Auckland Darts Masters 2018 Night 3 Final Michael Van Gerwen 11 (97.72) Raymond Van Barneveld 4 (93.33) Michael van Gerwen strode back into a World Series of Darts Final and demonstrated why he is world number one with an excellent victory over Raymond van Barneveld in the final of the 2018 version of the Auckland Darts Masters. Van Gerwen started with a 134, having the darts in the first leg. He followed it up with the first 180 of the match. A 171 next visit left him 16 after nine darts. The double 8 came with his tenth dart to see him quickly race to a one leg lead. The following leg saw van Barneveld start with a 134, which MVG upped by two on his next visit. Another 140 and then 98 left him needing 127 against the throw. Barney then hit 140 to leave him requiring 110 at his next visit and as MVG missed the bull Barney did get to have a go at it, but he also missed the last dart at the big total. A double 4 gave van Gerwen the early break and a 2-0 match lead. Two openings of 140 demonstrated the class of both men before van Gerwen threw the same score. RvB upped the pressure on his opponent with his first 180. Another 140 from MvG left 81 as Barney threw 91 to leave 90. Van Gerwen’s 12th dart missed the bullseye before Barney missed a shot at double 5 for the leg. Two darts later and MvG was three nil up. On his second visit of the fourth leg RvB hit his second 180 but two poorer visits straight after meant that he had to attempt to check out 146. He again missed the double 16 for the leg and MvG stepped up to the oche to chase 126. MVG could not convert so Barney had another chance, which he took with his first dart to gain his first leg of the match. MVG then moved steadily through the next leg to requiring 128 as 92 left Barney requiring 170. With MVG needing 70 Barney could not convert the big fish and MvG finished the job hand to take a 4-1 lead to the first break. Barney hit the first maximum after the break to move to 196. With van Gerwen on 170 RvB chased 136 for the leg but was unsuccessful. Van Gerwen then missed the bull for the leg only to see RVB miss three darts at the leg as well. Van Gerwen hit the winner with his last dart in hand on his next visit. He had moved the scoreboard to 5-1. For the second leg in a row RVB hit a maximum but again his follow up was not great. A 125 left van Gerwen on 83 but he missed at his next visit. Barney needed a 124 finish but he scored only 39. Van Gerwen hit the double nine at the fourth attempt to go 6-1 up. Leg eight saw a slow start from both players until Barney hit his third 180 in three legs. Barney moved from 178 to 120 and then watched as his opponent moved to 68 with a 139 visit. RvB missed the leg dart (tops) but was let off by MVG and took it with a double 5 on his second throw to move to a 6-2 lead. The next leg was even throughout. Van Gerwen missed a dart at tops for the leg as Barney hit the double 16 to break Van Gerwen’s throw and win his second leg in succession. In leg 10 Barney took a comfortable lead after two visits and a 140 left him requiring 121. A bounce out did not do van Gerwen any favours as RVB checked out 34 on his next visit to win his third leg in a row. At the second break he had got within two legs of van Gerwen at 6-4. It was Van Gerwen’s throw after the break and two 140s helped him move to requiring 118. He missed the double 19 for the leg but his opponent did not have a checkout and with a three and a double eight on his next visit MvG slowed the mini revival of his opponent. In the next leg a 140 at his second visit and then a follow up 134 had van Gerwen back in his stride and although he did not convert the 144 a 164 check out from RvB was not to be and MvG cleaned up the 41 required to lead 8-4. Van Gerwen then threw consistently to hold throw and move back out to a five leg lead. A 180 from RvB had seemed to put MVG under threat but he checked out 156 for that 13th leg. Each player hit 180s in the next leg. A 64 check out was not converted by RvB as he missed the double 16 and with three darts van Gerwen had set himself up to throw in the next leg for the match. A 140 start from RvB was not enough as van Gerwen quickly moved to leaving a 170 check out. He could only score 60 as Barney was then left requiring 101. A bounce out meant Van Gerwen could only leave tops but RvB did not convert the score he needed on his next time at the oche and with one dart MvG had won his first Auckland Darts Masters trophy, winning the final 11 legs to 4.
