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Lakeside 2016 : Mens Championship Match Reports - Day 6
Mark McGeeney 3-4 Scott Mitchell
Reigning Champion Scott Mitchell survived eight match darts as he prevailed in a thrilling sudden-death leg against Mark McGeeney in a Lakeside classic on Thursday afternoon. McGeeney performed superbly, but just couldn’t cross the finishing line, as Scott held his nerve to break throw in the final leg to secure victory.

McGeeney made a blistering start to the contest, cruising to the first set without reply, after producing two terrific legs. The 11th seed posted back-to-back 180s in the opening leg, and pinned D16 to complete a 41 checkout for a fabulous 12-darter. 

He extended his advantage moments later, conjuring up a superb 130 finish on the bullseye for a 15-dart break, before clinching the set in 20-darts.

Mitchell responded well early in the second set, taking out D10 for a very comfortable hold in 16-darts. Nevertheless, McGeeney continued to heap the pressure on ‘Scotty Dog’, delivering a 16-dart hold of his own, after narrowly missing D20 for an 80 finish.

‘The Gladiator’ was throwing with tremendous belief and he kicked off the third leg with his fourth maximum to pressure Scott’s throw. Mark took full advantage of this break chance, converting a magnificent 136 checkout for a 12-darter, to establish command of the contest.

Mitchell desperately needed to respond in order to halt McGeeney’s growing momentum, but the reigning Champion illustrated his class, delivering an instant riposte via D8 for a 13-darter to wrestle back the advantage in the set. 

The fifth and decisive leg in the set was a tentative affair, with both men acknowledging the potential repercussions of losing the leg. However, the advantage of throw proved crucial for Mitchell, as he confidently converted D20 for a two-dart 56 kill to level up the encounter.

Mark kicked off proceedings in the third set in fine style, posting his fifth maximum and hitting D18 for a confident 13-dart hold. The Bolton ace had an opportunity to extend his lead with a 66 checkout, although he missed his solitary dart at D18, and Mitchell converted 60 in two-darts to peg back. 

McGeeney remained unflappable however, and edged ahead once more with an emphatic 14-dart hold via D6. Scott seemed destined to force another set-deciding fifth leg, but uncharacteristically, he missed three clear darts at double, and McGeeney gratefully accepted the invitation, nailing D18 for a 13-darter, to seal the set with an average of over 107.

After the brief interval, both men maintained their high-level of performance. Mitchell held throw assertively in 15-darts by virtue of a 78 finish on D20, but McGeeney returned the favour moments later. 

Scott missed the bull for a 121 checkout, and the 11th seed took out 76 in two-darts to draw level. Ironically, Mitchell pinned the same finish in the following leg for a 15-darter to reclaim the lead; however Scotty-Dog opted for an alternative route, hitting two S20s before hitting D18. 

McGeeney was in complete command of the fourth leg, but for the first time in the contest, he demonstrated fragility on the doubles. Incredibly, Mark missed 9 darts to clinch the leg and Mitchell capitalised on his opponent’s profligacy; hitting D20 for a modest 19-darter to restore parity at two-apiece.

This was a major test of character for the Lakeside debutant, but he regathered himself and held throw in 17 darts, only for Mitchell to reply with a fine 82 finish culminating on the bullseye. The next two legs were shared as both men held throw with consummate ease, to force a pivotal fifth and deciding leg. 

Unfortunately for ‘The Gladiator’, his scoring power evaded him at a critical juncture and the 6th seed and reigning Champion was unrelenting. Despite wiring D12 for a 101 set clincher, Scott returned to convert 24 for a 16-dart leg, to secure the lead for the first time in the encounter.

Mitchell attempted to maintain control of the contest with a commanding hold in the opening leg of set six, and he delivered; nailing D12 for an accomplished 14-darter. McGeeney remained in contention with a calm two-dart 60 checkout, but he squandered a fantastic break opportunity in the third leg. 

Scott spurned two darts at D6 to hold, with McGeeney sat on 68, but Mark wired his solitary dart at D16 and the reigning Champ returned to convert D3 to move a leg away from victory. 

