Professional Darts Corporation (PDC)

Professional Darts Corporation (PDC)

Professional Darts Corporation (PDC)

UK Open Day One

REIGNING CHAMPION James Wade overcame a major scare against Stephen Bunting on the opening night of the Speedy Services UK Open in Bolton on Thursday, as Ted Hankey exited the event to Mervyn King.

World number three Wade stared defeat in the face against Merseyside's Bunting, one of the 64 amateur qualifiers who are competing alongside the sport's top names in the £200,000 event.

Bunting hit four 180s and averaged over 101, but missed four match darts to defeat Wade, as the left-handerhit back from 3-2 down to edge to a 4-3 win.

«I rode my luck a bit there,» admitted Wade. «Stephen played really well and had his chances, so it's a big relief to be through to Friday night.»

Another top left-hander, last year's semi-finalist Mark Webster, also had to come from behind to win 4-3 in his clash with Swindon's Johnny Haines, who paid for missing one dart at the bull to take victory in their game.

Denis Ovens, who has reached the semi-finals in Bolton for the past two years, won three matches on the night to progress to the last 64, defeating Craig MacCaskill, John Nelson and local favourite Joe Murnan.

Ted Hankey, the two-time Lakeside Champion making his first UK Open appearance since joining the PDC in January, defeated Leeds' qualifier Danny Dutson and experienced Andy Jenkins to reach round two, but lost out 4-1 to Mervyn King.

Hankey led King 1-0 but saw the Norfolk star hit back to take four straight legs for the win, as he moves into the third round on Friday.

«I was expecting a harder task than I was presented with because I know how good Ted is,» said King. «We go back a long way and he's very hard to beat, but maybe after playing the first two matches he ran out of steam a little bit.»

2004 UK Open champion Roland Scholten progressed with a narrow 4-3 win over Welshman Steve Evans, while 2009 runner-up Colin Osborne moved into the third round with a 4-2 defeat of Scotland's John Henderson.

There was disappointment, though, for two other previous UK Open finalists, Mark Walsh and Shayne Burgess, who were defeated by Jason Crawley and Liam Kelly respectively.

Former World Champion Steve Beaton crashed out in the preliminary round to amateur qualifier Jon Jukes, a bin man from Oxford, while Alan Tabern needed only ten minutes to defeat Dutchman Co Stompe 4-0.

Paul Nicholson, who knocked out Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor in reaching the quarter-finals last year, overcame youngster Harry Miles and amateur qualifier Tony Cooper to reach the third round.

Former Under-21 World Champion Arron Monk, Leamington Spa undertaker Nigel Heydon, Northamptonshire's Kevin McDine, York's Terry Temple and amateurs Scott Robertson, Mark Layton, Paul Amos David Dodds and Dean Stewart all won three matches on the night to move into the last 64.

The third round also features the top 32 players following the eight Speedy Services UK Open qualifiers held earlier this year, with Phil Taylor beginning his challenge for a fifth Bolton title against Scholten on Friday night.

Raymond van Barneveld, the 2006 and 2007 champion, meets Jelle Klaasen in an all-Dutch affair, while Wade's tilt to retain the title sees him face former world number one Colin Lloyd.

Scotland's Gary Anderson, the 2010 runner-up, plays Northumberland amateur Dodds in the third round, while last year's beaten finalist Wes Newton drew youngster Shaun Griffiths.

Webster will play Scotland's Robert Thornton, three-time World Champion John Part meets colourful Peter Wright, Kevin Painter plays Monk in a repeat of their clash in the World Championship six months ago and World Champion Adrian Lewis faces McDine.

2007 finalist Vincent van der Voort will play Paul Amos, Nicholson drew Northern Ireland's Michael Mansell, King's reward for his win over Hankey is a clash with newcomer Gareth Cousins and emerging South African Devon Petersen plays Blackpool's Ronnie Baxter.

Dean Winstanley will make his UK Open debut against Jason Crawley, the Hampshire youngster who had been joined by his father Bob in the early rounds on Thursday.

New World Youth Champion James Hubbard meets Terry Jenkins in a tasty clash, with young duo Michael Smith and Joe Cullen coming into the event alongside him with clashes against Darren Webster and Jim Walker respectively.

Australian ace Simon Whitlock drew Temple, St Helens' Dave Chisnall plays Welshman Layton, Andy Hamilton meets Essex newcomer Richie Howson and Holland's Michael van Gerwen plays Irish ace William O'Connor.

Play continues from 7pm on Friday with the third round games at the Premier Suite in the De Vere Whites Hotel and Bolton's Reebok Stadium.
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