The first day of action at the NZ Darts Masters has seen so far the local qualifiers take it to the PDC’s best with James Wade surviving a scare against Craig Caldwell and Simon Whitlock being dumped out by Ben Robb.

In the first tie, Wade was excellent in the opening leg holding his throw with ease hitting a 180 and double ten but Caldwell hit back in style smashing in a 142 checkout to level.

‘The Machine’ converted double five to move 2-1 in front; with both players averaging exactly the same at 91 in the early going.

Wade though squandered two darts to go 3-1 up; the Kiwi was allowed to level it up at two a piece. This poor finishing continued as he missed three to go further ahead and Caldwell took advantage to lead 3-2.

Caldwell went two clear to go towards the shock defeat in Hamilton; but Wade held to peg him back and just go one behind.

‘CC’ went one away though taking out 74 to go within a leg of the upset at 5-3 up. Wade saved himself with a 116 checkout to go one behind again and hand the initiative to Caldwell.

The Aldershot ace produced a 140 checkout to break throw and force a last leg decider; which he claimed to survive a huge scare.

In the second game of proceedings, Simon Whitlock was dumped out in stunning fashion by Ben Robb who put his past performances on the World Series behind him; to show why he is seen as one of the best players in New Zealand.

He defeated ‘The Wizard’ 6-4 in a tie where he averaged 96 and despite not hitting any 180’s; he took his chances when it mattered to stun the Aussie ace.

Whitlock had a solid start to proceedings going 2-0 up over Ben Robb; but the latter came back with an 80 checkout to half the deficit. Robb squared it up at 2-2 though.

Three consecutive legs for Robb saw him go 3-2 up; he made sure he would put Whitlock up against it at 4-2 up.

Whitlock though came back with two sharp legs to draw it level including a superb 127 checkout on the bull to cap it off.

Robb though stopped the charge breaking throw to go within one; as a result he had the throw to win. He claimed the victory to dump out the Wizard and secure his passage into the Quarter-Finals.

Click here for more information about this tournament, including the prize money breakdown and the tournament schedule.

NZ Darts Masters, Day One schedule

James Wade (92.71) 6-5 (87.71) Craig Caldwell
Simon Whitlock (93.51) 4-6 (96.87) Ben Robb
Daryl Gurney v David Platt
Rob Cross v Warren Parry
Gary Anderson v Haupai Puha
Peter Wright v Damon Heta
Michael van Gerwen v Kyle Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Cody Harris
Best of 11 legs

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Author: Samuel Gill