World's top eight progress at Cazoo UK Open; two former champions exit

Michael van Gerwen (Kieran Cleeves/PDC)

The world's top eight players advanced to the fifth round of the 2023 Cazoo UK Open on Friday, as two former champions crashed out on a dramatic opening day in Minehead.

The tournament's opening day at Butlin’s Minehead Resort saw 126 matches played across eight stages on a frantic Friday at the annual festival of darts.

The first four rounds took place across two sessions, as the 158-player field was whittled down to 32 by the conclusion of Friday's action.

Two-time runner-up Gerwyn Price produced an imperious display to end the fairy-tale run of teenage debutant Thomas Banks, one of two 16-year-old Rileys Amateur Qualifiers to reach round four.

Banks overcame Graham Hall and Conor Heneghan before succumbing 10-3 to Price, who averaged 103 and posted seven maximums to cap off an outstanding performance in Friday evening’s curtain-raiser.

Meanwhile, Luke Littler – who came through the Rileys Chorlton Qualifier on his 16th birthday – claimed a hat-trick of superb wins before bowing out in round four against Adam Gawlas, despite averaging over 100.

Three-time UK Open winner Michael van Gerwen defied a spirited rally from Dave Chisnall to seal his spot in Saturday’s fifth round, firing in a timely 11-darter to wrap up a 10-8 success.

“It wasn’t an easy draw against Dave, but you need to make sure you win and I did that,” reflected Van Gerwen, who comes into Minehead fresh from back-to-back nightly wins in the Premier League.

“I don’t often have a lot of luck in the UK Open, but you have to produce your A-game, whoever you’re drawn against.

“I am winning games without playing well and that gives you confidence. That’s the only thing that matters at the moment.”

Reigning champion Danny Noppert also advanced courtesy of a 10-8 victory, defying a valiant fightback from Jim Williams to come out on top in a high-quality affair.

World Champion Michael Smith – a runner-up in last year's event – advanced in more serene style, averaging 101 and converting three ton-plus finishes in a 10-4 rout of Ian White.

“It was difficult being up there against one of my best mates and my practice partner, but I had a job to do,” admitted Smith, who has been struggling with a wrist injury in the last week.

“Ian made it 4-7 and he had darts for 5-7. If that had gone in, it could have been a different story, but I took out the 124 on the bull and then the 167 and 100 followed.

“I pulled it out from somewhere. Ian is a really good friend, but I wouldn’t have been happy if I’d lost that match and hopefully I can go all the way now.”

Peter Wright returned to winning ways in a dramatic showdown against Stephen Bunting, firing in a 14-dart break to win a last-leg shoot-out, after Bunting missed double 12 for a nine-darter in the penultimate leg.

Masters champion Chris Dobey also missed double 12 for a nine-darter in his 10-6 victory over Ryan Searle, averaging 102 to join his fellow Premier League stars Dimitri Van den Bergh and Jonny Clayton in the last 32.

Van den Bergh dispatched World Championship semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens 10-5 in his opener, while Clayton defied nine 180s from European Champion Ross Smith to prevail in a deciding-leg thriller.

Nathan Aspinall secured his first UK Open win since lifting the title in 2019 as all eight Premier League players progressed to round five, with Aspinall recovering from 7-3 and 9-7 adrift to deny Alan Soutar.

Two-time winner Raymond van Barneveld was one of two former champions to depart the tournament at the fourth round stage, after being edged out in a last-leg decider by 2018 World Champion Rob Cross.

Meanwhile, 2018 winner Gary Anderson produced the performance of the night to account for three-time champion James Wade, averaging almost 105 and crashing in eight 180s to close out a 10-8 victory.

On the outside boards, 2021 runner-up Luke Humphries overcame World Cup winner Damon Heta in a last-leg decider, after Joe Cullen had underlined his credentials to see off Irish newcomer Dylan Slevin.

Elsewhere, 2014 champion Adrian Lewis stormed through to round five, following up a whitewash win over Joe Murnan by averaging 102 to ease past Canada's Matt Campbell.

Brendan Dolan reeled off five straight legs from 9-5 down to stun 2007 runner-up Vincent van der Voort, who saw his compatriot Dirk van Duijvenbode come through a topsy-turvy tussle against Krzysztof Ratajski.