Semi Final 1 Raymond Van Barneveld 10 (102.79) Simon Whitlock 5 (91.57) Raymond Van Barneveld moved into his second ever Auckland Darts Masters after dispatching Simon Whitlock ten legs to five in the first semi final of the night, Whitlock had the throw in the first leg but a 95 and then a 140 visit from his opponent meant Barney had an outside chance of a break. Whitlock hit 116 to leave 126 but then Barney hit 140 to leave 66. It meant nothing as double six got the job done for the Australian. Barney started the next leg with a poor opening throw but got back into the leg on his next visit. Although the Dutchman could not convert 132 he should have had enough darts left but then left a finish on tops. With Whitlock unable to convert 160 RvB secured the leg with his 20th dart. 60, 128 and then 121 visits from the Wizard had him on the way in the next leg and his 14th dart hit tops so that he held throw once more. Barney hit the first maximum of the match in the next leg and checked out 102 for the leg. A 100 opening by the Aussie was bettered with a 140 from his opponent and a follow up 100 put the Dutchman in the lead against the throw. Barney left 56 having tried to check out 156 as Whitlock left 50 after chasing 142. Barney broke with his second dart to take the lead for the first time in the match (3-2). Whitlock then got his first maximum of the match to take a lead in the leg, only to follow up with only 78 and not leave a check out. With Barney still well behind he moved to requiring 86. A double seven gave the Wizard the break back immediately (3-3). His poor start on the next leg was punished early by Barney, though, with visits of 140 and 177. 54 left RvB on 130 as Whitlock moved from 224 to 124. Barney hit the 130 finish with ease to take a lead into the first break, 4 legs to 3. Despite a 180 in the next leg from the Aussie to start Barney had a shot at an 11 dart leg and although he failed at it, and indeed failed at the whole visit, he still managed to move 5-3 ahead. Whitlock then opened the next leg with another 180 but was more consistent later in the leg than the previous one and a 140 left him on 101. With Barney on 137 Whitlock had to leave tops. Barney missed a treble 19 for the big check out and Whitlock hit double 20 (his 100% record for doubles as check outs for the match still intact) for the leg and to get back within a leg of his Dutch opponent. (5-4 to RvB.) In the next leg Barney moved to 81 thanks to a 140 but had to leave double 16. With Whitlock well back Van Barneveld got his check out with last dart in hand on his next visit (6-4 to RvB.) The next leg was very close until a 40 put the Aussie behind thanks to another 140 from his opponent. A 130 then left Barney chasing 71 and he soon secured another break of throw. (7-4) The twelfth leg looked a comfortable one for Van Barneveld, securing his 16th 140 of the match in the leg. Whitlock needed 116 to stay in the semi final and secured it with Barney standing behind him, a dart away from the leg. (7-5) Back within two legs Whitlock opened with 100 but that was matched by his opponent. A 90 left him needing 62 as Barney moved from 215 to 118. Whitlock missed his first dart at a check out with a last dart effort on tops and Barney looked to do what Whitlock did to him the previous leg and did so with a 118 check out. (8-5) The next leg saw Barney move to 121 as Whitlock sat on 180. Barney then hit the bull to collect the 121 and move to within a leg of the match. (9-5) Barney then stole the darts on the next leg and scored yet another 140 to leave 81. His 12th dart of the leg gave him the 81 he required to move into another Auckland Darts Masters final.
Semi Final 2 Michael Van Gerwen 10 (102.76) Peter Wright 3 (91.52) Michael Van Gerwen moved into his first ever Auckland Darts Masters final with a comprehensive win over Peter Wright in the second semi final of the evening. MVG started with a 134 as Wright opened with just 45. The Dutchman left 144 after nine darts. Two visits later and he was ahead after the first leg. Wright then opened with a 140 and followed up with a 100. Van Gerwen matched those visits the other way round but another 140 from Wright left him on 121. Van Gerwen was not on a finish so a 59 next visit seemed to not be critical for Wright but when he mixed the following visit his opponent punished him with a bull finish. (2-0) After a 140 from Wright, Van Gerwen hit his first 180 of the match and after the next visit he had left just 90. He did not get it at his first visit but collected it the next time he was at the oche. (3-0). In the next leg MvG had first shot at a check out score, chasing 128. He left 8 but Wright needed the big fish to avoid a 4-0 scoreline. He missed and MvG got what remained to move four legs clear. The next leg was clearly the Dutchmans and he required 170 after nine darts. The bull on his 12th dart moved the world number one 5-0 up. Requiring 127 in the next leg, and on his own throw, Wright left 40 only for van Gerwen to check out a 164 with another bull. (6-0) MvG started with 93 in leg seven and then moved to 233. Wright then hit a Robin Hood to be denied another 60 before MvG left 170 (again.) He only scored 29 this time but Wright seemed well behind. Three MvG visits later and the players were in the sheds for the break with Wright yet to win a leg (after Snakebite had missed two darts at double 16 for the leg.) 7-0 to Michael Van Gerwen. After the break Van Gerwen kept the pressure on, and despite starting more slowly after the break he soon had the darts on Wright’s next throw. A 57 from the Dutchman was punished with a 140 from Wright. A maximum from MvG left him on 48 as Wright missed an attempt at Shanghai. Van Gerwen checked out the needed total to move eight legs ahead. After some lesser scores in leg nine Van Gerwen hit 140 to leave 158 but then Wright got the same to leave 81. With a treble 19 and double 12 Wright secured his first leg (as an added bonus it was against the throw.) After his 11 dart leg Snakebite opened the next with a 140 and followed it with two big visits and a double five gave him a second leg in a row. (8-2) Back on throw and Van Gerwen hit 140 to leave 68 which he collected in three darts to move within a leg of an all Dutch final in Auckland. A 134 against the throw on his second visit gave MvG more momentum and he soon chased 160. He was unable to collect that for the match and Wright stepped up instead to get 46 to move the scoreline to 9-3. MvG had a good lead after the first visit of leg 13 and mid leg he had a 63 point lead. He chased 134 and with his fifth dart at collecting that total a double nine gave Van Gerwen his first Auckland Darts Masters final appearance.
