Bradley Brooks pulled off a dramatic deciding leg victory over Adrian Lewis in Round One of the 2021 Hungarian Darts Trophy in Budapest on Friday.
The opening day of the inaugural European Tour event at the László Papp Budapest Sports Arena saw the qualifiers collide for the right to meet one of the top 16 seeds in Saturday’s Second Round.
Reigning World Youth Champion Brooks stole the show as he punished four missed match darts from Lewis to prevail in a nail-biting decider.
Blackburn star Brooks opened up a 4-2 lead before Lewis restored parity, but only for the 21-year-old to take out 124 to lead 5-4.
Lewis finished 68 to force a decider, and after Brooks had wired double 16 for a 152 checkout, ‘Jackpot’ went on to miss four darts to seal victory, allowing his opponent a reprieve on double one to get over the line.
“I watched Adrian growing up and he’s a great player,” said Brooks. “It was a great game and I enjoyed it, and it made it better to be playing in front of a crowd again.”
Meanwhile, UK Open finalist Luke Humphries defied finishes of 111 and 124 from Latvia’s Madars Razma, setting up a tasty Second Round tie with Devon Petersen.
Ireland’s Keane Barry was one of three teenagers to win in the afternoon session as he finished six doubles from 12 attempts, including a 108 checkout, to defeat Thomas Lovely 6-3.
Czech prospect Adam Gawlas produced a superb finale to his tie with Boris Krcmar, who led 5-4 before the teenager took the last two legs in 14 and 13 darts to progress.
Welsh youngster Lewis Williams also impressed with a 6-3 defeat of Host Nation Qualifier Gabor Jagicza to set up a clash with Krzysztof Ratajski.
There was disappointment for the four Hungarian representatives in the event as they all bowed out at the first hurdle, though János Végső missed three match darts in his tie with Joe Murnan.
Végső led 2-0 and 5-4 before Murnan produced a timely 13-darter to force a decider, and when the home hope missed two darts at double eight and one at double four for the win, he returned to land a third-dart double five to progress to face Jose de Sousa.
“It was hard work – he did really well and he’s a good player,” said Murnan. “I knew the crowd would be against me because he’s a fan favourite but I’ve got through, and I’ll be better tomorrow.”
Ross Smith impressed with a 100 average as he whitewashed Hungarian qualifier Peter Strbik 6-0, finishing six doubles from ten attempts which included a 109 checkout.
Alan Soutar ended home hopes with a 6-1 defeat of Jozsef Rucska, winning the opening four legs without reply before finishing 112 to complete a strong performance.
Daryl Gurney will meet Michael van Gerwen after seeing off another Dutchman, Vincent van der Voort, 6-2 with a superb First Round display.
The former World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals winner averaged almost 100 and sealed victory with a 12-darter as he began his bid to win a second European Tour title.
“I didn’t want to give Vincent a chance and I went 3-0 up and was playing great,” said Gurney. “I’m glad to come through that game and to play on the European Tour again.
“If I play like this I’ll give myself a chance but I think I’m going to play better against Michael and I’m looking forward to the game.”
John Michael came from 4-2 down and averaged 99 in his narrow 6-5 win over Steve Beaton, who landed a 180 to leave 28 in the deciding leg only to see the Greek ace finish double ten for a 14-darter.
Simon Whitlock finished six doubles from 11 attempts and produced legs of 11 and 12 darts during his 6-4 win over Darren Webster, setting up an all-Australian contest with World Cup partner Damon Heta.
Germany’s Florian Hempel survived four missed match darts from Jake Jones in the deciding leg of their see-saw contest.
Jones led 3-1 and 4-3 but found himself 5-4 down, only for his opponent to miss three match darts in leg ten – but it was the Englishman’s turn to miss in a dramatic finale as Hempel moved into a second round meeting with world number two Peter Wright.
Richard Veenstra enjoyed a winning European Tour debut by seeing off former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown 6-4.
The Dutchman came from a leg down to take command at 3-1 as he opened up a lead Brown would never wipe out, and Veenstra will now take on World Champion Gerwyn Price on Saturday.
“I’m so excited to play Gerwyn Price,” said Veenstra. “My nerves are now gone and I think I will play a good game tomorrow. Anything can happen.”
Belgium’s Geert De Vos also enjoyed a winning European Tour debut, hitting a 161 finish in a 6-2 defeat of Geert Nentjes, while William Borland overcame Sweden’s Johan Engström 6-4.
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Friday September 3
Johan Engström 4-6 William Borland
Geert Nentjes 2-6 Geert De Vos
Richard Veenstra 6-4 Keegan Brown
János Végső 5-6 Joe Murnan
Thomas Lovely 3-6 Keane Barry
Boris Krcmar 5-6 Adam Gawlas
Gabor Jagica 3-6 Lewis Williams
Florian Hempel 6-5 Jake Jones
Peter Strbik 0-6 Ross Smith
Alan Soutar 6-1 Jozsef Rucska
Luke Humphries 6-3 Madars Razma
Adrian Lewis 5-6 Bradley Brooks
Steve Beaton 5-6 John Michael
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Darren Webster
Vincent van der Voort 2-6 Daryl Gurney