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Lakeside 2016 : Mens Championship Match Reports - Day 4
[font=sans-serif]Martin Adams 0-3 Jeff Smith
2015 World Championship semi-finalist Jeff Smith produced a stunning performance to secure a straight-sets victory over three-time World Champion Martin Adams, on Tuesday afternoon at the Lakeside.

Adams, second seed for this year’s event, was appearing in his 23rd consecutive World Championship, whilst making his 71st Lakeside appearance. Nevertheless, last year’s finalist claimed just three legs as he was unceremoniously dumped out by the impressive Canadian.

The contest began at a blistering pace. Adams left D8 after just 12 darts, and after Smith missed D10 for a 128 checkout, ‘Wolfie’ was poised to break in the opening leg. However, Adams missed three at double, allowing Smith to return and pin D2 to lead.

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Adams again dominated the scoring stakes in the second leg, but after missing four darts at double, Smith capitalised, converting 64 in two-darts to extend his advantage. 

However, the 2nd seed remained unperturbed, and opened his account in the third leg, breaking the Canadian with a fine 13-darter. Despite this, Martin’s scoring power momentarily evaded him in the fourth leg, and Smith took full advantage, posting D20 for a 14-darter to secure the spoils in the opening set.

Nevertheless, the 59-year-old veteran responded magnificently at the beginning of set two, producing an extraordinary 10 dart-leg on throw. Adams followed up his first maximum with a 140, followed by a 165, before authoritatively pinning D8 with his first dart. Smith enjoyed a tremendous leg himself, leaving 100 after 9 darts, although he wasn’t afforded an opportunity by Wolfie.

‘The Silencer’ delivered an instant riposte in the second leg. Despite missing three darts at double, Smith held throw after Adams was unable to produce a spectacular 140 checkout. 

Martin was averaging just over 100, but he was handed a major reprieve as Smith wired D16 for a 70 checkout and a break of throw. However, the Canadian hit D18 minutes later to force a critical fifth and decisive leg in the set.

Adams desperately needed to hold throw to restore parity, but Smith posted his first maximum at the most opportune moment, to secure the initiative in the set. He left himself on D18 after 12 darts, and the Las Vegas Open winner held his nerve, pinning D9 with his last dart in hand, to establish a commanding two-set lead.

Martin’s scoring regressed slightly as the contest progressed, whereas Smith was continuing to grow in confidence, throwing with far greater fluidity and conviction. He hit D9 for the second leg in succession to take the lead in the third set. 

Smith is renowned for his clinical finishing, but he was also scoring magnificently this afternoon. He left 60 after just 9 darts on Adams’ throw, and despite missing four darts at double, the 40-year-old held his nerve on D5, to move within one leg of a memorable victory.

Martin continued to battle valiantly, and produced an excellent leg of darts against the throw, leaving D20 after 12 darts, as he attempted to reduce the arrears in the set. Nevertheless, he didn’t even have an opportunity at double, as Smith clinched the win in sumptuous style, with a shanghai 120 finish.

Smith averaged 93, but his first 9-dart average was a hugely impressive 107. Adams was averaging 100 for the first half of the match, although his scoring dipped in the latter stages, and he was ruthlessly punished as a consequence.

When interviewed by the BBC in the immediate aftermath of his triumph, Jeff was understandably elated. "I’ve just played Martin Adams at the Lakeside! I'm still shaking like a leaf. I know that if I hit doubles, I can compete with anyone in the world and I'm the only one who believes that."

Adams was typically magnanimous in defeat, and was full of praise for his opponent. Wolfie admitted: “"He played better than I did. You can't argue with that. The first set could've been different if I'd have hit my doubles, but that’s Darts.”

"If he keeps playing like that, players will have to play magnificent darts; the darts of their life to beat him. Jeff was superb today,” he added.


[font=sans-serif]Mark McGeeney 3-0 Peter Sajwani
Mark McGeeney enjoyed a dream Lakeside debut, cruising past an under-par Peter Sajwani in straight-sets on Tuesday afternoon at the Lakeside. The 11th seed dropped just two legs against the Swedish number one, who could only average 74.

Both men struggled to find their range in the scoring department early on, but their finishing was very impressive. Sajwani held throw in the opening leg with an impressive 92 finish, but McGeeney usurped this moments later, drawing level courtesy of a spectacular 122 bull finish. 

This settled the Englishman down, and he secured a precious break of throw in the third leg, posting D18 for a 14-darter.The 11th seed produced another dominant scoring leg in the fourth, and despite some hesitancy in the finishing department, McGeeney eventually pinned D2 to clinch the opening set. 

The Coventry man, a semi-finalist at this year’s World Trophy, won his fourth consecutive leg with a clinical two-dart 74 checkout, to establish an early advantage in the second set.

