Monday, 1 December 2014

World Championship Prelim Draw 2014

THE Preliminary Round draw has been made for the William Hill World Darts Championship, ahead of Tuesday's main First Round draw for the sport's greatest tournament.

With 72 players set to compete at Alexandra Palace from December 18-January 4, the Preliminary Round features 16 players who have won through International Qualifiers held worldwide this year.

The World Championship field will be completed at Monday's PDPA Qualifier, with the winner of that event going straight into the First Round draw and the runner-up entering at the Preliminary Round stage.

The Preliminary Round draw was made by PDPA Chief Executive Alan Warriner-Little on Sunday during the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals.

The PDPA Qualifier runner-up will take on Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney, the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay champion who is making his return to the World Championship.

Japan's Haruki Muramatsu is also returning to the Alexandra Palace stage and drew Russian debutant Boris Koltsov, with the South Asia Qualifier Christian Perez - the Philippines ace who has previously competed in the event - drawing Cristo Reyes.

Finland's Jani Haavisto, the SDC Order of Merit winner, drew Greek debutant John Michael, with fellow Finn Kim Viljanen set to take on German newcomer Sascha Stein.

South African Masters winner Nolan Arendse meets Hong Kong's Alex Hon, who won the Greater China Qualifier, while fellow debutants Mark McGrath, from New Zealand, and Scott Kirchner, the American ace who is the reigning DARTSLIVE SuperDarts champion, also clash.

The Preliminary Round's other fixture sees emerging Croatian Robert Marijanovic make his return to Alexandra Palace against Dutch debutant Jermaine Wattimena, who came through the West Europe Qualifier.

The William Hill World Darts Championship First Round draw will be made at 12.30pm on Tuesday December 2, live on Sky Sports News HQ (Sky Channel 401).

William Hill World Darts Championship
Preliminary Round Draw

Christian Perez (Philippines) v Cristo Reyes (Spain)
Jani Haavisto (Finland) v John Michael (Greece)
Nolan Arendse (South Africa) v Alex Hon (Hong Kong)
Boris Koltsov (Russia) v Haruki Muramatsu (Japan)
Kim Viljanen (Finland) v Sascha Stein (Germany)
Mark McGrath (New Zealand) v Scott Kirchner (USA)
Jermaine Wattimena (Netherlands) v Robert Marijanovic (Croatia)
PDPA Qualifier Runner-Up v Daryl Gurney (Northern Ireland)

Players Championships 2014- Day 3

GARY ANDERSON claimed the fourth major TV title of his career in style with a brilliant 11-6 win over Adrian Lewis in the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals last night. 

The number one seed for the event after winning seven PDC ProTour events during 2014, Anderson lived up to that billing to win his first televised event since the 2011 Premier League - when he also overcame Lewis in the final.

Having overcome the former and current Lakeside Champions in Christian Kist and Stephen Bunting on his way to Sunday's final stages, Anderson then defeated Phil Taylor for the first time in a televised knockout match for seven years in the quarter-finals.

He then overcame Holland's Vincent van der Voort 11-7 in the semi-finals, despite the Dutchman hitting back from 10-3 down with four ton-plus finishes before Anderson finally sealed victory with a 103.86 average.

That display was followed by nine 180s in a fine display in the final as Anderson overcame world number three Lewis to claim the £65,000 first prize on a memorable St Andrew's Day for the Scot.

Anderson broke with a 14-darter in the final's opening leg and also led 3-1 before Lewis hit back to level at three-all with a 96 checkout before the Stoke ace landed double eight to lead for the first - and only - time.

The Scot took the next five legs without reply in an unstoppable burst as he surged into an 8-3 lead, with Lewis taking out 124 on the bull in a run of three successive legs to reply.

Anderson finished double four to regain his cushion before a 76 finish moved him 10-6 up, and he secured the title in style with a 118 checkout.

