UK Open 2018 Day Three preview and order of play: Final eight battle for glory

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 4 Mar 2018
Rob Cross celebrates (credit:Chris Dean/PDC)

A new name will be etched onto the UK Open trophy on Sunday as the eight remaining hopefuls vie to be crowned champion in Minehead.

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Despite being held behind closed doors, the FA Cup of Darts has still provided its usual share of drama and upsets, perhaps even more so than in recent years due to the unique playing conditions.

A number of big names bit the dust in the early rounds, including reigning champion Peter Wright and former winners Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld, paving the way for a series of underdogs to mount a charge.

Three of the eight remaining hopefuls are appearing in the Quarter-Finals of a PDC major for the first time, while one has rolled back the years sensationally to reach his first since 2012.

Legendary three-time World Champion John Part has proved the surprise package of this year's UK Open, coming all the way from Round One to remain in contention for his first major title since the 2008 World Championship.

The 51-year-old secured his place in the event only by virtue of countback as the number 93 ranked player but has seen off qualifiers John Morris and Paul Whitworth, David Evans, Ron Meulenkamp and Mervyn King to continue his fairy-tale run.

The Canadian has been drawn to face emerging Welsh star Robert Owen - a player who has flown under the radar on the outer boards this weekend to reach his first televised Quarter-Final.

Owen, who regained his Tour Card at Qualifying School in January, has seen off the likes of Jamie Lewis, Nathan Rafferty and Ian White en route to this stage and will be confident of spoiling the party for John on the Main Stage.

The pick of the Quarter-Final ties sees two World Champions lock horns as Rob Cross takes on Gary Anderson in the final match of the afternoon.

The have been joint favourites for the title ever since the departure of MVG but the open draw brought the two Premier League stars together for what promises to be an epic encounter.

Cross, returning to the scene of where it all began for him as an amateur qualifier just two years ago, has averaged above 98 in each of his three wins, notably averaging 103.8 in thrashing Krzysztof Ratajski 10-3 last night.

Anderson has won all three of his previous meetings with Cross and has dropped just 12 legs in his opening three matches so far, brushing aside Robert Rickwood, Ricky Evans and Jermaine Wattimena.

New sensation Corey Cadby has taken the UK Open by storm in his debut campaign and has been handed a crunch clash with last year's beaten finalist Gerwyn Price.

Former World Youth Champion Cadby has gradually raised his game as the rounds have progressed, notably overcoming Chris Dobey 10-7 with a 98.8 average in Round Five, and has been touted by many as a serious contender for this title.

Price averaged 101 in an epic deciding-leg triumph over Paul Hogan in the Last 16, following on from impressive wins over Dirk van Duijvenbode, Alex Roy and James Wilson.

The Premier League newcomer notably defeated Cadby 6-5 in a highly-charged affair in last November's World Series Finals, and despite the lack of a crowd this time around, the duo will inevitably wear their hearts on their sleeves once more.

Another closely-matched contest sees rank outsiders Steve West and David Pallett go head-to-head for a place in their first major Semi-Final.

Both are entering uncharted territory in Minehead this weekend having knocked out a clutch of household names along the way, and are now presented with a golden opportunity to potentially define their careers.

Pallett, who failed to regain his Tour Card at Q School, has made up for lost time by knocking out former UK Open champions Robert Thornton and James Wade before sending home Kim Huybrechts in Round Five.

West, seeded number 17, edged out amateur qualifier David Pilgrim in a last-leg shoot-out before denying Matthew Edgar 10-7 and coming from 4-1 down to stun Premier League leader Michael Smith in another decider.

The action gets underway from 12.45pm GMT, with Quarter-Final and Semi-Final matches to be contested over the best of 19 legs and the final best of 21 at the Butlins Minehead Resort.

Coral UK Open 2018 Schedule

Sunday March 4

Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)

David Pallett v Steve West
John Part v Robert Owen
Corey Cadby v Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson v Rob Cross
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)

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UK Open 2018 Day Three preview and order of play: Final eight battle for glory

A new name will be etched onto the UK Open trophy on Sunday as the eight remaining hopefuls vie to be crowned champion in Minehead.

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