Mitchell edges out Labanauskas in a classic

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In the final match of the opening day, the 2015 Lakeside world champion Scott Mitchell took on Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas, on paper there wasn’t much separating the pair, but the BDO world number two was the slight favourite heading into this one. A high-quality affair was anticipated before this match got underway, and it didn’t disappoint as Mitchell fired in a 14-dart leg in what was a great leg of darts as both players exchanged maximums. The phenomenal standard of play in the scoring stakes carried over to the next leg as Labanauskas levelled things up with a 13-darter as he pinned D18. Mitchell responded superbly as he fired in a sensational 11-dart leg in what was a ridiculous three legs of darts with both players averaging in excess of 115 at that stage. The Lithuanian levelled up the set at 2-2 as he fired in a 14-dart leg courtesy of D6 on the back of his second maximum. Labanauskas continued his phenomenal run of form as he produced his second 14-dart leg in succession, which came on the back of a brilliant 170 attempt to take the first set whilst averaging a mind-boggling 113.27 3-dart average. The Lithuanian picked up where he left off before the break as he hit his third 14-dart leg on-the-spin as he held throw to take the first leg of the second set. But, despite this onslaught from Labanauskas, Mitchell was still playing some marvellous stuff himself, the Dorset ace fired in a sumptuous 116 finish to level up the set at one-a-piece. After the first seven legs this match there hasn’t been one leg won in over 15 darts. Mitchell managed to break the throw of the Lithuanian for the first time in the match as he picked out D9 to edge 2-1 ahead. Mitchell sealed the second set courtesy of another 14-dart leg as he took out 80 to level the match up at one set-a-piece. The sensational standard of play continued into the third set as Mitchell produced a fantastic 13-dart leg as the momentum was firmly in the direction of the number four seed. Mitchell went on to double his lead in the set as he pinned D1 to break the Lithuanian’s throw. Labanauskas reduced the deficit as he broke Mitchell’s throw immediately with a 17-darter as he picked out D16. Mitchell had six darts to see out the third set, but sensationally gifted the Lithuanian a chance to level the set up, but in dramatic fashion he also missed two darts to do so which allowed the number four seed the opportunity to clinch the set as he pinned D6 for a 2-1 advantage. Labanauskas wasn’t giving up on his chances of a fightback as he produced a 14-dart leg to kick off the fourth set, however Scott Mitchell once again showed ultimate composure as he piled in a 110 finish to level things up at 1-1 in the fourth set. Following that 110 finish, Mitchell continued to turn the screw as he produced darts of the highest order as he took out 81 for a 12-dart leg to move just one leg away from the second round. As the finishing line moved ever closer for Scott Mitchell, Darius Labanauskas produced a stunning 11-dart leg to keep himself in the match as he levelled up the fourth set at 2-2 as he took out 96. The Lithuanian put himself right back into contention as he followed up that 11-dart leg in the previous leg with a 13-darter to level the match up at 2-2 as he forced a fifth and deciding set. After the break, Scott Mitchell came firing out of the blocks as he took out 56 to move 1-0 ahead, he then fired in a majestic 12-dart leg to double his lead as the second round moved ever closer to his grasp. Mitchell then followed that 12-dart leg up with a phenomenal 11-dart leg to book his place in the second round in some style. The number two seed averaged 109.98 in that deciding set as he left the Lithuanian stunned in the end. Mitchell will take on either Scott Baker or Andy Baetens in round two, if that performance is anything to go by, he will take some stopping.
Photo : David Gill

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