Being unseeded and a perennial winner on the World Seniors circuit, Leonard Gates alongside Andy Baetens were cut to be favourites with bookmakers before a dart was thrown and he lived up to that billing on Sunday evening.
'Soulger' opened up his campaign with a straight sets win over Brian Corbett from New Zealand who performed well at times especially in the scoring phase, but was no match for the American who moves on.
Tournament Centre WDF Lakeside World Championship 2023: Schedule, all results, TV Guide and prize money breakdown
Gates had a miscount but still hit 62 for a 15-dart start. He went one away from the opening set hitting double 12 second time around. Corbett hit a 180 showing his scoring power but was way back on Gates throw as he sealed the opening set.
Corbett missed 88 at the bull for a break and Gates held to begin set two. A 76 checkout saw him go one away from the finish. He got over the line from there missing 121 on the bull but chasing round the board to eventually seal it.
First transgender player at Lakeside defeated, Kirwan hits the mark against methodical Slovenian
Victoria Monaghan made history as the first transgender player to play at Lakeside in a move that divided some opinion. But Suzanne Smith still prevailed to open proceedings in a 2-0 win.
To start the tie, Monaghan look disgusted after going 2-1 up over Smith and then spurning the set having had multiple opportunities to close it out as the latter took full advantage and was delighted to do so. Smith hit it smack bang in the middle of double 16 to hold and go 1-0 up in the second set.
Monaghan made it 1-1 in the second set. Smith hit double three to go one away from victory. She missed darts for the match, but Monaghan narrowly missed double three allowing Smith back only to spurn more darts.
Monaghan held throw as a result and Smith had to serve it out. She missed 135 on double 20 for the match but chased around the board allowing Monaghan back who couldn’t take her chance and Smith finally sealed it.
While there was Scottish delight as Davie Kirwan saw off Slovenian, Benjamin Pratnemer in straight sets also in a very assured opener.
Kirwan opened up with a hold against the methodical Pratnemer. An 80 checkout for the latter saw him tie it up with Kirwan ready and waiting to pounce.
Pratnemer missed two darts to break and Kirwan made it 2-1. He sealed the opening set from there with a break in the final leg.
Kirwan missed darts to hold but Pratnemer couldn’t take advantage and the Scot pinned double two for 1-1. It went all the way to a decider and Kirwan pulled out a superb 103 on double 16 for the win.