Poland produce record World Cup Pairs average to storm into last 16

Team Poland (Jonas Hunold/PDC)

Krzysztof Ratajski and Krzysztof Kciuk produced a new world-record Pairs average to storm through to the last 16 on a bumper day of action at the My Diesel Claim World Cup of Darts on Friday.

Day Two of the £450,000 tournament saw the round-robin phase conclude with a double session at Frankfurt’s Eissporthalle, as Poland underlined their title credentials with a sensational performance.

Having edged out Portugal in their Group G opener, Ratajski and Kciuk turned on the style to dispatch Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas and Mindaugas Barauskas with an astonishing 118.10 average in their winner-takes-all clash.

The Polish pairing produced legs of 14, 13, 12 and 12 darts to celebrate a 4-1 success, breaking Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld’s previous Pairs record of 117.88 – which was set in 2014.

Poland now take on host nation Germany in Saturday's second round in a stand-out tie, with crowd favourites Gabriel Clemens and Martin Schindler breezing through to the last 16 without losing a leg.

The Germans followed up their 4-0 win over Hong Kong on Thursday’s opening night with another whitewash success in their decider against Japan.

Schindler drew first blood for the sixth seeds with a 116 checkout, setting the tone for another demolition job alongside World Championship semi-finalist Clemens.

“We will take it,” joked Schindler, who reached the last eight alongside Clemens in last year’s showpiece.

“It’s not easy to play in front of your home crowd because we want to perform, we want to show our very best, but we’re very happy to get through.

“We are not looking any further than tomorrow. We believe in ourselves, we trust in our ability, but there are so many strong teams, so we are just focusing on us.”

Reigning champions Australia advanced in similar style, breezing past Gibraltar in four straight legs to continue their title defence at the Eissporthalle.

Gibraltar ran out 4-1 winners against Guyana on Friday afternoon to create a straight Group A shoot-out, but an irrepressible Simon Whitlock inspired the seventh seeds to another crushing victory.

The 54-year-old boasted an individual average of 107, and followed up three maximums with a match-winning 126 finish to continue his love affair with the popular Pairs event.

An emotional Devon Petersen inspired South Africa through to the knockout stages, firing in three 180s and converting a 130 checkout as the two-time quarter-finalists saw off debutants Iceland 4-2.

South Africa required three just legs after Spain’s win over Iceland earlier in the day, and after racing into a 3-0 lead, Petersen and Vernon Bouwers wrapped up victory with a brilliant 11-darter in leg six.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling this year,” revealed South Africa’s talisman Petersen.

“Obviously playing for your country is a big thing, and partnering with a class player like Vernon Bouwers is phenomenal.

“We’re through and we’re still unbeaten. Winning this World Cup would be amazing for our country back home, and we’re one step closer to that trophy.”

Elsewhere, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts put hostilities aside as 2013 finalists Belgium moved through to the last 16 with two wins from two in Group A.

The fifth seeds edged out China in a high-quality seven-leg affair on Friday evening, producing a brace of 11-darters before a clinical 86 checkout from Van den Bergh sealed the deal in the decider.

The Philippines’ pairing of Christian Perez and Lourence Ilagan progressed to the knockout stages with a brace of 4-1 victories over Singapore and Czech Republic on Day Two.

Ilagan landed three 180s during their win over Singapore, while PDC Asian Champion Perez pinned four of his five darts at double to dump out Karel Sedlacek and Adam Gawlas in their winner-takes-all Group I showdown, as they progressed to a tie with two-time winners Scotland.

Croatia caused a significant upset to finish top of Group E, following up a comeback win over Thailand by dumping out 2019 finalists Republic of Ireland in emphatic fashion.

Boris Krcmar and Romeo Grbavac recovered from 3-2 down to deny Thailand a maiden World Cup win, before putting in a solid all-round display to brush aside William O’Connor and Keane Barry, and the Croatian pair now take on Australia on Saturday.

