Singapore produced yet another first-round shock in the PDC World Cup of Darts last night, as Paul and Harith Lim sent the third seeds Wales packing on the first night of this year’s tournament.
Paul Lim, who turned 65 in January this year, is the oldest of the 64 players competing in Hamburg this week. And, quite rightly, a lot of the spotlight in this Singapore team goes his way.
He is a legend of this sport. In 1990, he hit the first nine-dart finish in a World Championship, and pocketed £52,000, more than double what a certain Phil Taylor took home for winning the whole event.
When you look at the stats from Singapore’s 5-3 win against the Welsh team of Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton, two players ranked inside the PDC Order of Merit’s top 16, the Lim’s posted a combined average of 92.51. Almost 10 points more than Wales’ 83.22.
Paul Lim had the highest individual average out of the four players with 97.07 and hit the winning double in three of Singapore’s five legs en route to victory. He had 13 scores of 100+ in eight legs.
On the rare occasions Paul Lim graces the big stage, he continues to impress. But let’s reserve a few words for his partner in this giant-killing Singapore team: Harith Lim.
Between the pair, Singapore hit nine 140s in last night’s win, six of those came from the left arm of Harith Lim. He hit one in each of the last four legs.
Throwing second in a pairs game, in which you start on 501, and with a partner stepping up first in Paul Lim, in the form he was in on the treble 20, there were not as many opportunities for Harith Lim to post big scores.
On Sky’s commentary during the early stages, Wayne Mardle and Mark Webster pointed out that it would be down to Harith Lim to chip in often, and he certainly did that.
His first visit was a 140 and then he set up Paul Lim for 32, which he pinned first dart for a 13-dart hold in the opening leg. But the next two legs it was Harith Lim’s misses on the outer ring which proved costly, five missed darts at doubles across legs two and three left Singapore trailing 2-1, when they could have been 3-0 up.
In the pairs format, and throwing second, there is more time to rue those missed chances at the back of the stage, like Harith Lim was, shaking his head as the game appeared to be slipping from his team’s grasp.
It was time for Paul Lim to resurrect Singapore’s World Cup bid, with scores of 121 and 140 in the fourth leg, before Harith Lim “chipped in” with double 10 first dart to break Wales straight back for 2-2.
Then came those flurry of 140s from Harith Lim, as well as a maximum from Paul Lim, and two leg-winning doubles with last dart in hand, as Singapore moved 4-3 in front in a race to five.
A 134 from Paul Lim, then a 140 by Harith Lim, and a chance to break Wales again, and avoid a last-leg decider, came into view for Singapore. Clayton narrowly missed double 16 with his last dart to force that ninth leg, and up stepped Harith Lim looking at the same target.
As Clayton walked back after retrieving his darts, his partner Price offered him a fist bump, half in acknowledgement of his effort at the 95 checkout, but perhaps half in expecting Harith Lim to fluff his lines on the outer ring again.
But with his final dart, Harith Lim found the target, the match winner for Singapore, and now with Northern Ireland, the other seeds in their quarter of the draw, also departing, the Lims are now an 11/4 shot to reach the semi-finals on Sunday night.
Japan (9/4) are next on the agenda, while South Africa (10/3) and New Zealand (11/4) meet in the other last 16 tie in that bottom quarter which has been blown wide open. If Paul Lim can continue to post those high averages, and Harith Lim can chip in like he did last night, a first World Cup semi-final could soon come into view for Singapore.
Picture: Stefan Strassenberg/PDC Europe