TWO-TIME World Champion Dennis Priestley swept aside Germany’s Bernd Roith in straight sets to win through to the second round of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship on Thursday night.

The veteran 60-year-old, appearing in his 21st World Championship, dropped just two legs in seeing off the German debutant to set up a tasty second round clash with Gary Anderson after Christmas.

“When I set off in 1991 I wasn’t as nervous then as I was now, 20 years on,” said Priestley. “I thought it would get easier when I got older but it hasn’t.

“I’m more unpredictable now and I could do a 100 average, but I could be well below that and I’m more inconsistent, and that leaves a doubt in my mind.

“The last time I played Gary I beat him but this is a longer format and I need to bring my A-Game onto stage.”

Priestley was joined in the second round by Andy Smith, Mark Walsh and number six seed Mervyn King, the 2009 semi-finalist who overcame Magnus Caris in straight sets.

Sweden’s Caris had hit back from 3-1 down to win his preliminary round contest against Austria’s Dietmar Burger 4-3, but won only two legs in falling to defeat against King, who averaged over 94 in an impressive start to his challenge.

Smith shared the first two sets against Australian debutant Shane Tichowitsch, but won the final six legs without reply to earn his first victory since the World Championship moved to Alexandra Palace in 2008.

“My record here is dreadful but I missed doubles in the games I lost and it was my own fault,” said Smith. “I’m so pleased to win one game here and be through to the next round because Shane was a good opponent.”

Walsh, meanwhile, was a 3-1 winner against another debutant, Taunton’s Justin Pipe – who responded to losing the first two sets with checkouts of 100 and 161 in taking the third without reply, only for the number ten seed to prevail.

The Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship will resume on Monday December 27, when the second round commences at Alexandra Palace.

Monday’s afternoon session will kick off at 1pm with Ronnie Baxter against Mark Webster – who moved from 40/1 to 16/1 with sponsors Ladbrokes.com after his impressive first round win – while Paul Nicholson faces Peter Wright and Andy Hamilton takes on Robert Thornton.

The evening session will begin when Colin Lloyd faces Mark Hylton, and Adrian Lewis and Mark Dudbridge clash before reigning champion Phil Taylor – who is 10/11 to retain his title – takes on Denmark’s Per Laursen.

Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship
First Round

Thursday December 23
Andy Smith 3-1 Shane Tichowitsch
Magnus Caris 4-3 Dietmar Burger (Preliminary Round)
Mark Walsh 3-1 Justin Pipe
Dennis Priestley 3-0 Bernd Roith
Mervyn King 3-0 Magnus Caris

Second Round Schedule of Play
Monday December 27
1pm
Ronnie Baxter v Mark Webster
Paul Nicholson v Peter Wright
Andy Hamilton v Robert Thornton
7pm
Colin Lloyd v Mark Hylton
Adrian Lewis v Mark Dudbridge
Phil Taylor v Per Laursen

Tuesday December 28
1pm
Mark Walsh v Alan Tabern
Wayne Jones v Vincent van der Voort
Terry Jenkins v Steve Brown
7pm
Wes Newton v Brendan Dolan
Simon Whitlock v Denis Ovens
James Wade v Mensur Suljovic

Wednesday December 29
1pm
Colin Osborne v Jamie Caven
Gary Anderson v Dennis Priestley
Mervyn King v Andy Smith
7pm
Raymond van Barneveld v Kevin McDine

ANDY SMITH 3-1 SHANE TICHOWITSCH
(3-0, 2-3, 3-0, 3-0)
ANDY SMITH ended his losing streak at Alexandra Palace with a 3-1 triumph over Australian debutant Shane Tichowitsch in the first round of the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

With the match finely balanced at a set apiece Smith stepped up a gear to win six legs on the spin to end the hopes of the Queenslander, who put up a spirited display on the big stage.

Smith held throw to win the opening leg of the match by hitting double top after Tichowitsch, making his televised debut, missed one dart at the same double.

The man from Studley, who has lost in the first round of this competition the last three years, then hit a 118 finish to win the second and took out double 12 at the first time of asking to establish an early lead.

Tichowitsch won his first leg of the match at the start of the second set, defying a 180 from his opponent, but wasted two opportunities to win the second, allowing Smith to level.

Both players kicked off the third leg with maximums and Tichowitsch went on to win it with a fabulous 11-darter.

The Australian missed five darts at doubles to win the set in the fourth leg, which Smith took on double four, but Tischowitsch won the set in the deciding leg when he landed double ten to level the game.

Smith made a winning start to the third set by hitting double five after Tichowitsch missed two darts to win it himself.

Tichowitsch was off-target with a dart at double 18 for a 156 checkout in the second leg and Smith hit a clinical 62 finish to double his advantage.

Smith then hit his fourth 180 of the match in the third leg and sealed the set with a 12-darter to lead for the second time in the contest.

Smith hit a 121 checkout to win the opening leg of the fourth set and then won the second, with the aid of a maximum to go one leg away from the match.

The winning line proved no problem for Smith he recorded an 81 finish to win the match and seal a place in the second round of the competition.

“My record here has been dreadful in the past and I’m so pleased to win this time around,” said Smith. “The three matches that I had lost here before had all been my fault as I missed vital doubles each time.

“Christmas will be good this year and I’m looking forward to the next round.”

MAGNUS CARIS 4-3 DIETMAR BURGER
MAGNUS CARIS sealed a first round clash against sixth seed Mervyn King after coming from 3-1 down to defeat Dietmar Burger in the preliminary round of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

Caris was made to pay for missed doubles in the early stages of the match, but he rescued the situation by winning the last three legs of the game.

Burger, who won the Eastern European Qualifier to qualify for this event, took the first leg of the match, capitalising of five missed darts at doubles from Caris.