Sajwani was struggling, and the Swedish qualifier missed a multitude of doubles in a very scrappy second leg. Mark eventually hit D1 to break the throw in 28 darts; however, he was far more assured in the following leg. McGeeney coolly converted 57 in two-darts, to win his sixth successive leg and establish a two-set cushion.

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Sajwani finally stopped the rot in the opening exchanges of the third set, posting D16 for a solid 16-dart leg. However, he was unable to disrupt McGeeney’s momentum, as the Lakeside debutant converted D18 to restore parity in the set. 

The amiable Swede could not find any semblance of consistency, and Mark capitalised. After missing the bull for a 161 finish, McGeeney returned to take out D16 to move to the cusp of victory, and he sealed his progression to the second-round with an accomplished 68 checkout. He will now take on his pair’s teammate, and reigning Champion, Scott Mitchell, in the last 16.

In his post-match interview, McGeeney admitted: “I have never been as nervous in my life, as I was up there. It is surreal; I was shaking like a leaf up there for the whole game. 

He admitted that he found it difficult to contend with Sawjani’s on-stage persona, but claimed that maintaining his focus was key. “I thought; just don’t get involved in that. Just concentrate on your darts, and do what you do,” he added.

[font=sans-serif]Gary Robson 1-3 Madars Razma
Madars Razma produced an exhibition of finishing as he dumped out 13th seed Gary Robson in the first-round of the World Championships, on Tuesday afternoon at the Lakeside. Neither player scored particularly well, but Razma hit 10 doubles from just 15 attempts, a superb checkout success rate of 67%.

The first-set was extremely hard-fought. Razma won a scrappy opening leg on throw, taking out 80 in two-darts. Robson responded by hitting D6 to draw level, before the pair both missed two darts at double to win the third leg. 

However, it was Razma who claimed the spoils, hitting D8 to reclaim the initiative. Robson forced a fifth and deciding set with a comfortable 16-dart hold, but the Latvian held his nerve to clinch the opener, nailing D20 for a 16-darter of his own.

Robson was struggling to find any semblance of consistency in the scoring stakes, and Razma exploited this, breaking Gary in the opening leg of set two, with a quality 99 checkout. The 27-year-old extended his advantage with a 58 finish, hitting D20 with his first dart, to the displeasure of his opponent.

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Robson, a three-time World Championship quarter-finalist, preserved his hopes in the second set by pinning D7, but this simply delayed the inevitable. Razma produced a majestic 177, before converting D18 for an emphatic hold and a two-set lead.

Razma continued his proficient finishing in the opening stages of set three. Robson wired the bull for a 121 checkout and a precious break, but Madars took out 76 to maintain his throw. The pair traded maximums in the following leg, as Robson halted his sequence of losing five consecutive legs, with an accomplished 15-dart hold.

This sparked a mini-revival for Robson, as he secured an imperative break of throw. Razma produced a mediocre leg, leaving 132 after 18 darts, enabling the 13th seed to hit D16 and gain command of the third set. ‘Big Robbo’ then posted a timely maximum in leg four, and converted a pressure D10, to reduce the arrears to 2-1 in sets.

This was a considerable test of character for Razma, but he passed it with flying colours. Robson delivered a poor leg on throw, and after wiring the bullseye for a 119 finish, the Latvian converted D4 to break the 48-year-old. Razma’s terrific finishing continued in the next leg, as he took out 110 with consummate ease, to move to within a leg of a second-round berth.

Robson kept his slender hopes alive, winning an attritional leg courtesy of D20, but Razma showed admirable composure to seal victory in fine fashion. With Robson threatening to break, Madars produced a breath-taking 150 checkout, to win through to the last 16 for the second year in succession.

[font=sans-serif]Geert de Vos 3-1 Kostas Pantelidis
Geert de Vos defeated Greek qualifier Kostas Pantelidis 3-1 at the Lakeside on Tuesday evening to set up an intriguing last 16 clash against former Champion Scott Waites. De Vos, who won his first BDO major at the World Trophy last March, wasn’t at his best, but was always in control against the Greek debutant.

De Vos strolled to the opening leg, taking out D8 with Pantelidis way adrift. However, the Greek preliminary qualifier drew level moments later, pinning D10 in a scrappy 24-dart leg. However, the Belgian was monopolising the scoring stakes, and he reeled off two consecutive legs, in 16 and 14 darts respectively to clinch the opening set.

De Vos kicked off the second set in fine style, pinning D20 for a quality 13-dart leg before extending his advantage on D8. In the third leg of the set, Pantelidis had his first shot at double since the second leg of the contest, which illustrates De Vos’ dominance. However, Kostas was unable to hit D14 to complete a 95 checkout and the 8th seed returned to the oche and converted D8 to double his lead in sets.

