William Hill World Championship Day Five

December 21 2015


WORLD GRAND PRIX champion Robert Thornton crashed out of the William Hill World Darts Championship as Alan Norris produced a classy performance on his Alexandra Palace debut on Monday night, while James Wade and Michael Smith also progressed to round two.

Number six seed Thornton was left stunned as former Lakeside Championship finalist Norris claimed a straight sets victory, hitting four 180s in the process.

"This is what you dream of," said Norris, who set up a last 32 clash with Joe Murnan. "Beating a top player in front of all these people here is just amazing.

"Wow. I'm loving life in the PDC. What's not to like? I was a bit nervous in places but Robert didn't play his usual game and I took advantage."

Wade enjoyed a convincing three-set triumph against Greece's John Michael, who had earlier hit a 161 finish in his 2-0 preliminary round win against South Africa's Warrick Scheffer.

The world number seven teed up a second round tie against Wes Newton or Cristo Reyes as he kept alive his hopes of lifting that elusive World Championship trophy.

"It's not a question of if I win it, it's a question of when," declared Wade, who has been mentored by the legendary Eric Bristow ahead of the event. "I've been a bit lazy in the past at this time of year but for the last 12 months I've worked as hard as I can, harder than I've ever worked before.

"People don't realise how difficult it is to get through that first round so I'm happy I've done that and I can prepare for the next one."

Number eight seed Smith came through a dramatic encounter with Dutch teenager Jeffrey De Zwaan, with the former World Youth Champion triumphing in a sudden-death leg after the pair had shared 12 180s.

Smith, who reached his first major semi-final at last month's Grand Slam of Darts, took the first set but was at risk of becoming another big-name casualty when De Zwaan won the next two.

He levelled the match with the aid of a brilliant 134 finish before the pair shared ten legs in set five to set up the tournament's first sudden-death decider, in which Smith took victory with a strong 14-darter.

"It was a nervy game at times and a brilliant game at times," said Smith, who will meet Steve Beaton in the second round. "Jeffrey is a top class player and he showed that.

"I could've thrown in the towel but I dug in and I'm pleased with how I held it together at the end."

Tuesday sees the penultimate night of first round action with former PDC major finalists Dave Chisnall and Terry Jenkins and Wes Newton all entering the fray, live on the Sky Sports Darts channel from 7pm.

William Hill World Darts Championship
Monday December 21

Warrick Scheffer 0-2 John Michael (P)
Robert Thornton 0-3 Alan Norris
Michael Smith 3-2 Jeffrey De Zwaan
James Wade 3-0 John Michael

Preliminary Round - best of three sets
First Round - best of five sets

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Warrick Scheffer 0-2 John Michael
SET ONE: 1-3
Scheffer hit a 180 in the opening leg as he broke his opponent's throw but Michael pegged double one to level. He then landed double 16 to move ahead before wrapping up the first set on double six.

SET TWO: 0-3
Michael broke Scheffer's throw immediately and produced a fabulous 161 checkout to double his lead. The 13-time Greek National Champion then finished the job when he followed a 177 by hitting double eight.

Match Stats
Warrick Scheffer 0-2 John Michael
10 100+ 13
3 140+ 7
0 170+ 1
1 180 0
77.12 Average 88.01
10 High Finish 161
1 Breaks of Throw 4
1/13  7.69% Checkout % 6/19  31.58%

Robert Thornton 1-3 Alan Norris
SET ONE: 0-3
Norris pegged double five before his first 180 helped him break Thornton's throw and he added another maximum as he won the first set in three legs.

SET TWO: 2-3
Norris broke the Scotsman's throw again before Thornton finally got off the mark and he landed double top to edge ahead. Norris levelled with the aid of his third 180 - and his fourth maximum, followed by an 81 finish, saw him complete an 11-darter to double his lead.

Thornton produced a brilliant 121 finish on the bull but Norris hit back, taking out 66 to level before completing an impressive victory on double eight.

Alan Norris Audioboom Interview

Match Stats

Robert Thornton 0-3 Alan Norris
14 100+ 13
8 140+ 11
1 170+ 0
0 180 4
88.66 Average 96.88
121 High Finish 81
2 Breaks of Throw 5
3/9  33.33% Checkout % 9/16  56.25

Michael Smith 3-2 Jeffrey De Zwaan
SET ONE: 3-1
De Zwaan took out 90 on the bull to take the first leg before Smith also landed the same target to complete a 92 checkout. The former World Youth Champion then finished 50 on tops before winning an incredible leg, which saw De Zwaan start with six perfect darts and Smith hit five treble 20s before he wrapped up the set with a clinical 101 finish.

SET TWO: 0-3
De Zwaan quickly reeled off three legs without reply, landing double four, double five and double two to level the match.

De Zwaan took out 60 to break and the Dutch teenager then finished 86 on the bull before Smith pulled a leg back. De Zwaan moved ahead in the match though, pegging double 14 after hitting a 180.

Smith produced a fantastic 134 checkout, completing the combination with two double tops. A 180 helped him double his lead and he then took out 105 to level the match.

After Smith's third 180 helped him take the first leg, De Zwaan took out 62. Smith responded with a 93 finish on the bull but the Dutchman cleaned up 56 to take the match to a tie-break, with a winning margin of two legs required.
The pair then shared four legs, the last of which ended with a sensational 128 finish from De Zwaan, and the next two legs also went with the throw to force this year's first sudden death leg.
Smith won the bull to throw first and kicked off with 125, 131 and 134 - punishing his opponent for starting the leg by scoring 29 - before nailing double four to move into round two.

Michael Smith Audioboom Interview

Match Stats

Michael Smith 3-2 Jeffrey De Zwaan
34 100+ 43
13 140+ 14
0 170+ 0
6 180 6
95.31 Average 96.2
134 High Finish 128
4 Breaks of Throw 3
13/22  59.09% Checkout % 12/39  30.77%

James Wade v John Michael
SET ONE: 3-1
Wade started brilliantly, finishing 16 and 68 to take the first two legs before leaving tops after nine darts, only to miss three darts at double before Michael landed double 13. The pair both suffered double trouble in the next leg but Wade eventually pegged double five to take the set.

SET TWO: 3-2
Wade pinned tops in leg one but Michael took out 108 to level. The next two legs were also shared before Wade's third 180 helped him clinch the crucial fifth leg.

Wade took the first two legs before the Southern Europe Qualifier sank double five to keep his faint hopes alive but Wade quickly killed them by landing tops to progress.

James Wade Audioboom Interview

Match Stats
James Wade 3-0 John Michael
24 100+ 10
10 140+ 10
0 170+ 1
3 180 0
95.77 Average 84.26
68 High Finish 108
2 Breaks of Throw 0
9/23  39.13% Checkout % 4/16  25%


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