COLIN LLOYD avoided a huge upset in the World Darts Championship on Friday night as he battled to a 3-2 win over Germany’s Andree Welge, as Adrian Lewis, Ronnie Baxter and Peter Wright won through to the second round at Alexandra Palace.

Lloyd, the former World Matchplay and World Grand Prix champion, looked on course to coast into the second round when he took a 2-0 lead in his clash with Welge.

However, the German won eight successive legs to level the game and lead 2-0 in the deciding set, only to miss three match darts as Lloyd regained his composure after a show of frustration to reel off four successive legs and take a tie-break victory.

“It’s a massive relief to get through but I was 2-0 up and Andree threw some great darts to get back into the match,” said Lloyd.

“I keep letting players back in and I have to sharpen up, but it also showed how important this tournament is. It means a massive amount to me and I want to be the World Champion in January.”

Number five seed Adrian Lewis began his bid for a first World Championship with a straight sets victory over Tony Eccles, who hit eight 180s and a 170 finish in vain.

Lewis included finishes of 156, 124 and 101 in sweeping to the win, defying a bout of ‘flu to set up a second round date with Mark Dudbridge or Alex Roy.

Ronnie Baxter created a mouth-watering second round clash with in-form Mark Webster with a straight sets win over Dutchman Roland Scholten, who came from two legs down to win his preliminary round contest with Finland’s Veijo Viinikka earlier in the night.

The shock of the night, though, came from Lowestoft’s Peter Wright as he brought World Cup of Darts winner Co Stompe crashing back to earth with a 3-1 victory.

Colourful Wright took the first two sets before holding off Stompe’s fightback to book a second round clash with Paul Nicholson after Christmas.

The first round continues on Saturday, with last year’s runner-up Simon Whitlock in action against Steve Evans in one of four matches.

Scottish ace Gary Anderson will take on Matt Padgett or Japan’s Morihiro Hashimoto, who meet in in the preliminary round, while Mark Dudbridge faces Alex Roy and Andy Hamilton comes up against Dennis Smith. World Darts Championship
First Round

Friday December 17
Co Stompe 1-3 Peter Wright
Roland Scholten 4-2 Veijo Viinikka (Preliminary Round)
Colin Lloyd 3-2 Andree Welge
Adrian Lewis 3-0 Tony Eccles
Ronnie Baxter 3-0 Roland Scholten
Click here for reports

Saturday December 18 (7.30pm)
Andy Hamilton v Dennis Smith
Matt Padgett v Morihiro Hashimoto (Preliminary Round)
Mark Dudbridge v Alex Roy
Simon Whitlock v Steve Evans
Gary Anderson v Padgett/Hashimoto

(3-2, 3-0, 2-3, 3-1)
PETER WRIGHT produced his best televised display to down Co Stompe 3-1 in the first round of the 2011 World Darts Championship.

Stompe, who was coming off the back of victory alongside Raymond van Barneveld in the World Cup of Darts was highly fancied for a good run at this year’s competition.

But the Dutchman, a quarter-finalist the last two years suffered difficulties on his finishing and Wright made him pay to advance to a clash with Paul Nicholson.

Stompe started the match in confident fashion with finishes of 85 and 111 to win the first two legs of the contest.

But Wright, making his second appearance at Alexandra Palace battled back well and won the next two legs with a brace of doubles top finishes.

The deciding leg of the first set proved to a nervy affair as both players missed chances in what would turn out to be a vital point in the match.

Stompe was the one left kicking himself as six off-target attempts at doubles allowed Wright to snatch the set by hitting double two.

The Dutchman’s woes on the doubles continued as he missed four darts to win the opening leg of the second set, with Wright hitting double four to win it.

Four more opportunities at doubles went begging in the next for Stompe as Wright stepped in again by hitting double top.

An accurate attempt at the same double in the third leg gave Wright a 2-0 lead and leave Stompe with a mountain to climb.

Stompe managed to hit double top to complete a 76 finish at the start of the third set but missed two chances to break in the second leg with Wright winning it by taking out 82.

Stompe regained the lead with the aid of his second 180 of the game before Wright levelled for a second time to go one leg away from the match.

The deciding leg saw Stompe hold advantage of throw and he made that count by hitting a pressure double 10 with his opponent waiting on a double to win the match.

The beginning of the fourth set saw Stompe break throw by hitting double five and a 180 in the next put him on course to win the second leg. But two missed darts at doubles allowed Wright to hit double 19 at the first time of asking.

Wright then won the third leg by hitting double top and then closed out the match by breaking Stompe’s throw with a 102 checkout to set up a second round tie with Paul Nicholson.

ROLAND SCHOLTEN set up a first round tie with Ronnie Baxter after overcoming the Finnish challenge of Veijo Viinikka.

The 2004 UK Open Champion was giving a fright early in the game when he fell two legs down, and could have lost the third after Viinikka had opportunities for a 3-0 lead.

Viinikka held throw to win the opening leg to settle any nerves and then broke throw by hitting double ten after Scholten missed an opportunity to level.

The Finnish qualifier missed two chances to win the third leg and the Dutchman hit double eight to get into the match.

An accurate attempt at double top saw Scholten win the fourth leg and a maximum followed by a 112 checkout saw him lead the match for the first time.

That put the Dutchman one leg away from the win, and he duly rounded off matters by hitting double six to win the match.

(3-0, 3-1, 0-3, 0-3, 4-2)
COLIN LLOYD won a dramatic first round encounter at the 2011 World Darts Championship as he defeated Andree Welge in a see-saw five-set thriller.

The number nine seed took the first two sets comfortably and seemed on course for an easy passage into the last 32, but he went on to lose the next eight legs as the German fought back to level matters and lead 2-0 in the decider.

