Speedy Services UK Open - Friday
REIGNING Speedy Services UK Open champion Robert Thornton, former champions Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld and James Wade and in-form Michael van Gerwen all won through to the fourth round of 'The FA Cup of Darts' with victories at the Reebok Stadium on Friday night.
Thornton began the defence of his title in the £200,000 event with a hard-fought 9-7 win over Northamptonshire's emerging star Matthew Edgar.
Edgar, a former wrestler, held a 6-4 lead before Thornton - aided by a 124 finish - hit legs of 12, 11 and 13 to move ahead, and though the youngster levelled, it was the Scot who finished legs of 13 and 14 darts to progress with an average of 101.
"I knew Matt was a good player and he was with me all the way, but I managed to produce a couple of great legs at the end," said Thornton. "I love this tournament so I'm happy to still be in it, and it's there for anybody to win."
Thornton will now play 2008 World Championship finalist Kirk Shepherd, after the Kent ace won through with a 9-7 defeat of Swindon's Mark Cox.
Four-time UK Open champion Phil Taylor, meanwhile, was a 9-0 whitewash winner against Belgium's Ronny Huybrechts, hitting two 11-darters, a 115 finish and averaging 104 in a dominant display.
"Ronny's been having a great year so I had to come out to try and beat him 9-0 because he'd have done the same to me, given the chance," said Taylor. "I felt a bit for him but it's dog-eat-dog and I'm just pleased to be through.
"I love it here in Bolton. It's a great challenge for us all because there's plenty going on around you on the other stages, and I'm looking forward to Saturday now."
Taylor has now drawn Adrian Gray, the carpet fitter from Sussex who knocked him out of the 2007 World Grand Prix and saw off Speedy Qualifier Dean Stewart 9-5 on Friday night.
Two-time winner Raymond van Barneveld missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish as he edged past new World Youth Champion Michael Smith 9-8.
Smith took the game's first three legs without reply, but missed his chances to win the fourth as the Dutch ace hit back to lead 4-3, and though Smith edged back ahead at 6-5, van Barneveld took him to the deciding leg before taking out 88 in two darts for the win.
"I knew I had to take out the 88 finish in the last leg so I'm delighted to have done it to win," said van Barneveld. "Michael's in great form and winning the World Youth Championship has been a big boost for him, and you can see that in the way he's playing.
"If he'd hit the doubles to go 4-0 up then it might well have been a different story, but he let me in and it was pretty close from then and always exciting - I can't win 9-3 or 9-2, it always feels like it has to be close!"
Another two-time winner, James Wade, followed up Thursday night's three victories with a strong 9-7 defeat of Jamie Caven.
The world number four has drawn last year's semi-finalist Dave Chisnall, who defeated Ireland's William O'Connor 9-4 as he moved into the last 32.
Michael van Gerwen, the tournament favourite and new McCoy's Premier League Darts champion, took a 9-5 win over Mervyn King as he took victory over the Norfolk thrower for a second time in six days, following Sunday night's win in the Austrian Darts Open final.
King held his own for much of the game, but van Gerwen produced a key 88 finish on the bull to lead 7-4 before taking three of the next four legs to seal the win, which sets up a clash with Michael Mansell, who was a 9-8 winner against Speedy Qualifier Conan Whitehead.
Adrian Lewis and Wes Newton will meet on Saturday afternoon in another fourth round clash to feature two of the world's top ten players.
Lewis stormed past youngster Matthew Dennant 9-1, while Newton produced finishes of 140 and 112 as he hit back from 3-2 down to defeat world number five Simon Whitlock 9-4.
Gary Anderson landed three ton-plus finishes and four 180s in a 9-7 win over Andy Smith, and the 2010 finalist will now meet Kevin Painter, who picked up a 9-1 win over Scottish debutant Jason Hogg.
Liverpool-based brothers Lee and Joey Palfreyman also won through to the fourth round on Friday night.
Joey, the elder of the pair, defeated Steve Beaton 9-5 and now plays van Barneveld, while former Las Vegas Desert Classic semi-finalist Lee was a 9-5 winner against Joe Cullen.
Lee now plays Ronnie Baxter, who overcame a strong fightback from Ken MacNeil to take a 9-8 victory after the Canadian hit back from 6-1 down to force a deciding leg.
2004 UK Open finalist John Part came from 3-1 down against Ted Hankey to take a 9-4 win before being drawn against Andy Hamilton, the Stoke ace who came from 3-0 down to defeat Andy Boulton 9-6.
