SHOOTING STAR BROWN SEES OFF BARNEY IN SINGHA BEER GRAND SLAM OF DARTS
GIANT-KILLER Keegan Brown's dream debut at the SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts saw him knock out 2012 champion Raymond van Barneveld with a brilliant 10-7 win on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old from the Isle of Wight had defeated world number three Adrian Lewis as well as Austrian youngster Rowby-John Rodriguez as he qualified through the Group Stage at the Wolves Civic.
And Brown - a medical lab assistant in blood services at St Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight who has taken holiday to compete in Wolverhampton this week - won through to the quarter-finals with a superb win over the 2012 Grand Slam champion.
Brown, the World Youth Champion, left the Dutchman reeling by taking the opening four legs without reply, hitting three 180s and a 121 finish as he moved 4-0 up.
Van Barneveld pulled back to 5-2 and then took out 106 as he reduced the gap to 7-3 - only for Brown to finish double eight and double 18 to move to the brink of the win.
The game took a dramatic twist as Brown missed five match darts in the next four legs, with van Barneveld showing his class with finishes of 72, double five, 70 and 125 to pull back to 9-7.
Three missed darts from the Dutchman at double four in the next, though, proved crucial as Brown took out 122 on the bull to finally close out the biggest win of his career.
"I'm absolutely over the moon," said Brown, who is guaranteed a career-best 15,000 pound prize money. "To reach the last eight of my first big TV tournament is amazing. If someone said to me that I'd beat Adrian in the group stage then I'd have ripped their arm off, so to follow that up with a win over Barney in the last 16 is something that I can't describe. Raymond's a Premier League player so you know that you've got to bring your best game otherwise you don't stand a chance, and I did that tonight. Raymond's a big idol of mine, so I'm just so happy to beat him and I'm looking forward to tasting this atmosphere again in the quarter-finals. Everything's a bonus for me and it's been a huge learning curve for me this week."
Brown now takes on Dave Chisnall in Friday's quarter-finals, with the St Helens thrower having defeated Robbie Green 10-3 earlier in the night.
Checkouts of 136 and 125 helped Chisnall to take charge of the game as he won the opening five legs without reply before Green finished 88 on the bull and double eight to hit back.
Another three successive legs helped Chisnall move 8-2 up, and though Green landed another bullseye finish, the St Helens man took the next two to seal his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
"I've known Robbie for a long time and it's always a hard game against him, but he missed a few doubles early on and I took advantage," said Chisnall. I've been playing well and my doubles have been very good so far this week. I want to improve my scoring a little bit - but I'd rather hit a double than a treble! I think I can win this. I'm feeling comfortable and if I can have a bit of luck on the way through I could carry this on."
PDC World Champion van Gerwen, meanwhile, struggled to a 10-4 win over former Grand Slam runner-up Terry Jenkins in their repeat of the recent European Championship.
Van Gerwen led 2-0 and 4-1 early on, only for Jenkins to fire in a 116 checkout to level the game.
Van Gerwen, though, took the next six legs without reply to seal the win, including checkouts of 114, 90, 74 and 65 as he moved through to the last eight with a below-par average of 88.64.
"I'm happy that I won but I'm not happy with how I played," said van Gerwen. "I've not played well all week so far but I'm in the quarter-finals and I want to improve now for the quarter-finals on Friday. I can do a lot better but I'm not happy with my performance. My doubles at the end were good and I'm happy I was the winner - I always want to play well, but sometimes winning is the only thing that matters. I've got to go back to the practice board before I play Kim but it's a longer format. I beat him in the group game but I'll have to play a bit better than this to do it again."
Belgian ace Huybrechts produced some finishing of the highest order to see off the challenge of Lakeside Championship runner-up Alan Norris - who had seen off Kim's older brother Ronny during the group stage - with a 10:5 triumph.
Although Norris held an early 2-1 lead after posting double top in successive legs, Huybrechts took the next five to turn the game in his favour at 6-2, twice capitalising on missed doubles from the Yeovil ace before taking out 118 during the run.
Norris hit back with checkouts of 72 and 76 to reduce the gap to 6-4, but Huybrechts replied with two legs of his own before taking out 144 to move to the brink of victory.
Norris hit back with double one as he won his fifth leg of the game, but Huybrechts denied him any chance of a comeback with a brilliant 155 checkout to seal his quarter-final spot.
"I'm really happy," said Huybrechts, who was also a quarter-finalist last year. "I missed a couple of doubles in the first few legs but in the middle of the match my game came together and my scoring and finishing was good. This was payback for my brother because he was beaten by Alan in the group stage - but it's also a great win for myself."
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