Reigning champion Peter Wright was amongst the victors on day one of the Betfred World Matchplay after beating debutant Madars Razma 10-4.
2021 Premier League champion Jonny Clayton was stunned in the final match of the night, with Rowby-John Rodriguez including a fabulous 156 in a 10-7 victory on his first appearance at the Winter Gardens.
Dimitri van den Bergh certainly put down a marker in his match with Callan Rydz, missing just four darts at double in a 10-2 demolition job.
Krzysztof Ratajski was the other winner on the first night, reeling six of the last eight legs to beat Stephen Bunting 10-6 to set up a Last 16 tie with Snakebite.
The World Number 1 was certainly not messing around in the first mini session of the match, winning all five legs before the interval including a 100 checkout on tops to make it 5-0. Razzmatazz found his first leg on his first outing at the Winter Gardens, finishing 78 in the sixth leg. Red Dragon star Wright included seven maximums to treat the fabulous opening night crowd and averaged 97.42 on the oche.
The moment of the match from the colourful Scotsman came in the thirteenth leg, watching his Latvian opponent take the previous two legs in a small fightback. A fantastic 157 finish with treble nineteen, treble twenty and tops all but ended the hopes of Razma as the World Champion proceeded to break in the next leg and claim a 10-6 victory.
Jonny Clayton continued his Blackpool struggles in suffering an early exit to the hot inform Rowby-John Rodriguez, who averaged just shy of a ton over seventeen legs of darts. Little John will be thrilled to win on his first outing in the iconic Winter Gardens, finding tops with his first dart to seal his spot in the Last 16.
The Welsh ace suffered from a problem to his right eye impacting his sight over the course of the tungsten tussle but take nothing away from the Austrian World Cup finalist, who found a fantastic ton plus checkout just before the second interval hitting double eighteen to finish 156.
The Ferret found a ton plus check out of his own in the ninth leg to break throw, finishing 130 with his last dart at double five. The Pontyberem star found five maximums on stage, but a slow start to the match cost him as Rodriguez excelled in his scoring power throughout the First-Round encounter.
Dimitri van den Bergh averaged 100.03 in the second match of the night, racing into a 3-0 lead in Blackpool and including a 96 check out in the second leg to break against Callan Rydz. The 24-year-old only had four darts at double all match and included his highest finish of the match, hitting 72 to hold throw in the sixth leg.
The dazzling Dream Maker treated the crowd to a real roof raising ender, finishing 137 on double sixteen to close out the twelfth leg going through once more in the Matchplay.
The Belgian darting star has won twice on the World Series stage this year, winning the Nordic and the Dutch Darts Masters so will be confident going into the remainder of the tournament.
Poland World Cup star Krzysztof Ratajski showed his class winning six of the last eight legs to beat Stephen Bunting 10-6 in the opening match. The Polish Eagle reached the Semi Finals last year at the Winter Gardens and found an elusive break of throw in the ninth leg to lead 5-4 on the heated stage, following up with a hold for a two-leg cushion over his opponent from St Helens.
The tournament number 16 who will meet Peter Wright in the next round, found his highest checkout of the match hitting 90 to seal the sixteenth and final leg. Double five with his last dart in hand gave the 2019 Gibraltar Darts Open champion a winning return to the Matchplay and can look forward to his match with the reigning champ later in the week.
The darting action returns tomorrow afternoon with four more First Round matches including a blockbuster clash between Gary Anderson and Daryl Gurney, whilst UK Open champion Danny Noppert goes up against recent Players Championship winner Brendan Dolan.
2022 Betfred World Matchplay: First Round Results
Krzysztof Ratajski (16) 10-6 Stephen Bunting
Dimitri van den Bergh (9) 10-2 Callan Rydz
Peter Wright (1) 10-4 Madars Razma
Rowby-John Rodriguez 10-7 Jonny Clayton (8)
Sunday Afternoon Session: Order of Play
Dirk van Duijvenbode (14) v Ryan Searle
Danny Noppert (11) v Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson (6) v Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith (3) v Andrew Gilding
Images: Taylor Lanning/PDC
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