Auckland Darts Masters 2018 Night 2 Quarter Final 1 Simon Whitlock 10 (99.43) Rob Cross 7 (97.61) The Wizard put in an electric performance as he defeated reigning world champion Rob Cross 10-7 in the first quarter final on Saturday evening. Whitlock got the match underway but it was Cross who started the stronger with a 134 start and he was soon well ahead in the leg as Whitlock had three visits without a treble. On his third visit Cross secured the first 180 of the night. Whitlock responded with a 140 but chasing 91 Cross hit double ten for a twelve darter and the earliest of breaks. In leg two Cross started with 99 and followed it up with a 140 which was quickly matched by his opponent. A 132 left Whitlock on 170 as Cross moved from 184 to 126. With Whitlock on 65 Cross had to go at 126 and did so successfully with a double six as his last dart. Whitlock then started with 95 before Cross hit his second 180 of the night. Whitlock seemed to be out of the leg after he left 171 with Cross on 170. However Cross could only leave 113 after a poor visit as Whitlock moved to 74. Cross handed Whitlock a chance by leaving 20 and Whitlock hit tops with his last dart in hand to hold his throw. 2-1 to Cross. A 136 start against the throw from Whitlock put him slightly ahead in leg four as a 105 moved him to 167. His English opponent left 132 as Whitlock hit a last dart treble to leave 68. Chasing two bulls Cross missed the second and had to be satisfied with leaving 32. In two darts the Australian broke his opponent to move the match back to equilibrium after four legs. Leg five saw Whitlock move well ahead with his opponent off the boil. A 140 left Whitlock on 122 and on his next visit he left tops as the target for his next dart. Cross was not even on a finish when the Wizard threw his thirteenth dart and secured a lead for the first time in the match. Leg six saw slow starts from both players but it was Cross who had the first shot at a checkout. He missed the 144 but left 56 with his opponent unable to check out and secured the leg in two darts on his following visit. 3-3. The two players started the leg before the break much better but Cross then followed it up with a maximum. Neither player were on a check out yet though as Cross moved to 97 and Whitlock to 70. Cross hit the treble 20 to leave double 15 and got that with his 11th dart. In the leg after the break Cross handed Whitlock a chance to break straight back after not taking six darts to convert a check out. Whitlock continued his 100% record on the doubles for the match. Cross started the ninth leg strongly but his opponent responded well before Cross struck back once more. Whitlock moved to 130 as Cross moved to 167. Whitlock hit the bull to move ahead in the match once more. With the match on throw Cross started the next leg with 100. The leg was tight throughout as both players scored 140 to leave 110, Cross, and 75, Whitlock. Whitlock missed tops for his first missed at a double but Cross failed to punish him on his next visit. Whitlock then hit double 5 with last dart in hand to move to a two leg lead for the first time in the match. The voltage switched on as he opened the next leg against the throw with a 180. A 137 left him on 88 as Whitlock moved to 147 with a 140. Cross then missed a treble to leave 48. Whitlock also could not convert and both players failed on their next visits before Cross finally grabbed the sixth break of the match. Two solid scores mid leg from Whitlock in the 12th leg put him ahead but a 140 from Cross left him on a 134 check out. The Wizard then missed bull for the leg and Cross checked out 78 to tie the match up after twelve. Whitlock then scored his first 180 opening his throw on the next leg. He followed it with a 140 to leave 181. Whitlock missed double 16 for a 104 check out as Cross tried to hook the big fish. He failed to do so and Whitlock secured the leg with his 13th dart. Whitlock then hit his second maximum on his second visit of leg 14 but a follow up 57 left him on a 164 finish. Cross moved to 86 to be favourite for the leg although he must have been nervous as Whitlock hit two treble 19s. Cross was more successful at the bull, though, to take the leg. For the third leg in a row Whitlock hit a maximum, with Cross responding with a 140 and then a maximum of his own. Whitlock found the bull to check out his largest of the match, a 126 (with his 12th dart.) The next leg saw consistent, if unspectacular, scoring from each player but it was Cross who got to a check out first with 140. Cross then made critical errors chasing 65 and did not even get a shot at a check out. Whitlock secured his 64 target in two darts. It meant Whitlock threw for the match in the next leg. The Australian hit another maximum on his second visit to leave 184. Whitlock required 88 for the match and had six darts at it. A 140 left Shanghai for Cross but he did not get a shot at it as Whitlock hit tops with his second dart on his next visit and secured the first semi final position of the 2018 Auckland Darts Masters.
Quarter Final 2 Raymond van Barneveld 10 (89.43) Mark McGrath 4 (85.83) Raymond van Barneveld avoided the errors of Michael Smith from the night before as he dispensed of local hope Mark McGrath 10-4 in the second quarter final of the night. Despite not throwing his best darts Barney did enough to take out the match comfortably in the end. McGrath won the bull for the throw back stage but on the big stage both players started slowly. A century put McGrath on a 127 finish as Barney could only move from 200 to 156. 95 left the Kiwi on 32 and on his next visit he secured double 16 with his second dart. Barney then started with a 140 on his own throw and he backed it up with the same total on his next two visits to leave 81. He got that out of the way in four darts to move the match to 1-1. McGrath moved comfortably through the next leg and soon required just 60. RvB left 114 but the Kiwi then missed two at tops for the leg and Barney showed him how it was done to get the break. On throw Barney consolidated his lead, although a 180 from his opponent had given McGrath an outside shot at the leg until double ten from the Dutchman put an end to those thoughts. 3-1 to Barney. McGrath required 124 to stop Barney from getting a second leg but he left 68. Barney missed his large check out and despite making an error with his first dart a treble 17 and double 8 gave the local the leg. The confidence of that finish saw him open with a maximum in the next leg but Barney got to the first check out, 86. Barney missed tops for the leg on his next visit but McGrath missed the double 15 for a break back and his opponent got double ten on his next visit to go to a two leg lead. In the next leg McGrath needed to check out a 115 with his opponent on 84 but had to be satisfied leaving 68. Barney took the leg with two darts to move to a 5-2 lead at the break. After the break Barney scored his first 180 of the match to move to 47 although surprisingly he could not do the job on his next visit. His next dart was a winner though, and the Dutchman moved to a 6-2 lead. Even without the throw Barney took a steady lead throughout the next leg but McGrath moved to the front towards the end of it only to spurn the chance of getting 25 and watch as his opponent hit tops in two darts. Leg ten saw two visits of 140 from Barney on throw. Six poor follow up darts had him looking over his shoulder as McGrath moved to 78 and then got the check out to get one break back from his opponent. 7-3 to van Barneveld. A 134 from McGrath in leg eleven left him chasing 164. He failed at that target and left 104. A 140 left his opponent needing 107 and McGrath then left 16 on his next visit before three more darts at the target were unsuccessful by the local. Barney then grabbed the leg he was never in until the last gasp and with that confidence opened leg twelve with 180, 137 and 140 visits before securing the required double to move to within a leg of the match and a semi final against Simon Whitlock. McGrath then moved from 161 to 115 with Barney well behind. The Kiwi took a strange way to do it but with a double five secured his fourth leg of the match. Against the throw McGrath took a small early lead in the next leg and eventually moved to 81 but a 180 put Barney on a 64, heaping a lot of pressure on the local’s throw. McGrath hit the wrong side of the wire for the bull and a twelve dart leg. A double 16 with last dart in hand put Barney through to yet another semi final in the Auckland Darts Masters.
