Hot Tungsten and Hot Weather in Blackpool
Lots of greats darts again tonight, and I’ll be watching at home now, as my time in Blackpool is over. It was a great experience, and I do hope to return one year – having a big seaside resort to enjoy in good weather during the day, then darts at night really gave it that extra dimension. The venue is class too – watching from the balconies is actually very good – the back balcony has a bar running behind it, there’s lots of leg room, and it’s not too far back, so the view is great!
Balcony seats at the matchplay, bar behind, great view in front
Wednesday July 23 Evening Session (7pm-12am)
Paul Nicholson (83.94) 13-15 (86.62) Wes Newton
Stephen Bunting (99.37) 8-13 (104.67) Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor (105.64) 13-6 Michael Smith (100.44)
Adrian Lewis 10-8 Mervyn King
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UPDATE: WOW Phil Taylor putting on a show in his game, goes 2-0 down.. but then the Power comes on. Wins the next 8 legs.. the 7th leg a NINE DARTER.. finishing the 144; 60, 60, d12.
Wez comes through a real battle to beat Nicholson tonight (Pic Lustig/PDC)
Looking at tonight’s matches… I’ve got to think Wes Newton has to play better than he did in round 1. Wez actually said he wanted to walk off half way through that first game it was going so bad. Paul played well in his first round game, BUT he wound the crowd up, and I think that will come back to bite him a little tonight, even though the Blackpool fans seem to be about the best behaved around. So I think Wez will shave it. 2nd game up could be the most interesting… Bunting didn’t have a great average in his first round game (92 ish?), and Gary was looking very good, his finishing was reliable… so I think Gary could again take this one in a fairly close game.
I don’t think Michael Smith will repeat his famous world championship win against Taylor tonight, I think Taylor will be looking to teach the young pretender a lesson, as as Taylor has his darts right (I hear he’s gone up from 24 to 26grams, not only changed his stems as was said on TV), I think he may not be stopped all tournament. King played well taking out a less than par Huybrechts, but that was with no pressure – Lewis should give him that pressure tonight, and I just want to see a repeat of the class Lewis showed in round 1.
Tuesday Night Review; Barney Changes Darts AGAIN!
Taylor celebrates his magnificent 9 darter (Lustig/PDC)
Well last night was an interesting one – Wade and MvG did what most fans expected, and smashed their way through their games (winning me a few quid along the way). Chizzy on a tight attritional game against The Hammer… and then there was Raymond van Barneveld… once again not only starting a game with brand new darts, but then changing darts to his older set half way through the game when things weren’t going for him. It wasn’t just barrels, He changed the entire set-up, stems and flights too. While it may not have CAUSED him to lose the game, it shows his head isn’t right at all, as no player picks a set of darts, then ditches them mid game in such an important game.
Barney’s game started to fall apart after he was 4-0 up… and from where I was at the back of the room I could tell he was shaking his head and his body language really wasn’t there – he just seemed to give up on the game. I’m re-watching it right now repeated on Sky Sports, an early doors it seems the commentators thought the new darts were no issue, and he was playing fantastic. He was missing a few early doubles, which showed something wasn’t quite right. It ended ‘only’ 13-8 to Whitlock, but even though Raymond was getting legs, he never looked like he was going to win, the look on his face just said ‘get me out of here’. At 5-5 Barney practiced with his old set… but went back to the new looking ones, and then later made the switch.
Barney mid game darts change (Pix Lawrence Lustig)