Kim Huybrecht's 9-5 win over Germany's Jyhan Artut earned the Belgian a clash with Terry Jenkins, who was a 9-7 winner over fire officer Jim Walker, while Brendan Dolan's narrow defeat of Colin Lloyd set up a clash with Derbyshire's Matt Padgett, who impressed with a 9-2 win over Richie Howson.
Kevin McDine came from 4-1 down to defeat teenager Adam Hunt 9-8, and the Newcastle-born ace now plays Scotland's John Henderson, who was a 9-7 winner against Coventry's Scott Rand.
Dutch star Jelle Klaasen's run of form continued with his 9-7 win over Bolton-based Ross Smith, who had hit back from 7-4 down to level before being edged out as the former Lakeside Champion progressed to a clash with Cheshire's Stuart Kellett, who defeated Swindon veteran Dennis Smith 9-3.
Speedy Qualifier Stephen Bunting, the reigning World Masters champion, continued his impressive tournament with a 9-3 victory over former semi-finalist Andy Jenkins, which included the St Helens ace winning the first six legs without reply.
Bunting, the only remaining amateur qualifier left in the event, now plays colourful Peter Wright, who was a 9-4 winner against Gaz Cousins.
Richie Burnett won the battle of Welsh former World Champions with Mark Webster 9-2, and he now faces Steve West, the Waltham Abbey-based thrower who was a 9-3 winner against Ian White.
Widnes' John Bowles knocked out Paul Nicholson 9-5 and will now play Terry Temple, who won his all-Yorkshire clash with Mark Lawrence 9-4.
Saturday afternoon's fourth round will be followed in the evening session by the fifth round of the event, which will conclude on Sunday with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final split across two sessions in Bolton.
Stay in touch with the very latest from the Speedy Services UK Open throughout the weekend through the OfficialPDC Social Media Channels:
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UK TV coverage live on Sky Sports - alongside international broadcasts through RTL7 in the Netherlands, Sport1 in Germany, OSN across the Middle East, Fox Sports Australia and Sky New Zealand.
LIVEPDC.TV International Pass Subscribers (outside of the UK, Ireland & Holland) can also watch live coverage from the whole tournament in www.LIVEPDC.TV.
Live Scores from the Speedy Services UK Open can be followed through http://live.dartsdata.com.
Speedy Services UK Open
Mark Webster 2-9 Richie Burnett
John Part 9-4 Ted Hankey
Phil Taylor 9-0 Ronny Huybrechts
Michael van Gerwen 9-5 Mervyn King
Gary Anderson 9-7 Andy Smith
Kim Huybrechts 9-5 Jyhan Artut
Simon Whitlock 4-9 Wes Newton
Raymond van Barneveld 9-8 Michael Smith
Adrian Lewis 9-1 Matthew Dennant
Steve West 9-3 Ian White
Matt Padgett 9-2 Richie Howson
Mark Lawrence 4-9 Terry Temple
Conan Whitehead 8-9 Michael Mansell
Kevin McDine 9-8 Adam Hunt
Peter Wright 9-4 Gaz Cousins
Steve Beaton 5-9 Joey Palfreyman
Adrian Gray 9-5 Dean Stewart
John Henderson 9-7 Scott Rand
Dave Chisnall 9-4 William O'Connor
James Wade 9-7 Jamie Caven
Robert Thornton 9-7 Matthew Edgar
John Bowles 9-5 Paul Nicholson
Terry Jenkins 9-7 Jim Walker
Ken MacNeil 8-9 Ronnie Baxter
Andy Hamilton 9-6 Andy Boulton
Stephen Bunting 9-3 Andy Jenkins
Kirk Shepherd 9-7 Mark Cox
Stuart Kellett 9-3 Dennis Smith
Kevin Painter 9-1 Jason Hogg
Lee Palfreyman 9-5 Joe Cullen
Ross Smith 7-9 Jelle Klaasen
Brendan Dolan 9-8 Colin Lloyd
Dave Chisnall v James Wade
Phil Taylor v Adrian Gray
Gary Anderson v Kevin Painter
Michael van Gerwen v Michael Mansell
Brendan Dolan v Matt Padgett
Joey Palfreyman v Raymond van Barneveld
Terry Jenkins v Kim Huybrechts
John Part v Andy Hamilton
Ronnie Baxter v Lee Palfreyman
Jelle Klaasen v Stuart Kellett
Kevin McDine v John Henderson
Wes Newton v Adrian Lewis
Terry Temple v John Bowles
Robert Thornton v Kirk Shepherd
Stephen Bunting v Peter Wright
Steve West v Richie Burnett
First Set of Matches
Richie Burnett took victory over Mark Webster in the opening game on the main stage, leading 2-1 early on courtesy of a 121 finish and taking command with a key 96 checkout to lead 5-2, before winning the next four legs to seal a 9-2 win.
