Willie O’Connor celebrates a memorable triumph (credit:Stefan Strassenberg/PDC Europe)
Republic of Ireland stunned England with a sensational Second Round scalp at the 2019 World Cup of Darts in Hamburg on Saturday.
William O’Connor and Steve Lennon produced inspired displays in the singles format to topple top seeds Rob Cross and Michael Smith and reach the Quarter-Finals for the first time.
O’Connor averaged 115 in a breathtaking display to defeat former World Champion Cross 4-1 after Lennon had edged out Smith in a last-leg decider.
O’Connor landed four 180s and finishes of 88, 70 and 64 to seal the shock success over the four-time World Cup winners.
Lennon survived one match dart from world finalist Smith before completing a deciding leg victory to hand Ireland the initiative.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said O’Connor, who won his first PDC title just over a month ago.
“It just clicked for us tonight. We knew we could beat them but to put in a performance like that against a former World Champion and one of the best players in the world is particularly special for me.
“We are going to take loads of confidence from this. We are enjoying ourselves and we will be dangerous on the final day.”
Fifth seeds Australia also suffered an upset as Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson went down to the unseeded Canada.
Dawson Murschell and Jim Long both won last-leg deciders to set-up a quarter-final meeting with defending champions Netherlands – who eased past Poland to progress.
Murschell edged out Whitlock in an eventful encounter, in which the Australian skipper took out back-to-back 126 checkouts on the bull to lead 3-2.
A 180 helped Murschell level up and the 23-year-old put Canada in front by taking out 97 in the deciding leg.
Long then came from 3-1 behind to defeat Anderson, who missed a dart in the last leg to take it to a Doubles decider.
Michael van Gerwen and Jermaine Wattimena both comfortably won their singles ties to see off the Polish pairing of Krzysztof Ratajski and Tytus Kanik.
Van Gerwen took out a brilliant 123 finish on the bull to win a crucial fifth leg against Ratajski as the world number one went on to win 4-2.
Kanik threatened to put Poland back in the tie when he won the first leg of his match against Wattimena by following a 180 with a clinical 90 checkout.
After Wattimena levelled, Kanik went seven darts into a potential nine-darter in what proved to be a pivotal third leg as he was cruelly punished for a string of missed doubles by the Dutchman who pinned the bull to complete an 88 combination on the way to a 4-1 victory.
“I don’t think either of us performed at one-hundred-percent but we hit the right shots at the right moments,” said van Gerwen.
“We are not afraid of anybody and we are going to beat everybody. We are a great team and everybody knows that.”
Scotland moved safely through to the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday afternoon.
Gary Anderson set the number two seeds on their way with a 4-0 success over Magnus Caris in the 50-year-old Swede’s final game before he retires from professional darts.
Peter Wright was less comfortable in his win against Dennis Nilsson, but a 4-2 victory wrapped up the tie.
Scotland will meet Belgium in the quarter-finals on Sunday afternoon after Kim Huybrechts and Dimitri Van den Bergh sent hosts Germany crashing out of the tournament.
Huybrechts edged a dramatic encounter against Martin Schindler, who missed four darts to win a nail-biting deciding leg.
Schindler fired in seven perfect darts in the game’s fifth leg, which he won but Belgian captain Huybrechts took the next two to pinch victory.
Germany never recovered as Hopp was beaten 4-0 by Van den Bergh, securing a last eight spot for the Belgian pair.
“I was expecting Max to play a lot better but I am really pleased we’re through,” said Van den Bergh.
“We don’t think about who we are playing. We just focus on our own games and trust in each other. That’s how we won today and we’ll keep that attitude going forward.”
Austria made light work of United States of America with a brace of Singles wins to set up a quarter-final clash with the Republic of Ireland.
Zoran Lerchbacher defeated Darin Young 4-1 before Mensur Suljovic produced a sublime display to whitewash Chuck Puleo.
Former Champions League winner Suljovic completed finishes of 100 and 126 as he averaged 113 in a 4-0 triumph.
New Zealand reached the quarter-finals for the first time after winning a topsy-turvy affair against South Africa.
Cody Harris claimed a 4-0 victory over Vernon Bouwers to put New Zealand ahead until Devon Petersen hit back with a whitewash win against Haupai Puha.
Petersen averaged almost 102 and took out a brilliant 132 checkout in a high-quality singles match but the South African captain found his team 3-0 down in the doubles decider.
South Africa rallied back a to win the next two legs but Puha finally landed tops to complete victory.
New Zealand will face Japan in the last eight after Seigo Asada and Haruki Muramatsu both claimed Singles match victories to progress at the expense of Singapore.
Asada defeated Paul Lim, who led 3-2 after consecutive checkouts of 160 and 72 but Asada won the last two legs to earn the win.
Muramatsu then enjoyed a 4-2 triumph over Harith Lim to seal Japan’s place in the quarter-finals for the second consecutive year.
The event the concludes on Sunday, with the quarter-finals in the afternoon session to be followed by the semi-finals and final in the evening session.
World Cup of Darts 2019 Results
Saturday June 8
Afternoon Session (12pm-4pm)
South Africa 1-2 New Zealand
Vernon Bouwers 0-4 Cody Harris
Devon Petersen 4-0 Haupai Puha
Bouwers/Petersen 2-4 Harris/Puha
Singapore 0-2 Japan
Paul Lim 3-4 Seigo Asada
Harith Lim 2-4 Haruki Muramatsu
Scotland 2-0 Sweden
Gary Anderson 4-0 Magnus Caris
Peter Wright 4-2 Dennis Nilsson
Belgium 2-0 Germany
Kim Huybrechts 4-3 Martin Schindler
Dimitri van den Bergh 4-0 Max Hopp
Evening Session (6pm-10pm)
Australia 0-2 Canada
Simon Whitlock 3-4 Dawson Murschell
Kyle Anderson 3-4 Jim Long
Austria 2-0 USA
Zoran Lerchbacher 4-1 Darin Young
Mensur Sujovic 4-0 Chuck Puleo
England 0-2 Republic of Ireland
Michael Smith 3-4 Steve Lennon
Rob Cross 1-4 William O’Connor
Netherlands 2-0 Poland
Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jermaine Wattimena 4-1 Tytus Kanik