Quarter Final 3 Michael van Gerwen 10 (105.87) Gary Anderson 4 (96.94) In a high class match Michael van Gerwen outclassed a slow starting Gary Anderson by ten legs to four. Van Gerwen opened the first leg with two 180s. He then hit another treble 20 but could not get a treble 18 for the nine darter. A double six with his 12th dart meant he was on the scoreboard first. He then opened with a 140 and 137 against the throw but a 45 left him on 180. Another 45 moved him to 135 as Anderson continued to spray his darts. A 94 left MVG on 41 as Anderson finally tuned in with a maximum of his own. MVG got the check out in two darts and he then hit the 47th maximum of the tournament to open the next leg. Another 180 two visits later left the Dutchman on 56. He missed that on that check out but he secured it with the last dart of his next return to the oche. A 134 opening from MVG was his lowest of the match and 140 later in the leg from Anderson moved him to 184. A 137 moved MVG on 130 as Anderson could only move to 140. MVG left 38 as Anderson left 80. Double 19 with his second dart gave MCG a four nil lead. A 120 start from MVG after a bounce out with his third dart was bettered by Anderson who kept the third treble in the bed. Anderson had a 160 to check out but left 70. Van Gerwen could not put away 141 but Anderson could only get a shot at the bull for the leg, he missed and his opponent pounced to a five nil lead. For the second leg in a row MVG had a bounce out to miss 180 and instead had to be satisfied with 120. A 140 left van Gerwen on 145 as Anderson moved to 68. MVG left 47 and a double four got Anderson on the board finally. 5-1. Van Gerwen then opened with his first two digit score first visit but he soon made amends with the 50th 180 of the tournament. Anderson responded with a 140 and then needed 170 for the break and got it to double his leg tally at the interval. 5-2 to MVG. Both player had bounce outs in the midst of the next leg before a 145 left MVG needing 96. Despite opening with a 140 Anderson had to watch as van Gerwen broke straight break with a 12 dart leg. The Dutchman opened with a 140 in leg nine before hitting his fifth 180. 134 left van Gerwen on 47 and despite getting 133 Anderson could not even get to a check out score as MVG took the leg on his next visit anyway. Anderson opened the next leg with 140 and 180 visits before a 133 left him needing 48. Anderson hit his own 11 dart leg to win his third leg. MVG then opened the next leg with a 140 visit as Anderson responded with a 134 and then a 150 of his own. 123 left Anderson needing 104 to break his opponent, which he did on his next visit to move the match to 7-4. A 121 start from Van Gerwen was not even enough to give him first shot at a check out. Anderson then failed to convert 36 as MVG hit double 14 to stop the revival from the Scotsman. 8-4 to Van Gerwen. Leg 13 saw the big scoring slow from both players until MVG scored a 139 on his third visit. A follow up 140 saw van Gerwen requiring 80 and he got it with a double ten. Another big start, 139, from MVG was then bettered by a 180 from his opponent. A further maximum from MVG left him on Shanghai for the match but he missed tops to leave 20. Requiring 52 Anderson missed the double ten and with another two darts Van Gerwen took out the match ten legs to four.
