Big guns progress in Grand Slam as Part, Hamilton & Barney reach Last 16
John Part, Raymond van Barneveld and Andy Hamilton were amongst the winners on a dramatic final night of the group stage at the William Hill Grand Slam of Darts - but Paul Nicholson, Terry Jenkins and Mark Walsh joined Adrian Lewis in exiting the event.
Three-time World Champion Part joined Gary Anderson in progressing from Group E in the tournament when he took victory his winner-takes-all battle with Tony O'Shea 5-4 in dramatic circumstances on Wednesday.
O'Shea missed three darts to progress to the last 16 in a thrilling game, including one at the bullseye in the deciding leg, before Part finished 72 to edge into the second round.
Part actually went on to top Group E, with Anderson's 5-4 defeat to Lewis in their game earlier in the evening meaning that the Scot finishes second.
"I came into tonight not knowing whether I'd finish anywhere from first or last in the group so I was just concerned about getting through," said Canadian legend Part.
"I've been quite fortunate to have had a few missed doubles against me. I've seen Tony hit plenty of bullseyes in other situations, and tonight I took out the 72 on double six, which I love.
"There's a longer format on Friday night and I'll start off better I think because you're less worried about getting off to a bad start - it's a whole different tournament now."
Anderson had already qualified ahead of his clash with Lewis after winning his opening two games, but the Stoke ace - a semi-finalist 12 months ago - bowed out in style with a showpiece 147 checkout of treble 19, double top and bullseye as he edged out the Scot.
"I had my chances in my other games and it's my own fault for missing two darts to beat Tony on Sunday," admitted Lewis. "I wanted to show Gary and everyone what I could do, and it's a big positive for me to win tonight.
"There's plenty to work on and I'll go back on the practice board now - the likes of Simon Whitlock have also gone out and we'll all be working hard now towards the World Championship."
Anderson will now play Group F winner Andy Hamilton in the second round, with the World Championship finalist having defeating Paul Nicholson 5-4 in their decisive clash, taking out 104 in the deciding leg.
"Paul played well but I finished well and I thought the best player won," said Hamilton. "I don't give anything up easily and I'll battle right to the end, and I cleaned the game up well.
"Gary's a great scorer but he'll miss a couple of doubles and it's up to me to play a solid game and take the chances when he gives me them. I can score like Gary and hopefully the best player will win."
Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan was the other qualifier from Group F as he set up a clash with Part by defating Barrie Bates 5-0, although he was left with a nervous wait before his place in the last 16 was confirmed by Nicholson's defeat.
"It was the perfect result and when I got up there I tried to focus on my own game," said Dolan. "Barrie's struggling with his hands and I was feeling for him because he's up there doing his best and he knows he's a lot better than that."
Three Dutch stars qualified from Groups G and H, with Raymond van Barneveld topping the latter pool thanks to a fine 5-2 win over Wolverhampton's Wayne Jones in their final clash.
Jones led 2-0 before van Barneveld took out a key 91 finish to win the third leg, and he took the next four for a second win of the group stage.
Lakeside Champion Christian Kist's subsequent 5-4 loss to Mark Walsh saw five-time World Champion van Barneveld head the group to set up an all-Dutch second round clash with Wesley Harms.
"The third leg was really important and with my last dart I hit double ten - if I didn't hit that I'd have gone 3-0 down and he would have had the throw in the fourth," admitted van Barneveld. "I finished well after then and I'm happy with that.
"I know I can do a lot better but maybe I'm focusing too much - I just want to prove that I'm still there and I know I'm capable of reaching the final, but I put myself under pressure in every single match.
"If I hit my doubles I've got no problems. Sometimes they let me down, but I hope they'll help me go forward now."
Walsh, a semi-finalist last year, ultimately paid the price for his whitewash to van Barneveld earlier in the event as he lost out on leg difference despite Wednesday's win.
"It's disappointing to go out with two wins, but the game against Barney where I lost 5-0 killed me," admitted Walsh. "I love this tournament and hopefully I'll do better next year, but a win like this is good for me ahead of the World Championship next month."
Harms defeated Welshman Martin Phillips 5-2 in their final game to qualify second in Group G on his Grand Slam debut, and he is looking forward to playing van Barneveld for the first time on Friday.
"If you want to win this tournament then you have to beat the best, but it's a bit unlucky that a Dutch player has to go out on Friday and I hope it isn't me," said Harms.
"I'm delighted to get through and I think getting my first win against Terry Jenkins was important, and I deserved to go through."
Jenkins was eliminated with his 5-2 defeat to Wes Newton, who averaged 102 and took out two ton-plus finishes as he completed the group stage with three victories to set up a clash with Kist on Friday.
"Two years ago I won my first two games and then went out on leg difference and that really hurt, so I was determined not to make the same mistake again," said Newton.
