Template - Date: Auckland Masters ‘WS4’

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN secured his first World Series title of the year as he beat Raymond van Barneveld 11-4 to win the 2018 Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB and Burger King.

In a scintillating display of darts at the Trusts Arena, Van Gerwen was at his imperious best as he beat Peter Wright and then compatriot Van Barneveld on the way to the title. Dropping just seven legs across the two games, and 13 in the tournament as a whole – Van Gerwen was back to his brilliant best after four televised tournaments without a win.

In the final, the two-time World Champion began the game in style holding throw in ten-darts to set the tone for the remainder of the encounter. The world number one quickly raced in to a 6-1 lead, barely breaking a sweat as he edged closer to the title.

Van Barneveld was then able to produce a comeback of sorts, breaking the throw to close the gap to two legs, giving the Dutch legend hope. This seemed to inspire Van Gerwen though, who went on to win five consecutive legs, which included a 156 finish on his way to the crown.

“I’m delighted to win this title for the first time,” said Van Gerwen after his impressive victory. “There have been a few tournaments since I have won and I know I don’t need to send any messages but sometimes it is nice to let everyone know who is boss.

“The standard of darts is getting better and better on this side of the world and it is important for the sport that it keeps growing,” added the 29-year-old. “Now we head to Melbourne and it’s another chance for me to pick up a title, I feel good and ready to go.”

Raymond van Barneveld was appearing in his second Auckland Darts Masters Final after losing out in the decider to Adrian Lewis in 2015. The five-time World Champion was aiming to win his first World Series of Darts event but ran in to an inspired MVG in the final.

“He’s ruining everything for us, he keeps winning everything,” joked Van Barneveld after the match. “I felt better in the final than I did in the semi but when Michael gets on a roll you can’t stop him” 

Earlier on in the evening Van Gerwen dispatched Peter Wright to book his place in the final, beating the Scot 10-3.

The Premier League Champion hit back-to-back 170 and 164 finishes in the middle of the match with the Dutchman ending the clash with an average of 102.76. Van Barneveld secured his spot in the final with a convincing 10-5 win over Simon Whitlock. The 51-year-old produced an average of 102.79 in an impressive performance.

The final was a step too far for Van Barneveld though as the world number one claimed the title and cemented his reputation as the world’s best player. The World Series returns on August 10-12 in Melbourne at the Hisense Arena before the tour Down Under concludes in Brisbane on August 17-19.

Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB & Burger King

Sunday August 5th

Semi-Finals (19)
Simon Whitlock 5-10 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 10-3 Peter Wright

Final (21)
Raymond van Barneveld 4-11 Michael van Gerwen

 

Template - Date: BetVictor World Matchplay

GARY ANDERSON was crowned BetVictor World Matchplay champion on Sunday night, defeating Mensur Suljovic 21-19 in a tie-break to lift the Phil Taylor Trophy at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

The Scot scooped the £115,000 title and succeeded Taylor as champion with a resilient display against the plucky Austrian, who led 9-7 at one stage. Missed doubles in four successive legs allowed Anderson to seize control, and the two-time World Champion held his nerve during a nerve-shattering finale to close out victory in the longest-ever Blackpool final.

Anderson had also landed a brilliant nine-dart finish during his quarter-final win over Joe Cullen, and added to March’s UK Open triumph with another big title in his tenth World Matchplay appearance.

“I’m delighted to win this magnificent tournament,” said Anderson. “It was a struggle to win, as it always is against Mensur, and I think I rode my luck a bit tonight. “When the bullseye to win it bounced out it was frustrating but I managed to regain my composure to win it.

“It’s been nice to see Phil back in Blackpool this week and the crowd have been fantastic. This is a special place for me now and I’ll look forward to coming back here next year to defend my title.”

A high-quality final saw Suljovic lead 1-0 and 2-1 only for Anderson to land six perfect darts in moving 3-2 up. Suljovic posted a pair of 14-darters to regain the edge, before Anderson finished 68 and 84 as he moved ahead 5-4.