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However, Pantelidis emerged from the interval rejuvenated, and opened his account on D18 for a 16-dart leg and a precious break. Pantelidis narrowly missed D20 for a 120 checkout, but De Vos also failed to convert tops for a 104 checkout, allowing the Greek to pin D10 and extend his lead in set three. 

Geert had momentarily lost his focus, and this was punished, as Kostas secured the set without reply by breaking throw once-more in 17 darts.
Kostas had the darts in the fourth set, but the Belgian rectified matters by breaking Pantelidis immediately. De Vos left D20, which had been his nemesis throughout the contest; his woes on that double continued, but he nailed D10 to wrestle back the initiative.

De Vos controlled the second leg of the set, and took out D20 for a 17-darter to move to the cusp of victory. Pantelidis’ surge had subsided, and after the qualifier failed to threaten a spectacular 156 checkout, Geert returned to seal victory on D20 in 14-darts.

It was a professional performance from the eighth seed who averaged around 88. However, he will have been pleased by his prolific scoring. This victory maintains Geert’s impeccable first-round record at Lakeside. In five appearances, he has always progressed through the last 16. However, he has never reached the quarter-finals, which is a hurdle he’ll be desperate to overcome against Waites.

[font=sans-serif]Wesley Harms 3-2 Seigo Asada
Two-Time Lakeside semi-finalist Wesley Harms prevailed in a thrilling first-round tie against gallant Japanese qualifier Seigo Asada, on Tuesday night at Frimley Green. Harms, seeded 5th for this tournament, came through a nail-biting fifth set to set up a last 16 tie against talented Welshman Jim Williams.

Harms started the encounter strongly, setting up D20 after just 12 darts to threaten an instant break of throw. Wesley struggled to close out the leg, but after Asada missed three darts to hold, Harms returned to convert D2 and edge ahead. 

He extended his lead moments later courtesy of D16, but Asada’s unflappable nature came to fruition once more as the Japanese qualifier opened his account with a clinical 64 checkout for a 15-darter. 

However, ‘Sparky’ had the advantage of throwing for the set, and he took full advantage, posting a tremendous 102 finish, culminating on D11 to secure the early initiative.

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Despite this, the Dutchman relinquished his throw in the opening exchanges of set two, after surprising profligacy on the doubles. Harms spurned six darts at double, enabling Asada to post D4 to break throw. 

The Japanese qualifier wired the bullseye for a magnificent 128 checkout and the 5th seed appeared destined to restore parity in the contest. However, Harms’ double woes continued as he squandered nine darts at double. Asada gratefully accepted this invitation, posting D4 once more to extend his lead in the second set.

Harms illustrated his mercurial nature in the following leg. After squandering 15 darts at double throughout the set, he produced a fantastic 120 shanghai finish to preserve his hopes of doubling his lead. 

This checkout galvanised Wesley, who wired D8 for a 136 checkout and a potential 12-darter moments later. Nonetheless, Seigo remained unperturbed and pinned D10 with his last dart in hand to complete a pivotal 80 checkout and level up proceedings heading into the interval.

Asada secured the lead for the very first time in the contest by taking out 60, but he squandered a glorious opportunity to break Harms in the following leg. The Japanese star left himself on 181 after just 6 darts, but he missed three darts at D18 to break.

This proved to be a decisive moment in the third set. The two-time Lakeside finalist broke throw in the third leg after producing a crucial 64 checkout for an accomplished 15-darter. 

Harms spurned two set darts in the fourth leg, yet he wasn’t punished as Asada was unable to convert 72. On this occasion, the 31-year-old Dutchman took his chance, pinning D10 with his first dart to regain his one-set cushion.

Harms, a former International Open winner, secured the initiative in a scrappy opening leg of set four, taking out D8 in 18 darts. However, Asada delivered an immediate riposte, drawing level with a composed two-dart 70 kill.

The World Number 5 produced a poor third leg on his own throw and Asada pounced. The Japanese qualifier posted D6 for a 14-darter to move ahead in the set, but moments later he sealed the set, conjuring up a majestic 122 bullseye finish to force a dramatic fifth and deciding set.

Seigo’s throw came under considerable pressure in the opening leg of the deciding set. Harms was unable to take out 144, but he left himself handily placed on a two-darter. Nevertheless, the qualifier showed nerves of steel, converting a fine 92 finish in two darts to retain the upper-hand.

The Dutchman suffered a surprise first-round exit at last year’s World Championship and he was absolutely desperate to avoid a similar fate this year. He restored parity in the set with an assured 15-darter and 64 finish before a dramatic third leg ensued. 

Harms posted his first maximum of the contest to threaten a break, before he bent the D10 wire for a magnificent 140 checkout. Wesley almost lost the leg as Asada squandered two darts for a 66 checkout, but Harms capitalised on this reprieve and pinned a 13-dart leg to move to the cusp of victory. 

