RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD edged out Andy Hamilton in an 11-leg thriller at the PartyPoker.net European Championship on Friday night, but seeds James Wade and Adrian Lewis crashed out of the event in Dinslaken, Germany.

Dutch star van Barneveld followed up last week’s run to the final of the World Matchplay in Blackpool with a gritty display in his opener in Dinslaken.

Van Barneveld took the opening two legs before Hamilton won four in a row to lead 4-2, only to see the five-time World Champion produce some superb darts in taking four of the final five for victory.

“I had a tough week in the World Matchplay but this is another big tournament for all of us and this is a good start,” said van Barneveld. “I had a tough draw and it’s great to get through it.”

Van Barneveld will meet Germany’s Bernd Roith in the second round on Saturday, after the newcomer celebrated his TV debut with a 6-4 defeat of Denis Ovens.

Another German, Tomas Seyler, suffered defeat in his clash with Michael van Gerwen, who returned from a month on the sidelines with a broken collarbone to take a 6-4 win.

Two seeded players joined Seyler, Hamilton and Ovens in exiting the tournament on Friday, with James Wade going down to Colin Lloyd and Adrian Lewis slumping to a 6-3 loss against Wayne Jones.

Lewis produced one of his most disappointing televised displays in his loss to in-form Jones, while Wade was defeated 6-4 by Colin Lloyd, who held his nerve after the world number three came from 4-2 down to level.

Scotland’s Robert Thornton bounced back from his whitewash in the World Matchplay’s first round with a 6-4 win over Mark Dudbridge, and he now faces Jones in the second round.

Wins for Fleetwood’s Wes Newton and Blackpool’s Ronnie Baxter over Colin Osborne and Alan Tabern saw them set up a local derby in the last 16, with Baxter taking out 126 on the bullseye in a deciding leg to progress.

PartyPoker.net European Championship
First Round
Friday July 30

Bernd Roith 6-4 Denis Ovens
Mark Dudbridge 4-6 Robert Thornton
Adrian Lewis 3-6 Wayne Jones
Tomas Seyler 4-6 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 4-6 Colin Lloyd
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Andy Hamilton
Colin Osborne 4-6 Wes Newton
Ronnie Baxter 6-5 Alan Tabern

Saturday July 31
Second Round

Afternoon Session (2pm local time)
Mark Walsh v Jelle Klaasen
Terry Jenkins v Simon Whitlock
Ronnie Baxter v Wes Newton
Wayne Jones v Robert Thornton

Evening Session (8pm local time)
Barrie Bates v Jamie Caven
Raymond van Barneveld v Bernd Roith
Phil Taylor v Andy Smith
Colin Lloyd v Michael van Gerwen
Best of 19 legs

BERND ROITH 6-4 DENIS OVENS
GERMANY’S Bernd Roith made a winning televised debut, knocking out Denis Ovens 6-4 in the first round of the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

The 50-year-old from Tuebingen in Germany qualified to play in Dinslaken through his performances in European-based Players Championship events this year, and showed his quality to move into the last 16.

Roith took the game’s first two legs, punishing misses from Ovens in both to land double four and then double 18 to take command.

Ovens broke throw in the third, hitting a 180 and double eight, and then was given a reprieve from further misses when Roith landed two darts just outside the double top wire before the Englishman hit the bed to level.

Ovens had a chance to lead in the fifth, but one miss at tops was punished by a crowd-pleasing 152 finish from Roith, although Ovens won the next one double nine to level at three-all.

Roith edged the seventh on double eight and, after Ovens hit a 180 and an 84 checkout, then finished 101 on double 16 to lead 5-4.

Ovens battled to send the game into a decider, but Roith was first to a finish and took out 80 on double five for victory.

“It was my first TV appearance and it’s a dream to win against a player like Denis,” said Roith. “I finished well and the support from the crowd was brilliant.”

ROBERT THORNTON 6-4 MARK DUDBRIDGE
ROBERT THORNTON made a superb recovery from his World Matchplay disappointment to defeat Mark Dudbridge 6-4 in the PartyPoker.net European Championship first round.

