It was a day of upsets in the 2017 BDO World Trophy as reigning champion Darryl Fitton, Danny Noppert and Jamie Hughes all exited in the men’s bracket. With a major shock also coming in the women’s competition, read on to find out more.
Debutant Conan Whitehead was the man who dumped out reigning champion Fitton, 6-4 in a matter of 20 minutes. A sensational 104 checkout was among the highlights from the Gillingham-born Whitehead, and there was little Fitton could do to defend his title and halt the rampaging Barbarian.
Earlier in the day Jamie Hughes fell at the hands of Jeff Smith in a mouthwatering clash. Whilst not living up the pre-match hype, Smith produced a high standard of finishing to end Yozza’s dreams of picking up a first major championship victory.
Joining Hughes on the ride back home was highly fancied Danny Noppert after being bullied into submission by fellow countryman Willem Mandigers. The latter scored consistently throughout the match, with Noppert failing to convert various opportunities to reach the second round. Mandigers will certainly be a threat in the coming days.
In possibly the best encounter of the evening’s action, Darius Labanauskus showed his steel to the block out big Swede Dennis Nilsson. The Lithuanian produced the sensational darts in the contest but it was Nilsson who topped the scoring charts, four maximums for him. But it was the consistent finishing of Labanauskas the pulled him through into round two.
Martin Atkins was the final big name to topple, this time at the hands of Nick Kenny. The 23-year-old shot onto the scene last year and has been making a name for himself ever since. Adding scalps such as the Yorkshire captain can only increase his reputation. Any further progression would be a real building block for the Welsh youngster.
Martin Phillips joined the ranks for the second round with a resounding victory over Carl Dennell. The 57-year-old has failed to make it past the last 16 in his two decades at the helm but, with the home crowd roaring him on, it could just be the extra incentive the Welshman needs. If his clinical performance against Dennell is anything to go by, he could be a serious threat in this year’s World Trophy.
Mark McGeeney progressed to round two with a simple victory over Wouter Vaes. The Gladiator has fared well on the tour in 2017 but is yet to add a TV title. With performances like this he could be a real threat to the big names this year.
Ross Montgomery rounded off the action in the men’s draw, comfortably beating American qualifier Joe Chaney. As his name suggests, ‘The Boss’ dominated the match, totting up five 180s and hitting six perfect darts. It was a decent showing from the Chainsaw in his debut TV match, but it was the Boss who ruled the roost and squeezed through to the next round.
In the women’s section, number three seed Aileen De Graaf dispatched Lindsey Ashton 4-1 with minimum fuss, with her mother Lisa Ashton not fairing any better.
The Lancashire Rose has been on the top of her game in the past 18 months, but in the biggest shock of the day Anca Zijlstra dumped her out of the tournament in the deciding leg. Ashton 3-2 behind early on, levelling proceedings with a sumptuous 121 checkout on the bullseye. She then followed it up with a sensational 171, but Vijlstra kept things simple took her chance on double two to open up the women’s bracket.
The Golden Girl Trina Gulliver breezed through the opening stages of the competition making light work of Maria O’Brien. Could the 10-time World Champion be in line for a seventh World Trophy triumph? Home favourite Rhian Griffiths whitewashed Lorraine Winstanley with a 100 per cent checkout rate, putting the likes of De Graaf and Gulliver on alert. She will definitely be a name to watch out for in round two.
Willem Mandigers 6-4 Danny Noppert
Nick Kenny 6-4 Martin Atkins
Jeff Smith 6-2 Jamie Hughes
Darius Labanauskas 6-3 Dennis Nilsson
Conan Whitehead 6-3 Darryl Fitton
Martin Phillips 6-0 Carl Dennell
Mark McGeeney 6-2 Wouter Vaes
Ross Montgomery 6-3 Joe Chaney
Rhian Griffiths 4-0 Lorraine Winstanley
Aileen De Graaf 4-1 Lindsey Ashton
Trina Gulliver 4-1 Maria O’Brien
Anca Zijlstra 4-3 Lisa Ashton