Nevertheless, McGeeney demonstrated admirable composure to preserve his hopes in the following leg. With Mitchell poised on 60 for victory, the outsider converted D4 with his last dart in hand to complete a pivotal 70 checkout. 

Scott had the throw to seal a dramatic 4-2 triumph, but surprisingly he produced a mediocre leg to hand McGeeney a major reprieve. The 2015 World Trophy semi-finalist left D18 after just 12 darts after posting his sixth maximum, and he duly held his nerve, picking out D9 for a 15-dart break to force a seventh and decisive set.

Mitchell posted his fourth maximum to pressure McGeeney’s throw in the early stages of set seven, but Mark nailed D12 for a 16-darter. Moments later, McGeeney capitalised on an indifferent leg from Scott to produce a fine 13-dart leg on D18 to move within a leg of the last eight.

McGeeney had chances to secure the win in a nail-biting third leg; he wired the bull for a 128 checkout, but after Mitchell missed D16 for a 101 finish, he returned needing 25. Nevertheless, he couldn’t grasp the opportunity and Scott’s hopes stayed alive on D16. 

Mitchell was in cruise control of the fourth leg, but after ‘Scotty-Dog’ missed three darts at double, McGeeney wired D16 for a majestic 143 match-winning checkout. Mitchell must have been shaken by that narrow escape, but he held his nerve on D9 to force a tie-break scenario.

Scott won his third consecutive leg on D8 after McGeeney came agonisingly close to taking out 76, and suddenly the holder was throwing for a quarter-final berth. However, Mitchell posted an underwhelming leg on throw and McGeeney produced a magnificent 120 finish to stay alive.

Nevertheless, this gripping tussle witnessed another shift in momentum moments later. Mitchell hit his fifth maximum of the match and converted D20 for a 13-dart leg to throw for the match once more. 

Incredibly, the pendulum swung once more! For the second time in the match, Mitchell was sat on 60 for match; but McGeeney delivered an inspired 90 finish on the bull to break again.

The sequence of four successive breaks of throw was finally halted by McGeeney, who held throw with a regulation two-dart 52 finish, to clinch his second straight leg and regain the advantage. 

The following leg was a nerve-jangling affair. McGeeney missed bull for a match-winning 121 finish, but Mitchell was unable to convert 60, handing Mark two more match darts at D20. However, the World Number 11 spurned them both and the England captain returned to take out D10 to force a sudden-death leg.

McGeeney won the advantage of throwing first by virtue of hitting the bullseye, but Scott scored superbly to leave 117 after just 9 darts. Scott had a match-dart himself, but wired D20 to afford McGeeney an opportunity to take out 102. Mark found the requisite treble, but again missed D16, and Scott returned to hit D20 for a 14-darter, to seal a pulsating victory.

McGeeney acquitted himself superbly, but he’ll be ruing his missed chances. Mitchell wasn’t at his absolute best, but both were extremely solid, and their ability to produce such tremendous darts under intense pressure was admirable, and made for a wonderful spectacle. 

Martin Atkins 0-4 Richard Veenstra
Richard Veenstra continued his fairy-tale Lakeside debut as he eased through to the quarter-finals by dismantling former quarter-finalist Martin Atkins 4-0 on Thursday evening.  

Veenstra, who defeated his compatriot and third seed Jeffrey de Graaf in the opening round, produced another fine performance to reach the last eight.

Veenstra made a confident start to the contest, posting an early maximum and taking out 53 for a 15-dart hold in the opening leg. He extended his advantage moments later, nailing D20 for a 17-darter. 

Atkins posted his first maximum as he attempted to fightback in the set, and he wired D9 for a spectacular 138 checkout. Nevertheless, this proved to be a costly miss, as Veenstra converted a clinical 84 finish on D11 to clinch the opener without reply.

Atkins dominated the opening leg of set two and appeared destined to open his account, but he squandered four clear darts at double, enabling Veenstra to seal his fourth consecutive leg on D20. 