Thornton was whitewashed 10-0 by fellow Scot Gary Anderson at the World Matchplay, but made a winning return to action at the Stadthalle in Dinslaken.

He will now face either Adrian Lewis or Wayne Jones in the second round, where he will hope to continue his return to form.

Much of the opening stages saw the pair trade legs, with the first five going with throw before Thornton took the first break to lead 4-2.

Thornton had actually missed darts to win the second and fourth legs, on Dudbridge’s throw, before finishing 88 on the bull to finally break in the sixth.

Dudbridge had also missed four darts at double 19 to win the fifth – darts which would later come back to haunt him, especially as Thornton landed double top for a 5-2 lead.

The Bristol man produced his best darts of the match to win the next two legs, firstly hitting double top himself to break, before trading 180s with Thornton and landing double 12 for the ninth to pull back to 5-4.

However, he missed four darts to level the game and send the match into a decider, and Thornton punished him on double ten for victory.

WAYNE JONES 6-3 ADRIAN LEWIS
WAYNE JONES’ run of good form continued with a 6-3 win over number seven seed Adrian Lewis at the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

Jones followed up last week’s quarter-final run in the World Matchplay with a solid performance to see off a below-par Lewis, who followed up last week’s first round loss in Blackpool by slumping to another early exit in Germany.

The opening two legs were shared as Jones opened with an 88 finish and Lewis replied on double top, after the Wolverhampton man had missed two darts at a double.

Double three, though, saw Jones take the third and he then punished missed doubles from Lewis to land double 18 for a 3-1 lead.

Double five gave Lewis the fifth, and the next two were shared before Jones kicked off leg eight with a maximum and landed double eight to move a leg away from the win, before finishing 104 for victory.

“It was a scrappy game and I felt a bit nervous, which isn’t like me, but I got through it,” said Jones. “I was pleased to win but know there’s a lot more to come from me.”

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN 6-4 TOMAS SEYLER
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN made a winning return from injury with a 6-4 win over Germany’s Tomas Seyler in the first round of the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

The Dutch youngster has been sidelined for over a month after breaking the collarbone in his left shoulder, but showed no ill-effects in seeing off the home favourite.

He opened with a nerve-settling 13-darter in the first leg, ended on double top, and he was waiting on a double in the next as Seyler took out 65 on double 12.

The next two legs were also traded before van Gerwen stepped up a gear, landing double 16 for a 70 finish in the fifth and powering a 174 to leave double 16 in the next for the first break of throw to lead 4-2.

Two missed doubles allowed Seyler back in to take the seventh with a 63 finish, although he paid for a missed bullseye in the next as van Gerwen hit double eight to move a leg away from victory.

A 96 finish from Seyler kept him in the game, but van Gerwen posted his first maximum of the game in leg ten before hitting double 16 to seal a second round place.

“It was a hard game because there was a lot of pressure on me but I’m very happy to have won,” said van Gerwen. “I started well but Tomas played well and made me work all the way through the match.”

COLIN LLOYD 6-4 JAMES WADE
COLIN LLOYD sent world number three James Wade packing in the PartyPoker.net European Championship with a 6-4 victory at the Stadthalle in Dinslaken.

Lloyd put his World Matchplay nightmare, where Kevin Painter came from 8-2 down to defeat him 11-9 ten days ago in Blackpool, behind him with a gritty display against Wade.

Left-hander Wade had battled back from 4-2 down to level as Lloyd’s doubles deserted him, but he regained his cool to win the next two and set up a tasty second round clash with Michael van Gerwen.

Wade hit a 180 in the opening leg, which he won on double top, but Lloyd posted double five to level and double 18 to break throw in the third leg.

A 100 finish saw the Essex man move 3-1 up, although Wade replied in 11 darts with a superb fifth leg, which featured two 180s amongst seven perfect darts to open the leg.

