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Brilliant Anderson on the march in Wolverhampton

Thursday, 15 November 2018 23:37:43 Europe/London

It was a sprint for Gary Anderson as he reached the Grand Slam quarter-finals.

But Unicorn teammates Michael Smith and James Wade were beaten on Thursday. Smith lost a Grand Slam Classic to Michael van Gerwen, while Wade suffered a shock defeat at the hands of young German Michael Unterbuchner.

Anderson was irresistible in despatching Wesley Harms 10-2 and will play surprise package Unterbuchner.

A near 102 average, six 180s, some brilliant finishing with 63% on the doubles. In the second session of the match the Unicorn star won five straight legs without missing a double as he went from 3-2 to 8-2 in a matter of minutes.

“I got going once I got my pace going. There was some good stuff in there, but I will have to improve if I want to challenge for this title,” he said.

Gary raced into a 3-0 lead and was clinical, summed up by a 90 finish on the bull. Harms got two legs back, but only after Anderson had missed darts to win both of them. That is as close as the Dutchman got.

Finishes of 84 then 136 and eventually a two dart 77 check-out to move through to that quarter-final clash on Saturday. Is this finally his year to win that Grand Slam crown?

Smith can be proud of his performance. He pushed Van Gerwen all the way before the defending champion won 10-8.

He started superbly, breaking Van Gerwen in the opening leg and then firing back-to-back 180s and an 11 darter to double his lead. A 121 finish took him 3-1 in front. It was always going to be close but the 8th leg proved to be crucial. The Unicorn man missed two darts at D8 for a 5-3 lead, allowing Van Gerwen to level at four apiece.

The World No.1 then hit seven perfect darts to move ahead for the first time at 5-4 after winning a third straight leg.

Under pressure, Smith kept his cool as every time Van Gerwen edged ahead, he kept levelling the match....112 and 80 check outs were vital. In the end two missed darts in the 16the leg were difference and although the St Helens star broke back, Van Gerwen closed the match out after hitting an 11th 180.

He averaged 108 to Smith’s 101 but the Unicorn man is getting better and better. He came mighty close and his big TV title awaits for sure..

Wade though, will wonder how this one got away. After his brilliant victories at the European Championship and World Series Finals, he was a big odds-on favourite to go through to the last eight.

Unfortunately it just wasn’t his night as he squandered countless chances and was playing catch up against the young German.

After winning the opening leg, Wade failed to take his opportunities and he was punished by Unterbuchner who won four on the spin to take control. The Unicorn man never recovered from the poor start.

He could have lost 10-4 but Unterbuchner missed a match dart. Wade pulled a couple of legs back but there was no miracle this time as the BDO man completed his big upset.

Thursday 2nd Round results:

Jonny Clayton 10-3 Krzysztof Ratajski

Michael Unterbuchner 10-6 James Wade

Gary Anderson 10-2 Wesley Harms

Michael van Gerwen 10-8 Michael Smith

Friday Q/Finals:

Gerwyn Price v Simon Whitlock

Mensur Suljovic v Dimitri van den Bergh

By STUART PYKE

Image courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Nine Dart Dimitri dazzles at the Grand Slam

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 23:50:12 Europe/London

What an incredible night for Team Unicorn ace Dimitri van den Bergh!

Through to the Grand Slam quarter-finals for the first time after hitting an incredible 9 dart leg in his 10-6 victory over Stephen Bunting.

A history making night for the young Belgian. Only the fourth 9 darter in Grand Slam history and a £25,000 bonus to go with it!

“I just can’t believe that happened!” he said. “It is amazing. My first ever 9-darter. I was shaking and it is difficult to take it all in.”

“But also to get through to the Grand Slam quarter-finals is a great achievement and I know that I am capable of being here at the weekend and challenging for the title.”

After the first eight legs were all won on throw, the Unicorn star struck first to break Bunting and then he opened up a two-leg advantage. It could have been better but for two missed darts at D18 for 7-4, but Van den Bergh showed a lot of composure.

His throw wasn’t broken by Bunting throughout the entire match. Dimitri ‘s moment of magic came in the 15th leg....180, 180 and 141 on D12. A moment to savour and a night that he will never forget.

He wrapped up the match in the next leg on D16 after Bunting had missed a stack of darts to keep the game alive.