An 11-darter saw the Champions League of Darts winner level before he led once more, and Suljovic opened up the first two-leg lead of the final at 9-7 with the aid of a 118 checkout and another 14-darter. Anderson, though, capitalised on misses from the Austrian in the next four legs as he moved 11-9 up, before extending that advantage to 14-10 despite an 11-dart leg from his opponent.

Suljovic pulled back to 15-13, but Anderson crucially took out 105 and 77 to regain breathing space as he moved to the brink of glory at 17-13. The Austrian hit back once again to save the game, with five straight legs putting him 18-17 up as a capacity Winter Gardens crowd held its breath.

Anderson regained his composure to move 19-18 up, but saw a dart at the bull for the title bounce out as Suljovic kept his hopes alive, only for the Scot to claim the next two legs and seal glory on double ten.

Suljovic took home £55,000 as runner-up following a fine week in Blackpool, and said: “It was a brilliant feeling to play in this final – it was such a good game. “Thank you to everybody for the support, I loved playing here. “Gary played brilliant, he was the best player in the tournament so it is OK to lose to him – he is a champion and I respect him.”

Sunday July 29th (7pm)

Final
Gary Anderson 21-19 Mensur Suljovic

Prize Fund:

Winner – £115,000
Runner-Up – £55,000
Semi-Finalists – £30,000
Quarter-Finalists – £17,500
Second Round Losers – £11,000
First Round Losers – £7,000
Total – £500,000

RESULTS

Saturday July 21st

First Round
Adrian Lewis 10-8 James Wilson
Dave Chisnall 10-4 Keegan Brown
Michael van Gerwen 6-10 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Michael Smith 10-6 Jonny Clayton

Sunday July 22nd

First Round
Darren Webster 10-6 Steve Lennon
Ian White 10-7 Max Hopp
Gerwyn Price 3-10 Joe Cullen
Daryl Gurney 12-10 Steve West
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 23rd

First Round
Kim Huybrechts 13-12 John Henderson
Simon Whitlock 10-2 Richard North
James Wade 12-10 Jermaine Wattimena
Peter Wright 10-5 Jelle Klaasen

Tuesday July 24th (7pm)

Second Round
Dave Chisnall 11-8 Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney 3-10 Joe Cullen
Jeffrey de Zwaan 11-9 Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson 11-9 Raymond van Barneveld

Wednesday July 25th (7pm)

Second Round
Simon Whitlock 11-7 James Wade
Mensur Suljovic 11-8 Ian White
Rob Cross 8-11 Darren Webster
Peter Wright 11-5 Kim Huybrechts

Thursday July 26th (7pm)

Quarter-Finals 
Jeffrey de Zwaan 16-8 Dave Chisnall
Joe Cullen 17-19 Gary Anderson

Friday July 27th (7pm)

Quarter-Finals 
Simon Whitlock 5-16 Peter Wright
Darren Webster 10-16 Mensur Suljovic

Saturday July 28th (7pm)

Semi-Finals
Jeffrey de Zwaan 12-17 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 13-17 Mensur Suljovic

Template - Date: Braulio Roncero Passes Away

Spanish-born Roncero who was based in the Netherlands, became the first Dutch representative at the PDC World Championship in 2000, losing in a deciding fifth set to Dennis Priestley at the Circus Tavern.

He was also a regular competitor in PDC events on the continent from 2002-2010, and played in the Lakeside Championship and World Masters.

Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld led the social media tributes to Roncero, with the pair having played together for the Dutch national team as runners-up in the Europe Cup pairs event in 1996.

Template - Date: 2018 World Youth Championship

In a move which mirrors the expansion of the William Hill World Darts Championship, an additional 32 places will be made available as the tournament grows to a new level.

There will be up to 72 qualifiers from the PDC Unicorn Development Tour Order of Merit, alongside any age-qualified players inside the top 32 on the main PDC Order of Merit. They will be joined by 24 international qualifiers from across the world to compete in the early rounds on Monday November 5 at Wigan’s Robin Park Tennis Centre.

The first round will be a group stage featuring 32 groups of three players, with the group winners progressing to compete in a knockout format from the last 32 onwards. The final will then take place on Sunday November 25 at the Butlin’s Minehead Resort between the semi-finals and final of the Players Championship Finals, live on ITV4.