Double 16 saw Lloyd edge 4-2 ahead, and he hit scores of 140 and 180 to leave 42 in the seventh, only to miss eight darts for the leg as Wade took out double two to pull back into the game.

Two further misses from Lloyd, at double top and double ten, gave Wade the chance to level in the eighth, and he took out 61 on double ten to square the game.

Lloyd, though, kicked off the ninth with a maximum, and he regained his range on double top to move a leg away from the win before posting another 180 and double 14 – at the fourth time of asking – to ensure progression.

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 6-5 ANDY HAMILTON
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD edged out Andy Hamilton 6-5 in a final-leg thriller at the PartyPoker.net European Championship to kick off his challenge in Dinslaken with a strong win.

The Dutchman continued the form which saw him reach last week’s World Matchplay win against gritty Hamilton, who led 4-2 but could not handle a superb surge from the number two seed.

Hamilton opened the match with a 180, but it was van Barneveld who posted double top to win the first leg and he also repeated the finish to double his lead, after the Englishman missed three darts for the second leg.

Hamilton hit two 180s in a 12-darter to get himself off the mark, before double two levelled and then double 16 gave him a 3-2 lead.

He then posted double eight to move two legs clear, only for the Dutchman to land a 177 and double ten to take leg seven and a 180 and double eight to break to level the game.

Van Barneveld then posted another maximum plus double top to edge 5-4 up, only for Hamilton to post a 180 and double 18 to send the game into a decider.

However, van Barneveld – who held the advantage of throw – pulled clear in the final leg and posted double 16 for an 11-darter to book a second round date with Bernd Roith.

“I had a tough week in the World Matchplay but this is another big tournament for all of us and this is a good start,” said van Barneveld. “I had a tough draw and it’s great to get through it.

“Andy was 4-2 up and deserved to be because he played some good darts and I struggled to settle in early on, but I hit my form and had a good 11-dart finish to win it.”

WES NEWTON 6-4 COLIN OSBORNE
WES NEWTON held off Colin Osborne’s fightback to win a topsy-turvy encounter and progress to the second round of the PartyPoker.net European Darts Championship in Dinslaken.

Newton looked set to romp to victory when he took a 3-0 lead, only for Osborne to win the next four to edge in front.

However, the in-form Fleetwood manbatlled back and on the next three to secure his spot in the second round on Saturday.

Double 16 gave Newton the opening leg, and he took out 94 on double top to extend his advantage before landing a 171 to set up double eight as he won the third – after Osborne missed the same bed for a 127 checkout.

Osborne kicked off the fourth with a maximum, and double top got him off the mark before he finished 68 on double four in the next to pull back to 3-2.

Another maximum and double eight saw Osborne level, and he then hit two 180s in securing the seventh leg and a 4-3 advantage on double four.

However, he missed the bull for a 124 finish in the next, and Newton stopped the Derby man’s run by following up a 180 with double 15 for the leg to level.

Osborne then missed double five for a 130 checkout in leg nine, with double six edging Newton back in front before a 68 finish gave Newton the win.

RONNIE BAXTER 6-5 ALAN TABERN
RONNIE BAXTER took out 126 on the bull to edge an 11-leg battle with Alan Tabern and win his place in the second round of the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

Blackpool ace Baxter had to fight back from 4-1 down to send his clash with Tabern into a deciding leg, but prevailed to set up a second round clash with local rival Wes Newton on Saturday.

Tabern took the opening leg of the match with a double top finish and extended his lead in style, punishing Baxter’s missed bullseye for a 167 checkout by taking out 141 himself.

The pair traded 180s in the next before double nine got Baxter off the mark, but Tabern landed further maximums in winning both of the next two legs as he moved 4-1 up.

Double ten gave Baxter a second leg, and he then finished double 16 and double top to square the match – only to squander three darts to lead for the first time before a 100 finish put Tabern 5-4 up.

However, Baxter clinically checked out 79 to take the tenth leg on double 11, and won the decider with a brilliant 126 bullseye finish to snatch victory.

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