Dimitri will now face Mensur Suljovic in the quarter-finals on Friday night, but what a wonderful achievement for a young man who is clearly destined for great things in the world of darts over the coming years.

The Team Unicorn trio of Gary Anderson, James Wade and Michael Smith all bid for quarter-final spots on Thursday night.

Smith takes on Michael Van Gerwen, Anderson plays Wesley Harms and Wade faces German Michael Unterbuchner.

Wednesday 2nd Round results:

Dimitri van den Bergh 10-6 Stephen Bunting

Gerwyn Price 10-5 Josh Payne

Mensur Suljovic 10-7 Rob Cross

Simon Whitlock 10-6 Peter Wright

By STUART PYKE

Image courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Smith through at Grand Slam but agony for Brown and White

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 00:15:25 Europe/London

Michael Smith made it three wins out of three to top his group at the Grand Slam.

But his reward is a last 16 showdown against World No.1 Michael van Gerwen!

The Team Unicorn star demolished Raymond van Barneveld 5-0 on Tuesday night with a 99 average, but because Van Gerwen only finished runner-up in Group A, the pair will go toe-to-toe on Thursday.

“I played well and Van Gerwen will bring the best out of me. I have the game to beat him, so let him worry about me. That never entered my mind against Barney. It was all about winning and what will be, will be,” Smith said.

But there was bitter disappointment for Keegan Brown and Ian White who both blew great opportunities to reach the knock-out stages in Wolverhampton.

It was a simple equation for the Unicorn duo - win and stay in, lose and go home.

Brown lost a thriller to Wesley Harms who will now face Gary Anderson in the last 16. Anderson made it three straight wins with a convincing 5-1 win over Steve Hine with a 100 average.

White missed 16 darts at doubles as he fell to a shock defeat to German Michael Unterbuchner.

Brown actually recorded his highest ever average on TV (103.66) as did Harms (103.98) and they both hit five 180s but it was the Unicorn man who just came up short.

He led 3-1 and looked in control. In the 6th leg Brown hit six perfect darts but lost it! But a 71 finish on the bull then put him one away from qualification. However Harms took out 96 to force a deciding leg.

Brown had the darts. He left himself 138. He hit two T19s. But he wired D12 to win the match and then saw Harms hit D8 with the last dart in hand to take it.

White will be fuming. He missed chance after chance and paid the price as he went down 5-3 to Michael Unterbuchner.

He started well enough with a 104 finish but it went downhill after that. He missed six darts for a 2-1 lead and the German took out 94.

In all 16 missed doubles for White and his opponent kept punishing him. It will go down as a huge missed opportunity.

So it’s Unterbuchner who goes through to play JamesWade in the last 16. Wade made it look very easy as he made it 3/3 to top his group beating Mark Webster 5-1.

By STUART PYKE

Image courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Dimitri dances into the last 16

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 11:29:51 Europe/London

It came to down to one match….one all-Unicorn clash to decide who went through to the knock out stages at the Grand Slam.

And it was PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh who won the day as he beat BDO star Mark McGeeney 5-1 to reach the last 16, where he will face a clash with Stephen Bunting on Wednesday night.

Dimitri was too good and drew on the pain of losing a 9-dart shoot-out at the Grand Slam two years ago as motivation on Monday night.

“It was a painful experience and I didn’t want to go through all that again - winning two group games and not qualifying,” he said.

“I am finding my form again at just the right time. I want to be here at the weekend and then it is the Players Championship, the chance to defend my World Youth title and the big one at the Ally Pally. I feel like I am ready!”

Van den Bergh averaged 99 to McGeeney’s 96, both hit two 180s but after the early exchanges the Belgian raced away with it as he won four straight legs to finish runner-up in the group.

It was still a great experience for McGeeney as he prepares for his tilt at the Lakeside Championship,

Elsewhere on Monday night, Simon Whitlock came from behind and hit two 170 finishes as he beat Gerwyn Price 5-4 to go through at the expense of BDO World Champion Glen Durrant who suffered a shock defeat against Andrew Gilding.

Whitlock will play Peter Wright in the last 16, Price takes on Josh Payne and Rob Cross will play Mensur Suljovic.

Report from STUART PYKE

Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Sensational Anderson lights up the Grand Slam!