Quarter Final 4 Peter Wright 10 (93.66) Kyle Anderson 3 (90.84) Peter Wright won the last quarter final of the evening with a comprehensive 10-3 victory over defending champion Kyle Anderson. Against the throw Peter Wright started with a 140 before scoring a 180 two visits later to leave 131. It took seven darts but he got the first leg anyway to take an early break. A 137 in the next leg helped Wright to take a good lead but he missed out on 50 to give Anderson an outside chance, which he did not take. It took Wright another three darts but the Scotsman went two nil ahead. Wright then stole the darts in the next leg before a 171 left Anderson on 32. The Australian then threw an amazing last dart, as his first two had covered the target, to get his first leg of the match. Three 140s from Wright put him in the box seat in the next leg but he struggled to put it away once again and Anderson had a shot at a 160 check out. 92 was not enough from “The Original” and a double one let Snakebite regain a two leg lead, 3-1. 96 late in the fifth leg left Anderson on 114 but he missed tops to do it in three darts. A double ten with the first dart of his next visit gave him the leg. He then opened with a 140 before Wright responded with a second 180. Wright then went bull and treble 13 before missing the double 16 for a unique check out. A dart later (on his next visit) and he was 4-2 up. Kyle Anderson secured his first maximum of the match opening the next leg before scoring another treble 20 with his fourth dart. Needing 136 to get within a leg of Wright Anderson hit 20 and two 19s to move to 78. At his next visit he secured the check out with a treble 1, 25 and bull to go into the break 4-3 down. In the next leg a 140 from Anderson mid leg put pressure on the Wright throw but Snakebite responded with a 180. A 134 from Anderson was not enough as his opponent, who needed 100, secured it with a double ten. Both players started with 140 in the next leg and two visits later Anderson secured another one to leave 121. A poor visit from him meant that he still needed 92 and that was compounded with a worse visit next time up. He then missed double 16 for the leg with the last dart of his next trip to the oche and Wright punished the Australian to take a second break. On Wright’s throw in leg ten the match favourite moved to the first check out chance of the leg with 92. With Anderson on 66 Wright secured the leg to win his third leg in a row. Anderson opened up with 140 in leg 11 and two visits later he scored 121. A 140 left Wright on 130 as 100 left “The Original” on 95. Wright missed the bull for the leg but Anderson failed to take advantage on his next trip to the oche and two darts later Wright was 8-3 up. Two 100 visits from Wright looked good until his opponent hit another 180. A 140 moved Wright to 161 as a second maximum from Anderson left him on 48. 121 from the Scotsman left him on 40 as Anderson could not convert the 48. Wright then hit yet another double ten to move within a leg of the match. A 140 mid leg gave Wright the darts against the throw in leg 13 as 145 left him needing 65 for the match. Wright missed his ever reliable double ten this time but Anderson then missed the bull to stay in the match. Two darts later and the match was over with Wright winning ten legs to three.
Auckland Darts Masters 2018 Night 1 Match 1 Simon Whitlock 6 (92.22) Ben Robb 5 (89.49) Simon Whitlock survived a huge scare against Ben Robb in the opening match of the 2018 Auckland Darts Masters with a 6-5 win over his Kiwi opponent. It has all started so well for the Wizard with a break in the opening leg of the match, thanks mainly to his opening two visits of 140. He then consolidated his lead by winning on his throw. Although unable to reel in the big fish of 170 and his opponent piling on the pressure by leaving 80 Whitlock was able to secre the 65 he required in two darts. Robb then hit Whitlock with three straight legs, comprehensively winning leg three before checking out 101 with his opponent standing behind him with 82 left to draw level. Whitlock then missed tops with one dart and on his next visit Robb took two darts but got the tops he required to lead for the first time in the match. Whitlock had to respond and opened with two 140s before Robb hit back with his second maximum of the match. Whitlock secured the 68 required with two darts. Robb opened the next critical leg with 57 and Whitlock hit his second 180 to take a lead, however Robb was able to scramble back into the leg and checked out 124 to hold his throw and retake the lead. A slower leg from both players saw Whitlock hold throw although he took three darts to get the 20 he required, with a double 5 as his last dart. It seemed to be enough as Robb missed a leg dart of double 11 to leave Whitlock require 26 and despite an unusual way of going about it the Wizard was able to convert. Those who counted out Robb at that point soon realised their error as he hit his third 180 to leave 61. Whitlock tried to convert 137 but could only score 121. Robb then took the required 61 to break his opponent with last dart in hand. At 5-5 Whitlock still had to break his opponent for the win which he had first shot at but secured only 86 of the required 138. Checking out 101 Robb missed the double 16 for the match and Whitlock took out 52 in two darts to scrape through the match.
Match 2 Rob Cross 6 (87.7) John Hurring 5 (86.83) If Simon Whitlock had survived a scare this was an even closer match as Kiwi Hurring missed two darts at tops to take out the World Champion Rob Cross and become the first Kiwi to win at the Auckland Darts Masters. Cross won the opening leg despite Hurring’s best efforts after the Kiwi missed the bull for the leg. A 140 mid leg from the World Champion edged him ahead against the throw next leg although a follow up 58 only left him on 144. He had six darts at the target although Hurring put him under some pressure as he sat on 90. Cross was unable to put away the target after six darts and this time Hurring hit the bull to take the leg and tie the match up on throw. Hurring then opened with a 140 against the throw and with six darts Cross did not hit a treble. Meanwhile Hurring hit a 125 as follow up with Cross not getting a treble on his third visit. On 176 Hurring watched Cross move from 330 to 150 with a maximum and then only moved on to 118 himself. Cross then checked out 150 in a leg he should never have been in to lead 2-1. Cross again threw slowly to start the next leg and Hurring was able to take a substantial lead. With a 121 Hurring was unable to leave a check out at 162 but the good news for the local fans was that Cross was still well behind, Chasing 97 Hurring missed the treble required and a 115 looked achievable for Cross but he could not do it and with his next dart Hurring hit tops to level the match up after four legs. Rob Cross scored a 92 to leave the big fish on the next leg as Hurring moved to 112. On throw Cross missed the bull for the biggest target of all but Hurring could not get his own treble 20 to set up a shot at the 112 target. 9 and double 8 in two darts meant Cross moved to the lead once more. A 140 start from Hurring meant he had the lead for most of the next leg and a 145 moved him to 56. He was unable to convert on his next visit but had another shot at the target and in two darts he moved the match back to equity. In the next leg Robb had first chance of checking out with a 136. Cross could only move to 78 as Hurring progressed to 106. Double six from Cross gave him the lead once more. Hurring then opened his throw with another 140 visit (his fifth) and a good follow up relieved the pressure on him once more. A 100 left Hurring needing 80 as Cross moved from 252 to 152 with a century of his own. Hurring missed tops for the leg with his last dart in hand but Cross did not check out and with two more darts the match was level again at 4-4. A 95 start from Cross was bettered by a 140 from his opponent. Hurring then failed to secure a treble on his next visit but 21 let the World Champion off. He maintained a small lead though and then a bounce out touched the board to give him some bonus points. A 134 from Cross left him on 54 and Hurring could only move to 66 from 151. Two darts at tops and Cross only managed 20 in total. Chasing 66 Hurring hit the double 18 with his second dart to break for the first time in the match to lead 5-4. A 100 start was steady for Hurring but his opponent showed his class by securing the 7th 180 of the tournament. Cross then hit two more treble 20s before switching down but missing a sixth treble in a row. Cross had a considerable lead and despite missing a leg dart at double twelve, came back to the oche and with his last dart in hand hit double three. A 140 start from Cross demonstrated he had flicked the power switch but Hurring matched it on his next visit. Another 140 from Cross was this time bettered by his opponent with his first maximum of the match. 81 left Cross on 140 as Hurring sat on 181. 123 left Hurring on 58 as Cross chased 140 but left tops with 100. Hurring then scored 18 to leave two darts at tops for the match but missed them high by millimetres and he had to watch as Rob Cross came back to the oche and got tops with his next dart to hold throw and win the match 6-5.
