Neil Duff defeated Nick Fullwell to book his spot in the quarter-finals of the Men’s WDF World Championship as Beau Greaves battled past Hungary’s Veronika Ihasz in her Lakeside debut.
Duff said prior to the game that going up against a PDC Tour Card holder in Fullwell would give him extra motivation and that showed as he took the first two sets.
Both players started slowly but Duff emerged in front, the Northern Ireland international capitalising on some missed doubles from Fullwell to take the opener 3-1. He produced a repeat performance in the second, big finishes of 96 and 100 moving him within three legs of a place in the last eight.
Fullwell, who finished the game with five maximums, finally got on the board in the third set, breaking the Duff throw in the third leg before keeping his nerve to hold throw and take it 3-1.
The fourth also finished 3-1, Duff securing the all-important break in the opening leg before seeing it out with an impressive 14-darter. Next for ‘The Duffman’ is Jim McEwan, who was unable to match the level he produced in the previous two rounds but still had enough to get past Wales’ Mike Warburton.
After struggling to find his range in the first leg, McEwan reeled off three in 48 darts to take the first set 3-1.
That seemed to light a fire under ‘Warby’, who went through the gears to win the next six legs on the spin to move 2-1 up in sets and within three legs of victory.
The key moment arguably came in the third leg of the fourth set. With it poised at 1-1, a break of throw for Warburton would have given him the chance to throw for the match. He missed a clutch of doubles though and McEwan eventually capitalised to lead himself before winning the set with a 14-darter.
Set five was all ‘Chucky’, the reigning British Classic champion opening out with a 118 finish and sealing victory with a sensational 11-darter that included his seventh 180 of the match.
Despite never having played at Lakeside in a World Championship before, Doncaster teenager Beau Greaves’ recent triple title haul in the Isle of Man made her the betting favourite this year. She had to work hard for it but she made a winning start after seeing off the spirited challenge of Hungary’s Veronika Ihasz.
New England call-up Greaves sprung out of the traps, winning the opening two legs in 18 darts each before squandering three set darts to wrap up the set. Ihasz, who beat Paula Murphy 2-0 in her Lakeside debut, capitalised, winning the third leg with a 73 finish before breaking Ann-Louise Peters’ checkout record in the Women’s World Championship in the fourth with a sensational 164.
Greaves produced another 18-darter to win the first set and then found herself 2-0 up once more in the second thanks to a great 109 out. Ihasz fought back again though and this time won the set, albeit surviving three match darts to do so.
Ihasz wired double 15 for a break in the third leg of the deciding set and that miss was punished, Greaves holding with an 18-darter before producing a break of her own with another 18-darter.
In the final game of the session, WDF No.1 James Hurrell booked his quarter-final place with a routine 3-0 victory over Ryan de Vreede.
In stark contrast to his opening game with John Desreumaux, Hurrell’s finishing was on point throughout and that ultimately made the difference against de Vreede.
After dropping the first leg of the match, Hurrell won three on the spin, punctuated by a brilliant 126 finish on the bull, to take the opening set.
The pair exchanged breaks in the second set to force a deciding leg, with Hurrell taking out 40 with the third dart in hand after de Vreede had pulled a shot at tops for the set low.
Just as he did in the first two sets, de Vreede won the opening leg of the third but again couldn’t convert when given opportunities at doubles. Hurrell could though, winning three on the spin in 47 darts to complete a straight-sets victory with an 89.87 average.
Neil Duff 3-1 Nick Fullwell
Beau Greaves 2-1 Veronika Ihasz
Jim McEwan 3-2 Mike Warburton
James Hurrell 3-0 Ryan de Vreede
Photo Credit: Chris Sargeant/Tip Top Pics