Harms had the throw to win the match, and posted a timely 177 to gain complete command of the leg. Asada responded with successive ton-plus scores, but the Dutch ace held his nerve, hitting D10 to edge through to round-two. However, Asada deserves tremendous credit for a valiant display. He recorded 48 scores of 100 or more throughout the tie, pushing an established contender all the way.[/font]

[font=sans-serif]Brian Dawson 3-2 John Walton

Brian Dawson survived two-match darts as he completed a stunning comeback from 2-0 down to defeat former World Champion John Walton in the tie of the first-round at the Lakeside on Tuesday evening. 

Walton had the chance to secure victory in the fourth set, but ‘Doggy’ produced some fantastic finishes at crucial moments to set up a last 16 tie against Jeff Smith.

Walton made a blistering start to the contest, leaving 8 after just 12 darts. At the third time of asking, ‘John Boy’ pinned D4 to secure the lead, and he extended his advantage on D18 after Dawson had missed the bull for a 93 finish.

However, ‘Doggy’ rallied impressively in the third leg, posting three successive 140’s to set up a break opportunity. He missed two darts, at D12 and D6 respectively, but returned to post a 13-darter after Walton wired the bull for a fine 101 checkout. The 2001 World Champion was rolling back the years on the Lakeside stage and clinched the opening set in fine style, courtesy of a sublime 116 checkout.

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Nevertheless, Dawson made a fantastic start to the second set, producing an exhibition 125 checkout (Bull, 25, Bull) to hold his throw. The 15th seed had the chance to extend his lead in the following leg, but he missed one dart at D8 for a 72 checkout, and Walton followed up his second maximum by pinning D10.

Walton, who was making his first Lakeside appearance since 2013, was throwing superbly against his good friend and fellow Yorkshireman. He grasped the initiative in the second set with a fine 15-darter and a significant break, courtesy of a clinical 71 checkout. This deflated Dawson, but Walton continued to motor, and established a commanding two-set cushion after converting 80 for a quality 14-dart leg.

Dawson was facing an unenviable task of resurrecting his hopes, but he emerged from the interval reinvigorated, and broke Walton instantly with a tremendous 124 checkout. This preceded Dawson’s best leg of the match as he converted 44 for a fabulous 11-darter. Brian was throwing superbly, and clinched the third set without reply, thanks to a classy 70 finish.

Dawson continued his resurgence early in the next set, winning his fourth straight leg via D8, but Walton managed to stop the rot by completing a regulation 25 checkout. 

However, ‘John Boy’ suddenly produced a magnificent leg against the darts to wrestle back the initiative. After posting his fifth maximum of the match, Walton took out 100 for a superb 12-darter, and suddenly, he was throwing for a second-round spot.

Dawson wired the bull for an 83 finish, affording Walton an opportunity to complete a regulation 60 checkout for the match. However, John was extremely unfortunate; his two darts at D20 were either side of the wire and Dawson capitalised on this reprieve to break back on D8. 

John fought valiantly to seal the win in the fifth and deciding leg, posting a timely 140 to set up D18. However, Dawson showed nerves of steel, pinning D20 to force a deciding set; a prospect that appeared distinctly unlikely just twenty minutes previously.

The Yorkshire duo were coping with the pressure extremely well. Walton claimed the early lead in the fifth set, taking out 70 for a 15-darter, but Dawson responded in equally impressive fashion; converting a 15-darter of his own, virtue of a 76 checkout.

‘John Boy’ missed D16 for a 64 checkout in leg three, and Dawson had the opportunity to take out 120 for a huge break. The 49-year-old hit the requisite T20, but his attempt at D20 was pulled, and Walton converted D8 with his last dart in hand to edge ahead once more. 

The roles were reversed in the next leg. The former Champion was poised on 120 to win the match, but he failed to register a shot at double and Dawson hit D16 to force a dramatic tiebreak scenario.

However, in one of the most crucial legs of the contest, Walton produced arguably his worst leg of the match. He left himself on 68 after 18 darts, and Dawson pounced upon his opponent’s momentary lapse, taking out 60 in two-darts to ensure he would throw for the match.

After a mediocre opening, Dawson responded with scores of 140, 134, and 134, to leave 52 after 12 darts. Walton left 118 after 12, but the Lakeside veteran wasn’t afforded an opportunity as ‘Doggy’ hit D16 with his first dart, to complete a quite wonderful comeback.

It was a pulsating battle. Walton can consider himself particularly unfortunate; he averaged 91 and was consistent throughout; despite this, he will be ruing the two match-darts he spurned in the fourth set. Dawson threw some terrific darts in the second half of the contest, but the most impressive facet of his performance was his tenacity and spirit.[/font]
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