BDO world number one Wesley Harms and World Trophy champion Jim Williams were among the early casualties on a dramatic opening day of the 2019 one80 L-Style World Masters.
The 46th staging of the oldest major darts tournament got under way at the Civic Hall, in Grays, on Wednesday, with play not starting until after 3pm – an hour after the scheduled start time – due to the men’s draw being re-drawn.
BDO chairman Des Jacklin announced there would be a re-draw, owing to so many players in the draw not showing up, coupled with players from different countries travelling to the tournament who did not know they had to register to play.
Top seed Harms, a World Masters semi-finalist back in 2012, got his campaign started with a narrow 3-2 win over Lee Turle in the last 128, before being dumped out 3-1 by England’s Graham Usher in the next round.
“I come here knowing that I could do it, but actually doing it and then beating the world number one Wesley Harms on the way 3-1, it couldn’t get any better,” Usher said.
“A lot of people were upset (when the draw was redone) but I just took myself outside, got away from it all, kept myself to myself, went downstairs to the practice boards and kept out of it really.
“I didn’t really get involved. The draw’s the draw. You’ve got to beat them all to win it, so it’s irrelevant who you get. I’m just going to enjoy it.”
Listen to Episode 127 of the Weekly Dartscast podcast (Day 1 at the World Masters special with Dave Parletti, Adam Smith-Neale, Dave Evans, Gary Stone, Simon Stainton, Justin Thompson, Brian Raman and more via the player below
Usher is now set to make his TV debut on Friday, as the men’s event continues with the last 32 at the iconic Circus Tavern, in Purfleet, where he will play Norway’s Stig Jarle Knudsen.
“It’s absolutely fantastic. I won the England pairs with Nick Fullwell, that was one of my biggest wins,” Usher said.
“The Lincoln Open was good, but this just tops it all. I come here and hoped to do well, as everyone does. To go and beat a big seed, and beat him convincingly, I’m really proud.”
Third seed Williams, who won his first major at the World Trophy in Blackburn last month, also suffered a first-day exit, losing to England’s Dave Copley 3-1 in the last 128.
Copley, a quarter-finalist in the World Masters last year, only found out last week that his run in last year’s event had earned him a spot in the field, and he then whitewashed Geoffrey Murray 3-0 to set up a clash with Ireland’s Ciaran Teehan on Friday.
“I’m over the moon,” Copley said. “To say I’d not actually qualified and I got here on an invite because I got to the quarter-finals last year, I’m over the moon.
“I’ve not been playing well for the last few weeks, but today it’s just clicked.
“The first time I ever tried to qualify for the World Masters, I played Jim, when Jim actually broke onto the circuit.
“I was two sets to nil up, one leg up, and he beat me three sets to two. So that’s all I had in my head when I played him: get over the line!
“That was like a final. It was a battle and you’ve got to be so focused because Jim Williams is class.
“I love this tournament. I love the set format. I’m really looking forward to playing at the Circus Tavern. It’s a big venue, hopefully I can bring a big game to it.”
Defending World Masters champion Adam Smith-Neale saw his title defence fall at the first hurdle, as the seventh seed was beaten 3-1 by Austria’s Hannes Schnier.
Schnier was then edged out 3-2 by England’s Joe Davis 3-2 in the last 64, and he will now play UK Open giant-killer Paul Hogan on Friday, after Hogan came through a last-set decider against Toon Greebe to progress to the Circus Tavern.
Second seed Richard Veenstra, last month’s World Trophy runner-up, is the highest-seeded player left in the field. The Dutchman dropped just one set to advance to the last 32, where he will play England’s Craig Owens on Friday.
Fourth seed Dave Parletti went one better as he recorded whitewash wins over Krzysztof Kcuik and Adam Mould to book his place in the last 32.
Parletti will next face Northern Ireland’s Neil Duff, who claimed 3-1 wins against Sid Bell and Robert Phillips to also come through the opening day.
“I’m chuffed,” Parletti said. “The last couple of weeks I’ve put a lot of work in on the board, so it’s happening on the floor now and I’m very happy.
“I won’t lie. The first thing I done when I looked at the draw I thought here we go (playing Krzysztof), but I felt I exercised a few demons from Lakeside.
“I’ve obviously thought about that game a lot (the first-round defeat to Kcuik at the World Championship in January), as I’d worked so hard to get there and to lose first round, no disrespect to Krzysztof, he gave me a hiding.
“To play him again today and beat him I felt like I’ve got that monkey off my back. I can move on now.
“I’ve always said I’m in it for the history and the Circus Tavern, unreal. I’m buzzing for it.”
Fifth seed Willem Mandigers survived a scare in the last 128, battling back from two sets down to beat fellow Dutchman Anoop Ramdajal 3-2, before getting past Paavo Myller, of Finland, 3-1, and will now play Northern Ireland’s Marty Moreland on Friday.
Former world champion Scott Mitchell, the sixth seed, got his campaign off to a strong start, 3-0 wins over Eric Gregory and Andrew Kateley sealed his place in the last 32, where he will take on former Welsh Open winner Mike Warburton.
Eight seed Ryan Hogarth and former Lakeside finalist Jeff Smith will meet on Friday, after both came through the early rounds. Ninth seed Mario Vandenbogaerde next faces Welshman Eirig Rowlands in the last 32, while two-time world champion Scott Waites, the 10th seed, dropped only one set as he advanced to Friday and a clash with Nick Fullwell.
Andy Hamilton, the 11th seed, was whitewashed 3-0 by Ireland’s Keith Geraghty in the last 64, with the Irishman’s reward a last-32 tie with France’s Thibault Tricole. Dave Evans, the 12th seed, was another seed to depart, losing 3-1 to Ireland’s John O’Shea, who went on to progress to a last-32 clash with England’s Justin Hood on Friday.
Gary Stone, the 13th seed, came through two last-set deciders, beating Joe Lacey and Danny Baggish 3-2, and will now play England’s John Mann in the last 32, while Dutchman Roemer Mooijman, the conqueror of 14th seed Sebastian Steyer, and England’s Paul Harvey set up a clash at the Circus Tavern after both coming through.
Three-time World Masters champion Martin Adams, who was promoted into the seeds after the re-draw, lost 3-2 to England’s Carl Hamilton in the last 128, and Hamilton will take on Slovenia’s Benjamin Pratnemer in the last 32 on Friday.
Simon Stainton, the 16th seed, came through two close encounters, seeing off Matt Campbell (3-2) and Dennie Olde Kalter (3-1) and will next face Northern Ireland’s Gareth Chambers on Friday.
2019 one80 L-Style World Masters
Men’s last 32
Graham Usher v Stig Jarle Knudsen
Gareth Chambers v Simon Stainton (16)
Mario Vandenbogaerde (9) v Eirig Rowlands
Jeff Smith v Ryan Hogarth (8)
Willem Mandigers (5) v Marty Moreland
Justin Hood v John O’Shea
Gary Stone (13) v John Mann
Neil Duff v Dave Parletti (4)
Dave Copley v Ciaran Teehan
Paul Harvey v Roemer Mooijman
Keith Geraghty v Thibault Tricole
Mike Warburton v Scott Mitchell (6)
Joe Davis v Paul Hogan
Nick Fullwell v Scott Waites (10)
Carl Hamilton v Ben Pratnemer
Craig Owens v Richard Veenstra (2)