‘The Assassin’ almost registered on the scoreboard in emphatic style, wiring the bull for a majestic 161 finish. However, he wasn’t afforded another opportunity in the leg, as the Dutchman hit D12 for a 14-darter.

Atkins was in genuine danger of falling two sets behind without having even registered a leg. However, after Veenstra failed to take out 68, Atkins pinned 70 to reduce the arrears to 2-1 in the set. 

Any hopes of a turnaround in the set were instantly quashed by the business-like Dutch qualifier, who took out 55 in 17-darts via D20, to establish a commanding two set cushion.

Atkins emerged from a brief commercial break in purposeful fashion and secured an instant break of throw on D16, for a 16-dart leg. 

However, Atkins was unable to establish any semblance of control, as Veenstra broke back instantly in emphatic style. The 34-year-old Dutchman posted his second maximum to leave 41 after just 9 darts, before cleaning up the leg on D16 in 13 darts.

Atkins, a Lakeside quarter-finalist in 2012, delivered his fourth maximum as he aimed to secure a third successive break of throw.He appeared poised to do so, but after missing one dart at D16 for a 64 checkout, Veenstra held his nerve by hitting D20 with his last-dart on hand, to wrestle back the advantage in the set.

Moments later, Veenstra opened up a three-set cushion, converting a fine 64 checkout on D8 to break Atkin’s throw.

The fourth set was an extremely topsy-turvy affair, which saw five successive breaks of throw. Veenstra edged ahead, pinning D16 for a 13-darter, but Atkins responded well, nailing D6 with his last dart to draw level. 

The Englishman missed the bull for a 164 checkout, whilst Veenstra responded with a maximum to leave D1. Atkins failed to convert 33, and the Dutchman posted D1 with minimum fuss, for another 13-dart leg, to move within a leg of the last eight.

Despite this, Atkins continued to battle and produced his best leg of the match at the point of no return. Martin hit three consecutive 140’s, before taking out 81 on D13 for a 12-darter, with Veenstra sat on 80 to seal victory. 

Many thought that this would be the tonic Atkins required to mount a fightback, but he failed to replicate such quality on his own throw. Veenstra posted a tremendous visit of 170 to leave 25, and after Atkins failed to threaten a 90 checkout, ‘Flyers’ returned to hit D8 to clinch the triumph to set up a quarter-final clash against reigning Champion Scott Mitchell.

Scott Waites 4-3 Geert de Vos
Scott Waites produced a remarkable comeback from 3-0 down to stun Geert de Vos at the Lakeside on Thursday evening, to set up an enthralling quarter-final clash against Glen Durrant. It was the perfect illustration of the phrase: ‘a game of two-halves’. 

De Vos won 9 of the opening 11 legs, before Waites produced a remarkable surge and won 12 of the remaining 13 legs to complete the turnaround. 

Incidentally, this is Waites’ first World Championship quarter-final appearance since he won the title in 2013, and he’ll be hopeful of replicating that result this time around.

The first-set was an extremely scrappy affair. Waites had an opportunity to break throw in the opening leg, but missed D11 for a 99 checkout. De Vos returned to post D20 for a 16-darter, before extending his advantage with a tremendous 120 ‘Shanghai’ finish. 

The Belgian had the opportunity to clinch the set without reply moments later, but this time he missed D20 for a 70 checkout. Waites opened his account by virtue of hitting D8, before he restored parity in the set with a confident two-dart 41 finish.

The fifth and deciding leg was a tentative affair. Waites missed D20 for a 119 checkout, but De Vos handed Scott a reprieve, by missing three darts at the same target. 

Nevertheless, the former Champion was unable to capitalise on this opportunity, missing three darts himself, enabling Geert to clinch the set with a scrappy 23-dart hold.

Despite this, the BDO World Trophy holder produced a terrific second set, winning it without reply by virtue of three bullseye finishes. He broke Waites’ throw with a 129 checkout, before extending his advantage with a commanding 15-dart hold and a clinical 86 checkout. 

