AUSTRALIAN-BASED Laurence Ryder produced a huge upset at Alexandra Palace by dumping out 17th seed Justin Pipe 3-2 with a flying finish to his first round match at the WIlliam Hill World Darts Championship, as Robert Thornton and Ronnie Baxter set up a tasty second round tie at Alexandra Palace.

British-born Ryder, who swapped Derby for Perth in Western Australia 13 years ago, came from 2-1 down thanks to a flying finish that saw him win six straight legs to stun Pipe and set up a second round encounter against Terry Jenkins or John Weber.

Pipe missed ten doubles from 11 attempts in a scrappy first set, which Ryder took without reply with a fine 101 finish on double top in the third leg.

Taunton thrower Pipe levelled the match by coming from behind to win the second set with three successive legs, landing a 177 and three doubles from six attempts as he regained his range.

Pipe moved up a gear in the third set when taking all three legs as Ryder’s level dipped, finishing 58 for the first leg, a fine 116 on double 18 for the second and a two-dart 54 on double 18 to move 2-1 up in the game.

Ryder – the 2014 DPA Australian Grand Prix champion – was unworried though, and started his magical run with tops for a break of throw at the start of the fourth set, before taking out 46 and 32 to level the match.

The fifth set went a similar way, starting with Ryder taking out 60 in two darts, then finishing off 76 after both men had hit 180s to lead 2-0. Ryder then missed tops for the match, but with Pipe unable to check out, the Perth ace hit the target at the third attempt to seal a dream win.

“I didn’t really have many nerves, I felt good and was playing well and in the last set it all kind of clicked together,” said Ryder, who was the Australian Grand Prix champion in his first full year on the DPA circuit

“I played too fast when I played in Sydney so playing Justin probably helped me to slow things down a bit. Beating a seeded player like Justin really gives you a big boost so now I really think I can go on and beat anyone.”

Ryder will now spend Christmas with family in Derby before returning for his second round game, and admitted: “It’s been a whirlwind year for me in my first year on the Australian tour. I always watched the darts over here and it’s great now to be back after moving out to Australia.

“Darts is really growing fast in Australia, it’s getting big and there are some great darts players about so I think there’ll be more players coming over in the next few years.”

Robert Thornton sent out a warning shot to the rest of the field with an impressive 3-0 victory over Andrew Gilding, losing just two legs as he set up a second round tie against Ronnie Baxter.

Former UK Open champion Thornton hit two 180s in the first set and used his last dart on all three finishes to take the lead, with Gilding pinching just the one leg in reply.

Double seven capped off another leg as Thornton took the second set’s opener, and he hit another maximum in the next as a 14-darter moved him two leg up, and though a 56 outshot kept Gilding in the set, a classy 76 on tops gave the Scot the set and put him in total control.

The third set was the most clinical of all, with Thornton hitting tops for a 13-darter, then pulling out a superb 144 outshot and wrapping up the win with a 14-darter in the next to seal a 97.6 average and a thoroughly professional performance – one of the best of the first round so far.

Baxter, meanwhile, survived a threatening challenge from qualifier Daryl Gurney to grab a 3-1 win and his first televised victory since the 2013 World Grand Prix.

Right from the start Baxter had to fight hard to see off a determined Gurney, who had played superbly to come from 3-0 down and win his preliminary match against Hong Kong’s Scott Mackenzie, who missed match darts to complete finishes of 120 and 142 before seeing the Northern Irish ace hit back with four successive legs.

The pair shared eight 180s in the game, while a 105 finish from Gurney saw him break the Baxter throw in the opening set to lead 2-1.

They traded 180s in the fourth leg as Baxter levelled with a 12-darter, before he held his nerve with a 52 finish to edge the set.

The second set was more routine, with another 180 helping Baxter into a 2-0 lead, and although Gurney pulled a leg back the Blackpool ace finished off a 106 checkout to double his lead.

Gurney kicked off the third set with a 12-darter of his own, posting a 180 and an 81 finish.

Baxter levelled and then moved ahead, only to miss the bull for the match in leg four, as Gurney squared the set and then took out a 108 finish to claim the set.

A two-dart kill of 97 put Gurney ahead in set four, but Baxter then took over, levelling on double five and then going ahead with a 54 finish for a 2-1 lead before and sealing the match with a superb 12-darter including a 180 and a 104 finish.

“Daryl played really well so it was all on me to play well, so I was happy to get through,” said Baxter. “I feel great, you just take each game as it comes but Robert will be a tough one in the next round.

“I managed to lose my darts this week. I was in a taxi on Thursday and they must have slipped out of my pocket, but luckily I’ve got a spare set and used them. I’ve used my usual ones the last two years and gone out in the first round!”

