullen secured his first win at the World Matchplay by trashing Gerwyn Price 10-3 and will next play Daryl Gurney, who produced a stunning comeback to beat Steve West.

Bradford's Cullen raced into a 5-0 lead, hitting a clinical four doubles from six attempts before firing in a stunning 170 finish, the highest of the tournament so far, to extend his lead to 7-0.

Premier League star Price fought back to reduce the deficit to 9-3 but missed doubles to make it 9-4 and Cullen found double eight to wrap up one of the biggest wins of his career.

Cullen, who was the highest ranked non-seeded player heading into the tournament, told www.pdc.tv: "It feels like the time for me to have a good run on TV. It's a relief to win up there for the first time and I'm happy with the win.

"Gerwyn was struggling with his injury but it's my job to capitalise on that and that's what I did. My finishing was good and the 170 topped it off.

"I haven't fulfilled my potential yet but time is on my side and it feels like the time for me to have a good run on TV."

Cullen, tipped up at 14/1 to win his quarter of the draw by our tipster Chris Hammer ,will next meet Daryl Gurney following his 12-10 comeback victory over Steve West in a dramatic final match of the session.

There was nothing to separate the pair throughout the first 15 legs, before West struck a crucial break of throw to make it 9-7.

The following leg saw the Essex man squander seven darts to book his place in the second round as Gurney pounced to keep himself in the tie.

West missed two more darts at double in the next leg as the Northern Irishman struck double 20 with his final dart in hand to stay alive once again.

West regained the lead at 10-9 and then missed another match dart before Gurney hit a stunning 92 finish on the bull and then followed it up by taking the lead for the first time in the tie at 11-10.

Gurney held his nerve in the final leg, landing double 16 to set up a round two clash with Cullen.

He said: "If I had nine lives I've used them all there! I was very lucky to get the win, Steve was the better player in the latter stages," said Gurney, who was playing at the Winter Gardens for a third successive year.

"I just wouldn't roll over, Steve kept missing and I kept punishing him. If I had nine lives I've used them all there!

"I forced in the winning double and if I'd done that earlier I wouldn't have had to go through all that at the end. Hopefully I will make it easier on myself in round two."

Ian White edged out a close encounter with German debutant Max Hopp 10-7, firing in an impressive eight 180s and two ton-plus finishes.

The 2015 quarter-finalist trailed 4-3 to Hopp, before reeling off the next five legs including a sublime 154 checkout to take control of the contest.

White missed six match darts to seal victory but eventually landed double eight to banish memories of his first round defeat to Rob Cross at last year's event.

"Going into the match I knew I didn't have a good record against Max, we've had some good battles and that was another tough one," said White.

"Now I have to make sure I play well for a full match rather than just spells, I need to start taking out finishes in one dart rather than three."

Last year's quarter-finalist Darren Webster produced a strong display to defeat World Matchplay debutant Steve Lennon 10-6 in the opening match of the afternoon session.

The Norwich ace raced out of the traps to go 3-0 up, a lead which he never relinquished despite Lennon keeping pace with him throughout the tie.

Webster found double top to head into the second break with a crucial 6-4 advantage, then hit double eight with his last dart in hand to go within a leg of victory at 9-6 before wrapping up the win in the following leg to seal his place in the last 16 for a second year in succession.

"I had to make sure I was at my best with my finishing because with Steve if you miss he will punish you every time," said Webster.

"I've got good memories from last year when I did well here and hopefully I can go even further this year if I improve from this game."

Sunday results & Monday schedule

Sunday July 22
Afternoon Session (1300 BST)
First Round (best of 19 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports

  • Darren Webster 10-6 Steve Lennon
  • Ian White 10-7 Max Hopp
  • Gerwyn Price 3-10 Joe Cullen
  • Daryl Gurney 12-10 Steve West

Evening Session (1900 BST)
First Round (best of 19 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports

  • Mensur Suljovic 10-6 Steve Beaton
  • Gary Anderson 10-7 Stephen Bunting
  • Rob Cross 10-5 Mervyn King
  • Raymond van Barneveld 10-6 Kyle Anderson

Monday July 23 (1900 BST)
First Round (best of 19 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports

  • Kim Huybrechts v John Henderson
  • Simon Whitlock v Richard North
  • James Wade v Jermaine Wattimena
  • Peter Wright v Jelle Klaasen

* Each game must be won by two clear legs, with up to a maximum of five additional legs being played before the sixth additional leg is sudden-death. For example, should a First Round game (best of 19 legs) reach 12-12, then the 25th leg would be the final and deciding leg.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL WORLD MATCHPLAY DRAW, RESULTS AND SCHEDULE

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