A review of Monday's action at the Betfred World Matchplay in Blackpool, as Peter Wright made it 19 wins in a row while Daryl Gurney and Simon Whitlock also progressed.
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Snakebite's venom too strong for Dutch Destroyer
Peter Wright maintained his hot streak of form with a highly impressive 10-5 victory over Vincent van der Voort as he laid down a serious marker at the World Matchplay.
Snakebite, who helped Gary Anderson lift the World Cup of Darts for Scotland last month, headed to Blackpool having won three titles in a row - the German Darts Masters followed by back-to-back Players Championship events last week - so this latest result makes it 19 match victories on the trot.
Wright has averaged over 100 in 10 of those too, including on this occasion with his mark of 102.04 being the highest out of the 16 players who have got through to the second round.
The 2017 UK Open champion, who has 25 PDC titles to his name but is seeking his second major televised crown this week, looked in early trouble when finding himself 2-0 down but he got on the board with a breathtaking 164 checkout and never looked back as he began to hit top form.
Van der Voort keep hanging in there at 6-5 down before the 49-year-old sprinted towards the finishing line with four legs on the trot, including an 11-darter in the 14th leg.
Wright finished with a 102.04 average, hit six 180s and also pinned 10 of his 21 darts at doubles while his Dutch opponent missed 11 of his despite averaging a strong 97.4.
The Scotsman, who faces Simon Whitlock next, told www.pdc.tv: "I had to play really well because Vincent was fantastic. It's about time I come into this tournament feeling good, I normally come into it feeling tired and its felt like hard work. This time I'm feeling nice and fresh.
"Whoever I play in this tournament will have to play well, otherwise they're going home."
Gurney dodges Evans' rapid fire
Daryl Gurney overcame some early jitters and a late wobble to clear his first hurdle at the World Matchplay as he fired nine maximums in a 10-7 victory over Ricky Evans.
The Northern Irishman, bidding for his third televised title having won the World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals over the past couple of seasons, averaged 96.34 but that would have been higher had he not shambled around on his doubles so much, most notably in the fourth leg when he busted twice when leading 18-251 to somehow let Evans level the scores.
Gurney got his act together almost immediately as he powered into a 7-3 lead while a match high checkout of 116 to complete a 12-darter that put him 8-4 ahead of his fast-throwing opponent.
Evans, however, came alive with three legs on the spin including a fine 85 finish on the bullseye to pile on the pressure only for SuperChin to hold his nerve with his last dart in hand on double six in the next.
Back-to-back maximums for the 2017 semi-finalist followed in the 17th leg, which he finished in 15 darts to underline his credentials in Blackpool.
His success will be of comfort to followers of our World Matchplay outright tips as he joins Michael Smith and Ian White - the other two pre-tournament selections - in round two.
Gurney, who faces Keegan Brown next, said: "If I had gone off the boil and he was getting six darts at double per leg then I would've been panicking, but as it was I always felt quite calm and confident of winning.
"I'm happy with the win. You've got to be in it to win it, and I'm still in it. I've got another couple of gears to go through and I'll need to unlock those if I'm going to win the tournament.
"I know I'm in for a tough game against Keegan, I saw him on the practice board earlier and he was hitting everything, but hopefully I can come out on top and progress to the quarter-final."
Needle ends Clayton's Winter-fell hopes
Keegan Brown won his second ever match on the Winter Gardens stage as he knocked out 14th seed Jonny Clayton in an entertaining clash on Monday night.
The Needle, who had reached the second round just one before in his two previous appearances in 2015 and 2018, made four 100+ checkouts in a dazzling display of finishing which saw him hit 10 of his 16 attempts at doubles.
Brown, who enjoyed an encouraging run at the World Championship before losing an epic to James Wade, may have been a marginal outsider but this result won't come as a shock to anyone considering he's enjoyed a more impressive season so far compared to Clayton's, reaching three semi-finals including two on the European Tour.
The Isle of Wight thrower fired in a match high checkout of 148 to level the scores at 1-1 and then another from 134 to make it 4-4 in a close encounter in which there was never more than a leg between the pair until Clayton broke throw in the 12th with a 14-darter.
Brown refused to lie down and won the next two legs, including another stunning checkout of 127 on the bullseye, before the next two went with throw, leaving the tie evenly poised at 8-8.
For the fourth time in the match, the former world youth champion fired in a three figure finish - this time from 109 - to break the Ferret's throw before finishing the job in the next.
Wizard's magic disappoints John's mum
John Henderson's winless run in Blackpool since 2011 continued as Simon Whitlock defied his superior average to reach the second round.
Henderson was hoping his mother Margaret's presence in the crowd for just the second in his career and first since that magical night in Aberdeen, where he held Michael van Gerwen to a thrilling Premier League draw, would help him reverse his fortunes on the Winter Gardens stage but it was not to be.
Despite a fine performance in which he averaged six points more than Whitlock with 101.33 and hit almost 50% of his doubles, the popular Scotsman bowed out 10-8.
Whitlock may not have had the lion's share of the support but the crowd appreciated a great match and the two-time semi-finalist here will fancy his chances of another lengthly Blackpool run.
It was a real see-saw battle, with the Aussie's 112 checkout putting him 5-3 up only for Henderson to storm back with three legs on the trot as the fans got behind the Highlander.
This run of momentum ground to a halt when Whitlock rattled off four successive legs, culminating in a match high finish from 124 and although Henderson's plucky checkouts of 97 and 81 made him sweat, the Wizard finally got the job in a nervy 18th leg in which his opponent missed three darts at doubles.
Monday results & Tuesday schedule
Monday July 22 (1900 BST)
First Round (best of 19 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Jonny Clayton 8-10 Keegan Brown
- Simon Whitlock 10-8 John Henderson
- Daryl Gurney 10-7 Ricky Evans
- Peter Wright 10-5 Vincent van der Voort
Tuesday July 23 (1900 BST)
Second Round (best of 21 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
- Michael Smith v Max Hopp
- James Wade v Mensur Suljovic
- Gary Anderson v Mervyn King
- Michael Van Gerwen v Glen Durrant
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