Anderson off and running at the Palace

It was a relieved Gary Anderson who booked his spot in the 3rd Round of the World Championship.

The Team Unicorn star had to battle before overcoming Northern Ireland qualifier Kevin Burness 3-1.

“I was nervous. I always am first game. I have a lot of work to do for sure but yes, just relieved to get that one out of the way!” he said.

Burness missed two darts to go two legs clear in the opening set before Anderson took it with a 13 darter in the deciding leg. His opponent hit back to level the match despite a 130 finish on the bull from Gary in that second set.

But class told and Anderson produced a string of 180s as he won six legs on the spin to close it out on ‘tops’. He banged in seven maximums and averaged 95.

It was job done and that’s all that matters and Gary will get better, that’s for sure. He will play Jermaine Wattimena or Michael Barnard in that 3rd Round.

And there was also superb 1st Round success for Team Unicorn young guns Ted Evetts and Chris Dobey.

Evetts showed tremendous courage and skill to pull off arguably the biggest win of his young career.

He won three last leg deciders to beat Simon Stevenson 3-0 and set up a huge 2nd Round showdown with two-times World Champion Adrian Lewis.

“I loved every minute of it and made every dart count,” Evetts said. “I just can’t wait to play Adrian now. It’s been a great year winning on the Development Tour and Challenge Tour and to get a tour card and win on the Ally Pally stage is an amazing feeling.”

The 21-year-old Unicorn starlet held his nerve to pin D8 to take the opening set after Stevenson missed two darts to take it. ‘Super Ted’ then found a fantastic 180 to set up a winning dart at ‘tops’ to make it 2-0. Again his opponent had a dart for the set.

And in a dramatic 3rd set, it went the distance again. The nerve ends were jangling. Both players missed a stack of chances before Evetts sealed the deal on D2 with his 9th match dart!

And it was delight for Dobey who dropped only two legs in sweeping aside Russian Boris Koltsov.

After drawing Phil Taylor 12 months ago, Dobey knew he needed to put on a show and at one stage it looked like a whitewash as he won six straight legs to go two sets up.

Koltsov finally found some rhythm in set three to force a deciding leg but Dobey won a scrappy leg in 20 darts to set up a 2nd Round clash against Steve Beaton.

“It was important to get off to a good start. I feel like I am in decent form so there is no reason why I can’t have a really good run here,” he said.

Friday results - 1st Round:

Ted Evetts 3-0 Simon Stevenson
Chris Dobey 3-0 Boris Koltsov
Danny Noppert 3-0 Royden Lam
Michael Barnard 3-2 Jose De Sousa
Alan Tabern 3-2 Raymond Smith
Kevin Burness 3-0 Paul Nicholson

2nd Round:

Jamie Lewis 3-2 Cody Harris
Gary Anderson 3-1 Kevin Burness

Report from STUART PYKE at the Alexandra Palace