Oskar Lukasiak produced a skin-saving 103 checkout to send Sweden through to round two in Frankfurt, at the expense of Italian trailblazers Michele Turetta and Massimo Dante.

Lukasiak and Dennis Nilsson dumped out 16th seeds Switzerland earlier in the afternoon, before a moment of magic from Lukasiak in a last-leg shoot-out denied Italy, who were poised on tops for victory.

France’s impressive opening night win over Northern Ireland aided their qualification to the last 16, after both sides whitewashed debutants Ukraine on Friday.

Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney averaged just under 97 as Northern Ireland bowed out in style, before Jacques Labre and Thibault Tricole triumphed by the same scoreline on a landmark day for French darts - and they now meet South Africa in round two.

Denmark's Benjamin Reus and Vladimir Andersen finished top of Group F on leg difference and now play second seeds Wales, despite suffering a 4-3 defeat to USA in Friday evening’s finale.

Leonard Gates landed 117 and 112 checkouts in consecutive legs to steer USA to a consolation victory, but Reus and Andersen moved through having claimed the scalp of 2021 runners-up Austria on Thursday.

Three-time quarter-finalists Canada topped Group H with a hard-fought 4-1 win over a spirited Hungary side, with Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell producing 93 and 126 checkouts respectively in the opening exchanges as they move through to meet Sweden.

Meanwhile, Latvia maintained their 100% record in Group K to win through to the last 16, as Madars Razma and Dmitriy Zhukov defied a superb display from Bahrain’s Basem Mahmood to record a 4-2 victory.

Latvia now play top seeds England in the second round, with the draw bracket for the remainder of the tournament confirmed following Friday night's draw.

Four-time winners Netherlands will take on Belgium in a blockbuster last 16 tie, as Danny Noppert is joined by Dirk van Duijvenbode following the withdrawal on Wednesday of Michael van Gerwen for medical reasons.

The My Diesel Claim World Cup of Darts will be broadcast on Sky Sports for viewers in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC's international broadcast partners, including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers (excluding UK, Germany, Austria & Switzerland).

2023 My Diesel Claim World Cup of Darts
Friday June 16
Afternoon Session
Group Stage – Second Matches x12
Loser First Match v Team 3

Finland 4-0 China (A)
Philippines 4-1 Singapore (I)
Sweden 4-1 Switzerland (L)
Lithuania 4-1 Portugal (G)
New Zealand 4-1 Bahrain (K)
Spain 4-2 Iceland (J)
Croatia 4-3 Thailand (E)
Northern Ireland 4-0 Ukraine (D)
Hungary 4-0 India (H)
Japan 4-3 Hong Kong (B)
Gibraltar 4-1 Guyana (C)
Austria 4-2 USA (F)

Evening Session
Group Stage – Final Matches x12
Winner First Match v Team 3

Belgium 4-3 China (A)
Philippines 4-1 Czech Republic (I)
Sweden 4-3 Italy (L)
Poland 4-1 Lithuania (G)
Latvia 4-2 Bahrain (K)
South Africa 4-2 Iceland (J)
Croatia 4-1 Republic of Ireland (E)
France 4-0 Ukraine (D)
Canada 4-1 Hungary (H)
Germany 4-0 Japan (B)
Australia v Gibraltar (C)
USA 4-3 Denmark (F)

2023 World Cup of Darts - Group Tables

Draw Bracket – Second Round onwards
(1) England v Latvia
Poland v Germany
(4) Scotland v Philippines
France v South Africa
(2) Wales v Denmark
Sweden v Canada
(3) Netherlands v Belgium
Australia v Croatia

Saturday June 17
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)

Second Round x4
France v South Africa
Sweden v Canada
Australia v Croatia
Scotland v Philippines

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Second Round x4

Wales v Denmark
England v Latvia
Netherlands v Belgium
Poland v Germany

All matches best of 15 legs