IN another action-packed, double session, day World Seniors completed the first round and established the last 16. Robert Thornton impressed again and Phil Taylor returned to professional competitive action with a win over old rival Peter Manley.
The afternoon session had begun with a real 1990s clash between John Walton and Les Wallace that went down to the wire. Wallace, known as McDanger, remains hugely popular but even with that support he could quite recapture his best and was defeated in the deciding set.
American legend Larry Butler demonstrated his credentials with a 90+ average 3-0 and 9-0 win over Alan Warriner Little. Little appeared restricted by an injury, but The American Eagle was not to be distracted and impressed many. He will take on Keith Deller on Saturday.
Perhaps the biggest shock so far was the defeat of Singapore legend Paul Lim by qualifier Dave Prins. Now The Badger should not be underestimated and is in decent form. But Lim is vastly experienced and has a knack of winning big games on TV and so would have been a good favorite here. Instead, Prins ran out a comfortable winner.
The Friday evening had always looked a very strong session and the crowd certainly got their money’s worth:
Another thumping 3-0 (9-0) win was recorded by Kevin Painter. The Artist had the advantage of playing the night before and was in excellent touch. His opponent was reigning WDF World Champion Wayne Warren.
Warren has been incredibly unlucky since his BDO/WDF Championship win in 2020, with Covid and administrative matters dampening his achievement. He could only manage flashes of the form that won him that title whilst Kevin kept applying the pressure.
Next up 3-time WDF/BDO World Champion Martin Adams against the local qualifier and heavily supported Richie Howson.
Howson went ahead and played nicely from the start. Another who seemed to have benefitted for a game the previous evening. However, Adams showed why he is one of the favourites for the title with a remarkable finishing display. 150, 156, and 132 within a few legs, and there were plenty more besides.
Slowly Howson could be seen to lose faith and Adams grew in confidence to close out the deciding leg in strong style.
There have been many enjoyable and memorable moments in the tournament so far. But the sight of Phil Taylor’s return to the professional, competitive stage may be the one that generated the momentum for this entire event to take place.
The sponsors, players and television interests must have been delighted with the imagery as the iconic walk-on was intimately recreated in the venue where The Power graced every World final held.
Taylor was preceded to the stage by his old foe Peter Manley. The pantomime villain of PDC darts was warmly treated and made the perfect foil for the occasion.
The action itself was mixed. Manley played solidly to pinch the first set while Phil struggled to find top gear. A fantastic 262 in 5 darts was the highlight.
The Power ran out the winner by 3 sets to 1 but will need to raise his game significantly to lift the title and the trophy.
The evening’s final encounter saw 10 time World champion Trina Gulliver defeated by Robert Thornton, who is fast looking like the favorite. Again Thornton got on with business and didn’t drop a set as he raced through with a mid 90s average and relaxed demeanor.
Darts World Magazine (Issue 577) and 2022 bundle offers
Subscribe or purchase your copy