Preview of Melbourne Darts Masters 2018 Melbourne Darts Masters 2018 Night Three Final Michael Smith v Peter Wright These two have played each other 20 times with Wright leading 12-8. In last years Melbourne Darts Masters Wright won 10-9 in the quarter final. The only final they have played was in 2017 in a UK Open Qualifier which Wright also won, 6-5. The record might read poorly for Smith but he did defeat Wright in both Premier League outings this year and did win the Shanghai Darts Masters this year as well, so he knows how to win at these tournaments. Neither Wright nor Smith have won an event in Australia so this will be a first for either when they win.
Semi Final 1 Gary Anderson v Michael Smith Master verse Apprentice and mate verse mate. Anderson holds the lead head to head 9 – 4. In this years Premier League Anderson only won one, and lost 10-6 in the semi final of the competition. Anderson and Smith both lost in the quarter finals of this tournament last year so this is their first night three appearance on the Melbourne stage. Neither player made the semis in Auckland either so both will see this as a great opportunity for each player to win their first tournament on the east coast of Australia.
Semi Final 2 Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright It was only last weekend that these two played each other in a semi final, with van Gerwen doing what he has done more often than not between the two, win. In fact the head to head record reads 52 wins 2 draws and 13 losses in MvG’s favour. Of their seven meetings this year Wright has won two, doing the double over van Gerwen in the Premier League 2018 edition. Two years ago this was the final of the World Series of darts, the score 11-9 to MvG. That year they met in two World Series semi finals, the Perth and Sydney editions, again won by the Dutchman. The year before van Gerwen also beat Wright in the final of the World Series of Darts, this time 11-10.
Melbourne Darts Masters 2018 Night Two Quarter Final 1 Rob Cross v Michael Smith The head to head record between the two is good reading for Rob Cross as he leads 9-2. The only losses to Bully Boy have been in the second match they ever played, in the 2017 edition of the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, and the last time they played, in the final of the Shanghai Masters a month ago. Their Premier League matches this year both ended 7-5 to Cross.
Quarter Final 2 Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld Barney holds a slight advantage head to head over Peter Wright 11-10 with 4 draws. In the German Darts Masters the two played at this stage this year and Wright won and in their last Premier League clash Wright won 7-2. Barney did not make this stage last year whilst Peter Wright won his match over Michael Smith.
Quarter Final 3 Gary Anderson v Damon Heta At this stage last year Gary Anderson lost his quarter final to 10-8 (Daryl Gurney was his conqueror.) After three World Series events this is Heta’s first appearance at this stage of the tournament. The only non PDC side player to win in the first round of the Melbourne Darts Masters tumbled out at the quarter final stage, with Corey Cadby losing to eventual winner Phil Taylor. Anderson will be looking for this to play out the same way this year.
Quarter Final 4 Michael van Gerwen v Simon Whitlock MvG has a strong record against local boy Whitlock. Head to head the record reads 32 – 5 with one draw. October 2016 was the last time Simon defeated Michael. The Wizard won his quarter final in Melbourne last year, 10-9 over James Wade.
Round 1 Match 1 Raymond van Barneveld v Raymond O’Donnell. Ray from Holland verse Ray from Broken Hill. The differences could not be more stark. Yet both are veterans of the game in different nations. For Ray he continues his run in World Series of Darts events downunder and comes off a high of making the final of the Auckland Darts Masters just a week ago. O’Donnell comes off a very successful season on the DPA circuit. Barney lost to Corey Cadby in the first round last year and will not want to repeat that failure again.
Match 2 Michael Smith v Tim Pusey Both these two lost in the opening round of the Auckland Darts Masters. Pusey has been a revelation in his first full season on the DPA circuit and will gain confidence from his appearance in Auckland. Smith may have lost in Auckland but he succeeded last year in Melbourne against David Platt. He will find this match against another West Australian just as challenging although he will not want to lose to another local challenger in round one as happened last weekend.
Match 3 Rob Cross v Haupai Puha Haupai averaged 6 points above Cross’s opponent from last Friday night in Auckland, and John Hurring had two match darts. If the world champion and the Kiwi replicate these performances could be on the cards. Both players are debuting in Australian World Series events. Cross got through last week and this may give him the confidence to get through in this match.
Match 4 Gary Anderson v James Bailey James Bailey has been a winner in many versions of the darts game in Australia, and on many stages around the world. He has chased the dream in England and will not be overawed by this experience. It may be an advantage not to have the pressure of playing in front of his home Queensland crowd. Anderson lost in the quarter finals both in Auckland this year and Melbourne last year. His first round victory was strong last year, against to Justin Thompson but he still conceded two legs. Last week he conceded three legs against Tim Pusey so Bailey will hold some hope of springing a surprise.
Match 5 Peter Wright v Mike Bonser Peter Wright lost in the final of the Melbourne Darts Masters last year and made the semi finals of the Auckland Darts Masters last week. For veteran Mike Bonser this is a new stage to play on but with his history in the game it should not be an environment that will threaten him. Wright will be looking to repeat his comfortable performance in the first round of the Melbourne Darts Masters last year.
Match 6 Michael van Gerwen v Raymond Smith Van Gerwen righted a wrong in his mind by winning a trophy in New Zealand last week, now he will want to win his first trophy on the east coast of Australia in the World Series, a coastline dominated by the now retired Phil Taylor. Raymond Smith has represented Australia in darts and is a player who does not care about any other noise around him, he plays his own game. Another debutant, Smith has played outstanding darts regularly this season and will be looking to demonstrate his ability against the best in the world. Van Gerwen’s form last week though is formidable.
Match 7 Simon Whitlock v Corey Cadby This is a match with a lot on the line. Whitlock wants to prove he is Australia’s best player whilst Cadby will be looking to overthrow the Wizard and prove himself to be up there with the likes of the Wizard and the Original. They met twice within the space of eight days in February this year. In the first match Whitlock walked away a 6-5 winner, whilst a week later Cadby won 6-2. Whitlock will remember fondly back to last year in Melbourne when he fought off another Australian superstar in Kyle Anderson, 6-1. Cadby will have confidence too, having seen off Raymond Van Barneveld on the same night. Both Cadby and Whitlock lost to Phil Taylor in Melbourne last year. Cadby will be hoping Whitlock is more of the first round player form last week than the player that hit the stage in the second round of Auckland 2018.
Match 8 Kyle Anderson v Damon Heta On the day after Heta qualified for Melbourne (and Brisbane) Darts Downunder interviewed him on our podcast and Heta identified Kyle Anderson as his desired opponent, given their history growing up and playing in Western Australia. Anderson lost out to the Wizard last year in the opening round in Melbourne and wont want this to be repeated in this match but he wont be underestimating his great mate from the west. He identified him as the player to watch in the media himself this week and now he is going to have to take his own words to heart. Heta has not won either of his matches on the World Series stage but he made the final of the Perth Premier League Darts this year. Anderson is ready to prove the critics wrong and he took out his initial first round challenger in Auckland last week.