Ronny Huybrechts booked a second round tie against Peter Wright with a comfortable 3-0 win over Andy Smith.

The Belgian star won all but two legs as missed doubles cost Smith dear, while he was also stung by a wasp in the final set in what was a game to forget at Alexandra Palace.

Smith missed four darts at doubles in the opening set, and two more at the start of the second as Huybrechts won the first six legs on the spin to take charge of the match.

A 15-darter to break in the first set did the damage, while a 17-darter and 48 checkout set Huybrechts up in the second, despite missing eight shots at doubles himself.

Smith almost found a way back as he left himself on tops in the sixth leg of the match, but Huybrechts produced a dagger to the heart with a 101 finish to move two sets up.

Smith finally got on the board by winning the seventh leg with a 75 outshot on tops, and he followed up with four straight scores of 100 and a 41 checkout, but then missed two set darts as Huybrechts hit back.

Smith missed three more set darts in the next leg, which Huybrechts won with a 44 finish, before he was able to see off 87 in six darts to finish the job and set-up a showdown with fifth seed Wright.

“I’m not really happy with my level of play but I’m in the next round so I’m happy,” said Huybrechts. “Andy missed a few doubles out there and didn’t play at his best so I feel sorry for him a bit.

“I hope I play a little bit better in the next round than in this game – I’ll need to against Peter but I’m looking forward to playing him. I’ll go back now and practice, maybe a bit with Kim, but we’ll see. It’ll be busy at home for Christmas, I’ve got a lot of people to feed so it’s always busy when I’m doing the dinner for Christmas!”

2010 finalist Simon Whitlock faces Darren Webster in the evening session, while Steve Beaton meets another Australian, Kyle Anderson – who hit a nine-darter in last year’s event.

The other player to achieve a perfect leg 12 months ago, Terry Jenkins, plays Oceanic Masters champion John Weber, before number four seed Gary Anderson – the 2011 finalist – plays either McGrath or America’s Scott Kirchner.

WILLIAM HILL WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

Preliminary & First Rounds
Saturday December 20
Afternoon Session
Andy Smith (28) 0-3 Ronny Huybrechts
Scott Mackenzie 3-4 Daryl Gurney (P)
Justin Pipe (17) 2-3 Laurence Ryder
Robert Thornton (9) 3-0 Andrew Gilding
Ronnie Baxter (24) 3-1 Daryl Gurney

Evening Session (7pm)
Steve Beaton (21) v Kyle Anderson
Mark McGrath v Scott Kirchner (P)
Terry Jenkins (16) v John Weber
Simon Whitlock (7) v Darren Webster
Gary Anderson (4) v Mark McGrath/Scott Kirchner

MATCH INFORMATON
ANDY SMITH 0-3 RONNY HUYBRECHTS
(0-3, 0-3, 2-3)

RONNY HUYBRECHTS booked a second round tie against Peter Wright with a comfortable 3-0 win over Andy Smith at the William Hill World Darts Championship.

The Belgian star won all but two legs as missed doubles cost Smith dear, while he was also stung by a wasp in the final set in what was a game to forget at Alexandra Palace.

Smith missed four darts at doubles in the opening set, and two more at the start of the second as Huybrechts won the first six legs on the spin to take charge of the match.

A 15-darter to break in the first set did the damage, while a 17-darter and 48 checkout set Huybrechts up in the second, despite missing eight shots at doubles himself.

Smith almost found a way back as he left himself on tops in the sixth leg of the match, but Huybrechts produced a dagger to the heart with a 101 finish to move two sets up.

Smith finally got on the board by winning the seventh leg with a 75 outshot on tops, and he followed up with four straight scores of 100 and a 41 checkout, but then missed two set darts as Huybrechts hit back.

Smith missed three more set darts in the next leg, which Huybrechts won with a 44 finish, before he was able to see off 87 in six darts to finish the job and set-up a showdown with fifth seed Wright.

“I’m not really happy with my level of play but I’m in the next round so I’m happy,” said Huybrechts. “Andy missed a few doubles out there and didn’t play at his best so I feel sorry for him a bit.

“I hope I play a little bit better in the next round than in this game, I’ll need to against Peter but I’m looking forward to playing him.

“I’ll go back now and practice, maybe a bit with Kim, but we’ll see. It’ll be busy at home for Christmas, I’ve got a lot of people to feed so it’s always busy when I’m doing the dinner for Christmas!”