An additional £10,000 has been added to the prize fund for the World Youth Championship, with the winner also securing a place in the 2018/2019 World Championship and the finalists qualifying for the 2019 Grand Slam of Darts.

Dimitri Van den Bergh (PDC)

It’s wonderful that we can expand the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship and this is a huge boost for young players around the world,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.

“This tournament has grown in stature since being introduced in 2010-11 and is a brilliant opportunity for players to make their name – with Michael Smith being the obvious example of a former World Youth Champion who is now winning titles at the highest level.

“Not only does our expanded field reward more players who compete on the PDC Unicorn Development Tour throughout the year, but it also enables us to provide further chances for qualifiers worldwide.

“With the World Series of Darts continuing to grow alongside our affiliated tours across the globe, we’re seeing young players emerging now with the ability and ambition to get to the top.

“Expanding the World Youth Championship in this way is another step for all young players and we’re looking forward to a great championship in November, both with the early rounds and the final in Minehead.”

Unicorn Darts Managing Director Edward Lowy said: “Supporting the future of darts has been in our DNA for over 80 years and we are delighted and proud to be working with the PDC on expanding the Development Tour and World Youth Championship to help develop the darting stars of tomorrow.

“You only need to look at how Dimitri Van den Bergh has developed since winning last year to see how important this tournament is.” Belgium’s Dimitri Van den Bergh will defend his title in November, having claimed the honour in 2017 by defeating Josh Payne in the final.

Canada’s Dawson Murschell has qualified as the best-performing eligible player at the recent William Hill North American Championship. 2016 World Youth Champion Corey Cadby is joined by Steve Fitzpatrick in qualifying from the DartPlayers Australia rankings, while Kiwi talent Tahuna Irwin won the DartPlayers New Zealand qualifier.

German duo Sven Hesse and Lukas Wenig are further qualifiers, alongside Gibraltar’s Jarvis Bautista, America’s Sean Coohill, Canada’s Logan Crooks and South Africa’s Alexander Faddel. Further qualifying events will be held in the USA, Canada, China, Asia, Russia, Ireland, across Europe and through PDC Nordic and Baltic, while two players will represent the Junior Darts Corporation.

A further two weekends remain on the PDC Unicorn Development Tour for players to qualify, on September 22-23 in Peterborough and November 3-4 in Wigan.

Prize Fund

Winner £10,000
Place in 2018/2019 World Championship
Place in 2019 Grand Slam of Darts
Runner-Up £5,000
Place in 2019 Grand Slam of Darts
Semi-Finalists £2,500
Quarter-Finalists £1,600
Last 16 £1,000
Last 32 £500
Second in Group £300
Third in Group £250
Total £60,000

Format
The group stage will be the best of nine legs per match, with two points awarded per win.
In the event of a tie, players are separated by head-to-head, or in the case of a three-way tie by leg difference, then head-to-head and, if needed, a three-way nine-dart shoot-out.
The knockout stage will be the best of 11 legs.

Early Rounds: November 5 2018 – Robin Park Tennis Centre
Final: November 25 2018 – Butlin’s Minehead Resort

Field:

Invitations will be issued to the following players:
Players aged 23 or under from the top 32 of the PDC Order of Merit

Up to 72 players from the final 2018 PDC Unicorn Development Tour Order of Merit
24 Invitations, as follows:

USA, Canada, Best-performing player from 2018 North American Championship, China, Asia x2, Australia x2, New Zealand, Nordic & Baltic x2, Germany x2, Gibraltar, Ireland x2, Russia, JDC x2, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, South Africa. Once place TBC.

Template - Date: Shanghai Masters ‘WS3’

The 2018 Premier League finalist battled past the field to secure the £20,000 top prize and win a first televised title since winning the World Youth Championship in 2013.

Smith followed up his day one whitewash victory over Xiao Chen Zong with a 8-5 win over Royden Lam, who had become the first Asian qualifier in the history of the Shanghai Darts Masters to register a win after his victory over Gary Anderson the night before.

