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Christmas is over for Several Top Tournament Seeds at PDC Worlds Darts Champs

THREE players from the world’s top 16 were dumped out of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship as the tournament resumed on Monday afternoon, as Mark Webster, Peter Wright and Robert Thornton picked up victories.

Webster, last year’s semi-finalist, knocked out number eight seed Ronnie Baxter in straight sets at Alexandra Palace, while world number 12 Andy Hamilton was defeated 4-0 by Scottish star Robert Thornton.

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Photos courtesy Lustig/PDC

The number 16 seed Paul Nicholson, meanwhile, suffered a nightmare with his finishing as he went out 4-2 to Peter Wright, the colourful qualifier from Lowestoft who now faces either reigning champion Phil Taylor or Per Laursen in the last 16.

Nicholson had hit nine from 11 attempts at a double in his first round win over Steve Farmer, but missed 35 darts at a double against Wright, who desribed the win as “the biggest of my career”.

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“I’m still in the tournament and I could go all the way,” added Wright. “I need to hit more treble 20s because there have been too many single 20s so far but I’m delighted to have won this.”

Hamilton – a semi-finalist in the 2007 World Championship – also endured a nightmare in his clash with Thornton, hitting just six from 38 attempts at a double as the Scot took full advantage.

Thornton took out finishes of 125 and 120 in the victory, and will take on Adrian Lewis or Mark Dudbridge in the third round.

Webster continued his impressive run of form with a 4-0 win over Ronnie Baxter in their clash.

Webster had reached the World Cup of Darts semi-finals with Barrie Bates three weeks ago and swept aside Steve Maish in round one, before hitting a 167 finish and a 97 average against Baxter.

“I’ve hit high averages before but not backed it up and at the moment I’m consistent and that’s been the difference,” said Webster “The priority was to come here and win that’s exactly what I did.”

The second round continues on Monday night, with Webster awaiting the winner of Colin Lloyd’s clash with Mark Hylton, which opens the evening before Lewis plays Dudbridge and Taylor faces Danish ace Laursen, who knocked out three-time World Champion John Part before Christmas.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship
Second Round
Monday December 27
Afternoon Session
Ronnie Baxter 0-4 Mark Webster
Paul Nicholson 2-4 Peter Wright
Andy Hamilton 0-4 Robert Thornton

Evening Session (7pm)
Colin Lloyd v Mark Hylton
Adrian Lewis v Mark Dudbridge
Phil Taylor v Per Laursen

MARK WEBSTER 4-0 RONNIE BAXTER
(3-2, 3-2, 3-0, 3-2)
MARK WEBSTER recorded an excellent victory over Ronnie Baxter to advance to the third round of the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

Baxter was left to regret missed opportunities to win the second set and from then on Webster, who ended up in third place last year, took command to end the game with an other impressive 97-plus average.

Webster hit double top to win the opening leg after Baxter had missed one dart at double 18, although the Blackpool ace replied to hold his throw despite the Welshman having an opportunity for a two-leg lead.

Baxter hit a two-dart 80 finish to win the third leg against the darts but missed a dart at tops to win the set in the fourth and Webster took out 116 to level the set.

Webster held throw in the deciding leg and made that count by hitting double ten with his last dart to edge a tight opening set.

Baxter won the first leg after Webster missed a dart at bullseye for a 170 checkout, but the Welshman won the second with a fantastic 167 finish to level.

Baxter, who defeated Roland Scholten to reach this stage of the competition, won the third leg on double two after Webster missed two darts at double top.

Webster won the fourth leg after both players had hit maximums and then won the decider to win the set to double his advantage after Baxter missed four darts at doubles to square the match.

The left-hander then hit his third 180 of the game at the beginning of the set which was won in 11 darts and then won the second with a two-dart 100 checkout after Baxter was off-target with one dart at tops.

The set was sealed by the Welshman as he hit double top to win the third leg and leave Baxter, the eighth seed, with a mountain to climb.

Baxter, a quarter-finalist at last year’s event, hit a maximum at the start of the fourth set and followed that with a two-dart 93 finish to win the first leg.

Webster won the second by hitting double top to win the second leg but Baxter regained the lead winning the third after a successful attempt at double ten.

Webster won the fourth leg on double five and in the decider he hit scores of 174 and 140 to wrestle advantage of throw away from Baxter.

The Welshman missed two attempts at double top but Baxter was in no position to capitalise and Webster returned to hit double top to seal an excellent victory.

“I think I’ve got to improve for the rest of the competition, but I’ll take a 4-0 win anytime,” said Webster. “The priority was to come here and win that’s exactly what I did.

“I’ve hit high averages before but not backed it up and at the moment I’m consistent and that’s been the difference.”

Baxter said: “Mark played some great darts but I have him chances.

“In the first set I had a dart to win it, and I had three more in the second set and another two for the fourth, and he got what I couldn’t – the winning double in each set.

“It would have been different if I’d hit my doubles but he punished me when I missed my doubles and full credit to him.”

PETER WRIGHT 4-2 PAUL NICHOLSON
(3-2, 1-3, 3-0, 2-3, 3-1, 3-0)
PETER WRIGHT stunned Paul Nicholson with a 4-2 victory in the second round of the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

Nicholson, who hit nine out of 11 attempts at doubles in his first round win over Steve Farmer, could not repeat the performance and Wright capitalised to seal a last 16 place against Phil Taylor or Per Laursen.