"I worked my heart out this year to get the number one seed and to be honest I've had probably the hardest draw that you could have had, so to win the tournament makes it very special," said Anderson, who also returns to fourth on the PDC Order of Merit.

"I got stuck in and did the business, and it's nice to defeat Phil and go on to win the tournament because not too many players do that.

"In the semi-final against Vincent I needed one more leg and all of a sudden he took four ton-plus finishes out on me, and I was sweating a bit so I was glad to get past him.

"I got off to a good start in the final too and it's great to walk away with the trophy."

Lewis had won the UK Open in March on his most recent visit to Minehead, and followed up his deciding-leg quarter-final win over Jamie Caven on Sunday afternoon by landing eight 180s in his 11-6 semi-final win over Wes Newton.

He claimed £35,000 as the runner-up to Anderson, and said: "Gary finished number one in the rankings for this event and he deserved to win.

"I dug in during the final but it just didn't happen for me and he punished me for it, and fair play to Gary because he took his chances well.

"After the week I've had - with my son being taken into hospital on Thursday - I'm lucky to be in the final, and I think I lost all my momentum when I got 8-2 up against Wes, and the quarter-final probably took a lot out of me.

"I'll go back home now and get back on the practice board now and get ready for the World Championship."

Fleetwood ace Newton fell one game short of reaching his third major TV final as he failed to follow up his quarter-final win over Terry Jenkins by claiming another big-name scalp in the last four.

Newton's £17,000 prize money for the weekend, though, takes him back into the world's top 16, but he said: "I didn't come out of the blocks quickly enough and I made it too easy for Adrian early on really.

"He was 8-2 up and he was cruising, but it just didn't happen for me and fair play to Adrian because he did what he had to do to win the game.

"I can be proud of the weekend though because I've had a bad year but hopefully this can help spur me on for the World Championship now."

Van der Voort had opened the tournament with a whitewash of Andy Hamilton and also defeated Peter Wright and Dean Winstanley as he reached his first major ranking semi-final since 2008.

"I started very poorly, in the first ten legs I didn't get into the game and it was a struggle for me," said the Dutchman. "I tried my hardest but it wasn't there tonight.

"It's difficult to play two matches in a day, but I have to learn from this and next time I have to be better.

"It's massive achievement for me to reach the semi-finals and hopefully I can build on this because I'm really happy with my game at the moment."

The £300,000 tournament, shown live on ITV4, had seen over 4,000 fans pack the Butlins Minehead Resort to see the top 32 players from the 2014 PDC ProTour Order of Merit do battle.

Following the success of the the event's third staging at the venue, Cash Converters have extended their sponsorship for a further two years to cover the 2015 and 2016 Cash Converters Players Championship Finals alongside their ongoing partnership with the PDC. 

"We are delighted to have Cash Converters as our Players Championship Finals sponsor for a further two years," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.

"They have been an integral part of the growth of darts with us over the last five years, and the Players Championship Finals is a great event at Butlins Minehead."

Richard Livesey, the Head of Marketing for Cash Converters in the UK, said: "We are delighted to announce the sponsorship of the 2015 and 2016 Cash Converters Players Championship.

"This weekend has become a focal point in the darts calendar as the final tournament of the year before the World Championship. Each and every year darts fans flock to Minehead and have a superb weekend and we feel privileged to be a part of it.

"The sponsorship deal will see Cash Converters continue to be a massive part of the darts family and grow the brand in the UK and internationally."

GARY ANDERSON knocked Phil Taylor out of the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals with a thrilling 10-6 quarter-final victory on Sunday afternoon, as Adrian Lewis, Wes Newton and Vincent van der Voort joined him in the semi-finals at the Butlins Minehead Resort. 

Anderson claimed his first win over Taylor in a televised knockout event since 2007 with a fine performance, averaging 105 to the three-time champion's 104 and hitting seven 180s before sealing victory with a memorable 127 checkout.