The Semi-Final stage saw Smith end world number one Michael van Gerwen’s run as Shanghai Darts Masters Champion with an impressive 8-4 win. In truth it was a scrappy game between the pair with both averaging just over 90.

The real moment of quality in the match came from Van Gerwen as he took out a 170 finish in the seventh leg, however that was still not enough to deny Smith a place in his first ever World Series final as he went on to secure the win.

The 27-year-old came out the blocks quickly in the final, racing in to a 4-0 lead over Rob Cross, who was making his second final in a week after losing in the decider in Vegas seven days before.

Cross did manage to recover one of the breaks of throw to close the gap to two but a stunning 130 finish from Smith reopened the four leg lead, before the man from St.Helen’s secured the final two of the match to seal the win. The victory gave Smith his tenth senior PDC title and the Englishman spoke of his delight after the final.

“I have just won on stage and it feels amazing. It’s my third title of the year and after the Premier League I was getting doubts in my head whether I would get another chance to win a TV title, but I got it today.

“I didn’t play my best, but I was battling all the way, didn’t let my head drop and kept my spirits high.” Smith now heads to the World Matchplay filled with confidence as he looks to claim another title for his growing collection.

“Two years ago I made a Semi-Final and that was all that was on my record. I didn’t get lucky in the Premier League – I was showing that I could battle, win matches and I finished second. I have a won a Pro Tour, World Series and the next is a major now. If I can do that in a calendar year then I will be happy.”

Rob Cross began the final day of action in style beating James Wade 8-3 with an average of 106 to progress to the last four. There, the World Champion met Peter Wright where once again Cross would prove too strong for his opponent, coming out an 8-5 winner but ultimately ran out of steam in the final against Smith.

“In fairness, Michael deserved that – I was useless. At the same time, I can’t be disappointed… I felt knackered when I started and come the final I just didn’t have the energy left, I thought I was lucky to hit the dartboard – but fair play to Michael,” said the 27-year-old.

Cross added: “I’m feeling happy with my game at the moment, but today was just about having no energy – there just wasn’t enough there to carry me through.” The world’s top players now head to Blackpool for the start of the BetVictor World Matchplay taking place between 21-29 July before heading Down Under for the final three World Series events in August.

21.co.uk Shanghai Darts Masters

Saturday July 14th
Quarter-Finals

Royden Lam 5-8 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 8-4 Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross 8-3 James Wade
Peter Wright 8-7 Gerwyn Price

Semi Finals
Michael Smith 8-4 Michael Van Gerwen
Rob Cross 8-5 Peter Wright

Final
Michael Smith 8-2 Rob Cross

Template - Date: US Masters ‘WS2’

Two-time World Champion Anderson showed his class with a series of gritty performances as he took the £20,000 title and continued his global success with a first win in Las Vegas.

Anderson followed up his brilliant first round win over DJ Sayre by ending the hopes of Canadian youngster Dawson Murschell with an 8-5 quarter-final win, after trailing 3-2 early on. He was also made to work hard in the semi-finals, avoiding defeat by the width of a wire against James Wade before prevailing in a deciding leg.

Wade led 6-2 before Anderson hit back to level, and the left-hander then moved 7-6 up only to miss double ten for a 140 checkout and victory, before the Scot levelled and took out 75 to snatch the win. World Champion Cross made the early running in the final by taking a 3-0 lead, and also held a 4-1 advantage.

Anderson, though, punished missed doubles from his rival as he levelled in a run of seven legs as he stormed to victory, sealing the title with a stunning 164 checkout. Cross had won through to his first World Series of Darts final with impressive wins over Michael Smith and Peter Wright during Saturday’s final day of action.

Smith played his part in an outstanding quarter-final, sharing the opening 12 legs before Cross pulled clear to win 8-6, with the pair landing seven maximums apiece. Cross then overcame Peter Wright 8-3 in the semi-finals, but was denied the title by Anderson’s amazing fightback.

Wade had produced one of his most dominant displays on the World Series stage as he ended Michael van Gerwen’s title defeat with an outstanding 8-3 quarter-final victory. Wade led 5-0 before Van Gerwen hit back, but a crucial 161 stopped the world number one’s fightback in its tracks as he moved into the last four.