"I got off to a really good start and kept it up, so I'm really happy. I'm going up there knowing that I'm playing well, and I've never topped my group before so it's another stride forward for me."
The second round begins on Thursday as the qualifiers from Groups A-D play their last 16 games, with reigning champion Phil Taylor's game against Holland's recent World Grand Prix winner Michael van Gerwen topping the bill at the Wolves Civic.
2010 Grand Slam champion Scott Waites plays UK Open winner Robert Thornton, Mervyn King faces Kevin Painter and Dean Winstanley takes on former World Youth Champion Arron Monk.
William Hill Grand Slam of Darts
Wednesday November 14
Groups E-H Final Games
Adrian Lewis 5-4 Gary Anderson (E)
Brendan Dolan 5-0 Barrie Bates (F)
Wesley Harms 5-2 Martin Phillips (G)
Raymond van Barneveld 5-2 Wayne Jones (H)
John Part 5-4 Tony O'Shea (E)
Andy Hamilton 5-4 Paul Nicholson (F)
Wes Newton 5-2 Terry Jenkins (G)
Christian Kist 4-5 Mark Walsh (H)
Thursday November 15
Dean Winstanley v Arron Monk
Mervyn King v Kevin Painter
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
Scott Waites v Robert Thornton
Best of 19 legs
Friday November 16
John Part v Brendan Dolan
Wes Newton v Christian Kist
Andy Hamilton v Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Wesley Harms
Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Final Draw Bracket
Waites/Thornton v van Gerwen/Taylor
Winstanley/Monk v King/Painter
Part/Dolan v Hamilton/Anderson
Newton/Kist v van Barneveld/Harms
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
1-0 - Anderson fires in a 180 but a missed dart at double 15 allows Lewis to convert a 96 finish.
1-1 - The Scotsman hits another maximum and wins the leg in 14 darts to break-back.
2-1 - Anderson hits double two as Lewis pays the price for four missed opportunties at doubles.
2-2 - Both players hit 180s before Lewis is successful with an attempt at double nine to level the game.
3-2 - Anderson hits double top at the first of asking to edge ahead.
3-3 - Lewis wins the sixth leg on double five after Anderson misses two chances to lead 4-2.
4-3 - The World Champion hits a superb 147 checkout to move a leg away from triumph, finishing treble 19, double top and the bullseye for a party-piece combination.
4-4 - Anderson sends the match into a deciding leg by recording a 130 checkout.
5-4 - Anderson holds the advantage of throw but Lewis fires in a 180 and goes on to hit double ten to end his campaign at the Grand Slam of Darts with a victory.
Adrian Lewis: "It's been a disappointing event for me but I was motivated to get a win tonight and I managed to do that. I've got the Players Championship Finals and the World Championship over the next month so I am going to get back on the practice board and work hard."
Brendan Dolan v Barrie Bates
1-0 - Dolan hits double 16 to make a winning start to the match.
2-0 - Bates struggles to find his range and Dolan secures a comfortable break of throw.
3-0 - The Northern Irishman hits double 18 to complete a 14-dart finish.
4-0 - Bates is off-target with a dart at double 18 for a 113 checkout and Dolan converts a clinical 76 finish.
5-0 - Dolan is off-target on double eight for a 136 checkout but Bates is in no position to capitalise and Doland returns to hit double eight and secure a vital two points to leave hopes of qualification very much alive.
Brendan Dolan: "I've done as much as I possibly could tonight. I felt for Barrie - he is struggling a little bit at the moment but he never gave up and kept going."
Wesley Harms v Martin Phillips
0-1 - Phillips hits double top to hold throw at the start of the match.
1-1 - Harms lands double 16 to level the contest.
2-1 - The Dutchman secures a break of throw with a 76 finish.
2-2 - Harms misses two darts at doubles which allows Phillips to break-back and level.
3-2 - Harms lands double ten with his last dart to regain the lead.
4-2 - The Dutchman edges closer to victory as he takes out 72 on double 12.
5-2 - Harms hits double 20 to secure a vital victory in Group G.
Wesley Harms: "I'm delighted to get through and I think getting my first win against Terry Jenkins was important, and I deserved to go through. If you want to win this tournament then you have to beat the best, but it's a bit unlucky that a Dutch player has to go out on Friday and I hope it isn't me."
Raymond van Barneveld v Wayne Jones
0-1 - Jones hits a 180 with his first three darts and wins the leg on tops after his opponent missed a dart at the same bed.
0-2 - The local man hits double top for the second leg running to leave van Barneveld under pressure.
1-2 - van Barneveld takes out a key 91 finish to get a leg on the board.
2-2 - The Dutchman levels the game at two apiece by hitting double eight after Jones was off-target with an attempt at bullseye.
3-2 - van Barneveld fires in a 180 and wins the leg in just 13 darts to win his third leg in a row.
