If Day Three of the UK Open lives up to the last two, it could be historic.
We do know that history is being made in one way. James Wade’s defeat to David Pallett on Saturday confirmed that there will be a new UK Open champion. The list of potential winners as we go into the quarter-finals is surprising enough. The fact that arguably the four best players have been drawn together piles on the drama. But the ‘other four’ all believe they can go all the way. Day three is going to be a dramatic climax to a bizarre tournament.
David Pallett vs Steve West
Pallett, once one of the great new hopes of darts, is finally competing for a major title. Beating Wade and Kim Huybrechts showed he still has the talent, and the nerve. Steve West will feel that the draw has made him one of the favourites. “Simply the West” has been simply the best at times. The two 170 checkouts against Matthew Edgar turned the tie in his favour. Then holding off Michael Smith, a man in top form, proved that there is nobody West should be afraid of.
John Part vs Robert Owen
A real fairytale quarter-final that encapsulates how great the UK Open is. In a normal, bracketed format, John Part and Robert Owen would probably be long gone. That should take nothing away from the top performances they’ve put in against very capable opponents. That said, neither have met a player in the world’s top ten. Nor have they been required to average anything near a ton. But they have been involved in tough, tense ties, and come out on top. Everyone is behind Part, in his first major quarter-final in more than half a decade. But what a great story it would be if Owen, who won his Tour Card back just two months ago, could make the semi-finals.
Corey Cadby vs Gerwyn Price
In the first quarter-final, we’ll finally get some noise. The UK Open this year has been played before a scant crowd. Bar some light clapping, the decibel levels haven’t been troubled. They’ll go through the roof when Corey Cadby and Gerwyn Price meet. The pair shared plenty of needle the last time they met. With any luck, the two brash, brilliant darters will provide more. Price had to show his class to beat Paul Hogan, and he’ll need to keep his cool if he is to go one better than last year.
Rob Cross vs Gary Anderson
Two of the world’s top ten are left in the tournament. Remarkably, they’ve drawn each other. Rob Cross and Gary Anderson probably figured that they would have to meet at some point. Now, they can get it out of the way early. The winner will be the overwhelming favourite. The Flying Scotsman has found things so easy because he has taken on three players – Robert Rickwood, Ricky Evans and Jermaine Wattimena – who have allowed him to play his natural, fast game. Cross tends to take his time on the oche a little more. The world champion has averaged precisely 100 for the tournament, more than any other player. This could be the sort of game Peter Wright versus Raymond van Barneveld was last year.
The quarter-finals are in the afternoon session, and are best of 19 legs. The semi-finals and final, in the evening, are both best of 21 legs. Click here for a full breakdown of the UK Open prize money.
Author: Ed McCosh