It was an incredible first night at the World Matchplay. The tournament never fails to disappoint and Gary Anderson just about came through unscathed.

But fellow Unicorn stars James Wade and Michael Smith were sent through the Winter Gardens exit door....and No.3 seed Peter Wright just scraped through.

 It really was one of those nights!

Anderson came up against an inspired Christian Kist but eventually got through 10-7.


"I'm just relieved to be honest," he admitted. "Having been on the road for a while, it was all about getting through. But when it mattered, I found the darts!"

The Unicorn star averaged 102 and was pushed all the way by the Dutchman. Gary hit 10 x 180s in a match that featured 19 maximums. He led 4-1 and then 6-2 and looked comfortable before Kist hit back with three straight legs.

There were 11 breaks of throw in the match!

The 12th leg was crucial. Kist had the darts to level but Anderson fired in a brilliant 11 darter. That kept daylight between him and the former Lakeside champion and he won it with a superb 88 finish. 

A real test but his bid to win the Matchplay for the first time is up and running.

But for former Matchplay champion James Wade, a second straight 1st Round defeat. Wade was feeling under the weather but still came mighty close before losing to Darren Webster in a dramatic tie-break.

It all looked very comfortable when 'The Machine' led 6-2 before a stunning fight back from Webster to go ahead for the first time. Somehow Wade turned it around again and broke to lead 9-8. He threw for the match but missed three darts to win it.

Webster then returned the compliment as he blew three darts to win 11-9. It looked like we were heading for a one-leg sudden-death shoot out but Wade missed a chance to make it 12 apiece and Webster hit 'tops' to seal a famous win.

The highly fancied and in-form Michael Smith was shocked by Steve West in the first match of the tournament.

The Unicorn man led 3-1 and was 3/3 on the doubles but from nowhere, his opponent won seven straight legs and that was that.

It will be hugely disappointing for the St Helens who was in good touch and came to Blackpool with such high hopes. He got a couple of legs back but West won through.

Wright trailed the whole way against James Wilson before going ahead for the first time at 9-8 and then won it in style with a superb 147 finish. 


Michael Smith 5-10 Steve West

James Wade 11-13 Darren Webster 

Gary Anderson 10-7 Christian Kist

Peter Wright 10-8 James Wilson 


Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC