Stan James World Match Play - Night 1
WAYNE MARDLE produced his ^get out of jail free^ card to defeat Mark Dudbridge 11-9 on the opening night of the 2008 Stan James World Matchplay.
Mardle looked set to crash out of the tournament when Dudbridge - who had also hit a 160 finish - overturned a 7-5 deficit with four straight legs to move to the brink of victory in a thriller.
However, the 2004 runner-up missed five darts for victory, allowing Mardle to hit back and level before taking the win in overtime.
"I feel for Mark but he gave the game to me and I took my chance," said Mardle. "I thought I^d blown it but I got a second chance and had to take it."
The opening night also saw 2005 World Matchplay champion Colin Lloyd condemned to a third successive first round exit at the Winter Gardens with a 10-6 loss to Mark Walsh.
Walsh produced arguably his finest televised performance to come back from 3-1 down and see off Lloyd, hitting six 180s and averaging over 100.
Colin Osborne also impressed in his 10-7 win over Mervyn King, also overturning a 3-1 deficit and hitting six 180s to claim his first win in three attempts on the Blackpool stage.
The first round continues on Monday with eight matches in two sessions, including eight-time champion Phil Taylor^s meeting with Steve Beaton and world number two Raymond van Barneveld taking on Stoke debutant Mark Frost, who has been practising with Taylor ahead of the event.
World Champion John Part is also in action, against Chris Mason, while three-time World Matchplay runner-up Dennis Priestley opens the action against emerging star Adrian Gray and two of the sport’s best young talents clash when Adrian Lewis takes on Kevin McDine.
Stan James World Matchplay
Mark Walsh 10-6 Colin Lloyd
Wayne Mardle 11-9 Mark Dudbridge
Colin Osborne 10-7 Mervyn King
Dennis Priestley v Adrian Gray
Kevin Painter v Tony Eccles
Roland Scholten v Matt Clark
Terry Jenkins v Alex Roy
John Part v Chris Mason
Adrian Lewis v Kevin McDine
Phil Taylor v Steve Beaton
Raymond van Barneveld v Mark Frost
MARK WALSH 10-6 COLIN LLOYD
MARK WALSH produced arguably his finest display in a televised match to knock 2005 champion Colin Lloyd out of the Stan James World Matchplay with a 10-6 victory.
Walsh has had to overcome dartitis in the past 18 months after previously working his way into the world^s top 16.
But he showed those troubles were behind him with a superb performance against Lloyd, coming from 3-1 down to reach round two, averaging over 100 and hitting six 180s in condemning Lloyd to a third successive first round defeat.
Lloyd made a fine start to the 2008 tournament^s opening game, taking out 127 on the bullseye for a 12-darter against the throw in the first leg and then doubling his lead on double 16.
Walsh replied with a two-dart 83 finish, but double five moved Lloyd 3-1 up.
Walsh, though, found another gear to reel off five successive legs, including an 11-darter as he lifted his average to 104 in moving 6-3 up.
Lloyd defied a third maximum from Walsh in as many legs to win the tenth leg, but Walsh then won the next three - one after his opponent missed three darts at a double - to go to the brink of victory at 9-4.
He missed one dart for the match in the next before Lloyd landed double 18 to stay in the game, and the former world number one then hit a 12-darter to reduce the arrears to 9-6.
Walsh hit his sixth maximum of the match in the next, and two missed doubles gave the Watford man another chance - and this time he hit double two to seal the win.
"I played well but I^ve been doing that for a few months now away from the television cameras," said Walsh.
"I^m starting to produce my ^floor^ darts on TV, and people are worried about me.
"Colin is a great player and he didn^t produce his best display tonight, but I took my chances and am delighted to be in round two."
WAYNE MARDLE 11-9 MARK DUDBRIDGE
WAYNE MARDLE came from the brink of defeat to snatch a dramatic 11-9 win over Mark Dudbridge in round one of the Stan James World Matchplay.
Mardle looked set to crash out of the tournament on the opening night when Dudbridge overturned a 7-5 deficit to move 9-7 up and to the brink of victory.
But five missed doubles for the win from the 2004 runner-up came back to haunt him, with Mardle reeling off four legs in a row to seal an overtime win.
Dudbridge took the game^s opener on double top, before Mardle twice hit the same bed in taking the next three.
Dudbridge landed a maximum on his way to the fifth leg, but six misses to level the match allowed Mardle to take a 4-2 lead on double one.
The next two were shared before Dudbridge produced a crucial 160 checkout to pull back to 5-4.
The pair traded 76 finishes in the next two, with Mardle then taking advantage of more misses from the Bristolian in taking a 7-5 cushion.
Dudbridge hit back on double eight with Mardle waiting on a double, and an 81 finish saw him level and then move 8-7 up on double 16.
He then moved a leg away from victory at 9-7, and a 177 score left him with 24 for the match.
But he missed five darts at double 12 and double six to take victory, with a two-dart 80 finish keeping Mardle in the hunt.
Mardle then hit a tricky double six to level, and then edged back in front at 10-9 when Dudbridge missed a further four darts at a double.
The 2003 finalist produced a hammer blow with a 180 to kick off the next leg, and took out double 18 to seal his place in the last 16.
"I feel for Mark but he gave the game to me and I took my chance," said Mardle.
"In the first ten legs I played great but then I was dreadful in the middle of the match. I thought I^d blown it but I got a second chance and had to take advantage."
COLIN OSBORNE 10-7 MERVYN KING
COLIN OSBORNE produced an assured display to see off Mervyn King 10-7 in the first round of the Stan James World Matchplay.
Osborne had never won a match at the Winter Gardens in his two previous appearances in Blackpool, but broke that record to edge a tight contest.
He trailed 3-1 early on, but missed doubles in the third and fourth legs allowed King - who also hit a 116 finish - to move ahead.
Osborne clawed back level after misses from King, who then won two of the next three to lead 5-4.
Two double top finishes edged Osborne in front for the first time in the game, and five superb darts - where he hit a 180 followed by a two-dart 91 checkout - saw him move 7-5 up.
Another 116 finish from King, with Osborne waiting on 40, saw him reduce the arrears, but a third maximum in as many legs from the Derby man helped him restore a two-leg cushion.
A 14-darter from King saw him pull back to 8-7, but double four put Osborne a leg away from the win, and a third break of throw, with a 13-darter, earned him a second round place against either Phil Taylor or Steve Beaton.
"It^s nice to be coming back on Tuesday for the second round!" admitted Osborne. "I^m pleased I performed well because this venue is so special that you want to play well.
"In a way, this stage will make or break you and I was good enough to get through this time."
Taylorenters the event on Monday as the pre-tournament favourite, and Osborne added: "If I have to play Phil he will hold no fear for me.
"I beat him in a Players Championship in Glasgow the last time we played, and now many players can saw that. But if you want to win this tournament you have to beat the best anyway so I^ll look forward to playing him or Steve."