In the first session of the final day of play on the 2018 European Tour, we expected to see some world-class darts, and we weren’t disappointed. Kicking off the day in Gottingen, we were treated to an absolute classic as the World no.1 Michael van Gerwen took on Stephen Bunting. As expected, it was a high-quality contest which was highlighted by the averages, MvG raced into a 2-0 lead, but Bunting wasn’t going down without a fight. The pair continued to trade sub-15 dart legs, but Van Gerwen always had the one-leg advantage over the former Lakeside World Champion, and Bunting even in the ninth leg was still hanging onto Van Gerwen’s coat tails as he took out 70 to make it 5-4, but Van Gerwen confirmed a 6-4 victory with a 15-dart leg. The World no.1 recorded a very impressive 106.46 average as he booked his place in the quarter-finals, but Bunting also played his part in a fantastic match with an average of 96.69 and produced the sort of form that he was showing a few years ago when he first made the switch to the PDC.
In the second match of the afternoon, Daryl Gurney, the no.9 seed faced arguably the surprise package of this weekends tournament in Matthew Edgar. Gurney pretty much dominated the contest from start-to-finish as he raced into a 5-0 lead whilst producing some superb darts, but Edgar wasn’t giving in as he punished some missed chances from Gurney as he reeled off three legs on-the-spin as he reduced the arrears to 5-3, but inevitably, Gurney ended the contest as he produced a fantastic 13-dart leg to set up a quarter-final clash with the World no.1 Michael van Gerwen. In terms of averages, Gurney recorded a 92.35 compared to Edgar’s 88.45.
Michael Smith put his name into the hat as he looked to win his sixth Euro Tour event as he produced a relentless display to whitewash Steve Beaton 6-0. The St Helens ace hit 6/8 on the doubles as he pounced on every single opportunity that Beaton missed. In the first three legs, it was Beaton who was getting down to a double before Smith, and could’ve arguably been 3-0 up himself, but Smith was clinical in his play as he reeled off six leg without reply to book his place in the last eight in Gottingen. ‘Bully Boy’ was averaging 110+ in the opening four legs, and in the end he finished with an average of 103.66 which highlighted a great afternoon at the office.
Joining Michael Smith in the quarter-finals is Dave Chisnall who produced the performance of the tournament so far as the Morecambe-based star was threatening to break the European Tour average record (118.66) which he set himself back in September as he whitewashed Mark Webster. On this occasion, Chisnall whitewashed John Henderson in a relentless assault on the Scotsman as he averaged 112.73 in what was a scintillating display from ‘Chizzy’. Chisnall will face his good friend Michael Smith in the last eight which is set to be another mouth-watering encounter.
Jelle Klaasen followed up from his fantastic victory over the World no.2 Peter Wright on Saturday evening with a superb last-gasp victory over the German hopeful Martin Schindler. Klaasen was up against it for the majority of the contest as he trailed 4-1 to the young German. But, Klaasen remained composed and concentrated on the task in hand as he took five out of the last six legs to upset the home crowd. Schindler missed a dart at the bull for an 83 checkout which would’ve been a 6-3 victory, but Klaasen’s attempt at 83 was plum in the bull which took the match to a deciding leg, and that proved to be the turning point in the match.
Richard North sealed his place in the European Championships at the end of October at the expense of Jan Dekker as he completed an assuring 6-1 victory over Jonny Clayton. Both players had plenty of opportunities, and it was simply just a case of who’d take their chances more clinically, and that man was Richard North as he hit 60% (6/10) of his doubled attempted compared to Clayton’s 25% (1/4). North has a massive chance to reach the Semi-Finals as he takes on Jelle Klaasen in the evening session. It’s tipped to be a closely contested affair.
James Wade confirmed his place in yet another European Tour quarter-final as ‘The Machine’ completed a fairly comfortable 6-3 victory over a tough opponent in Darren Webster. Wade was always in the driving seat as he got off to a solid start as he moved 2-0 to-the-good, the 118 finish in the sixth leg to move 4-2 ahead was the most pivotal moment in the match, and following that moment, Wade dropped just one leg before he sealed the win with a 16-darter.
Wrapping up the afternoon session, we were treated to an absolute blockbuster between the no.3 seed Rob Cross and Germany’s no.1 Max Hopp. The reigning World champion had to survive an onslaught from the German hopeful in what was a dramatic last-leg decider. Cross was in a very comfortable position in the early stages as he raced into a 3-0 lead, but Hopp rallied and responded expertly as he reeled off four legs on-the-spin as his average rose to 110+. Cross remained composed despite losing the previous four legs as he took the ninth leg to move within a leg of the match, and the no.3 seed was poised for a 6-4 victory, but Hopp had other plans as he fired in a spectacular 124 finish under severe pressure. In the decider, both players missed darts for the match. Cross missed five match darts before Hopp busted 16 by firing his first dart into D11, Cross denied Hopp another visit as he pinned D1 to complete a dramatic 6-5 victory as he set up a quarter-final clash with James Wade on Sunday evening.
European Darts Trophy – Quarter-Finals
Michael van Gerwen – Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith – Dave Chisnall
Jelle Klaasen – Richard North
James Wade – Rob Cross