Match 3 Mark McGrath 6 (83.46) Michael Smith 4 (83.45) After four long years Mark McGrath did what no other Kiwi has done before him by winning a match at the Auckland Darts Masters, defeating Michael Smith six games to four. McGrath may have opened the match but it was Smith who secured the first maximum on his second visit. A pair of 140s from the Kiwi and low scoring from his opponent meant McGrath had a shot at 103, in which he missed a double for the leg. Smith could only move from 164 to 115 on his next visit though and a double twelve on his 16th dart gave the Kiwi a 1-0 lead. A 140 from his second visit in the next leg gave Smith a considerable lead but McGrath slowly crawled his way back into the leg. Smith first tried to check out a 128 but failed as McGrath tried to convert 130 and also failed. Two more darts gave Smith the second leg. A poor start in the next leg from the local was initially punished by Smith, although a follow up 140 helped McGrath get back in the leg. A 177 from McGrath left him on 36 and Smith could not convert 130. Double 18 with his second dart put McGrath back in the lead. In leg four Smith moved to a big lead and a 134 left him with 56 after 12 darts. He completed that target on his next visit. 100 from McGrath was eclipsed by a maximum opening from his English opponent. Smith then sat on Shanghai but he missed tops for it. McGrath chased 68 but missed double 16 with one dart for the leg. Smith then missed three at double ten to let his opponent take the lead once more, this time with a double 16. McGrath then took the darts mid leg on Smith’s next throw but a 180 moved “Bully Boy” to 82 with McGrath on 121. McGrath missed the treble 17 to have a shot at the bull but Smith then blew the 82 to leave 40. McGrath had two darts at double 8 for the break and after moving across the oche he was able to put the second one in fo a two leg lead, 4 legs to 2. A 137 moved McGrath to 204 as a maximum moved Smith to 132 in the seventh leg. With McGrath on 104 Smith left 78. McGrath then left 55 and Smith hit double tops with his last dart in hand to get the break back. Smith then opened with 57 in the eighth leg but McGrath could not punish him. Consistent throwing mid leg from Smith kept him ahead on throw as he moved to 150. With six darts for the check out score Smith seemed to have the leg but he was unable to secure it within that number. His seventh dart, however, moved the match level once more at 4-4. The next leg was tight between the players as McGrath moved to a check out target first, leaving 85. With Smith on 106 McGrath needed the bull for the leg but missed. Smith left 52 as McGrath stepped up for 31. Both players then chased the board as the pressure hit but it was McGrath who hit the double first, a double one to take the lead again, this time 5-4. The match was the same as the previous one with a Kiwi 5-4 ahead and this time McGrath opened with a 99 and 100 to take the darts away from his opponent. A Robin Hood did not help the local but he remained ahead anyway. McGrath required 137 but could only leave 40 as Smith moved to leave 82 to hold his own throw. McGrath then became the first Kiwi to win in Auckland with tops at his first dart on his next visit. It was also the first match of the night that had not gone the full distance.
Match 4 Raymond van Barneveld 6 (95.34) Warren Parry 4 (91.12) A fourth close match saw Raymond van Barneveld replicate his score against Warren Parry from the Auckland Darts Masters twelve months ago, by winning six legs to four. A 140 from Barney in the first leg moved him to 94 but a 140 from Parry put some pressure on the throw by leaving the Kiwi master on 84. Neither player could take advantage on the next throw and Barney was never going to miss on his second visit. Parry then opened with 140 in the second leg which was matched by his opponent. Mid leg Parry hit a 180 to move to 157. Two visits later Parry chased 100 to hold his first throw, which he did so with a double 10. What should have been a comfortable leg for the Dutchman in the third was made a little awkward after he missed two darts at double 18 but he secured the leg with a double nine thanks to his last dart in hand. Parry then opened with visits of 100, 100 and 140 before Barney hit his second maximum in succession to put himself in a prime position to win the leg. He missed with two shots at check out and Parry got the leg with his first shot at a double. The match was even once more on the scoreboard. Mid fifth leg Barney hit 180 to move to an average of 105 and a total required of 187. A 137 left him needing 50 and he got that score on his next visit to return to the lead. Barney then had a shot at the next leg with a 115 but was put under some pressure as his opponent moved from 174 to 40. Barney missed the requirement only for Parry to also miss all three at tops and the Eye of the Tiger pounced at the chance to break and lead 4-2. Both players had large check outs required in the next leg (170 Barney and 161 Parry). A loose final dart left Barney on 95 as Parry moved from 161 to 62. The Dutchman failed to secure the leg on his next visit and Parry stepped up once more, this time with success on the final double, securing double 16 to get the break back immediately. Parry then hit 140 to set up 161 in the eighth leg and with Barney on 204 Parry scored 43 on his next visit. Barney moved to 146 as Parry converted the 118 required of him with a double 18 to move the match back to parallel. For the fourth time tonight the scoreboard read 4-4. In leg nine, on Barney’s throw, the scores were tight throughout. Barney left Shanghai and had six darts at it. He needed five of them but with the fifth hitting the target he had the lead once more. A 140 on his second visit by Barney put pressure on the Parry throw in leg ten but a follow up 60 was disappointing for the Dutchman. A 128 from Barney left 70 as Parry moved from 190 to 10 with a maximum. With last dart in hand RvB was able to deny Parry a shot at the double five and at the same time secure the match 6-4, exactly the same scoreline it had been twelve months earlier between the two in Auckland.