However, Welge was left to rue three missed chances in the deciding set to win the match, and Lloyd regained his composure to survive a major scare and reach the second round.

Lloyd, who has been knocked out in the first round twice in the previous three years at Alexandra Palace, won the first leg with an 80 finish and then hit a maximum in taking the second.

Welge replied with a 180 of his own in the next leg, but it was Lloyd who won it to win the set and open up an early lead by hitting double ten.

The second set started in similar trend as the Colchester-based thrower broke throw in the opening leg by hitting double top.

Lloyd won the second leg to make five in a row before the German managed to stop the rot and get his first leg on the board by hitting double four, after Lloyd missed opportunities to win the set.

But Lloyd made no mistake in the fourth leg as he hit a maximum followed by double eight to increase his lead to 2-0.

Welge started the third set well by his breaking his opponent’s throw with a 63 finish before hitting double 16 to win the second leg.

In the third leg, Lloyd missed two darts at tops which allowed Welge hit double 16 and win the set to get himself back into the contest.

The German continued the momentum in the fourth set as held throw to win the first leg and then won the second comfortably against the darts by hitting double ten.

Welge then won his sixth leg in a row when he hit double 16 to send a match into a deciding set.

The opening leg of the final set saw a stunned and frustrated Lloyd missed six darts at doubles and Welge made his opponent pay by hitting double 12 with his last dart for an early advantage and take the lead for the first time in the match.

Welge then won the next after Lloyd missed three opportunities at doubles to level, but the Englishman won the third leg with a crucial dart at the bullseye to complete an 86 finish, with Welge waiting on a two-darter.

A dramatic fourth leg saw Lloyd miss his attempt at double six, as it fell into the bed below to burst his score.

But the German failed to take his chance to win the match as he missed three darts at double top, ten and five, and Lloyd hit a pressure double three to keep the game alive.

Lloyd, buoyed by winning that leg, then hit tops to lead the set for the first time and then showed some class as he took out a 116 checkout to win the match.

“It’s a massive relief to get through but I was 2-0 up and Andree threw some great darts to get back into the match,” said Lloyd. “He’s a quality player, but I got a bit frustrated and was thinking ‘Why am I letting this go?’

“I keep letting players back in and I have to sharpen up, but it also showed how important this tournament is.

“It means a massive amount to me and I want to be the World Champion in January.”

(3-2, 3-2, 3-2)
ADRIAN LEWIS booked a place in the second round of the 2011 World Darts Championship with a straight sets victory over Tony Eccles, for whom eight maximums and a 170 finish were not enough.

The scoreline flattered the Stoke star somewhat, as each set went the full distance only for Lewis to hit the finishes that mattered to advance.

The match began in electric fashion as both players produced consistent high scoring from the off.

Lewis, who produced some wonderful darts in his run to the quarter-finals 12 months ago, hit a 156 checkout to start match and followed that by hitting a maximum in the second.

Eccles replied with a maximum of his own to hold the advantage but wasted 11 darts at doubles to allow Lewis to double his advantage.

The Hartlepool thrower won the next two legs, hitting a maximum in each, to force a decider, and hit his fifth maximum of the game in the next – but Lewis replied with a superb 101 checkout to take the lead.

Eccles, who suffered a first round exit 12 months ago, banged in another maximum at the start of the second set and won the leg by hitting double ten.

Lewis levelled by hitting double top before Eccles regained the lead with another accurate attempt at double ten.

The fourth leg saw Lewis produce a fabulous 124 checkout, completed on the bullseye, with Eccles waiting on a two-darter as he levelled the set.

The 25 year-old then won the decider to establish a two-set lead after Eccles was off-target with a dart at bullseye which would have squared the game.

Lewis hit his second maximum of the game to kick off the third set and won the first leg by hitting tops.

Eccles won the second by hitting double eight but Lewis regained the hit despite a seventh 180 from his opponent.

Lewis hit a maximum in the fourth leg but Eccles fired in a 170 checkout to keep his hopes alive.

Eccles hit an eighth 180 in the deciding leg but Lewis was not to be denied as he produced a 13-dart-finish to seal victory.

“Tony scored brilliantly but my finishing was what got me through,” said Lewis. “The 101 to win the first set was a massive shot and very important in the match.

“I’ve been full of ‘flu this week but am really happy with my form coming into this tournament. I’ve been practising well and can relax over Christmas, get myself right and come back for the second round.

“It’s a massive goal to win this tournament and I’ve taken the first step.”

(3-1, 3-0, 3-2)
RONNIE BAXTER overcame the challenge of Roland Scholten with a comfortable straight sets victory in the first round of the World Darts Championship.

Baxter will now take on Welshman Mark Webster, in an eye-catching last 32 encounter after the Christmas break after seeing off the Dutchman, who had won through to the first round against Veijo Viinikka earlier in the evening.

Both players held their throws in the opening two legs of the contest, and Baxter continued that trend to win the third, which included the first maximum of the game.

Baxter, who reached the quarter-finals of last year’s event, broke Scholten’s throw in the fourth by hitting double nine to wrap up the opening set.

The Blackpool-based thrower secured another break of throw at the beginning of the second set by landing double five.

Scholten hit a maximum in the second leg but missed a dart at tops for an immediate break back and Baxter made the Dutchman pay for those errors by hitting an 80 finish.

The eighth seed then wrapped up the second set in the next leg to establish complete command as he recorded a 118 checkout.

Baxter took an early advantage in the third set as he hit double two to win the first leg before Scholten won the second with an impressive 13-darter.

Baxter hit a 13-dart-finish of his own to regain the lead, but Scholten levelled in the same manner, landing a second 180 in the process.

Baxter held the advantage of throw in the deciding leg and he made that count as he was first to a finish and hit a two-dart 60 to record victory.

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