Sunday, 11 November 2018 23:29:44 Europe/London

It was an amazing Gary Anderson who took centre stage in Wolverhampton on Sunday night.

Gary booked his place in the knock-out stages of the Grand Slam with a breath-taking display to win the all Unicorn affair 5-1 against Ian White.

Elsewhere on a dramatic second day, James Wade is also through to the last 16, Michael Smith is close to qualifying, while White, Keegan Brown, Mark McGeeney and Dimitri van den Bergh all face straight shoot-outs in their last group matches.....win and qualify, lose and go home!

But Anderson was the undoubted star of the show on Sunday.

His incredible average of 112.54 was the fourth highest in the history of the Grand Slam.

Gary smashed in SEVEN 180s in just six legs and hit 71% on the doubles to go through with a match to spare. That is against Steve Hine.....White faces a straight knock out situation with German Michael Unterbuchner in his last group game. But it was a dazzling destruction from ‘The Flying Scotsman’.

Wade made it two wins out of two and was again in superb form as he won his all Unicorn clash against Keegan Brown 5-3.

He hit finishes of 121, 105 and 101 and averaged an impressive 104.71

Brown though is still in the mix to join Wade in the last 16. If he beats Dutchman Wesley Harms on Tuesday night, he is through.

Smith withstood a barrage of power scoring from Krzysztof Ratajski to win 5-4 and top his group after back-to-back victories. His last match is against Raymond van Barneveld who must win to qualify, but barring a mathematical improbability Smith will reach round two whatever happens.

And it will be Dimitri van den Bergh against Mark McGeeney in a huge all Unicorn clash for a place in the last 16 on Monday night.

McGeeney kept his hopes alive with a battling display to beat Ryan Searle 5-3.

Van den Bergh will be kicking himself. He blew a great opportunity to beat Rob Cross and was edged out in a last leg decider.

McGeeney, who endured that nightmare on the doubles against Rob Cross, kept his composure. He was 1-3 down against Searle but reeled off four straight legs to keep his hopes alive.

Van den Bergh took out a superb 106 to lead 3-2 but crucially then missed four darts to go 4-2 up. It was a big moment as Cross fought back. In a dramatic deciding leg, the Belgian missed the bull for a 122 finish to win it only for the World Champion to nail D8 last dart in hand to secure his spot in the knock-out stages.

Sunday Grand Slam results:

Group A:

Michael van Gerwen 4-5 Jonny Clayton

Jo Murnan 4-5 Gary Robson

Group B:

Michael Smith 5-4 Krzysztof Ratajski

Raymond van Barneveld 5-4 Adam Smith-Neale

Group C:

James Wade 5-3 Keegan Brown

Mark Webster 3-5 Wesley Harms

Group D:

Gary Anderson 5-1 Ian White

Steve Hine 2-5 Michael Unterbuchner

Group E:

Peter Wright 5-2 Max Hopp

Josh Payne 5-2 Jim Williams

Group F:

Gerwyn Price 5-4 Glen Durrant

Simon Whitlock 5-2 Andrew Gilding

Group G:

Mensur Suljovic 3-5 Stephen Bunting

Martin Schindler 1-5 Scott Mitchell

Group H:

Rob Cross 5-4 Dimitri van den Bergh

Ryan Searle 3-5 Mark McGeeney

By STUART PYKE at the Grand Slam

Photo courtesy PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Evetts in winner’s circle again!

Sunday, 11 November 2018 22:38:36 Europe/London

What a few weeks it’s been for Team Unicorn youngster Ted Evetts.

He has won the PDC Challenge Tour 20 event in Peterborough on Sunday, coming hot on the heels of victory on the Development Tour and qualification for the World Championship.

Evetts has a bright future for sure! He was a 5-4 winner over David Evans to take the title on the last Challenge Tour weekend of the year.

The win means that the Unicorn man finishes second on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit for 2018. Michael Barnard finished top of the pile but because both he and Evetts have both already qualified for the World Championship through the Pro Tour, the man who finishes third in the Challenge Tour table gets a spot at the Ally Pally.

And that man is New Zealander Cody Harris. He pipped Unicorn new boy Cameron Menzies at the post. Menzies finished fourth on that Challenge Tour Order of Merit. He was just £350 behind Harris. The Scot still has one more chance to earn a World Championship spot through to PDPA qualifiers at the end of the month .