Taylor played his part as he sought a second successive major title following his recent Grand Slam of Darts victory, kicking off the contest with a party-piece 125 checkout of bullseye, outer bull and bullseye and taking an early 3-1 lead.

Anderson roared back to win six of the next seven legs in a brilliant burst, which was begun with two 14-darters and also featured an 11-dart leg and three 12-darters as well as six perfect darts in his bid for a nine-darter.

Taylor had replied with an 11-darter of his own and finished 108 to cut the gap to 7-5, only for Anderson to finish 90 and 82 for another brace of 12-dart legs to move to the brink of victory.

Taylor fired in a 171 and double ten to hit back, but Anderson pulled clear in the 16th leg before finishing 127 on the bull to seal his semi-final spot.

"Phil's still the boy to beat, but every dog has his day and it was my day today," said Anderson. "I beat Phil the first time we played back in 2007 and I've paid the price ever since!

"He missed a few doubles, which he doesn't normally do against me, but it was a great game.

"I'll get myself ready now for the semi-finals and I just take each game at a time, so I'll stick with the same routine I've had all week and hopefully it'll pay off."

Anderson's semi-final opponent as Sunday's decisive final session kicks off will be Dutchman Vincent van der Voort, who overcame Dean Winstanley 10-8 in their quarter-final.

Van der Voort hit back from an early 3-0 deficit to level at three-all, and also squared the game at six-all after falling two legs down to the Yorkshireman.

The Dutchman, though, secured a key break of throw with a 13-darter to move ahead for the first time at 7-6, and after putting daylight between the pair with double 16 managed to retain the cushion and take the win.

The result sees van der Voort into his first major ranking semi-final since 2008, and he admitted: "I'm so relieved and I think that showed when I hit that winning double top.

"I'm so happy to be in the semi-finals because I had to fight as hard as I could to get into the match. It was hard work but I can look ahead to the semi-finals now."

Winstanley hit nine 180s in his first PDC major ranking quarter-final, and admitted: "My doubles weren't right today but I'm really happy to have been here on a Sunday and fighting against Vincent in a great game."

World number three Adrian Lewis produced a thrilling finale as he survived one match dart against Jamie Caven before finishing 124 and 123 to prevail 10-9 following a fine quarter-final contest.

Caven played his part in a classic, leading Lewis three times only to miss the bull for the match on a 167 finish when leading 9-8.

Lewis took out 124 on double 11 as he sent the game into a deciding leg before following up his ninth maximum of the game with a 123 checkout as he sealed his place in the last four.

"It was a fantastic game to be involved in and luckily enough I came through it," said Lewis, March's UK Open champion in his last visit to the Butlins Minehead Resort.

"Jamie's been playing well coming into this game but I wanted to score well and keep him under pressure and hopefully he'd miss his doubles - but he didn't!

"I was hitting 180s and he was following it up, but luckily enough I got the 124, after he missed the bull for the 167, and then the 123 in the last leg. I've got to calm down from this and get ready for the semi-finals now."

Caven said: "I felt comfortable on stage and I'm getting used to it now, and if I'd hit the bull then I'd have come away the winner - but fair play to Adrian with the 124 and 123 finishes because he's a World Champion and that's what they do."

Lewis now meets Newton in the semi-finals, with the Fleetwood ace staying on course to reach his third major final with a 10-5 defeat of Terry Jenkins, who had knocked out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen on Saturday night but failed to repeat the performance in the last eight.

After sharing the opening four legs with breaks of throw, Newton pushed 4-2 up before Jenkins hit back to 5-4 - but a 136 checkout sparked a run of four straight legs as the former UK Open finalist moved 9-4 up.

Jenkins took out 121 on the bull to keep the game alive in leg 14 after Newton missed two match darts, but the fightback was short-lived as he returned to seal victory in the next leg.

The win moves Newton into his first televised semi-final for over two years and will ensure his return to the world's top 16 - but he has his sights set on claiming his maiden major title on Sunday night.

