Auckland Darts Masters Night 3 2018 Preview FInal In Auckland RvB has the experience, having played more tournaments, more semi finals and more finals than his opponent. The great Dutch masters sit at 34 – 19 and 1 draw in MVG’s favour. In this years Premier League Barney and MVG were one win apiece but the last time they played (a Premier Leagus clash) Barney won, and that is the last time the two have clashed on television. Their only other clash this year on TV was in the final of the Masters which van Gerwen won 11-9. Barney has yet to win a World Series Tournament, and MVG has not won a World Series event this year.
Semi Final 1 Simon Whitlock v Raymond van Barneveld The head to head match ups are pretty even between the Aussie and the Dutchman. There has been 1 draw, 18 wins to Barney and 14 wins to the Wizard. Barney won the last match between the two, in this years Premier League. Their other clash of the Premier League went to Whitlock. Barney has won one and lost another in the semi finals at the Auckland Darts Masters whilst Whitlock made the semi final of last year’s inaugural Melbourne Darts Masters. The two met for two consecutive years at the quarter final stage of the Perth Darts Masters, with Whitlock going down to Barney on both occasions.
Semi Final 2 Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright This is van Gerwen’s and Wright’s first semi final appearance in the Auckland Darts Masters. Van Gerwen has been in two previous editions whilst Wright has been a part of three. Much has been said of van Gerwen not having won in the World Series of Darts this year but Peter Wright is also in this category so this is a huge opportunity for both. For the last two years the person who has knocked out the defending champion has gone on to win in Auckland. Head to head there is only one winner, van Gerwen has beaten Wright on 51 occasions, with Wright returning the favour only 13 times (and two draws.) Wright has won two of their last five clashes and lost five of the last seven times they have met in finals. Their last semi final clash was in February which Wright lost 6-4.
Auckland Darts Masters Night 2 2018 Preview Quarter Final 1: Rob Cross v Simon Whitlock These two played in this year Premier League and also in the European Grand Prix (which Whitlock won 6-3). In their first clash of the Premier League Whitlock defeated Cross 7-1. This was followed up by a 6-6 draw in round 16. Prior to the Premier League Whitlock had held a 3 and 1 win loss record against Cross. Whilst Simon Whitlock has never missed the quarter finals of the Auckland Darts Masters he has been involved in he has also not progressed past it, losing to Phil Taylor and Kyle Anderson. Both players survived their first round matches by the skin of their teeth but that can build self confidence that the tournament was ‘meant to be’ for either one of them. Quarter Final 2 Mark McGrath v Raymond van Barneveld In the very first year of this tournament Barney made the final, then the semi final two years ago, and he lost his first quarter final last year. He would be pleased that the negative progression did not see a first round elimination this year. For McGrath, the first Kiwi to make this stage, he needs to take confidence from others in World Series of Events who have taken out Van Barneveld, like Corey Cadby in Melbourne last year and Tic Bridge in the inaugural Sydney Darts Masters. Kyle Anderson has also defeated Barney twice in competition downunder. In Auckland Barney has a stronger record, only having lost to other PDC players, in James Wade, Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson. Quarter Final 3 Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen Both these players are multiple world champions and after his recent Matchplay victory in Blackpool both players have won the career grand slam. Anderson has played in two quarter finals in Auckland with a 50% record. More surprisingly is the fact that at his two attempts Van Gerwen has not won either of his quarter finals in Auckland, a record he will be keen to change. The other thing that will be motivating Van Gerwen is his lack of success on the World Series Stage this year. Anderson, on the other hand, will want to build on his success in La Vegas this year. With neither Michael Smith (eliminated last night) or Mensur Suljovic (not participating) Anderson is the only World Series of Darts 2018 winner left in the competition.
Quarter Final 4 Peter Wright v Kyle Anderson Kyle Anderson continues his defence of the World Series of Darts with his quarter final against Kyle Anderson. Surprisingly they have not met each other too often, with a split record of two and two. In all the World Series Events both have participated in neither have faced off against each other. Kyle Anderson remains undefeated in Auckland whilst Wright has never won a quarter final here, in fact last year he did not even make this stage having been beaten by the man who would lose to Anderson in the final of the event, Corey Cadby. Anderson defeated Simon Whitlock at this stage last year, whilst Wright has lost to Gary Anderson and James Wade in previous Auckland Darts Masters quarter finals.
Night One: Round of 16
1. Simon Whitlock v Ben Robb Ben Robb makes his debut on the big stage after the late withdrawal of Corey Cadby. Simon Whitlock has been undefeated in the first stage of the Auckland Darts Masters. In the first edition of the event Simon was on the non PDC side of the draw but defeated Stephen Bunting anyway. In last years event he defeated local favourite Cody Harris. It should give Robb some hope that both players were able to take four legs off Whitlock but generally speaking the Wizard has come off a good matchplay tournament and loves playing back down in this part of the world.