Challenge Tour 19 on Sunday was won by Michael Rasztovits who beat Andy Boulting 5-3.

Story from STUART PYKE

Photo courtesy PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Wade stars again at the Grand Slam

Saturday, 10 November 2018 23:25:03 Europe/London

James Wade made it 11 consecutive TV wins as he started his bid for Grand Slam glory in some style.

On the opening day in Wolverhampton, there were also wins for fellow Unicorn stars Gary Anderson, Michael Smith, Keegan Brown, Ian White and Dimitri van den Bergh.

But Wade was supreme again....full of confidence and belief after those back-to-back triumphs at the European Champion and World Series Finals.

He brushed aside Dutchman Wesley Harms 5-0 with a 99 average. Wade hit four 180s in the opening three legs as he took control and never looked back. He is clearly in the mood for another big TV title.

Gary Anderson got off to a winning start despite being far from his best. He struggled early on against German Michael Unterbuchner after seeing several darts hit the floor. But the Scot found his range and from 1-2 down, he reeled off four straight legs including an 11 darter.

In the same Group D we saw a stand out performance from Ian White. A superb 104.64 average as he completed a 5-1 victory over Steve Hine.

Anderson and White will clash in a huge match on Sunday.

Michael Smith got a case of the jitters. With those missed match darts to win the World Series Finals in Vienna still fresh in the memory, he made hard work of beating World Masters winner Adam Smith-Neale.

Smith, who of course has just agreed a new contract with Unicorn, was coasting as he hit four 180s to open up a 4-0 lead. But then his troubles started as he missed an incredible 10 match darts to win 5-0. His opponent hit back and then after Smith had missed five more match darts, Smith-Neale nailed 124 on the bull to make it 4-3.

But the Unicorn man then hit a 6th maximum and finally hit ‘tops’ to claim the win.

Dimitri van den Bergh clinched a crucial 5-3 victory over Grand Slam qualifier Ryan Searle. He hit two 180s, two 82 finishes, a vital 120 check-out to break throw and claim a big win.

Keegan Brown came from behind to beat Mark Webster in a deciding leg. The Welshman led 3-1 but the Unicorn man stormed back. A magnificent 153 finish was a game changer and he will be eyeing another good Grand Slam run.

But Mark McGeeney’s televised debut in Unicorn colours ended in disappointment on the opening day. And he will rue missed chances....20 of them in all.

The BDO No.2 started the match with a 177 and a 180 in the opening leg against Rob Cross but then missed NINE darts to win it and that set the tone. In fact, he had darts at a double in six of the seven legs but could only convert two.

Grand Slam Day 1 results:

Group A:

Michael van Gerwen 5-1 Gary Robson

Jonny Clayton 5-2 Joe Murnan

Group B:

Michael Smith 5-3 Adam Smith-Neale

Raymond van Barneveld 3-5 Krzysztof Ratajski

Group C:

James Wade 5-0 Wesley Harms

Keegan Brown 5-4 Mark Webster

Group D:

Gary Anderson 5-2 Michael Unterbuchner

Ian White 5-1 Steve Hine

Group E:

Peter Wright 5-4 Jim Williams

Max Hopp 5-3 Josh Payne

Group F:

Simon Whitlock 1-5 Glen Durrant

Gerwyn Price 5-2 Andrew Gilding

Group G:

Mensur Suljovic 5-2 Scott Mitchell

Stephen Bunting 5-3 Martin Schindler

Group H:

Rob Cross 5-2 Mark McGeeney

Dimitri van den Bergh 5-3 Ryan Searle

Story from STUART PYKE at the Grand Slam

Photo courtesy Chris Dean / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

New deal for Smith!

Friday, 9 November 2018 12:29:44 Europe/London

Team Unicorn star Michael Smith has signed a new contract with Unicorn Darts.

World no.9 'Bullyboy' has tied up his long-term future with the world's leading darts manufacturer after being crowned Premier League runner-up earlier this year.

Have a listen to Michael's thoughts on the new contract and his future goals in this Exclusive interview with Stuart Pyke.

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Anderson targets Grand Slam

Wednesday, 7 November 2018 00:15:27 Europe/London

 It is one of his favourite weeks of the darting calendar, but the title is still missing from his CV.