Scott wasn’t scoring prolifically and the eighth seed exploited this, producing a third successive 15-darter, and a third consecutive bullseye finish, converting 89 to establish a commanding two set cushion.

De Vos continued his fine form after the interval break, and held throw in the opening leg of set three with a superb 11-darter. The Belgian posted a maximum and two 140’s, before converting 41 in two darts on D20. 

Waites had a great chance to draw level moments later, but his double-trouble continued, and Geert pinned D10 with his last dart to take out 60, to win his sixth straight leg.

De Vos was completely dominant and the Yorkshireman was struggling. The eighth seed moved to within one set of the quarter-finals, by nailing D20 for a regulation 41 checkout; sealing his seventh successive leg.

Waites simply had to respond and he duly did so, stopping the rot with a clinical 80 checkout on D20. Suddenly, De Vos’ level dipped quite considerably and ‘Scotty-too-Hotty’  reeled off two more legs without reply, in 20 and 16 darts respectively, to reduce the deficit to 3-1 in sets.

De Vos managed to halt Waites’ growing momentum by pinning D18 for a 17-dart hold, but Waites was throwing with greater confidence and conviction, and almost responded with a spectacular 164 finish. His dart at bull was wayward, but the former Grand Slam winner returned to post D16 for a 14-dart hold.

De Vos was averaging 90 after moving 3-0 ahead, but his average had dipped to 82, which illustrates his alarming decline in form. Waites capitalised on Geert’s struggles, posting another 14-darter as he took out 58 on D20 for a crucial break. 

Waites had the throw to reduce the arrears to 3-2 in sets, and after De Vos was unable to conjure up an inspired 146 checkout, Scott held his nerve, pinning D18 to continue his comeback.

The pair both enjoyed a brief interval break after the fifth set, but this didn’t quell Waites’ growing momentum. He posted his second maximum of the contest in the opening leg, before cleaning up D20 in 13-darts to establish an early lead. 

De Vos found some much-needed trebles in the following leg, but Geert was unable to take out 86, and Waites pounced, converting a crucial 64 checkout on D4 to maintain his remarkable revival. 

Waites was completely outscoring his opponent and this trend continued in the third leg, as Scott nailed D6 for a 15-darter, to level up proceedings at three-apiece, which seemed a distinctly unlikely prospect just thirty-minutes previously.

The 2013 Champion had won 9 of the last 10 legs and was understandably full of confidence. By comparison, De Vos, who threw exquisitely in the second and third sets, was evidently struggling for fluency and his self-belief was fading.

However, he was presented with a wonderful opportunity to hold throw in the opening leg of the seventh set and subsequently stop the rot, after Waites missed five darts at D15. 

Yet, De Vos was unable to convert D20 with three darts, which ultimately proved decisive. Waites opted to leave D8, and pinned it with his last dart in hand, to secure the initiative.

Both men delivered a sloppy second leg and De Vos sensed a potential break opportunity. However, Scott produced arguably the shot of the tournament thus far, to break Geert’s heart, taking out a magnificent 158 checkout to move within a leg of victory.

Waites’ revival had been quite remarkable, and he kicked off the third leg with successive 140’s to move to the cusp of victory. He wired the bullseye for a match-winning 122 checkout, but he wasn’t deterred. De Vos was unable to take out 142 to preserve his hopes, and the Englishman returned to convert D8 for a 25 checkout and 14-dart leg; completing the astonishing comeback.

It was an absolutely tremendous comeback from Waites, who demonstrated his Champion resolve and credentials to battle back. At 3-0, he was struggling, whereas De Vos was full of belief.

However, the Belgian had suffered four successive second-round exits at the Lakeside and this perhaps was a mental block that Geert struggled to overcome. 

In the quarter-finals, Waites will take on number one seed and tournament favourite Glen Durrant. Duzza was imperious in his last 16 victory against Larry Butler, but Scott has the pedigree and the ability to overcome the Teessider. 

Waites' belief will undoubtedly have been strengthened by his unprecedented recovery, and he will be hoping to replicate such heroics against Durrant tomorrow.
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