Paul Lim rolled back the years to come from two sets behind and complete a stunning 3-2 victory over Luke…
Paul Lim rolled back the years to come from two sets behind and complete a stunning 3-2 victory over Luke Humphries in Round One of the World Darts Championship.
Lim, 66, is the second oldest player to have featured in a PDC World Championship and recorded another famous win on the Alexandra Palace stage.
The Singapore legend, who landed an historic nine-darter at Lakeside 30 years ago, looked to be heading for the exit door when Humphries comfortably took the opening two sets 3-1.
Lim took the third set by the same margin before surviving a dart that would have condemned him to defeat in set four, which he won 3-2 and sealed with an 84 checkout.
Humphries responded with a brilliant 11-darter but was made to pay for a dozen missed darts to hold his throw in a pivotal third leg of set five.
Lim cashed in and broke his opponent’s throw and then punished Humphries for one missed match dart as the veteran pinned tops to set up a Second Round meeting with World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh.
“I kept telling myself to pressure him after losing the first set. I dug deep and it paid off,” said Lim, making his 25th World Championship appearance.
“He was very good in the first set and I knew that if I didn’t apply pressure then everything would come easy for him and I would be out.
“I felt really prepared for the match and I am glad that I managed to produce a good game and get the win. I have spent a lot of time on the dartboard in what has been a very difficult time for the whole world.
“I’m really grateful that the PDC put on a qualifier and that I won it and got the chance to be here. I’m very happy to take that chance. This is one for the old guys.”
Three-time William Hill World Championship semi-finalist James Wade made light work of young prospect Callan Rydz, coming through in straight sets.
Wade raced through the first set before inflicting the killer blow on his opponent in the fifth leg of set two by taking out 100 after Rydz had missed three darts to level the tie.
The world number seven went on to complete a comfortable victory as he eased into the last 32.
“I was fortunate to get a shot at the 100 but it was a good shot at a good time,” said Wade.
“I have a renewed enthusiasm for darts. I have a lot of good people around me and I’m in a good place at the moment.
“If I play my best game then I will win this tournament quite comfortably.”
Jamie Hughes became the first seeded player to lose in the Last 64 as Adam Hunt extended his ground-breaking run.
Hunt followed up his nail-biting last-set win over Lisa Ashton with a straight sets victory against an out-of-sorts Hughes – who averaged just 75 amid a shoulder injury.
“I think the game against Lisa really helped me. I felt really well prepared for this one,” said Hunt.
“Jamie wasn’t at his best but I feel like I kept my focus and played quite well.
“I’m happy to be through and looking forward to enjoying Christmas with my family before coming back for the third round. I will be putting in some practice at home.”
Dirk van Duijvenbode pulled off a great escape against World Championship debutant Bradley Brooks.
Brooks, who won the World Youth Championship title last month, made his mark on the Ally Pally stage immediately by winning the first set with an average of almost 110.
He continued his blistering start to the match by taking the second set 3-1 before winning the first leg of set three to leave Van Duijvenbode on the brink of elimination.
The 2020 World Grand Prix runner-up roared back, however, winning nine consecutive legs in an unstoppable surge that saw him snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
“I never thought I was out of it because I never think about what my opponent is doing. I just concentrate on myself,” said Van Duijvenbode, who will take on Rob Cross in round two on Tuesday.
“I started off a lot worse than I expected to play and it made me really angry, which seemed to make me play well.”
John Henderson made it past the first round for the fourth consecutive year but was disappointed with his standard of performance against seasoned Finnish player Marko Kantele.
Henderson was the better player throughout the match but became embroiled in a scrap when, having taken the first set 3-0, he missed two darts to win the second set allowing his opponent to level the match.
Two 13-darters helped the popular Scotsman regain that advantage but he missed a dart for the match at two apiece in the fourth set and Kantele capitalised again to force a decider.
Henderson kept his cool and closed out the victory, sealing the final set 3-1, to set up a second round tie with Welsh World Cup winner Jonny Clayton.
“I couldn’t get going on stage. I’ve won but I was awful,” said Henderson.
“It was terrible at times but I did enough to get through and that’s what it is all about. The first round is always difficult so I’m happy to get through.
“I’ll have to be better against Jonny in the next round but I have done okay here the last few years and it will be a different game, I’m sure.”
Wayne Jones clinched his first World Championship win since 2012 with a hard fought triumph over Ireland’s Ciaran Teehan.
The 55-year-old won the first set 3-0 but lost set two against an opponent 34 years his junior, despite big finishes of 143 and 118.
The next two sets were shared before 2006 semi-finalist Jones closed out the match in style, winning the deciding set without dropping a leg.
Mickey Mansell reeled off nine consecutive legs against New Zealand’s Haupai Puha to claim his first ever victory on the Alexandra Palace stage.
The Northern Irishman closed out the first whitewash win of this year’s tournament to set up a second round meeting with Ricky Evans.
Darius Labanauskas also recorded a straight sets success as he defeated China’s Chengan Liu, who was competing 15 years after his previous World Championship appearance.
Finishes of 97 and 124 saw Liu claim two legs but the experienced Lithuanian thrower proved to be too strong and earned himself a round two tie against Simon Whitlock.
William Hill World Darts Championship 2020/21 Results
Friday December 18
Mickey Mansell 3-0 Haupai Puha (R1)
Darius Labanauskas 3-0 Chengan Liu (R1)
Wayne Jones 3-2 Ciaran Teehan (R1)
Jamie Hughes 0-3 Adam Hunt (R2)
Dirk van Duijvenbode 3-2 Bradley Brooks (R1)
John Henderson 3-2 Marko Kantele (R1)
Luke Humphries 2-3 Paul Lim (R1)
James Wade 3-0 Callan Rydz (R2)