"It was a strange game - I felt good all the way through it but it didn't quite happen for me and Terry struggled a bit too, and midway through the game I felt that he was thinking it wouldn't be his day," said Newton

"I just had to keep my head down and get the win - at the end of the day it's getting to ten legs that matters, and I'm happy to win.

"I've always played well against Adrian and he's a two-time World Champion who I've got a lot of respect for.

"He showed why he's a World Champion with those two finishes at the end against Jamie, so I've got to go back, regroup and try to bring out my best game to live with him in the semis.

"It's been a strange year for me because I felt good in the Premier League and it didn't work out, and I think that being relegated knocked my confidence for a couple of months.

"I suppose we all go through those phases as players and it's how you come out of it that matters and I'm pleased to be where I am in the semi-finals this weekend, but it's not over yet.

"I want to go on and win this now and I know I've got that good game in me to beat anyone, so hopefully it will come out."
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Sunday November 30
Afternoon Session 

Adrian Lewis 10-9 Jamie Caven
Wes Newton 10-5 Terry Jenkins
Vincent van der Voort 10-8 Dean Winstanley 
Gary Anderson 10-6 Phil Taylor
Best of 19 legs 

Evening Session 
Adrian Lewis 11-6 Wes Newton
Gary Anderson 11-7 Vincent van der Voort
Best of 21 legs

Gary Anderson 11-6 Adrian Lewis
Best of 21 legs

Players Championships- Day2

REIGNING champion Michael van Gerwen crashed out of the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals with a second round defeat to Terry Jenkins at the Butlins Minehead Resort on Saturday, as Phil Taylor continued his bid to win the title for a fourth time.

World number one van Gerwen had defeated Taylor to claim last year's title in Minehead and had opened his defence with a superb win over Raymond van Barneveld on Friday night.

However, he was outplayed by nine-time major finalist Jenkins in the last 16 as the 51-year-old avenged October's loss to the Dutchman in the European Championship final.

Van Gerwen had hit back from an early 2-0 deficit to draw level and shared the next four legs before Jenkins, aided by finishes of 71, 97 and a 13-darter, took four of the next five to move 8-5 up.

World Champion van Gerwen cut the gap to 9-7, but Jenkins fired in his sixth 180 before taking out 84 on double 11 to seal the win and move through to a quarter-final with Wes Newton.

"In the European Championship final I let Michael get ahead of me, and that's when he relaxes so this time I wanted to get ahead," said Jenkins. "I punished him every time he slipped up and I kept the pressure on him.

"It's a brilliant feeling for me but I know the next game will be just as hard, so I can't get carried away. Wes isn't an easy player to beat, but I'm looking forward to it."

Jenkins now meets Wes Newton in the quarter-finals, after the Fleetwood ace continued his return to form with a 10-5 defeat of Brendan Dolan.

The game's opening half proved even as Dolan - aided by two 13-darters - held a slender 4-3 advantage before Newton embarked on a run of six successive legs to push clear, landing a pair of 13-dart legs of his own in moving 9-4 up.

Dolan finished 67 to hit back, but that was bettered by a 68 checkout as Newton moved through to the last eight of the Players Championship Finals for a second successive year.

"I've had two good games against players who are very hard to beat so I'm really happy," said Newton. "It's always a hard game against Brendan and, like Justin Pipe yesterday, he's a slower player but you've got to deal with it.

"I've struggled with the pace in the past because I prefer to play a quick player, but I had to get my head down and get the job done and I've done that again today.

"Brendan didn't play as well as he can do, but I ground the win out and I'm happy to be in the quarter-finals.

"I've had a really tough year, I struggled after the Premier League and I've had a bad three or four months but I've made a few changes and hopefully things are coming right for me at the right time."

Three-time Players Championship Finals winner Taylor continued his challenge to win back the title with a high-quality 10-7 win over Mervyn King - but was left to rue a missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish during the contest.