Jeffrey de Zwaan and Karel Sedlacek were the only two players who began their campaigns in round one to advance to Saturday’s action, while veteran trio Steve Beaton, Mervyn King and Richie Burnett also progressed.

Luke Woodhouse was one of Friday’s stand-out performers, posting ton-plus averages in emphatic wins over Josh Rock and Jelle Klaasen to seal his spot in Saturday’s draw, dropping just four legs in the process.

The draw for the fifth round was made live on the Main Stage at the conclusion of Friday night's action, with reigning champion Noppert pitted against William O'Connor in a repeat of last year's semi-finals.

Van Gerwen will take on his compatriot Martijn Kleermaker, with world number one Smith up against Humphries in an eye-catching tussle.

Elsewhere, Price plays De Zwaan, Anderson faces a resurgent Kim Huybrechts, and Wright will meet former World Championship quarter-finalist Callan Rydz.

At the conclusion of the fifth round, the draw will be made for the sixth round - which will take place across two stages on Saturday evening.

The remaining eight players will then return to compete for the £110,000 top prize on Sunday, as the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final take place on a bumper day of action.

Main Stage matches across the event will be broadcast live on ITV3 or ITV4 for UK viewers, through the PDC's international broadcast partners, including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

Stage Two action on Saturday will be streamed exclusively for all PDCTV Subscribers worldwide, with commentary from Dan McCarthy and Paul Nicholson.

In addition, matches from Stages Three and Four will be live on PDCTV on Saturday, with every match of this year’s tournament broadcast live for the first time in UK Open history.

Click here to view live scores, match stats & results

2023 Cazoo UK Open
Friday March 3
Afternoon Session 
First Round

Luke Littler 6-0 Nick Fullwell
Jelle Klaasen 6-2 Josh Payne
Gian van Veen 6-4 Robert Owen
James Richardson 6-4 Thibault Tricole 
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Lukas Wenig
Joshua Richardson 6-4 Sebastian Bialecki
Jurjen van der Velde 6-4 Brett Claydon
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Christian Kist
Arron Monk 6-5 Vladimir Andersen
Dan Read 6-5 Callum Loose
Conor Heneghan 6-2 Daniel Lee
Graham Hall 6-4 Jeffrey Sparidaans
Daniel Klose 6-3 Jacques Labre
Karel Sedlacek 6-2 Harry Lane
Adam Warner 6-2 Andy Jenkins
Graham Usher 6-4 Noel Grant
Niels Zonneveld 6-2 Nathan Girvan
Michael Flynn 6-4 Jonathan Wynn
Robbie Knops 6-2 Callum Goffin
Nick Kenny 6-5 Pascal Rupprecht
Jitse Van der Wal 6-5 Jarred Cole
Jim McEwan 6-1 Danny Lauby
Jim Moston 6-4 Kenny Neyens
Dylan Slevin 6-0 Maik Kuivenhoven
Gary Davey 6-4 Lee Evans
Christopher Holt 6-3 Danny van Trijp
Darren Webster 6-4 Dom Taylor
Lewis Gurney 6-5 Darryl Pilgrim
Owen Roelofs 6-3 Stuart White
Stephen Burton 6-5 Adam Smith-Neale

Second Round
Danny Jansen 6-4 Bradley Brooks
Connor Scutt 6-3 Jimmy Hendriks
Richie Burnett 6-2 James Richardson
Niels Zonneveld 6-3 Keegan Brown
Kevin Doets 6-4 Jules van Dongen
Luke Littler 6-2 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Matt Campbell 6-4 Christopher Holt
Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-3 Daniel Klose
Mickey Mansell 6-4 Jose Justicia
Cameron Menzies 6-2 Jim Moston 
Ted Evetts 6-2 Jim McEwan
Lewis Gurney 6-5 Stephen Burton
James Wilson 6-0 Luc Peters
Damian Mol 6-4 Gary Davey
Dan Read 6-4 Brian Raman
Owen Roelofs 6-3 Joshua Richardson
Richard Veenstra 6-1 Jamie Clark
Darren Webster 6-5 Tony Martinez
Conor Heneghan 6-5 Nick Kenny
Thomas Banks 6-3 Graham Hall
Nathan Rafferty 6-2 Kevin Burness
Graham Usher 6-5 John O'Shea
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Geert Nentjes
Jelle Klaasen 6-1 Ricardo Pietreczko
Radek Szaganski 6-3 Krzysztof Kciuk
Gian van Veen 6-5 Scott Waites
Jurjen van der Velde 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts
Karel Sedlacek 6-1 Michael Flynn
Ross Montgomery 6-5 Adam Warner
Dylan Slevin 6-4 Shaun Wilkinson
George Killington 6-1 Jitse Van der Wal
Robbie Knops 6-0 Arron Monk

