That was one of the headlines of the local newspaper Express and Star on the day after the first day of the tournament. The
newspaper till today is one of the few independent newspapers - there are not many left in England. It looked to me it had
quite a lot of readers - at least I did see a lot in the shopping baskets. Probably it is not astonishing as the Express and Star has a big
sports section which concentrate on the local football clubs. The Express and Star was founded as Evening Express in 1880 as
al liberal newspaper and the name later changed into Express and Star. It is progressive enough to offer a digital issue since a
few years. In connection with former Premier Minister Boris Johnson it wrote history as Johnson worked here for some month
as volunteer of The Times. No Johnson related scandals seem to have happened in those months...
The second tournament day again was a day with an afternoon - and evening session and all eight groups played their second round matches. In each session first played the winners losers and after that the groups winners. And so in the afternoon-session first Lisa Ashton and Ritchie Edhouse came on stage. For me astonishing Ashton not as much or even more troubled Edhouse as she had troubled Smith in her first match and lost 2:5. After that Martin Schindler again came on stage and he won against the upcoming Czech player Adam Gawlas. Mensur Suljovic - still looking slightly jittery - defeated Christian Perez and so still had a chance to progress. Dave Chisnall defeated Ted Evetts and as well secured his first two points.
As first winner pairing Danny Noppert and Simon Whitlock came on stage and I was surprised to see that Whitlock couldn't keep up his good performance from the previous day. Even more strange was the match between Rob Cross and Dirk van Duijvenbode. This time Cross stormed into a lead but couldn't cope with it and van Duijvenbode had no problems to win 5:3 and by this already qualified for the Knockout stage. Another not awaited win Raymond van Barneveld celebrated in the next match over reigning champion Gerwyn Price who had in a really high-class deciding leg no chance against the Dutchman. Van Barneveld was qualified after this as well. Another strange match ended the afternoon-session - Joe Cullen who looked on the day before so commandingly couldn't keep up with Michael Smith at all and lost 5:1.
After the evening-session three more players already were qualified for the next round. But one thing at a time...
It started with the match between Josh Rock and Scott Williams, a really gripping match. While Rock has a more stoic approach, Williams prefers to put on a show though it doesn't feel unpleasant. As I never talked to him so far, I've no idea what kind of person he is but he swaggers around the stage. It didn't help him in this match as Rock won it. The next match was the match between Damon Heta and American Leonard Gates which Heta managed to win with some luck. Both players had a really hard time to find a double, both missed some matchdarts and Gates besides miscounted. Third on was Ross Smith and he stormed through his match against Nathan Rafferty though he was not too convincing. In the last losers match Fallon Sherrock again lost - this time against Nathan Aspinall.
For the first winner v winner match Jonny Clayton and Jermaine Wattimena came on stage. Clayton again was far from his A-Game
but nevertheless Jermaine Wattimena had no chance at all - strange after his good performance the day before. A second
whitewash win for Clayton and he was through into the next round. Michael van Gerwen against Luke Woodhouse was the next
match and van Gerwen got a clear win - and was through as well. What followed was an all Scottish clash between Peter Wright
and Alan Soutar. Alan Soutar was the better player but showed his not the most experienced winner when he missed his
Matchdart while Wright won despise showing a far from top performance. The last match was a very fast affair - I took a
few pictures from the walk-on and the first leg and walked up to the pressroom. When I arrived their the match was already
over and Luke Humphries had won 5:1 to Ryan Searle. Looking at the average it was the best match of the tournament so far -
what a pity I saw barely anything...After his second win Humphries is through to the next round as well.