Belgium's Kim Huybrechts was a 9-5 winner on stage two, taking a 4-0 lead against Jyhan Artut before holding off a fightback from the German to progress.
Steve West romped past Ian White with a 9-3 win, while Speedy Qualifier Stephen Bunting was another big winner as he defeated Andy Jenkins by the same scoreline, having taken the game's first six legs without reply.
Kevin McDine came from 4-1 down to defeat Adam Hunt 9-8 in a tense contest, while John Henderson hit back from 6-4 down to defeat Scott Rand 9-7 as he reached the last 32 for the first time in Bolton.
John Bowles saw off Paul Nicholson 9-5, and Liverpool's Lee Palfreyman won by the same scoreline against Joe Cullen.
Second Set of Matches
2004 runner-up John Part battled past Ted Hankey 9-4 to win through to the fourth round, having trailed 3-1 as the two-time World Champion took out 145 in taking command, before the Canadian treble World Champion hit back by winning six of the next seven legs, finishing 113 and 110 in the process.
Wes Newton was another comeback winner, as he hit back from 3-1 down, against Simon Whitlock, to power to a 9-4 triumph, landing finishes of 112, 140 and 100 in progressing to the last 32.
Derbyshire's Matt Padgett produced a fine performance to defeat Richie Howson 9-2, while Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall were 9-4 winners against Gaz Cousins and William O'Connor respectively.
Terry Jenkins held off Jim Walker's fightback to claim a 9-7 win in their clash, while Kirk Shepherd won by the same scoreline against Mark Cox.
Holland's Jelle Klaasen ended the hopes of Bolton-based Ross Smith in a thriller, taking a 7-4 lead before the local favourite hit back to level, but it was the former Lakeside Champion who took the game's final two legs to continue his run of form.
Third Set of Matches
Phil Taylor whitewashed Ronny Huybrechts 9-0 as he continued his challenge for a fifth Speedy Services UK Open title, hitting two 11-darters, a 115 checkout and averaging 104 in a fine performance.
Raymond van Barneveld, a two-time UK Open champion, joined Taylor in the last 32 in dramatic circumstances as he defeated new World Youth Champion Michael Smith 9-8. Smith led 3-0 but missed darts to win the fourth leg as van Barneveld hit back, and the Dutchman later missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish - taking out a ten-darter - before finishing 88 in two darts to win the deciding leg.
Terry Temple defeated fellow Yorkshireman Mark Lawrence 9-4 as he moved into Saturday's fourth round, while Liverpool's Joey Palfreyman upset the odds with a 9-5 defeat of Steve Beaton.
Two-time champion James Wade won his fourth game of the event as he followed up his Thursday treble with a 9-7 defeat of Jamie Caven.
Ronnie Baxter held off Ken MacNeil's fightback from 6-1 down before edging to a 9-8 win, while Cheshire's Stuart Kellett was a 9-3 winner against Dennis Smith.
Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan also went all the way to a decider as he edged past Colin Lloyd 9-8, with both players initially missing match darts before the former World Grand Prix finalist progressed.
Fourth Set of Matches
Michael van Gerwen defeated Mervyn King for the second time in six days as he took a 9-5 win from their clash, which was a repeat of Sunday's Austrian Darts Open final. Van Gerwen had an early chance at a nine-darter with six perfect darts as he held a 3-2 lead and he was also 6-4 up before finishing a key 88 on the bull, before going on to claim the victory.
Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis swept past Walsall student Matthew Dennant 9-1 to progress, while Kevin Painter defeated Scottish debutant Jason Hogg by the same scoreline.
Reigning champion Robert Thornton averaged 101 in a strong performance as he came from 6-4 down to defeat Matthew Edgar 9-7.
Michael Mansell edged out Speedy Qualifier Conan Whitehead 9-8, while another amateur, Andy Boulton, led Andy Hamilton 3-0 before going down 9-6.
Adrian Gray followed up Thursday's good form by defeating Wolverhampton-based Speedy Qualifier Dean Stewart 9-5.
Gary Anderson was the night's final winner, taking out finishes of 136, 118 and 104 and hitting four 180s in a 9-7 win over Andy Smith.