Gerwyn Price survived a huge scare against William O’Connor in his opening match at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on…
Gerwyn Price survived a huge scare against William O’Connor in his opening match at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on Thursday as Dave Chisnall and Chris Dobey also progressed.
Third seed Price was staring down the barrel of a shock early exit, but Republic of Ireland’s O’Connor to fluff his lines at the finish and let the Grand Slam champion off the hook.
With the deciding set tied at 2-2 in legs, O’Connor toed the oche needing four points but threw at double one, allowing Price to take out 75 to break throw before winning it with a 13-dart leg.
With Rob Cross and Michael Smith among the seeded players to fall at the first hurdle, Price showed determination to avoid joining them but admitted he never felt at ease amid the searing heat on the Alexandra Palace stage.
“That’s the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt in a darts match, I couldn’t handle the heat up there,” admitted Price, who will meet John Henderson in round three.
“From the moment I walked out I never felt at ease and I ended up chasing Willie throughout; he was probably the better player.
“He put me under pressure and I knew I don’t have the best of records here but a win’s a win.
“I had a bit of luck with Willie going for the wrong double at the end but I’m not going to tap him on the shoulder and tell him that.
“I’ve won tournaments before where I should’ve gone out in my first game so maybe this could be another one of those.”
After edging the opening set 3-2, Price lost both the next two 3-1 to go within a set of a shock early exit.
Set four went to a deciding leg, putting the Welsh number one on the brink for the first time in the contest but Price found a last dart double six for a 15-dart leg when he needed it most.
With O’Connor 2-1 up in the deciding set, another 15-dart leg from Price took the match to a tie-break, before O’Connor’s counting error allowed Price to go ahead for the first time since set one.
Price produced a timely 180 in the next leg, followed by a 134 setup shot to leave double 18 which he pinned with his first dart to relieve fears of a first hurdle exit.
Elsewhere, Dobey reached the Third Round in dramatic fashion as he survived two match darts to overcome Ron Meulenkamp in a thrilling tie-break set.
Having squandered a two-set lead, Dobey found himself 2-0 down in the deciding set but after the Dutchman missed two darts at double eight to end the contest, Dobey made no mistake on double 14 to level at 2-2.
A 14-dart leg earned Dobey a crucial break of throw, before the next leg saw the Northumbrian seal the win on double eight to reach round three where he will meet Mensur Suljovic or history-maker Fallon Sherrock.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win on that stage, it would’ve been really disappointing to lose here after a good year,” said Dobey.
“When I hit double 14 to level in the last set I said ‘I’m still here’ and I always say it’s never over until it’s over.
“I don’t mind who I play next but I thought Fallon was absolutely outstanding the other night, I was out there watching and the atmosphere was fantastic.”
Two-time World Championship quarter-finalist Chisnall safely secured his passage through to the third round with a 3-1 win over Vincent van der Voort.
Although Chisnall struggled to produce his trademark high-scoring on a consistent basis, his accuracy on the outer ring saw him miss just five darts at double to keep Van der Voort at bay.
World Grand Prix finalist Chisnall, who has enjoyed a return to form in 2019, will face another Dutchman, Jeffrey de Zwaan in round three.
“I’m really happy with the win, Vincent is a top player so I’m relieved to get a difficult first game out of the way,” said Chisnall.
“I’ve changed darts but it’s not just that, I feel relaxed playing and I probably want it more now than ever before.
“I’ve never practiced like this for a World Championship and hopefully this year we’re going to see the best version of myself.
“If I play my best game all the way through, who knows what could happen?”
Steve Beaton began his 19th consecutive PDC World Championship campaign with a 3-1 victory over Australian number two Kyle Anderson.
With Beaton leading 2-1 in sets, Anderson missed three darts to take the contest to a deciding set before Beaton clinically took out 50 in two darts to advance to round three.
Beaton now has the chance to reach last 16 for first time since the 2003/04 event against eighth seed James Wade.
Popular Scot Henderson breezed into the Last 32 for the third year in a row with a 3-0 whitewash of James Richardson.
Richardson, who came through a last-leg shoot-out with Mikuru Suzuki in round one, registered just three legs in the contest as Henderson dominated throughout.
There was a less simple passage into the last 32 for Danny Noppert, who came from behind to beat Callan Rydz 3-2.
Debutant Rydz landed a 160 checkout on his way to a 2-1 lead in sets, before World Series of Darts Finals runner-up Noppert won six of the last seven legs to book his place in round three against Kim Huybrechts.
There was heart-break for last year’s quarter-finalist Ryan Joyce as he missed four match darts against Jan Dekker.
From 2-0 down in sets, Joyce fought hard to take the match to a deciding but Dutchman Dekker made the most of his chance to reach round two for a second successive year where he will take on Welsh number two Jonny Clayton.
A day of drama also saw Justin Pipe survive three match darts as he fought back from 2-1 down to defeat Slovenian debutant Benjamin Pratnemer.
Pratnemer missed a trio of darts at double ten and double five to win 3-1, before Pipe found a vital last dart double eight to level.
Pipe then went on to win the deciding set 3-1 to enjoy a winning return to darts’ biggest stage after a two-year absence, with world number six Daryl Gurney awaiting him in round two.
William Hill World Championship 2019/20 Results
Thursday December 19
Justin Pipe 3-2 Benjamin Pratnemer (First Round)
Jan Dekker 3-2 Ryan Joyce (First Round)
John Henderson 3-0 James Richardson (Second Round)
Steve Beaton 3-1 Kyle Anderson (Second Round)
Chris Dobey 3-2 Ron Meulenkamp (Second Round)
Danny Noppert 3-2 Callan Rydz (Second Round)
Dave Chisnall 3-1 Vincent van der Voort (Second Round)
Gerwyn Price 3-2 William O’Connor (Second Round)