McGrath stuns Smith as the seeds struggle at the Auckland Darts Masters

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 3 Aug 2018
Mark McGrath reacts (credit:Photosport NZ/PDC)

Mark McGrath pulled off a major upset on the opening day of the 2018 Auckland Masters as he defeated Michael Smith 6-4, while a number of other seeds survived scares at the Trusts Arena.

McGrath, who has featured in both the BDO and PDC World Championship, subjected the recent Shanghai Masters champion to a shock early exit in the season's fourth World Series event.

The 50-year-old took the first leg on double 12 before Smith took out 65 to level.

The next two legs were shared before McGrath punished three missed darts at double ten from his opponent to go ahead before finishing 76 for a 4-2 advantage.

Smith replied in-kind with a 76 checkout before incredibly squandering eight darts at doubles to allow the Kiwi to convert double one and go on to seal victory in the proceeding leg via tops.

"It's the best win of my career but hopefully there are a couple more to come.

"I think Michael was a little under the weather but this is still going to take a little while to sink in."

McGrath's reward is a clash with Raymond van Barneveld in Saturday's Quarter-Finals after the 2015 runner-up saw off Warren Parry 6-4.

Van Barneveld repeated the scoreline from last year's meeting between the pair as he landed four 180s and averaged 95.3 in a solid display, defying two ton-plus checkouts from the Kiwi.

Simon Whitlock and Rob Cross were both made to sweat it out before confirming their Last Eight show-down as they survived match darts from Ben Robb and John Hurring respectively.

Whitlock survived one match dart from debutant Robb in the opening match of the evening before punishing with double 16 to progress after his opponent had earlier produced checkouts of 101 and 124.

Cross then watched Hurring squander two match darts in the deciding leg as he seized his reprieve on tops for a 13-darter to get over the line.

The reigning World Champion, who is seeded number one this week, had landed a high checkout of 150 in the third leg.

Kyle Anderson kicked off his title defence with a 6-4 win over Haupai Puha, as he came from 3-1 down to deny the DNPZ ranked number two.

Anderson averaged 94.5 and took out 87 on the bullseye, clinching victory with a 75 finish for a 14-darter.

Michael van Gerwen returned to winning ways as he powered past Cody Harris 6-2 with a 102.45 average - the highest of the First Round.

Van Gerwen, who suffered a shock early exit at the World Matchplay, sealed the deal with a 120 checkout to prevail with 55 per cent on the doubles.

"I don't want to lose ever, so when Jeffrey beat me last week it was tough," admitted Van Gerwen.

"I played well today and didn’t make any mistakes, I can do better but that is a good start."

Van Gerwen will now meet rival Gary Anderson in a mouth-watering Quarter-Final clash after the newly-crowned Matchplay champion saw off impressive newcomer Tim Pusey 6-3.

Anderson landed four 180s and averaged 94.5 in seeing off the young gun - who produced finished of 119 and 100 along the way.

Peter Wright was a comfortable 6-3 winner over Tahuna Irwin, averaging 94.77 and putting the gloss on the victory with a 121 checkout on the bullseye in the final leg.


Auckland Darts Masters 2018 Results


Friday August 3 

First Round

Simon Whitlock 6-5 Ben Robb
Rob Cross 6-5 John Hurring
Michael Smith 4-6 Mark McGrath
Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Warren Parry
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Haupai Puha
Peter Wright 6-3 Tahuna Irwin
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Cody Harris
Gary Anderson 6-3 Tim Pusey


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McGrath stuns Smith as the seeds struggle at the Auckland Darts Masters

Mark McGrath pulled off a major upset on the opening day of the 2018 Auckland Masters as he defeated Michael Smith 6-4, while a number of other seeds survived scares at the Trusts Arena.

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