Match 5 Kyle Anderson 6 (94.51) Haupai Puha 4 (92.38) New Zealand’s DPNZ current number one, Haupai Puha, continued the theme of the night by putting a lot of pressure on his more highly fancied opponent. However Auckland champion Kyle Anderson was able to up his game in the middle of the match to secure a 6-4 victory. Anderson opened the match with a 95 as he stared out on the defence of his Auckland title. He led throughout the first leg until a 140 moved Puha slightly ahead. 94 left Puha on 150 as 59 left his opponent on 120. Neither Puha nor Anderson could convert at their next visits and with Anderson on 29 Puha tried to take out 92. He just missed tops for the leg as Anderson hit the double ten with his 19th dart to take an early lead. Puha scored his first maximum of the match opening the next leg and moved quickly to requiring 164. With his opponent well behind he was able to leave 100 and even then he was offered six darts to take the leg but only needed the three. Anderson then struck back by opening the next leg with a 140. A 57 follow up was disappointing before a 150 visit left him on a 164 check out. He missed the bull for the leg and then could not convert the 25. Puha had a second shot in a row at a 100 check out and got it with two darts to take an early break of throw. Puha looked to consolidate the break in the next leg but a 141 put Anderson slightly ahead before a follow up 51 meant the Aussie fell behind once more. With Anderson on 132 Puha went 18 double 16 to win a third consecutive leg. Anderson needed to respond and he started by scoring a 140 on his first visit in the fifth leg but strong scoring through the middle of the leg moved Puha to 147. Whilst Puha could not convert the 147, leaving 106, Anderson could not convert 160, and left 20. Puha then just missed a double 16 for a second break and Anderson took the leg with the next dart of the match. In the context of the match it would be a critical miss. At 3-2 down Anderson took a slight lead after the first visit of each player. A maximum (the 21st of the tournament) for Anderson moved him to 187 as Puha progressed to 166. Anderson then moved to 87 as Puha piled on the pressure by leaving 32. Bullseye favoured the Australian as he moved the match back to 3-3. Both players then opened with 130 plus visits in the seventh leg. Two more strong visits and both players were within striking distance. Anderson, on throw, moved to 126 as Puha moved to 167. A 54 visit from Anderson seemed to be not enough but Puha left 74 himself. Anderson gained three legs on the spin with a double 16 to lead four legs to three. A 140 on his second visit from Anderson looked to put him slightly ahead but Puha responded with a great final dart. Another excellent final dart left Puha on a 160 finish as Anderson moved to 116. Puha dragged his final dart down as he comfortably hit the first 120, but Anderson also missed tops with his final dart for the leg. A double ten from Puha made the scoreline 4-4 once more in this event. The Australian then opened with 125 in the ninth leg. A 162 visit left Anderson on a140 check out with his Kiwi opponent well behind. Anderson then left eight as Puha was not even on a finish. Anderson took the leg with his second throw at double four. Puha had to hold his throw in the tenth leg to take the match to a decider. Anderson hit a 135 on his second visit as Puha failed to hit a treble with his next visit. That handed his opponent the darts. Anderson left 170 as Puha moved to 208. A 95 from “The Original” left 75 as 58 left Puha on 150. With his 14th dart of the leg Kyle Anderson put the match to bed, six games to four.
Match 6 Peter Wright 6 (94.77) Tahuna Irwin 3 (86.59) Peter Wright must have been nervous after drawing another young darting starlet in Tahuna Irwin after losing to Corey Cadby in the first round of the Auckland Darts Masters last year but he showed all of his professionalism in dispatching Irwin six legs to three. Wright opened the sixth match of the night with a 100 and then scored a 140 on his third visit. 98 left Wright on 120 and he secured Shanghai with ease. In the second leg Wright hit 140 and then got another similar score to leave 121. With Irwin on 143 Wright moved to 64 and secured the match on his next visit to take the early initiative 2-0. By the third leg Wright was well and truly into his rhythm and moved quickly to a target of 83. Wright then left 32 as Irwin moved to 20. Wright missed all three for the leg on his next visit and with a double ten Irwin broke the throw in a leg he was never really a part of until very late. The fourth leg saw Wright take a slight lead as he tried to take back the momentum of the match and a 140 moved him to 115. A 140 of his own moved Irwin to 100. Wright missed the double 18 for the finish but Irwin could only leave 48. Wright then hit double nine with his last dart in hand to get the third break in four legs of the match. A 180 start from Wright in the fifth leg was then followed up by a 100 before a 130 left 91.Wright then left tops as a 140 visit left his opponent on 82. It only took Wright one dart to move to a 4-1 lead. Three 140s in succession was then followed up by a 133 as both players ramped up the scoring. Irwin required 132 and Wright 156 but neither player could convert. A double ten with his last dart in hand gave Irwin a second leg. In the next leg Wright scored the 22nd 180 of the night and with a follow up 130 moved to a 142 check out. 45 was a disappointing output on his next visit but Irwin was well behind on 150. Three darts on his next time at the oche saw Wright take a 5-2 lead. With Wright a leg away from victory Irwin managed to keep the lead on throw and he had first shot at a check out, chasing a 112. As Wright stood behind him 140 Irwin missed with his first dart but a final dart treble left 49. Wright could not get his big check out but then Irwin missed double eight for the leg. Wright then missed double 14 and double 7 for the match. A double four gave Irwin a third leg. Both players started the next leg slowly but a 134 helped Irwin’s cause of chasing a break. A 140 moved Wright to 121 first though and he had a chance to win the match with a bullseye, a chance that he took, the match finishing six legs to three in Snakebite’s favour.
