Jarred Cole produced a performance of the highest calibre to defeat three-time World Champion Martin Adams as the 2022 WDF World Championships got underway at Lakeside, with five other players booking their spots in the second round.
Considered by many a potential winner this time round, ‘Wolfie’ had no answer for the consistency or power scoring of Hertfordshire’s Cole, who sealed his place in the tournament by coming through December’s qualifier at Lakeside.
After producing some steady darts to win the opening set, Cole stepped it up a gear in the second, kicking things off with an 11-darter. Adams, who recorded three 180s during the match, immediately broke back but couldn’t keep up the momentum, Cole wrapping up the second set with a pair of 15-darters to run out a 2-0 victory with a 92.7 average.
Cole, who will now be considered a contender for the title this week, returns to the Lakeside stage in the opening game of Monday’s evening session to take on 16th seed Antony Allen.
The other players to come through December’s qualifier were ‘The Punk’ Johnny Haines and two-time Lakeside finalist Rhian O’Sullivan and both impressed as they won their opening games.
Swindon’s Haines eased past fellow debutant John Scott, dropping just one leg against the reigning Reykjavik International Games champion as he ran out a 2-0 winner. Finishing with an average just shy of 90, Haines will be full of confidence heading into his second round game with top seed Brian Raman.
O’Sullivan went one better, meanwhile, whitewashing Paula Jacklin in the opening game of the Women’s World Championship. O’Sullivan, the new Wales captain, won all six legs in 19 darts or less in a performance that will have sent out a marker to the other players in her half of the draw.
Joining O’Sullivan in the last 16 is Marjolein Noijens, who emerged victorious against fellow debutant Amanda Harwood. The pair were pretty evenly matched through the 13 legs they played but Noijens got the breaks at the right time to win the game 2-1.
Laszlo Kadar cemented himself as a player to watch in the Men’s tournament, producing a come-from-behind performance to defeat Sweden’s Andreas Harrysson 2-1.
After losing the first set 3-0, Kadar delivered some masterful finishing to level things up, taking out 104, 135 and 96 in successive legs. 2-0 up in the final set, Harrysson squanded six match darts as Kadar came back to win and set up a last 32 meeting with 2016 World Championship semi-finalist Richard Veenstra.
In the other game of the session, Ben Hazel won a scrappy game against another debutant in the shape of New Zealander Haupai Puha. Double trouble cost both players but in the end it was ‘Mr Ben’ who had enough to get over the line; he’ll know though that he’s got to step up a few gears when he meets teenage sensation Luke Littler in the last 32.
Jarred Cole 2-0 Martin Adams
Johnny Haines 2-0 John Scott
Rhian O'Sullivan 2-0 Paula Jacklin
Ben Hazel 2-1 Haupai Puha
Laszlo Kadar 2-1 Andreas Harrysson
Marjolein Noijens 2-1 Amanda Harwood
All photo credit to Chris Sargeant / Tip Top Pics