World Matchplay 2018 - 1

"Everybody is here... have a good time". The "here" means Blackpool and it is one of the reasons why the PDC decided in 1994 to organise a darts tournament during the summer season in Blackpool.
The quotation though doesn't come from a darts player or the PDC but from Chris Lowe from the Pet Shop Boys who was born here in Blackpool. Already his grand father played the trombone and his mother was a dancer in many of the shows in and around Blackpool. Chris first learned to play the trombone as well and even played in a still existiong local brass band. When he got older Chris prefered the clubs of Blackpool and worked in some of them. Though he loved the comtemporary music he always stood out not wearing the trendy fashion but Jeans, Sweatshirts and Sneakers. After school Chris moved to Liverpool to study architecture. Later he moved on to London as it was easier to find a job there. One day he met by chance in an electronic shop on King's Road Neil Tennant. They talked and discovered a common interest in underground club music and synthesizers and it took them only a few weeks till they started to work together on some songs - the Pet Shop Boys were born. In 1985 they had their first big hit - "West End Girls". The Pet Shop Boys achieved something quite rare in the music scene - they survived till today.

One hears that the darts players are more relaxed playing in Blackpool as well. But neither Adrian Lewis nor James Wilson looked relaxed when they came on stage. Lewis was more cheered by the crowd then Wilson - astonishing as for some time Lewis was always greated with boos. Whether the crowd reception had ignited him or whether he had a plan I've no idea but he stormed through the first few legs and Wilson just couldn't keep up. The Lewis storm stopped as sudden as it had started and Wilson drew 3:3 and then got into the lead. Lewis didn't look good any longer till he decided to pull himself together and he got stronger again while Wilson's socring powers at the same time dwindled. So in the end Lewis celebrated a 10:8 comeback win.

In the second match Dave Chisnall and Keegan Brown stood at the oche and it was only a close match for the first few legs. Then Brown couldn't keep up any longer while Chisnall played a decent match. Browns average in the end was below 80 - just not enough . Not even viewing against heaven or rather to the ceiling of the Empress Ballroom did help him. When Brown threw his last few darts frustrated into the board he even was booed by the crowd...

It followed the match between the hottest title contender Michael van Gerwen and his fellow country man Jeffrey de Zwaan. De Zwaan had eliminated van Gerwen from the UK Open. I had awaited this time a rather one sided match dominated by van Gerwen but that didn't happen. Van Gerwen at the beginning had the clearly higher average but de Zwaan was not impressed at all and beside quite clinical on his doubles. So the two players entered the second break 5:5. All those who had awaited van Gerwen would turn up the heat after the break to be sure were disappointed. Instead de Zwaan got stronger while van Gerwen experienced some double trouble. De Zwaan won 10:6 and was cheered by the crowd who sent van Gerwen packing singing "He's going home".So the top favorit went out first round - to be sure the biggest upset of this tournament, might be one of the biggest upsets in the history of the event. And suddenly the tournmanet is wide open. Van Gerwen really seems to be in a crisis. To be sure it's nice to win European Tour Events or on the Pro Tour but what really counts - especially fort he Dutchman - are the major events.

Last match of the night was the match between Michael Smith and Jonny Clayton which first didn't enthrall the crowd which was still occupied with van Gerwen's elimniation. The first few legs the two players were close than Smith started to dominate the match and he progressed with a good performance and a 10:6 win into the second round. It looked Clayton still has problems to play his A-game on the big stage.

That was the end of the first night and what a night it had been. The crowd still was quite pumped leaving the venue. Tomorrow with Rob Cross and Gary Anderson two more top favorites will stand on the stage. Will there be more upsets? Tomorrow afternoon Max will as the first ever German walk on the Empress Ballroom stage . He had a first look around already and seemed to be rather impressed...

Contact © Global Darts. All Rights Reserved. Impressum