The 2022 New Zealand Darts Masters commences in Hamilton on Friday as the PDC representatives and Oceanic qualifiers face off….
The 2022 New Zealand Darts Masters commences in Hamilton on Friday as the PDC representatives and Oceanic qualifiers face off.
Part Three of the World Series triple-header in Australia and New Zealand sees the eight PDC representatives and eight Oceanic stars competing for the £20,000 title at the Globox Arena.
The opening day plays host to eight First Round ties as the big names aim to avoid an early exit at the hands of a home hopeful.
Jonny Clayton kicks off his quest for back-to-back titles with a tie against DPA qualifier Mal Cuming.
Clayton clinched his first regular World Series title at the New South Wales Masters in Wollongong last week, dropping only seven legs along the way.
The reigning World Series Finals champion now looks to avoid a potential banana skin at the hands of veteran Aussie Cuming – who was narrowly denied in a deciding leg by Fallon Sherrock in last week’s opening round.
One of the stand-out ties of the First Round in Hamilton sees top seed Dimitri van den Bergh take on World Cup winner Simon Whitlock.
Van den Bergh is vying for a third World Series title of the year, following on from his Nordic Masters and Dutch Masters triumphs in June.
The Belgian star will be determined to bounce back from last week’s 6-0 drubbing at the hands of James Wade in the Quarter-Finals, but faces one of the toughest possible openers on paper.
Whitlock registered a fifth consecutive win over Michael van Gerwen last week before bowing out in the Quarter-Finals and has gone eight years without reaching the final of a World Series event.
Van Gerwen is looking to follow up his Queensland Darts Masters triumph a fortnight ago with an 18th career World Series title, and the number two seed starts out against DPNZ qualifier Bernie Smith.
Reigning Premier League and World Matchplay champion MVG will be keen to bounce back from last week’s early exit by laying down a marker against 58-year-old Smith – who was famously beaten by Justin Pipe in the First Round of the 2017/18 World Championship.
Arguably the most appetising tie of the opening round sees Masters Champion Joe Cullen take on World Cup winner Damon Heta.
Cullen reached the Semi-Finals last weekend before being thrashed 7-1 by eventual champion Clayton, and ‘The Rockstar’ will be out to round off his debut campaign Down Under with an even stronger run in Hamilton.
World number 19 Heta suffered agonising 6-5 defeats to Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith on home soil in Australia and will be hoping for a change of fortunes at the third time of asking.
World number one Gerwyn Price begins his latest pursuit of a maiden World Series title when he faces DPNZ Order of Merit leader Ben Robb in Round One.
After back-to-back whitewash wins in the early rounds, an out of sorts Price was beaten 7-3 by James Wade in last week’s Semi-Finals, having lost out to MVG in the Queensland final seven days earlier.
Robb, twice a PDC World Championship qualifier, has won three of the four domestic events held in 2022 so far and is searching for his first World Series win at the fourth attempt.
Last week’s beaten finalist Wade resumes his hunt for a maiden World Series crown with a rematch against Tour Card holder Gordon Mathers.
Wade defeated the Australian 6-3 in Wollongong and will be wary of potential revenge from the Queensland semi-finalist.
US Masters champion Michael Smith opens up with a tie against veteran Kiwi Warren Parry – a player no stranger to an upset on the World Series stage.
Parry, a four-time World Championship qualifier, famously recovered from 5-1 down to stun Van Gerwen 6-5 in the 2014 Sydney Masters.
Smith, who averaged 106 in his opening win over Heta last week, was dispatched 6-4 by Clayton in the Quarter-Finals and will be determined to surpass that stage of proceedings for the first time this month.
Meanwhile, Fallon Sherrock looks to make it back-to-back Quarter-Final appearances by overcoming 22-year-old TV debutant Kayden Milne – one of four DPNZ qualifiers.
Sherrock, the reigning Women’s World Matchplay champion, edged out Australia’s Cuming 6-5 last week before being ruthlessly whitewashed by Price the following day.
The action gets under way from 8am BST (7pm local time) with First Round matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs.
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New Zealand Darts Masters 2022 Day One Schedule
All times BST (local time 11 hours ahead)
Friday August 26
Jonny Clayton v Mal Cuming
Joe Cullen v Damon Heta
James Wade v Gordon Mathers
Fallon Sherrock v Kayden Milne
Michael Smith v Warren Parry
Michael van Gerwen v Bernie Smith
Gerwyn Price v Ben Robb
Dimitri van den Bergh v Simon Whitlock
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