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World Matchplay Darts: Michael van Gerwen muddles passes Adrian Lewis as Joe Cullen pulls off astonishing 10-2 victory | Darts News

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The best of the action from the evening session of the World Matchplay in Blackpool

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The best of the action from the evening session of the World Matchplay in Blackpool

The best of the action from the evening session of the World Matchplay in Blackpool

Michael van Gerwen and James Wade muddled past Adrian Lewis and debutante Martin Lukeman respectively while Joe Cullen put in a stunning performance at two of the World Matchplay Darts in the evening.

The evening’s header went well with Van Gerwen and Lewis both hitting the trebles well, ‘The Green Machine’ checked out at 126 on the first leg to assert themselves earlier. However, Lewis fought back to break Van Gerwen and led 3-2 at the first break.

Sunday 17 July – Results first round

Evening session Joe Cullen 10-2 Damon Heta
James Wade 10-4 Martin Lukeman
Michael van Gerwen 10-7 Adrian Lewis
Luke Humphries 10-7 Nathan Aspinalli

Despite an exciting start, the final stages were sloppier, Lewis broke down on the 15th stage and gave Van Gerwen the opportunity to lead 9-6. ‘The Green Machine’ managed to cross the line with a 10-7 win, hitting his lowest ever Matchplay average and hitting just 90.

Michael van Gerwen gave an honest assessment of his performance in his hard-fought win over Adrian Lewis

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Michael van Gerwen gave an honest assessment of his performance in his hard-fought win over Adrian Lewis

Michael van Gerwen gave an honest assessment of his performance in his hard-fought win over Adrian Lewis

For the Dutchman there were “no winners” in his clash with Lewis, but he knows how difficult the first leg of this race can be.

“Yes, of course a win is a win at this stage of the game, the first round of the Match Play,” said Van Gerwen.

“The most important thing is that you win your first match. It was difficult for both of us, we both couldn’t find our equipment, but I think my doubles was the key and helped me.

“I have to forget this game very quickly, because to be honest there were no winners in this game.

“It was tough, it wasn’t easy tonight, but I’m glad I got this one out of the way.”

Sunday 17 July – Results first round

Afternoon session Dirk van Duijvenbode 10-8 Ryan Searlea
Danny Noppert 10-6 Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson 7-10 Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith 11-9 Andrew Gilding

In the opening game of the evening, Joe Cullen put in a stunning performance against World Cup winner Damon Heta, winning nine legs in a row and taking a 10-2 win against the Australian.

The stars aligned for Cullen as he set out to prove a point, taking consecutive ton-plus finishes to set the marker ahead of his second-round opponent, Van Gerwen.

Joe Cullen extends his lead over Damon Heta with this 120 finish

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Joe Cullen extends his lead over Damon Heta with this 120 finish

Joe Cullen extends his lead over Damon Heta with this 120 finish

Similar to Van Gerwen, Wade saw a messy encounter with Matchplay debutant Lukeman. Despite averaging under 90, Wade managed to come through and finish the match-up 10-4, with Lukeman putting in a brave performance falling on his finish.

The final game of the evening session saw a great performance from Nathan Aspinall who shot himself to a 5-1 lead, leaving Luke Humphries unable to answer four maximums and four breaks of pitch.

Humphries managed to claw it back to 7-5, but Aspinall wouldn’t go away and sent off one of the three favorites to win 10-5 in a dominant display.

Monday 18 July – Competitions

First round Rob Cross vs Chris Dobey
Jose de Sousa vs Gabriel Clement
Gerwyn Price vs Martin Schindler
Dave Chisnal vs Kim Huybrechts

Afternoon session: Smith survives if Anderson is knocked out

The best encounter of the afternoon session came when 2019’s runner-up Michael Smith faced Andrew Gilding in his first appearance at Winter Gardens since 2015. Gilding started well against ‘Bullyboy’, breaking him twice in the first five legs. but Smith fought back hard from 8-4 legs down to win 11-9 and took seven of the last eight legs to claim the win.

He was of course relieved after his performance and knows he has the potential to win the tournament if he can maintain the performance he has found over the last eight legs.

Watch Michael Smith check out with a huge 161 finish on the bull

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Watch Michael Smith check out with a huge 161 finish on the bull

Watch Michael Smith check out with a huge 161 finish on the bull

“The third session then I couldn’t afford to lose a leg, especially as I was behind 8-4 and luckily I got my act together and hit shorts and managed to scrape across the line” said Smith.

“I just couldn’t find that first treble and I was looking for that first treble to follow it in and I just started so slow but managed to find it in the end and luckily tops went perfect the whole game and managed to finally pull me out of the mud.

“I have the kids there and the kids pictures in my case and you have to dig deep and show them you can’t give up.

Michael Smith speaks to Stuart Pyke after beating Andrew Gilding in the first round of the World Matchplay

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Michael Smith speaks to Stuart Pyke after beating Andrew Gilding in the first round of the World Matchplay

Michael Smith speaks to Stuart Pyke after beating Andrew Gilding in the first round of the World Matchplay

“I just hoped it went in and luckily it did. If it’s your day, it’s your day.

“Sorry about Andrew but someone has to win and luckily I am.

“There are 32 players and you qualify based on merit and you see I’ve been in the final this year so I don’t see why not.

“When I come and bring my A-game, most people in the room know there’s only one winner, so I just have to bring my game.”

The afternoon session started with double Dutch delight as Dirk van Duijvenbode defeated Ryan Searle 10-8 in a tense encounter, before Danny Noppert passed Brendan Dolan 10-6 after coming back to take six legs in a row for the win.

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Then Gary Anderson took on Daryl Gurney who, despite three ton-plus finishes for the ‘Flying Scotsman’, managed to take a 10-7 win in a clash with six breaks of pitch in nine legs. Anderson, who has struggled for form lately, couldn’t find the trebles in the last few legs and succumbed to Gurney.

Check out daily Darts News at skysports.com/darts, our mobile app and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts. You can watch the World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool – live on Sky Sports for the next nine days.

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