Wright overcame 2017 US Masters finalist Daryl Gurney 8-6 in their quarter-final tie, avenging a narrow loss to the Northern Irish ace at the same stage a year ago. The eight PDC stars, including Friday’s first round victim Gerwyn Price, will now travel to China ahead of the next World Series of Darts event, the Shanghai Darts Masters, on July 13-14.

William Hill US Darts Masters

Saturday July 7th

Quarter-Finals (15)
Peter Wright 8-6 Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross 8-6 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson 8-5 Dawson Murschell
Michael van Gerwen 3-8 James Wade

Semi-Finals (15)
Peter Wright 3-8 Rob Cross
Gary Anderson 8-7 James Wade

Final (15)
Rob Cross 4-8 Gary Anderson

Template - Date: Smith wins North American Championship

The big-stage action in Las Vegas began as New Brunswick’s Smith scooped the $10,000 title and a place in the William Hill World Darts Championship. The 42-year-old had come through the qualifiers earlier in the week despite a flight cancellation meaning that he was only able to fly in to Las Vegas on Tuesday morning.

However, he showed his class to succeed Willard Bruguier as the North American Champion with some gutsy displays. He firstly came from 2-0 down to defeat Ross Snook 6-5 in the quarter-finals, surviving one missed match dart from his fellow Canadian before prevailing in the deciding leg.

Smith then defeated American youngster Danny Lauby 6-3 in the semi-finals before overcoming Canada’s Norman Jnr in the final. Newfoundland’s Norman Jnr had come from 3-1 down to level the tie, but a superb 121 checkout from Smith edged him back ahead before he punished seven missed doubles from his rival to open up a 5-3 lead.

Norman hit back on double five to keep his hopes alive, but Smith sealed glory with a fine 108 checkout to capture the biggest title of his career. “It means a lot,” said Smith. “I had to work hard all the way through.

“My plane came in late on the first day so I was doubtful even to get to the stage.

“I started a bit slowly today and I had to improve a lot to win this title. I’ve played John so many times and he’s such a good player. “With the PDC doing what they’re doing here, it’s really giving us a chance and the game’s progressing. It’s been spectactular.”

Smith, a former Lakeside Championship finalist, made his William Hill World Darts Championship debut last December, overcoming Luke Humphries before losing out to Gary Anderson.

“It was such a great experience for me to get to go last year, and I really appreciate the PDC giving me that opportunity to play,” added Smith. “I’ve got a little bit of experience now playing on the big stage, and I really can’t wait to get back and do it again. I’m so happy – it’s going to be awesome.

“The atmosphere there is beyond anything that I’ve ever experienced. I’ve played the Grand Slam in Wolverhampton and that was amazing but to step on that Ally Pally stage is unreal – you can’t explain it until you get up there and do it.”

Norman Jnr had whitewashed David Cameron in his opening fixture, before edging past Dawson Murschell 6-5 in the semi-finals, after the youngster missed one dart at tops to claim victory in the decider.

I tried my best, but hats off to Jeff Smith,” admitted Norman Jnr. “He’s a great player and an ambassador for north America – he’s fantastic.”

Murschell was a 6-3 quarter-final winner against DJ Sayre as he hit six doubles from seven attempts, while Lauby’s big-stage debut saw him overcome Joseph Huffman 6-4 before losing out to Smith.

The eight north American aces will return to the Mandalay Bay stage on Friday to compete in the William Hill US Darts Masters, where they face eight top PDC stars in the two-day World Series of Darts event.

William Hill North American Championship

Thursday July 5th

Quarter-Finals
John Norman Jnr 6-0 David Cameron
Dawson Murschell 6-3 DJ Sayre
Danny Lauby 6-4 Joseph Huffman
Jeff Smith 6-5 Ross Snook

Semi-Finals
John Norman Jnr 6-5 Dawson Murschell
Jeff Smith 6-3 Danny Lauby

Final
Jeff Smith 6-4 John Norman Jnr