After Taylor established an early 3-1 lead with a break of throw in leg four, King was never able to level despite pulling back to 3-2 and 4-3.

Tops saw Taylor break again in leg eight before he opened the ninth with two 180s, before adding a seventh treble 20 and a treble 19 to keep alive his hopes of a nine-darter, only to see his dart at double 12 for the perfect leg land just inside the double 12.

He returned to finish double six for a 12-darter as he moved 6-3 up, and after King hit back on tops another two legs edged Taylor into an 8-4 advantage.

King won three of the next four to keep alive his hopes at 9-7, but Taylor opened the next with scores of 177 and 140 before taking out 84 on the bull to seal victory with an average of 103.06.

"I thought it was a good game and Mervyn stuck in really well - I couldn't shake him off," said Taylor. "He was putting me under pressure and had some brilliant finishing.

"I know I've got to sharpen up a bit for Sunday but I feel good and I'm enjoying myself. Every round now is like a final and it's exciting."

Taylor added: "I didn't feel nervous on the nine-darter and I threw the dart well at double 12, but it just dipped at the end. It would have been great to hit it, but it wasn't to be this time."

Taylor will take on Gary Anderson in the quarter-finals after the number one seed defeated Stephen Bunting 10-5, averaging almost 103 in a high-quality victory.

Bunting took out 80 and 112 to claim the first two legs and also led 3-1 before Anderson hit top gear to reel off seven straight legs in turning the game around.

The Scot's run began with a 70 finish and a 12-darter before he landed back-to-back 14-dart finishes to move 5-3 up, and when Bunting followed two 180s with five missed doubles in the ninth, Anderson took a three-leg cushion.

He also finished 130 and double five to move into an 8-3 lead, with Bunting's 13-dart leg in reply bettered by an 11-dart finish from Anderson, and though he missed one match dart in the next leg he regained his composure to seal the win in 14 darts.

"That was a harder game than the scoreline suggests so I'm very pleased to come through it," said Anderson. "It was a good game and we both enjoyed it, and I came back well after Stephen got ahead.

"I've been enjoying my darts all year and I'm looking forward to playing Phil. It's always an honour sharing the stage with him because he's the best player ever to have played the game, but he's got a different Gary on his hands tomorrow."

Vincent van der Voort won through to the last eight for the first time in the event with a 10-5 win over Peter Wright in Saturday evening's other clash.

The Dutchman had been superb in his first round whitewash of Andy Hamilton, and hit back from 3-1 and 5-3 down to see off the World Championship finalist.

Wright had hit three 14-dart legs as he took the early lead and - after van der Voort took out legs of 13 and 14 darts - another 14-darter helped him edge back two legs clear.

Van der Voort, though, found another gear as he reeled off the next seven legs without reply in a run which included two 13-dart legs, a 12-darter and an 11-darter to break throw as he progressed to a quarter-final with Dean Winstanley.

"From five-all I thought I played really well, but it was hard work," said the Dutchman. "At the beginning I was trying to keep up with Peter but my game came together well.

"I'll take it one game at a time on Sunday and Dean will be a different game to this, but hopefully I can play like I have been doing."

Winstanley won through to his first televised ranking quarter-final on the PDC circuit as he followed a victory over Simon Whitlock on Friday with a 10-5 defeat of Jelle Klaasen.

Klaasen had been in inspired form to defeat James Wade with a 108 average in their opener, but paid the price for 22 missed doubles as Winstanley progressed to the last eight.

Klaasen had held an early 2-1 lead, but Winstanley levelled with a 104 finish as he began a run which saw him claim seven of the next eight legs to move into an 8-3 advantage.

Klaasen won two of the next three to pull back to 9-5, but Winstanley followed up a 100 checkout in leg 13 by landing his fifth 180 of the game before sealing victory on double four.

