World Darts results: Peter Wright avoids shock after stunning 162-140 finish against Noel Malicdem

Peter Wright
Peter Wright

A review of Friday’s action at the William Hill World Darts Championship as Peter Wright came through an unbelievable clash with Noel Malicdem.

EVENING SESSION

Snakebite survives Elf scare

Peter Wright avoided another early exit at the World Darts Championship in sensational fashion as he defeated Noel Malicdem in a sudden death leg at the end of five pulsating sets.

Snakebite, who was stunned at this stage of the competition by Toni Alcinas 12 months ago, looked on the verge of defeat in this year's Elf costume when trailing 2-1 in the decider and still needed 302 when his plucky Filipino opponent required 121.

However a visit of three treble 18s brought his score down to 140 and when Malicdem missed a match dart at the bullseye, he came back to complete his stunning 12-darter that will no doubt be talked about for years to come.

Wright was on a roll and finished from 104 to move a leg away from victory but he missed a dart at double 19 for victory in the next as the Asian Tour star refused to buckle.

Malicdem, who started out as a 9/2 outsider, had the next golden chance to break in the ninth leg only to see all three of his darts at double 13 shave the outside wire, although he'd then hold his nerve from 64 in the next to take his compelling see-saw contest the full distance.

Wright won the bull to throw first and he made that advantage count by following up an opening 180 - his ninth of the match - with a 140 to race clear before pinning double 16 for a 13-darter.

The World Cup winner could well have wrapped the match up a lot earlier having led the fourth set 2-0 and then missed a dart for victory in the fourth leg of it, but Malicdem ensured the drama would go long into the night.

Wright averaged 96.53 compared to his opponent's 93.77 and hit two more maximums while he also hit three 100+ checkouts and pinned 16 of his 33 attempts at doubles.

The 2014 finalist, who has won four titles this season including the televised German Darts Masters, will now hope to make the most of his fortune - and indeed brilliance - by reaching his third major final having finished runner-up at the Champions League of Darts and the Grand Slam of Darts.

Aspinall battles past Baggish

An emotional Nathan Aspinall came through a surprisingly tough clash with Danny Baggish to book his place in the third round of the World Darts Championship.

Last year’s semi-finalist, whose accent to stardom began in this round 12 months ago when coming from two sets down to beat Gerwyn Price, was this time playing the role of the hot favourite against the unheralded American.

But the new pressures of expectancy - as opposed to his 2018 concerns of trying to earn enough to pay the bills - were weighing down on him early on as Baggish took the opening set 3-1, with Aspinall averaging way down in the low 80s.

With seemingly many pundits and fans predicting an easy night for the UK Open champion, including yours truly, the pumped up underdog was keen to ridicule those 3-0 forecasts when sinking his double tops - although it could be interpreted as him claiming he would win by that margin.

The Stockport star, who also won the US Darts Masters in a stunning 2019, got his head in gear by blitzing through the second set 3-0 using just 39 darts, including an 82 checkout, while a fine finish from 100 at the start of fourth completed a fine 14-darter.

Baggish responded by taking the next two legs, with the help of a 96 checkout, but was unable to carve out a double attempt for the set as Aspinall showed his battling qualities to move one away from victory.

The plucky underdog refused to lie down and forced a deciding leg in the fourth set, only for Aspinall to dominate it and come through with a 14-darter.

Afterwards the Asp explained just why he felt so much pressure as the favourite and how the Ally Pally crowd lifted him when facing the prospect of an early exit.

Cullen’s Ally Pally Kurz continues

Nico Kurz has gone further on his dream Alexandra Palace debut than Joe Cullen has managed in 10 attempts after the rising German star caused a big shock at the World Darts Championship.

The 22-year-old, who famously beat Gary Anderson with a 170 checkout at this season’s German Darts Masters, followed up his triumph over James Wilson with another superb display that belied his inexperience of the big stage.

Kurz, who averaged 93.05, bounced back from the disappointment of missing two darts at double to win the opening set by taking the next three and claim another notable scalp.

Cullen has failed to advance to the third round in any of his 10 appearances at the Ally Pally, where he has also managed just a single victory.

The Bradford man came here on the back of an encouraging season in which he’d won a maiden European Tour title - against MVG no less - but couldn’t build on the high quality darts he produced during his opening set comeback in which he managed a 116 checkout and two further legs in a combined 27 darts.

It was then Cullen’s turn to blow a two leg lead in the second set as Kurz stormed back to level the match before an 11 darter helped him take the next 3-1.

A deciding set looked likely when the 15th seed led 2-0 but he’d not even earn himself a set dart as Kurz fought back with three successive legs.

Max just about Hopps into round three

Max Hopp survived a five-setter with Benito van de Pas but his performance was overshadowed by German youngster Nico Kurz earlier in the night.

His country's number one, who has largely failed to deliver on his potential and hype this season apart from one Pro Tour final, would have been expecting a showdown with compatriot Gabriel Clemens only for van de Pas to pull off an unexpected victory.

And the Dutchman, who is struggling to retain his Tour card after an alarming slide down the rankings, once again raised his game for the biggest occasion by twice coming from behind to force a deciding set.

Hopp, however, reeled off a pair of 13-darters to take it 3-0 and book a third-round meeting with Darius Labanauskas.

Hopp's average of 90.03 was considerably better than his opponent's 84.73 while they both hit three 180s, converted 45% of their doubles and threw a pair of 100+ checkouts apiece.

Van de Pas managed the highest with 158 in the second set while Hopp's best of 148 came in the fourth.