Match Information
First Set 0-3 – Not the best start from Smith, who allows Huybrechts to take the first leg in 19 darts. Both men hit 140s in the second leg but after a missed double by Smith Huybrechts breaks in 15 darts. Smith then misses three more shots at double in the third leg and Huybrechts takes advantage.
Second Set 0-3 – More misery for Smith at the start of the leg as he misses two more doubles and Huybrechts swoops in with a 48 checkout to go ahead. Huybrechts doubles up in the next with Smith well back, and even when Smith leaves himself on tops, Huybrechts checks out 101 to take the set.
Third Set 2-3 – Smith finally gets a leg on the board when he takes out 75 on tops, and he instantly gets a second with four straight tons followed by a 42 finish. After two missed darts for the set, Huybrechts gets one back, and Smith misses three more in the next as Huybrechts makes it 2-2. After just missing the Bull for the match, Huybrechts takes out double 8 at the second attempt to go through.

SCOTT MACKENZIE 3-4 DARYL GURNEY (P)

DARYL GURNEY produced the highest average in a preliminary round match at the William Hill World Darts Championship, and also one of the best comebacks, as he came from 3-0 down to defeat Scott Mackenzie 4-3.

Gurney hit a three-dart average of 96.11 and three 180s to stun Mackenzie, who himself averaged 93.76 as the pair played out a an entertaining battle to face Ronnie Baxter later on Satirday afternoon.

Mackenzie managed to power into a three-leg lead as Gurney missed a host of doubles early on, although the Hong Kong ace took out finishes of 14 and 12 darts during the run.

Mackenzie, though, missed tops for a 120 finish to take victory before Gurney came roaring back and levelled matters with legs of 15, 15 and 13 darts to setting up a thrilling final leg.

Mackenzie came agonisingly close to taking out a whopping 142 on double 11, leaving Gurney to mop up 45 and celebrate his progression to a tie against Baxter.

JUSTIN PIPE 2-3 LAURENCE RYDER
(1-3, 3-1, 3-0, 0-3, 0-3)

AUSTRALIAN-BASED Laurence Ryder produced a huge upset at Alexandra Palace by dumping out 17th seed Justin Pipe 3-2 with a flying finish to his first round match at the WIlliam Hill World Darts Championship.

British-born Ryder, who swapped Derby for Perth in Western Australia 13 years ago, came from 2-1 down thanks to a flying finish that saw him win six straight legs to stun Pipe and set up a second round encounter against Terry Jenkins or John Weber.

Pipe missed ten doubles from 11 attempts in a scrappy first set, which Ryder took without reply with a fine 101 finish on double top in the third leg.

Taunton thrower Pipe levelled the match by coming from behind to win the second set with three successive legs, landing a 177 and three doubles from six attempts as he regained his range.

Pipe moved up a gear in the third set when taking all three legs as Ryder’s level dipped, finishing 58 for the first leg, a fine 116 on double 18 for the second and a two-dart 54 on double 18 to move 2-1 up in the game.

Ryder – the 2014 DPA Australian Grand Prix champion – was unworried though, and started his magical run with tops for a break of throw at the start of the fourth set, before taking out 46 and 32 to level the match.

The fifth set went a similar way, starting with Ryder taking out 60 in two darts, then finishing off 76 after both men had hit 180s to lead 2-0. Ryder then missed tops for the match, but with Pipe unable to check out, the Perth ace hit the target at the third attempt to seal a dream win.

“I didn’t really have many nerves, I felt good and was playing well and in the last set it all kind of clicked together,” said Ryder, who was the Australian Grand Prix No 1 in his first year on the tour.

“I played too fast when I played in Sydney so playing Justin probably helped me to slow things down a bit.

“It’s been a whirlwind year for me in my first year on the Australian Tour as I managed to finish top of the Tour over there. I always watched the darts over here and it’s great now to be back over here playing after moving out to Australia.

“Darts is really growing fast in Australia, it’s getting big and there are some great darts players about so I think there’ll be more players coming over in the next few years.

“Beating a seeded player like Justin really gives you a big boost so now I really think I can go on and beat anyone.”

Match Information
First Set 1-3 – The two swap the opening two legs, but Ryder takes the lead with a brilliant 101 outshot finishing on tops. Pipe misses more doubles in the next, taking his tally to ten missed doubles in the set, as Ryder hits D10 to take it.
Second Set 3-1 – Pipe hits a 177 in a 16-darter which is good enough to put him 2-1 in the lead, and after Ryder fluffs his lines Pipe takes out 25 in the fourth to take the set and level the match.
Third Set 3-0 – Much better from Pipe, who wins every leg thanks to some vastly improved finishing, certainly better than we’ve seen from him so far. He takes out 58 to start, followed by a 116, his highest of the match, and closing with single 18 and double 18 for a 54 checkout.
Fourth Set 0-3 – Ryder hits back in kind with three straight legs, starting off with a break of throw to start the set. Taking out 46 doubles his lead and a double 16 clinches the set to send us the full distance.
Fifth Set 0-3 – Brilliant from Ryder as he makes it six legs on the spin to secure the shock win. A 60 outshot in the first puts him ahead, and 76 wins the second leg after both men started with 180s. Ryder missed three darts at double top for the match before hitting with his fourth.