"It feels fantastic to be in the quarter-finals," said Winstanley. "It's my debut in this tournament and I'm very proud to have got through two rounds.

"I believe that I can match it with the best and I'm going to give it my best shot on Sunday, and I've got a good feeling at the moment. If I can get a little bit more consistency in my game I'll be alright."

Sunday's other quarter-final will see Adrian Lewis take on Jamie Caven as Finals Day at the £300,000 tournament begins.

Lewis, March's UK Open champion on his last visit to the Somerset resort, followed up Friday's superb opening win over Dave Chisnall by powering past Smith with another heavy-scoring performance.

After sharing the game's opening two legs, the world number three claimed six successive legs - all in 15 darts or less - as he pulled clear to lead 7-1, with the run including a 121 finish for a 12-darter and three 180s.

Smith hit back by taking out tops for a 13-darter and 100 for a 14-dart finish as he pulled back to 7-3, but missed doubles in the next allowed Lewis to edge away before he finished double three and double ten to move into the last eight.

Lewis now takes on Caven in Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals, and said: "I showed a bit of class today but I feel like I've got a couple of extra gears to go yet so that's fantastic for me.

"I thought it was a professional performance, and every time Andy hit back I responded with something, and as long as I keep doing that then I've got a chance.

"It's going to be a tough game against Jamie Caven in the quarter-finals because he's been playing some fantastic darts, but I'll be ready."

Caven booked his place in the last eight by the narrowest of margins as he edged out Robert Thornton 10-9 in a thriller which saw the Scot miss double 12 for a nine-dart finish before coming from 9-4 down to force a deciding leg.

After Derby's Caven won the opening leg, Thornton hit back in style by opening the second leg with two 180s to set up a possible nine-darter.

Needing 141, he hit another treble 20 and treble 19 only to wire the double 12 - seeing a £5,000 bonus slip away by the narrowest of margins.

Although Thornton took the leg in 12 darts, Caven won the next three to take charge at 4-1 before the Ayrshire ace hit back with two more 12-dart finishes as he won three of the next five to pull back to 6-4, taking out 140 and 121 in the process.

Caven finished 64, 102 and double ten to move to the brink of victory at 9-4, only to see battling Thornton keep his hopes alive with a 13-darter.

He then finished 78, 81 and 70 to continue the fightback as Caven missed three match darts, and Thornton sent the game into the deciding 19th leg by landing double ten.

Thornton's doubling, though, deserted him at the crucial point when he saw his dart for the match at tops to complete a 120 finish land in the single one, allowing Caven to step in and finish 81 on the bull to edge through.

Caven had seen Simon Whitlock come from 9-3 down to in 10-9 in the 2013 European Championship, and admitted that he was prepared for lightning to strike twice as Thornton mounted his charge.

"I was starting to feel the pressure so it's a massive relief to win the match," said Caven. "That game against Simon probably helped me, because if I hadn't have experienced it before I'd have lost this match.

"Robert was superb when he came back and his finishing was great, and it was deja vu for me because I thought I'd lost it at the end. When Robert missed the tops I had my chance and luckily enough for me the bull went in."

Thornton admitted: "It would have been nice to have completed the comeback but it wasn't to be. I left myself too much work to do, but hats off to Jamie because he was superb.

"I've not done a nine-darter the conventional way on TV yet - the World Grand Prix was a double-start - and I'd like to do one, but the double 12 was on the wrong side of the wire this time."

Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Second Round 

Saturday November 29 
Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm) 
Jamie Caven 10-9 Robert Thornton
Wes Newton 10-5 Brendan Dolan
Adrian Lewis 10-3 Andy Smith
Dean Winstanley 10-5 Jelle Klaasen

Evening Session (7pm-11pm) 
Vincent van der Voort 10-5 Peter Wright
Terry Jenkins 10-7  Michael van Gerwen
Phil Taylor 10-7 Mervyn King
Gary Anderson 10-5 Stephen Bunting