2. Rob Cross v John Hurring Both players are debuting at this years Auckland Darts Masters. Hurring came through qualifiers recently and actually defeated Ben Robb in the final for this position so he is in good form. Cross has won one event since his January World Championship triumph. He made the last 16 at the World Match Play but has good success in the World Series so far, making the finals in Las Vegas and Shanghai recently. Hurring will technically be the 50th player to be involved in World Series of Darts events downunder.
3. Michael Smith v Mark McGrath Ranked 47th in the world in the BDO, Mark McGrath makes his World Series of Darts debut in Auckland. He made the final 16 of the Winmau World Masters last year. The English born Kiwi won his qualifier recently, defeating Tony Carmichael 6-2. Smith defeated New Zealand darting royalty in Rob Szabo 6-0 last year and has gone on to have success in many tournaments throughout the last twelve months. He won the Shanghai Masters so knows what it takes to win in the World Series. In last year’s event he was bundled out by Corey Cadby later in the tournament so will be looking to make some amends this time.
4. Raymond van Barneveld v Warren Parry Parry’s greatest night on the World Series of Darts stage was against a Dutchman. It was the second edition of the Sydney Darts Masters when Parry shocked the world by upsetting MVG. However this clash will be about righting the scoreline from the opening night at Auckland last year, when Barney defeated Parry 6-4. That night Parry was not on top of his game and yet still he got close, so this time he will want to tie things up head to head with Barney in Auckland. Parry has never progressed past round one in his home event whilst Barney has progressed at all three events. Barney, along with Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, are the only three men who will have played in all four Auckland Darts Masters.
5. Kyle Anderson v Haupai Puha Puha also debuts on the big stage against Australia’s Kyle Anderson. Puha, coming off an excellent New Zealand season, will feel confident but must be wary of the reigning Auckland Darts Masters champion. Puha made a splash last year, moving all the way through to the semi finals of the Oceanic Masters, an event which Bernie Smith won and went on to represent the oceanic region so well at the World Championships. Puha also reached the semi finals of the Canterbury classic earlier this year. Anderson is not quite in the same form he was last year so will be looking to enjoy success once more on this stage. As he has only played the event once and won it, he is undefeated at the Auckland Darts Masters.
6. Peter Wright v Tahuna Irwin Young gun Tahuna Irwin, who made such an impression on the DPA circuit this year, will be looking to repay the faith so many have put in him. He played in the Prodarts series in January where he got to play in a big match atmosphere and it was his clear desire to play more in this environment. Like Cody Harris Irwin has a cool head in a pressure filled atmosphere. He lost to Bernie Smith in the final of last years Oceanic Masters so came close to making the biggest darts stage of all. This year he has qualified for the World Championships already. For Peter Wright this is a tricky match. He faced a young gun in Corey Cadby in the first round last year and came a cropper. He has not had great success in this tournament as he has never made it past the second night in any of the three tournaments he has been a part of. He is hoping to add Irwin to his Kiwi scalps in this tournament of Mark Cleaver and Warren Parry.
7. MVG v Cody Harris Cody Harris has always wanted to challenge himself against the best the world of darts has to offer. He based himself in England for the first part of the year and won on the second tier tour. After this event he is heading back their again. He also joined Parry at the World Cup this year representing New Zealand. He has a lot of talent but wants to join Parry in being Kiwis who have defeated MVG. Van Gerwen himself will be fired up having lost out in the World Match play. He continues to win tournaments more than all others but this year he has not been as consistent as previously. He has not made it to the final night of the Auckland Darts Masters previously, a statistic he is sure to know and use as even more motivation to win this title. The last, and only, time the two have met was the 2016 version of the Sydney Darts Masters which MVG won 6-2.
8. Gary Anderson v Tim Pusey The World Matchplay champion loves New Zealand, and is very vocal about it. He won the Auckland Darts Masters title in the second year of its existence with an 11-7 victory over Adrian Lewis. He had lost to Lewis in the quarter finals of the inaugural tournament but what will stick in his mind from last year was his first round defeat at the hands of namesake Kyle Anderson. He wont want to repeat that mistake but will find it tough against the youngster from Western Australia. The drums had been beating about something special coming from the West for some time but when Pusey hit the east coast and the DPA tour he made an immediate impact. With over 300 people competing across the year Pusey went toe to toe with Corey Cadby and Raymond Smith in the chase for first place in the DPA. He consistently made semi finals and the occasional final was also his. He seems to be unaffected by big moments in matches and he will need all of that in this match. Apart from Phil Taylor (on 7), Anderson is the only World Series of Darts Downunder multi winning champion, with two.