Fourth seed Scott Mitchell dug deep to defeat Darius Labanauskas 3-2 in a high-quality BDO World Championship first round clash.
In a stunning start, the first nine legs of the match were concluded without any being completed in more than 16 darts. Mitchell had to fight back to take the second set 3-1 after Labanauskas broke to take the first set 3-2. After the first set the Lithuanian was averaging 113 to Mitchell’s 107, with the former still averaging 107 after two sets.
But the 2015 world champion showed his class, and broke Labanauskas to go 2-0 up in the third set. Throwing for the set, Mitchell missed the bull for a 132 checkout, allowing Labanauskas to break back. The unseeded man missed bull for a 107 finish, but Mitchell then wasted three more set darts. Labanauskas could not take advantage. Double one – after an accidental switch from the double six – put Scotty Dog 2-1 up.
Mitchell, throwing and moving at a very deliberate pace, was doing little to halt his opponent’s heavy scoring. Labanauskas took the opening leg, and forced him to take out an impressive 110 to hold. Mitchell then showed his class with an 81 finish, which left him needing one more leg to seal the win. Needing some magic to save the tie, Labanauskas produced a 140 and a two-dart 96 checkout, forcing an all-or-nothing decider. And it was Labanauskas who held his nerve, cruising to victory on throw to force a fifth set.
Labanauskas narrowly missed double 18 for a 115 to break in the first leg of the last set, allowing the England captain to go 1-0 up and put the pressure on his opponent. A 180 for Scott at the start of leg two doubled said pressure. Another 81 checkout meant that, once again, Mitchell was a leg away from victory. He made no mistake, taking out 81 yet again to seal a second round tie against Andy Baetens or Scott Baker.
Author: Ed McCosh