Third Round
Adrian Lewis 6-0 Joe Murnan
Luke Woodhouse 6-2 Josh Rock
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Ross Montgomery
Florian Hempel 6-3 Jamie Hughes
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Boris Krcmar
Steve Beaton 6-4 Connor Scutt
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 Scott Williams
William O'Connor 6-2 Devon Petersen
Danny Jansen 6-1 Lewy Williams
Kevin Doets 6-3 Radek Szaganski
Adam Gawlas 6-4 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Luke Littler 6-5 Ritchie Edhouse
Mike De Decker 6-5 Ryan Joyce
Ian White 6-2 Cameron Menzies
Jim Williams 6-3 Gian van Veen
Dylan Slevin 6-2 Robbie Knops
Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Steve Lennon
Martin Lukeman 6-4 Dan Read
George Killington 6-5 Madars Razma
Richie Burnett 6-1 Jurjen van der Velde
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Mickey Mansell
Keane Barry 6-3 Damian Mol
Matt Campbell 6-1 Jeff Smith
Karel Sedlacek 6-1 Lewis Gurney
Nathan Rafferty 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Andrew Gilding 6-2 Darren Webster
Darius Labanauskas 6-3 Niels Zonneveld
Ted Evetts 6-3 Owen Roelofs
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 Richard Veenstra
Ricky Evans 6-5 Graham Usher
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-5 James Wilson
Thomas Banks 6-2 Conor Heneghan

Evening Session
Fourth Round

Gerwyn Price 10-3 Thomas Banks
Michael van Gerwen 10-8 Dave Chisnall
Michael Smith 10-4 Ian White
Gary Anderson 10-8 James Wade
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-5 Gabriel Clemens
Rob Cross 10-9 Raymond van Barneveld
Jonny Clayton 10-9 Ross Smith
Peter Wright 10-9 Stephen Bunting
Jose de Sousa 10-8 Darius Labanauskas
Luke Woodhouse 10-2 Jelle Klaasen
Martijn Kleermaker 10-6 George Killington
Karel Sedlacek 10-4 Mensur Suljovic
Adam Gawlas 10-8 Luke Littler
Adrian Lewis 10-4 Matt Campbell
William O’Connor 10-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Dirk van Duijvenbode 10-8 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jeffrey de Zwaan 10-9 Danny Jansen
Mervyn King 10-7 Keane Barry
Ted Evetts 10-8 Nathan Rafferty
Danny Noppert 10-8 Jim Williams
Joe Cullen 10-7 Dylan Slevin
Martin Schindler 10-7 Simon Whitlock
Callan Rydz 10-7 Daryl Gurney
Kim Huybrechts 10-8 Mike De Decker
Kevin Doets 10-9 Martin Lukeman
Richie Burnett 10-9 Florian Hempel
Steve Beaton 10-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Brendan Dolan 10-9 Vincent van der Voort
Chris Dobey 10-6 Ryan Searle
Andrew Gilding 10-5 Ricky Evans
Nathan Aspinall 10-9 Alan Soutar
Luke Humphries 10-9 Damon Heta

Cazoo UK Open
Fifth Round Schedule
Saturday March 4 (1245 GMT)
Main Stage

Gerwyn Price v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Michael Smith v Luke Humphries
Martijn Kleermaker v Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright v Callan Rydz

Stage Two
William O'Connor v Danny Noppert
Kim Huybrechts v Gary Anderson
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Nathan Aspinall
Mervyn King v Dimitri Van den Bergh

Stage Three
Richie Burnett v Ted Evetts
Adrian Lewis v Martin Schindler
Joe Cullen v Karel Sedlacek
Jonny Clayton v Jose de Sousa

Stage Four
Adam Gawlas v Kevin Doets
Luke Woodhouse v Andrew Gilding
Chris Dobey v Brendan Dolan
Steve Beaton v Rob Cross