ROBERT THORNTON 3-0 ANDREW GILDING
(3-1, 3-1, 3-0)

ROBERT THORNTON sent out a warning shot to the rest of the field with an impressive 3-0 victory over Andrew Gilding in the first round of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

The Scottish ace wasted little time in disposing what looked like a dangerous opponent in Gilding, losing just two legs as he set up a second round tie against Ronnie Baxter.Former UK Open champion Thornton hit two 180s in the first set and used his last dart on all three finishes to take the lead, with Gilding pinching just the one leg in reply.

Double seven capped off another leg as Thornton took the second set’s opener, and he hit another maximum in the next as a 14-darter moved him two leg up, and though a 56 outshot kept Gilding in the set, a classy 76 on tops gave the Scot the set and put him in total control.

The third set was the most clinical of all, with Thornton hitting tops for a 13-darter, then pulling out a superb 144 outshot and wrapping up the win with a 14-darter in the next to seal a 97.6 average and a thoroughly professional performance – one of the best of the first round so far.

Match Information
First Set 3-1 – Solid start from Thornton who opens up with double 16 to take the first leg. Gilding levels but then Thornton takes the next two with his last dart each time, keeping his nerve under pressure. Both men hit 180s in the third leg.
Second Set 3-1 – More classy darts from Thornton who hits two more 180s to take his tally to four in the match so far. He hits tops twice, the second time for 76 and the leg, after Gilding had picked off 56 on tops to stay in the set.
Third Set 3-0 – Routine and ruthless performance from Thornton who finishes with a 97.6 average as he takes the final three legs, including a brilliant 144 finish in the second.

RONNIE BAXTER 3-1 DARYL GURNEY
(3-2, 3-1, 2-3, 3-1)

RONNIE BAXTER survived a threatening challenge from qualifier Daryl Gurney to grab a 3-1 win and his first televised victory since the 2013 World Grand Prix.

Right from the start Baxter had to fight hard to see off a determined Gurney, who had played superbly to come from 3-0 down and win his preliminary match against Hong Kong’s Scott Mackenzie, who missed match darts to complete finishes of 120 and 142 before seeing the Northern Irish ace hit back with four successive legs.

The pair shared eight 180s in the game, while a 105 finish from Gurney saw him break the Baxter throw in the opening set to lead 2-1.

They traded 180s in the fourth leg as Baxter levelled with a 12-darter, before he held his nerve with a 52 finish to edge the set.

The second set was more routine, with another 180 helping Baxter into a 2-0 lead, and although Gurney pulled a leg back back the Blackpool ace finished off a 106 checkout to double his lead.

Gurney kicked off the third set with a 12-darter of his own, posting a 180 and an 81 finish.

Baxter levelled and then moved ahead, only to miss the bull for the match in leg four, as Gurney squared the set and then took out a 108 finish to claim the set.

A two-dart kill of 97 put Gurney ahead in set four, but Baxter then took over, levelling on double five and then going ahead with a 54 finish for a 2-1 lead before and sealing the match with a superb 12-darter including a 180 and a 104 finish.

“Daryl played really well so it was all on me to play well, so I was happy to get through,” said Baxter. “I feel great, you just take each game as it comes but Robert will be a tough one in the next round.

“I managed to lose my darts this week. I was in a taxi on Thursday and they must have slipped out of my pocket, but luckily I’ve got a spare set and used them. I’ve used my usual ones the last two years and gone out in the first round!”

Match Information
First Set 3-2 – Tough first set and Gurney still looking confident after his earlier win, as he shows with a 105 outshot to go 2-1 up with a break of throw. Baxter responds though with two legs to take the set.
Second Set 3-1 – More comfortable for Baxter after taking the opening two legs of the set. Gurney hits back but a 106 finish gives Baxter the second set.
Third Set 2-3 – Gurney hits back after starting with a 180and 81 finish in the first leg. Baxter won the next two but missed the Bull for the match, allowing Gurney to swoop in and level.
Fourth Set 3-1 – Gurney takes out 97 in two darts to kick things off, but Baxter levels and then takes out 54 for a break in the next. Baxter then pulled out a 12-darter just at the right time with a 180 and 104 finish.