Wright had the led the match twice only for his opponent to come back and level on both occasions, but missed doubles from Nicholson allowed him to win six of final seven legs of the contest and claim the biggest win of his career.

Nicholson began brightly by hitting double top to win the opening leg and secure an early break of throw, before the second was won with a 15-dart finish.

Nicholson then hit the first maximum of the match in the third but Wright landed the winning double to take his first leg.

Nicholson missed six darts at double four to end the set in the fourth leg, and Wright managed to capitalise with an accurate attempt at double eight to begin a pattern which would continue throughout the game.

The deciding leg saw Nicholson miss another dart for the set, when a dart at tops to complete a 120 finish was off-target, allowing Wright to step in and hit double top to pinch the opening set.

Nicholson made a winning start to the second by hitting double top with his first attempt, and then won the second against the darts after the Players Championship Finals winner had missed two more opportunities.

Wright hit back to win the third leg by taking out 80 after Nicholson had missed five darts for the set, but the 16th seed made no mistake in the next as he hit double eight with his last dart to level the match.

Wright won the opening leg of the third set with a 120 finish and took the second by hitting double five with his last dart after Nicholson was off-target with two darts at double nine.

Wright then hit double top for the second time in three legs to complete the set and regain the lead.

A first maximum was hit by Wright in a 13-darter to win the opening leg of the fourth set, but he wasted chances to take the second and Nicholson stole the leg on double eight.

Nicholson hit a 92 finish to win the third, but Wright hit a pressure 90 – with his opponent waiting on a two-dart finish – to keep the set alive.

The deciding leg saw Nicholson produce his best darts of the match as he recorded back-to-back 180s to set up the chance of the nine-dart finish.

His attempt at treble 17 top open a 141 checkout fell just below the wire to end any chance of achieving the feat, but he did return to hit double eight for the set to square the match.

Both players held their throws in the opening two legs of the fifth set and Wright continued that sequence by winning the third leg on double 12 for a 2-1 lead.

The fourth proved to be dramatic as Wright missed three darts at doubles to win the set, but Nicholson could not capitalise on double top and the Lowestoft qualifier took out double five to lead the match for the third time.

Wright missed two at darts at tops for an early break of throw in the sixth but Nicholson missed opportunities at the same double and his opponent returned to hit double ten at the first time of asking.

Nicholson suffered more problems on the doubles in the second leg and Wright cashed in by hitting a 72 finish, before the pattern was repeated in leg three before Wright held his nerve to hit double ten to advance to the last 16.

“It’s the biggest win of my career,” admitted Wright. “Paul’s an excellent player and I knew it would be a tough game but he didn’t play to his usual level and I hit the doubles that mattered.

“I need to hit more treble 20s because there have been too many single 20s so far, but I’m still in the tournament and I could go all the way.”

ROBERT THORNTON 4-0 ANDY HAMILTON
(3-2, 3-0, 3-2, 3-2)
ROBERT THORNTON booked a place in the third round of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace with a straight-sets triumph against Andy Hamilton.

The Scot’s return to form continued as he swept into the last 16, where he will now take on either Adrian Lewis or Mark Dudbridge.

Three of the four sets went to a deciding leg and Hamilton had chances to win the third set but those opportunities went begging as he hit just six of 38 attempts at a double in the game.

Thornton kicked off the match with a 180, but it was Hamilton who won the first leg by hitting double 16 with his third dart.

Hamilton hit a maximum himself at the beginning of the second, but Thornton landed the winning double to level and then moved 2-1 up by posting double 19, capitalising on four missed doubles by his opponent.

Hamilton hit his third 180 in the fourth leg and took out double 16 to level, but Thornton won the decider with a clinical 120 checkout to pinch the opening set.

The second set turned out to be a one sided affair as Thornton, who defeated Nigel Heydon in his first round game, won it without reply.

Thornton hit an excellent two-dart 76 to win the opening leg and took out double top to extend his advantage.

The Scotsman, who reached the final of the 2009 Players Championship Finals, then took out 62 in the third leg to win the set and establish a two-set lead.

Thornton won the opening leg of the third set by hitting double top, but the 21st seed missed three chances to win the second, and Hamilton hit double three with his last dart to win it.

Thornton hit double top for the second time in the set to lead again but Hamilton won the fourth on double eight after both players had traded maximums.

The deciding leg saw Hamilton miss three crucial darts at doubles to win the set and Thornton stepped in to hit a two-dart 86 to move one set away from victory.

Hamilton, who defeated Dennis Smith in a straight-sets win in the opening leg, hit an impressive 14-darter to win the first leg of the fourth set.

Thornton pinched the second leg by hitting double seven after Hamilton missed opportunities to extend his lead.

Hamilton won the third with another 14-dart finish before Thornton hit a 125 checkout to win the fourth leg and go within touching distance of victory.

Hamilton had the advantage of throw in the deciding leg but he was unable to reach the double and Thornton hit double top at the first time of asking to end his hopes.

“I’m really pleased with that,” said Thornton. “My finishing was good and I hit some good shots at the right time.”

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