Match 7 Michael van Gerwen 6 (102.45) Cody Harris 2 (85.78) Michael Van Gerwen returned to the big stage in Auckland in style as he defeated a resilient Cody Harris 6-2 in the seventh match of the opening night of the Auckland Darts Masters. Harris threw first in the match but MVG came out all guns blazing with three 140s in succession. His eleventh dart of the leg gave the Dutchman a break of throw. Van Gerwen then opened with 95 and two visits later hit 171. He missed double 14 for a 12 darter but two darts later he threw it to lead 2-0. A 140 from Harris kept the local hope ahead in the third leg and he had a shot at 141 to win it. 125 left Harris needing 16 which he could not secure at his next visit. His opponent then missed the bull for the leg and Harris scored double 20 to move to within a leg of his opponent. He then opened up with 140 against the throw as he seemed to become more comfortable in the match but MVG hit his first maximum of the match to ramp up the pressure even more. With Harris on 82 Van Gerwen hit tops for the leg. Another 100 opening for Harris could not be bettered by his opponent but more power scoring through the middle of the leg put the world number one well ahead and he checked out 80 with his thirteenth and fourteenth darts to make the scoreline 4-1. A second 180 in the sixth leg moved Van Gerwen to 86 but he missed the double 13 for the leg. Harris could only move from 176 to 76 and with a double seven on his second throw MVG moved 5-1 ahead. Harris then scored another 100 before hitting his first maximum of the match, and the 25th of the night. A follow up 140 left him on 81 as MVG was well behind on 326. Harris missed five darts at double but he attacked the sixth one to move back to within three legs of Van Gerwen. On throw in the eighth leg Van Gerwen left Shanghai for the match and converted it in style to win the match six legs to two.
Match 8 Gary Anderson 6 (94.52) Tim Pusey 3 (91.79) In the final match of the night Australian Tim Pusey and World Matchplay champion Gary Anderson put on a superb display of dart throwing which Anderson won six legs to three. Pusey made his World Series of Darts debut with a 180 as Gary Anderson responded on his second visit to the oche with a 137. Pusey then matched the score before leaving 50 after his next visit. He could not convert it but Anderson to missed tops on his attempt at Shanghai. Pusey then missed another three darts at the leg and he was punished by Anderson who held his throw. Poorer throwing on his own throw in leg two meant that Pusey handed Anderson a chance at 100 which he took to lead 2-0. A 140 start in leg three helped Pusey’s composure but Anderson stayed ahead and a maximum moved him to only requiring 65. He missed it to give Pusey an outside chance of a 121 but despite two excellent darts he failed to take out the score after missing the double 14. Anderson then missed with three darts for the leg as Pusey then failed to take the leg on his next visit which meant he had missed eight darts in attempting to break his opponent. Anderson punished him once more to lead 3-0. Consistently strong scoring from the Scotsman put him well ahead in the fourth leg but he missed the bull for the leg. Pusey then left tops as Anderson could not convert 25. Pusey hit a double ten with his second dart to gain his first leg. A 177 start from Pusey moved him ahead on Anderson’s throw once more in leg five. 5 perfect darts and a five moved Pusey to 199 and then 80 saw him requiring 119 on his next visit. He put that target away in style to win his second leg in a row and move to within one leg of his opponent. Leg six saw both players start with tonne starts. Anderson pounced on his second visit to hit his second 180 of the match. A 140 left Anderson on 81 as the same left his opponent on 139. Then a double 12 gave Anderson an 11 dart leg to break straight back. He then opened the next leg with a 180 and a 140 that left the Scotsman on 138. Pusey could not convert 164 and Anderson hit tops for a thirteen dart leg. At 5-2 down Pusey had to win every leg but he failed to hit a treble in his first six darts of the next leg. A 140 moved him to 244 but another poor visit left him out of reach of a checkout. A better 84 visit left Pusey on 100 as Anderson moved from 219 to 102. Double ten helped Pusey take out a third leg before Anderson opened leg nine with a 140 and then another 180. Anderson tried to take out 133 but left 75 as Pusey was well behind on 180. With Pusey on Shanghai Anderson gave him a shot at it by failing to hit double twelve or double six. Pusey failed to hit tops for the leg and this time Anderson got the double six required for the match. In the end the scoreline could look deceptive as Pusey had opportunities at breaks on another three of Anderson’s throws, however it was the added experience of the number two ranked player in this tournament that shone through at the end.