Team Unicorn star Gary Anderson is a huge fan of the Grand Slam of Darts and despite winning the World Championship, World Matchplay, UK Open, Players Championship, the Premier League and the Champions League, the GSOD has eluded him.

“I love the Grand Slam having played in the tournament from the start, so it is frustrating for me that I haven’t been able to win one! It will be very different not being at the Wolverhampton Civic, but I will be ready,” he said.

The Wolves Civic is being renovated, so the tournament will be staged at Aldersley Leisure Centre.

Anderson, who has lost in a Grand Slam Final, is the top seed in Group D alongside fellow Unicorn ace and good friend Ian White, qualifier Steve Hine and BDO German debutant Michael Unterbuchner.

In all seven Unicorn players will head to Wolverhampton this weekend.

Newly crowned European and World Series Champion James Wade is in Group C with fellow Unicorn man Keegan Brown, who came through Monday night’s qualifiers. Brown enjoyed his best ever run in a TV ‘Major’ when he reached the Grand Slam quarter-finals in 2014.

They’re joined in the group by Mark Webster and Dutchman Wesley Harms.

Michael Smith will bid to put his World Series heartbreak behind him. In Group B he will face Raymond van Barneveld, Krzysztof Ratajski and Adam Smith-Neale.

Group H features two Unicorn players.....World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh and BDO No.2 Mark McGeeney. They take on Rob Cross and qualifier Ryan Searle.

By the way, in the qualifiers there was huge disappointment for Team Unicorn Aussie Kyle Anderson who missed five match darts to beat Searle in the final game to win through to Wolverhampton.

Group A

Michael van Gerwen (1)

Jonny Clayton

Joe Murnan

Gary Robson

Group B

Michael Smith (8)

Raymond van Barneveld

Krzysztof Ratajski

Adam Smith-Neale

Group C

James Wade (5)

Keegan Brown

Mark Webster

Wesley Harms

Group D

Gary Anderson (4)

Ian White

Steve Hine

Michael Unterbuchner

Group E

Peter Wright (2)

Max Hopp

Josh Payne

Jim Williams

Group F

Simon Whitlock (7)

Gerwyn Price

Andrew Gilding

Glen Durrant

Group G

Mensur Suljovic (6)

Stephen Bunting

Martin Schindler

Scott Mitchell

Group H

Rob Cross (3)

Dimitri van den Bergh

Ryan Searle

Mark McGeeney

By STUART PYKE

Photo courtesy PDC

0 Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Dazzling Dimitri reaches World Youth Final

Monday, 5 November 2018 19:33:02 Europe/London

Dimitri van den Bergh is on course to defend his PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship Crown.

On Monday, the Team Unicorn star and defending champion, pictured here with his 2018 trophy, won through to the 2019 final in spectacular fashion.

He will face German ace Martin Schindler for the title at Minehead at the end of the month. The clash will be played on the big stage just before the Players Championship Final and will be screened ‘live’ on ITV4 on Sunday November 25.

Dimitri is looking to make history by winning back-to-back World Youth crowns and he was in imperious form all day.

The new system saw the players split into 32 groups. Van den Bergh won his with victories over Patrik Kovacs and Keelan Kay. In the last 32, he beat Melvin de Fijter 6-3 and followed that with wins over Thomas Lovely and Christian Bunse to reach the semi-finals.

It came down to an all Unicorn clash for a place in the final. The in-form Ted Evetts against Van den Bergh. But Dimitri wasn’t to be denied and stormed to a 6-1 triumph to set up the showdown with Schindler. The German beat Callan Rydz 6-3 to qualify.

Rydz edged out Unicorn youngster Harry Ward in the quarter-Finals. Ward put up a tremendous display and was beaten 6-5. He left 48 after nine darts in the deciding leg but didn’t get a shot at a double.

Evetts has enjoyed an amazing weekend but just fell at the final hurdle.

Youngster Adam Paxton also did himself and Unicorn proud by reaching the last 32 where he lost 6-2 to Ryan Meikle.

Dimitri is determined to hold onto to his title: “It was a very special moment for me last year and it feels great to be able to have the chance to defend my title. I will be ready to still be called PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion.”

Last year Van den Bergh beat Josh Payne to claim the prized title. Later this month it is German Martin Schindler who stands in his way.

Story from STUART PYKE

Image courtesy PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson
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