Gurney sets up clash with Anderson

Daryl Gurney on his way to victory in first round. Pic by Lawrence Lustig/PDC.
Daryl Gurney on his way to victory in first round. Pic by Lawrence Lustig/PDC.

Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney will face Gary Anderson in the next round of the Cash Converters Players Championship.

The Derry man set up a clash with the world champion on Saturday night after a superb 6-2 win over Kim Huybrechts in the first round.

Although Huybrechts - the number five seed - opened the game with a 12-darter, Gurney levelled with a 120 checkout, hit two 180s in an 11-darter and then double eight for a 14-dart leg for a 3-1 lead.

Huybrechts hit seven perfect darts to open the fifth leg, but missed three darts at double 16 to allow Gurney in on double eight, before a 72 checkout moved the Northern Irish ace 5-1 up.

Double eight saw Huybrechts respond, but Gurney finished double four in the next to complete a strong performance as he reached the last 16 of a PDC major for the first time.

“I’ve been practising really hard so I’m happy to get the win,” said Gurney who is making his debut at the event.

“Every game on TV is a little bit more experience and it’s looking a little bit better than it was 12 months ago. I’m trying to be more dedicated and put more hours in because the players in the PDC are ruthless.”

Anderson held his nerve to edge out Phil Taylor 6-5 in a thriller as he began his defence of his title with the narrowest of wins, as Michael van Gerwen overcame a scare against Keegan Brown.

The clash between the reigning World Champion and the 16-time World Champion was billed as the highlight of the opening day at the Butlins Minehead Resort, with the pair’s ProTour rankings this year meaning that they clashed in round one.

Taylor would miss double 12 for a nine-darter during a thrilling contest and led 4-3, but Anderson won three of the final four legs as he progressed to face Daryl Gurney.

After trading 13-darters in the opening two legs, the duo then swapped 11-dart legs in an opening of stunning quality, with Anderson’s 180s in legs one and three being followed by eight perfect darts from Taylor in the fourth as he missed double 12 to complete a perfect nine-darter.

Anderson then received a let-off for five missed doubles in the fifth as Taylor was off-target with two darts at double eight, allowing the Scot to return on double six.

Taylor then levelled with the aid of a 180 in leg six before breaking throw for the first time in the next, with Anderson wiring double 19 to check out 115 before the three-time Players Champion took out a stunning 148 finish.

Three missed doubles from Taylor in leg eight then allowed Anderson to level on tops before a 13-darter put the Scot a leg away from victory - but the Stoke legend levelled on double two to force a decider.

Anderson, though, hit two timely 180s in the final leg before landing double ten to complete a 14-darter for the win.

“The two 180s were huge for me in that final leg and pulled me out of the fire,” admitted Anderson. “I’m always happy to get over the finishing line, especially against Phil. His 148 hurt but I had to stick with him.

“It gets harder from here - there’s a jinx going about that if you beat Phil then you go out in the next game or you don’t go on to win the tournament, so hopefully that’s wrong!

“I’ve got Daryl next and he played well. He’ll be up for it because he’s here to win, just like everyone else.”

Michael van Gerwen overcame a scare against World Youth Champion Keegan Brown before moving through to the second round with a 6-4 win to kick off his bid to win a fourth successive TV event.

The world number one and top seed was fully tested as Brown led twice during a see-saw contest, although Brown ultimately paid for missed doubles in the last two legs.

Double eight gave Brown the opener before van Gerwen, following two 180s, hit the same double to take the next two legs for a 2-1 lead.

Van Gerwen also landed a 174 in leg four, but Brown’s 180 set up double 18 as he levelled before the Isle of Wight ace landed a maximum and tops or a 3-2 lead.

Van Gerwen responded with a maximum and double six to level, before Brown’s miss allowed him in on tops to break throw for a 4-3 lead.

Brown hit a 180 and double six to level, but missed double 18 in the ninth leg as van Gerwen edged 5-4 up, before his missed bull allowed the Dutchman in on double four to set up a second round meeting with Vincent van der Voort.

Simon Whitlock capitalised on 19 missed doubles from Brendan Dolan as the Australian claimed a 6-2 victory with 50 percent on his own doubles as he moved through to the last 16.

After winning the opener on double ten, Whitlock then stepped in to punish Dolan for nine missed doubles in leg two and a further four misses in the third as he opened up a 3-0 lead.

Dolan responded on double six and double eight to win two of the next three, but four more misses allowed Whitlock in on double 16 for a 5-2 lead before the former European Champion hit a 180 and finished 80 for the win.

Simon Whitlock, who capitalised on 19 missed doubles from Brendan Dolan as the Australian claimed a 6-2 victory with 50 percent on his own doubles as he moved through to the last 16.

After winning the opener on double ten, Whitlock then stepped in to punish Dolan for nine missed doubles in leg two and a further four misses in the third as he opened up a 3-0 lead.

Dolan responded on double six and double eight to win two of the next three, but four more misses allowed Whitlock in on double 16 for a 5-2 lead before the former European Champion hit a 180 and finished 80 for the win.

Evening session matches:(7pm-11pm)

Ian White v Gerwyn Price

Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock

Daryl Gurney v Gary Anderson

Michael van Gerwen v Vincent van der Voort

All games are the best of 19 legs.