Adrian Lewis, playing with Raymond van Barneveld’s darts, showed some promising signs of recovery in a 6-3 win over Mike de Decker. The unfancied Dutchman managed to break the two-time world champion twice, but Lewis swept through with a 99 average. ‘Jackpot’ left the best until last, checking out 129 on the double 12 to seal a second round match against Richard North. It may be the start of an upswing in fortunes for Lewis, whose form has suffered for a variety of reasons in 2017.
An outstanding Jermaine Wattimena claimed the first whitewash victory of the competition as he swept aside Keegan Brown. The 6-0 win was wrapped up in double-quick time on board two, with the Dutchman averaging 96.97. Brown struggled throughout and failed to average above 80, barely managing to get a look in on the doubles. Wattimena’s ruthless finishing – with a 66 per cent success rate on the doubles – ensured a second round meeting with Gary Anderson or Mickey Mansell.
In arguably the most exciting match of the afternoon, Peter Jacques held off an incredible comeback from Cristo Reyes to cause an upset on board two. The Yorkshire ace opened with a 102 checkout and raced into a 4-0 lead. But, after missing two darts at double 15 to go 5-0 up, Reyes stole the leg and began his fightback. The Spaniard raced through the next four legs to level and, after Jacques took the ninth leg, forced a decider. Reyes appeared to be in control, topping Jacque’s 177 in the final leg with a 140 followed by a 180. But the ‘Spartan’ could not cross the line, and missed five match darts. Despite leaving 36 after nine darts, Reyes was made to pay. Jacques missed four darts of his own, but held his nerve and sunk double 10 to set up a clash with Peter Wright or Steve Hine.
James Wade will also take to the Minehead stage tomorrow, but will demand better after an edgy 6-4 win over Kevin Painter. Wade and Painter exchanged high checkouts early on. The ‘Machine’ opened with an 82, but Painter topped that with a classy 113. The ‘Artist’ then suffered a serious bout of double trouble in the third leg, missing eight darts at a double and allowing Wade to break. Wade then edged clear of the 2011 champion with a superb 123 checkout. The next two legs went with throw, but Wade punished more slack darts at a double from Painter. A double 18-double 20 combo finished off a 96 finish and meant Wade was throwing for the match with a three-leg cushion. Yet Wade could not convert a host of match darts, meaning Painter had a break and a way back in. A fantastic 121 checkout was the perfect way to follow up, and the former world finalist was back in the running. Yet Wade was not in the mood for a decider, and nailed tops to claim the win.

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Author: Ed McCosh