AFTERNOON SESSION

Evans reels in the Big Fish

Ricky Evans threw a 170 checkout to complete a fine 3-1 victory over Mark McGeeney before getting into the Festive spirit with his unique brand of celebratory dancing.

One of the great entertainers in darts - whether it's for his walk-ons or his ridiculously fast throwing - was at it again with a trademark rapid display and he almost pulled off a total whitewash after winning the first eight legs of the match.

McGeeney did launch a spirited fightback to claw a set back but it merely delayed the inevitable as Evans raced through the next in just 38 darts, with his 170 checkout completing a lightning 12-darter.

The 32nd seed, who averaged 95.66, hit three 180s and pinned 11 of his 20 attempts at doubles, will next meet Michael van Gerwen in what promises to be a thrillingly quick battle.

Evans spoke after the match about his love of performing up on a stage environment, why he revels in the atmosphere of the Ally Pally and how it could help him pull off a shock against MVG.

His celebrations to mark his 170 checkout were not too dissimilar to when he brought the house down this time last year - although on that occasion he ended up losing.

King keeps place at the Palace

Mervyn King needed a tie-break to see off rising Irish star Ciaran Teehan at the Alexandra Palace after blowing a two-set lead in their second round clash.

The 53-year-old, who is competing in his 24th consecutive world championship and his 13th in the PDC, it looked as though he wouldn’t need to be at his best to reach the last 32 as he took the opener 3-0 with an average in the low 80s.

King upped his game at the start of the second with 11 and 13 darters before polishing it off 3-1 as Teehan missed nine attempts at a double in a poor fourth leg from both players.

The 20-year-old, who had impressed so much during his 3-0 victory over Ross Smith 3-0 on his Ally Pally debut, began to punish his vastly experienced opponent for a drop off in standard as he took the third set 3-1.

At 2-2 in the fourth, the Bradwell thrower missed 111 for victory and Teehan responded with a 56 checkout to force a decider.

King regained his composure to go 2-0 up only to spurn the advantage once more as Teehan showed no signs of pressure to string together 13 and 14-darters.

The Irish star, however, blew four more darts at doubles from 24, with King taking full advantage before closing out the match with a 13-darter.

King is still searching for his first TV title since joining the PDC in 2017 but he’s proved this year just why he’s so dangerous having reached the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals, beating the likes of Nathan Aspinall, Gary Anderson, James Wade, Dave Chisnall and Rob Cross during those runs. Not to mention a victory over Michael van Gerwen at the UK Open.

But he will have to up his game having averaged just 88 despite six maximums while on the plus side he did make two 100+ checkouts and finished 41% of his doubles.

Jonny was good, very good

Jonny Clayton only dropped three legs has he powered past Jan Dekker 3-0 to set up a meeting with Stephen Bunting.

The Ferret, who won a Pro Tour title back in April, has struggled to impression the TV stages for much of 2019 but this performance will leave him brimming with confidence as he averaged 95.16, hit 60% of his doubles and made two 100+ checkouts.

Dekker only had a day to rest from his dramatic clash with Ryan Joyce, which he won 3-2 after surviving match darts, but at least he was coming into this encounter warm compared to Clayton, who has been itching to get his campaign under way.

The Dutchman never got going, and his average of just 85 owed much to his issues on the outer ring as he missed 10 of his 13 attempts at doubles.

Demolition job for Webster

Darren Webster stormed into the third round of the World Championship with a crushing 3-0 victory over Yuki Yamada for the loss of just one leg.

The Demolition Man lived up to his nickname in emphatic fashion as the qualifier from the PDC Asian Tour, who shocked Ryan Meikle on his debut, struggled particularly on his finishing.

Webster hasn't exactly had a great season since losing 3-0 to Vincent van der Voort here 12 months ago but he came flying out of the blocks with a 106 checkout in the opening set and never looked back.

The Norwich thrower's average of 91.28, boosted by just a single maximum, was easily enough on this occasion while he also made another ton plus checkout and pinned nine of his 22 attempts at doubles.

Yamada, who won the opening leg of the match, averaged 82.34 with not a single 180s but he could have made it closer had he not missed eight of his double attempts.

World Darts Championship: Friday results & Saturday schedule

Friday December 20
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
Second Round (Best of 5 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Darren Webster 3-0 Yuki Yamada (Second Round)
  • Mervyn King 3-2 Ciaran Teehan (Second Round)
  • Jonny Clayton 3-0 Jan Dekker (Second Round)
  • Ricky Evans 3-0 Mark McGeeney (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900)
Second Round (Best of 5 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Nathan Aspinall 3-1 Danny Baggish (Second Round)
  • Joe Cullen 1-3 Nico Kurz (Second Round)
  • Max Hopp 3-2 Benito Van de Pas (Second Round)
  • Peter Wright 3-2 Noel Malicdem (Second Round)

Saturday December 21
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
Second Round (Best of 5 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Keegan Brown v Seigo Asada (Second Round)
  • Simon Whitlock v Harry Ward (Second Round)
  • Steve West v Ryan Searle (Second Round)
  • Adrian Lewis v Cristo Reyes (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900)
Second Round (Best of 5 sets)
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Darts

  • Daryl Gurney v Justin Pipe (Second Round)
  • Glen Durrant v Damon Heta (Second Round)
  • Mensur Suljovic v Fallon Sherrock (Second Round)
  • Dimitri Van den Bergh v Josh Payne (Second Round)

CLICK HERE FOR FULL WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE AND GUIDE

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