The Swede hit back to win the second leg but more missed attempts at doubles in the third allowed Burger to lead for a second time.

The Austrian hit a clinical 64 finish to win the fourth leg before Caris hit double top to win the fifth leg and keep his hopes alive.

After 12 darts thrown in the sixth, Burger left himself on 40 to win the match, but missed four darts at doubles and allowed Caris to step in and hit double nine to force a decider.

Caris had the advantage of throw in the final leg and he made that count by getting to a finish first and he hit double ten to complete the comeback.

MARK WALSH 3-1 JUSTIN PIPE
(3-1, 3-2, 0-3, 3-1)
MARK WALSH fought hard to reach the second round of the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship with a four-set victory over Justin Pipe at Alexandra Palace.

Walsh won the first two sets of the match before Pipe showed the kind of form that saw him secure a spot in this competition by winning the third set.

But Walsh, the UK Open finalist back in 2005, put together some excellent finishing in the fourth set and will now play Alan Tabern in the last 32.

Walsh, who suffered a first round defeat at the hands of Mark Webster in last year’s event, started the match well, winning the first leg on double 18 and then breaking throw with an accurate dart at double top.

Pipe won the third leg against the darts after Walsh missed a dart at bullseye which would have given him the set.

But the tenth seed, who defeated Phil Taylor to win a Players Championship tournament in Derby last month, hit double eight at the first time of asking to wrap up the first set.

Pipe made a winning start to the second set but missed a dart for a 2-0 advantage and Walsh managed to level by hitting double top.

Walsh then broke throw to win the third leg with a 68 finish but missed three darts at double 16 in the fourth to seal the set and Pipe won it by hitting double 14.

The deciding leg proved to be a dramatic affair as both players missed chances to win it but it was Walsh who kept his nerve to hit double five to edge the set and establish command in the game.

Pipe produced some fabulous finishing in the first two legs of the third set with a two-dart 100 to win the first and a 161 checkout in the second.

Walsh failed with two chances he had to win the third leg and Pipe stepped up to hit double ten with his last dart to win the set and get back into the game.

Walsh hit his third 180 of the game in the opening leg of the fourth set and went on to hit double nine for an early lead.

The second leg should have also gone the way of Walsh, but three missed darts at doubles were to prove costly as Pipe hit double two with his last dart to level.

Pipe had a chance to win the third leg but his attempt at double eight was off-target and Walsh made him pay with a vital 115 checkout.

That put Walsh one leg away from victory and a two-dart 67 finish, completed on double top, secured victory.

DENNIS PRIESTLEY 3-0 BERND ROITH
(3-1, 3-0, 3-1)
DENNIS PRIESTLEY overcame the challenge of Bernd Roith with a comfortable 3-0 victory at the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.

Priestley was never really troubled during the contest and will now take on Scotland’s Gary Anderson for a place in the third round in an eye-catching encounter on December 29.

Roith held throw at the start of the match but missed chances for a 2-0 lead as three attempts at doubles were off-target, allowing Priestley to hit double top to level.

Priestley hit same double with his last dart to win the third leg and double top was hit in the next for the third time in the set from the Yorkshire ace as he sealed the first set in unconvincing style.

Priestley, the two-time World Champion seeded 22nd for this year’s event, stepped up a gear in the second set as won it by three legs to nil to take the winning run of legs to six.

After hitting double nine to win the first leg he produced a clinical 11-dart finish to win the second and sealed the set in the next with an 80 checkout.

Priestley hit two maximums in the course of winning the opening leg of the third set and an accurate dart at double top put the veteran one leg away from victory.

The third leg saw Priestley miss a dart at double top for the match and the German, who defeated Denis Ovens in the European Championship in July, stepped in to hit a two-dart 96 finish to keep the game alive.

That gave Roith just his second leg of the match but Priestley promptly ended proceedings in the next as he hit double top to reach the last 32 in his 21st World Championship challenge.

“When I set off in 1991 I wasn’t as nervous then as I was now, 20 years on,” said Priestley. “I thought it would get easier when I got older but it hasn’t.

“I’m more unpredictable now and I could do a 100 average, but I could be well below that and I’m more inconsistent, and that leaves a doubt in my mind.

“The last time I played Gary I beat him but this is a longer format and I need to bring my A-Game onto stage.”

MERVYN KING 3-0 MAGNUS CARIS
(3-1, 3-0, 3-1)
MERVYN KING lost just two legs as he strolled into the second round of the 2011 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship against Magnus Caris.

King, who suffered first round exits at the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix earlier this year, produced a confident display at the Alexandra Palace, and will take on Andy Smith in the second round.

King, who hit a nine-darter against Gary Anderson at this year’s UK Open, won the first leg of the match by hitting double ten after Caris missed one dart at double 16 to win it himself.

The sixth seed hit double nine to win the second leg but missed a dart at double six to win the set and Caris took the third on double 14.

The Swede, who defeated Dietmar Burger in the preliminary round, missed two darts to send the first into a deciding leg and King hit double ten with his last dart to establish an early lead.

Caris hit the first 180 of the match in the opening leg of the second set, but missed four darts at doubles to win the leg as King capitalised on double ten before hitting a 14-dart finish to win the second leg.

The third leg saw King in clinical form as he took out a 86 in two darts to seal the second set with his opponent waiting on tops.

King took the opening leg of the third set with a 13-dart finish but Caris won the next to stop the rot and win his first leg in six.

King won the third leg to go within touching distance of victory and that was completed in the next leg as he hit a fantastic 136 checkout to end the match in style.

“I’m really pleased to be through that game and into the second round,” said King. “Magnus is a quality player and he showed flashes of his best there, and although maybe the scoreline flattered me I’m happy with the win.”

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