4-2 - The five-time World Champion wins a fourth leg in a row with the aid of a 14-darter.
5-2 - van Barneveld hits double 16 at the first attempt to breeze through the finishing line to seal a place in the last 16.
Raymond van Barneveld: "Hitting the double ten to win the third leg was crucial for me and that gave me a bit more confidence. By the time I was 4-2 up I felt much more comfortable and it's a good feeling to qualify after losing my first match to Christian Kist."
John Part v Tony O'Shea
0-1 - O'Shea hits double eight at the first attempt to hold throw.
1-1 - Part lands the same double to square the match.
2-1 - The Canadian takes out a 78 finish to break throw with O'Shea waiting on tops.
3-1 - O'Shea is off-target with three chances to break-back and Part hits double ten with an accurate third dart.
3-2 - O'Shea hits a 180 and wins the leg in just 14-darts to stay in touch.
3-3 - The Stockport man levels the match thanks to an accurate attempt at double nine.
3-4 - O'Shea hits double nine for the second leg running to move a leg away from victory.
4-4 - O'Shea is off-target with two attempts to win the match and Part hits tops to force a deciding-leg.
5-4 - O'Shea just misses the bullseye and Part holds his nerve to take out 72 in two darts on double six to seal victory and top Group E.
John Part: "I've certainly been fortunate tonight but I took my chance when it came in the deciding leg. Making it through to the longer format will be benefit to me and it's a totally new tournament now."
Andy Hamilton v Paul Nicholson
1-0 - Hamilton holds throw to win the first leg despite Nicholson hitting a maximum with his first three darts.
1-1 - The Stoke star is off-target with two attempts at double top and Nicholson makes him pay by taking out 88 on the bullseye.
2-1 - Hamilton regains the lead by hitting double 16 with his third dart.
3-1 - Hamilton lets two chances to break throw go begging but Nicholson's failed attempt at double 16 allows Hamilton to return and hit double ten.
3-2 - Two missed darts at double top from Hamilton prove costly as Nicholson converts a 70 finish to keep in touch.
3-3 - Nicholson lands his third maximum of the match and an accurate attempt at double eight levels the contest.
4-3 - Nicholson just misses the bullseye for a 170 checkout and Hamiton steps in to hit a superb 118 finish to eliminate Nicholson from the competition.
4-4 - Hamilton leaves 81 after nine-darts thrown. But two misses darts at doubles to win the match allows Nicholson to hit a 70 finish for the second time in the match.
5-4 - Hamilton wins the match in style with a 104 finish and finishes top of Group F.
Andy Hamilton: "Paul played really well tonight but I battled throughout the match and got the win. My second round match against Gary Anderson should be a really good one. He's showing some form at the moment but I'm feeling confident and the best player should win over the best of 19 legs."
Wes Newton v Terry Jenkins
1-0 - Newton hits an excellent 110 finish after Jenkins is off-target with a dart at double 14.
2-0 - The Fleetwood man kicks-off with back-to-back 180s. The nine-darter is not to be but the leg is won 12-darts thanks to an 82 finish.
2-1 - Newton hits a superb 171 to leave 24 but Jenkins lands double 19 with a pressure third dart.
3-1 - Newton hits his third 180 of the game and wins the leg on double three.
4-1 - Newton hits an excellent 14-darter to move a leg away from victory.
4-2 - Jenkins takes out 78 in two-darts to stem the tide.
5-2 - Newton wraps up the win in style by hitting a 121 finish to end the match with a three-dart average of 102.46.
Wes Newton: "I'm delighted to have got through as group winner. I remember I won my first two matches a few years and then lost 5-0 to Terry Jenkins to go out. That was on my mind a bit coming into tonight so I'm pleased to get through to the last 16."
Christian Kist v Mark Walsh
1-0 - Kist hits an excellent 159 to leave 40 and wins the leg on double ten to break throw.
1-1 - Walsh takes out 38 to break-back immediately.
1-2 - Kist fires in a maximum but Walsh claims the leg with an excellent 124 checkout.
2-2 - The Dutchman wins the fourth leg by completing an 84 finish on double six.
2-3 - Walsh edges ahead again thanks to a superb 164 checkout.
3-3 - Kist hits double 16 at the first attempt to leave the game finely balanced.
3-4 - Kist records a second 180 but four missed darts at doubles prove costly as Walsh hits double 16.
4-4 - Walsh is off-target with a dart at tops to win the match and Kist hits the same double to set-up a deciding-leg.
4-5 - Walsh wins the match on double four but goes out of the competition on leg difference.
Mark Walsh: "It's disappointing to go out with two wins, but the game against Barney where I lost 5-0 killed me. I love this tournament and hopefully I'll do better next year, but a win like this is good for me ahead of the World Championship next month."
*Words by Lawrence Lustig/PDC