WORLD CHAMPION John Part and number five seed Terry Jenkins were among the big names to lose out on the opening night of the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

Part crashed to a 5-3 loss against Scottish star Robert Thornton, who came from 3-2 down to take victory.

Jenkins was defeated 7-5 in a thrilling clash by Spanish newcomer Carlos Rodriguez, the 29-year-old from Barcelona making his debut in front of the television cameras.

Rodriguez led 2-0 and 4-2 before Jenkins responded to level, but the Spaniard – a runner-up in a Players Championship last week – took back-to-back legs in a tie-break to seal his win.

Former UK Open champion Roland Scholten also exited on the opening night, losing 5-1 to Austria’s Mensur Suljovic as a worsening shoulder problem took its toll on the Dutchman.

World number one Phil Taylor averaged an impressive 106 in defeating Jacko Barry 5-1, and will now meet Mervyn King in round two on Saturday.

King, the only man to have beaten Taylor twice in 2008, came from 3-0 down to defeat Wayne Jones 6-4.

Mark Walsh also impressed on the tournament’s opening night, hitting a 104 average in a 6-4 defeat of Colin Osborne, while Ronnie Baxter edged out Vincent van der Voort by the same scoreline.

The first round concludes on Friday evening, with the action including Raymond van Barneveld and James Wade – ranked two and three in the PDC Order of Merit – and Colin Lloyd’s clash with Jelle Klaasen.

PartyPoker.net European Championship
Thursday October 30
Round One (Best of nine legs)
Mark Walsh 6-4 Colin Osborne
Mervyn King 6-4 Wayne Jones
Carlos Rodriguez 7-5 Terry Jenkins
Wayne Mardle 5-0 Andree Welge
Phil Taylor 5-1 Jacko Barry
Robert Thornton 5-3 John Part
Mensur Suljovic 5-1 Roland Scholten
Ronnie Baxter 6-4 Vincent van der Voort

Friday October 31
Round One (Best of nine legs, all times local, GMT is -1 hour)
6.45pm Andy Hamilton v Denis Ovens
7.20pm Dennis Priestley v Jan van der Rassel
7.55pm Adrian Lewis v Hannes Schnier
8.30pm Colin Lloyd v Jelle Klaasen
9.05pm Raymond van Barneveld v Andy Jenkins
9.40pm James Wade v Alex Roy
10.15pm Alan Tabern v Chris Mason
10.50pm Peter Manley v Kevin Painter

MARK WALSH 6-4 COLIN OSBORNE
MARK WALSH produced a four-leg burst to deny Colin Osborne in the opening game of the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

Osborne led 2-1 early on as the first three legs went against the throw, and a superb 12-darter from the Derby man extended his lead to two legs, firing in two 140s and a 180 before landing double 16.

Walsh hit a maximum on his way to leg five, but a two-dart 90 finish from Osborne saw him take a 4-2 cushion.

A 125 finish sparked Walsh’s run, and he hit scores of 180 and 153 in setting up double ten to level.

A 137 score left him double 12 as Walsh took a 5-4 lead, and a 12-darter – including his third maximum of the match – sealed an impressive victory.

MERVYN KING 6-4 WAYNE JONES
MERVYN KING battled back from behind to edge out Wayne Jones 6-4 and move into round two of the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

Wolverhampton’s Jones made a brilliant start, hitting 180s in the opening two legs and taking a 3-0 lead before King, buoyed by two maximums of his own, hit back to level.

A 161 finish saw Jones edge 4-3 up, and also put him in contention for a £2,000 high checkout bonus – but his hopes of sealing victory in the next were dashed by a fine 104 checkout from King to square the game once more.

A 130 checkout, finishing on double eight, saw King break throw to lead 5-4, and he wrapped up the win on double eight in the next.

CARLOS RODRIGUEZ 7-5 TERRY JENKINS
SPANISH ASSASSIN Carlos Rodriguez dumped world number five Terry Jenkins out of the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

The newcomer from Barcelona celebrated his debut in front of the television cameras with a 7-5 win to book his place in the second round of the new tournament in Frankfurt.

Rodriguez included finishes of 130 and 110 in opening up a 4-2 lead, and held his nerve to seal victory in a tie-break.

He now meets Ronnie Baxter or Vincent van der Voort on Saturday in the tournament’s second round.

The Spaniard landed a nerve-settling double top to open the game, and moved 2-0 up with a 130 checkout, finishing on the bull, to leave Jenkins reeling.

Jenkins took out 120 to get off the mark, and an 81 checkout levelled only for three missed doubles to allow Rodriguez back to check out 85 for a 3-2 lead.

A missed double 16 in the next from the Englishman gave Rodriguez another chance in leg six, with the newcomer taking out 110 on double 18 for another two-leg cushion.

Jenkins won the next two and a 13-darter saw him level at five-all before a missed bullseye for a 161 finish cost him in the 11th – with Rodriguez posting a 177 to leave a double 16 finish.

He missed a dart at double 18 for a 141 finish and the game in leg 12, but two more misses from Jenkins, at double top, gave the Spaniard another chance, which he took on double nine for a famous victory.

WAYNE MARDLE 5-0 ANDREE WELGE
Wayne Mardle powered to a whitewash win over German star Andree Welge to begin his challenge at the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

Mardle swept aside the challenge of the German number two, from Bremen, with ruthless efficiency to set up a second round clash with in-form Mark Walsh.

Welge had his chances to win a nervy opening leg, but three missed doubles allowed Mardle back to hit double ten.

Double six put the Englishman 2-0 up, and he landed a 180 on the way to a three-leg cushion.

The German failed to convert double seven for a 122 checkout in the next, with Mardle hitting double ten before landing a second maximum of the contest in leg five before double four wrapped up the win.

PHIL TAYLOR 5-1 JACKO BARRY
PHIL TAYLOR kicked off his challenge in the inaugural PartyPoker.net European Championship with a 5-1 romp against Jacko Barry.

Taylor showed no mercy in seeing off the Dubliner by dropping just one leg and averaging 106.10 in the victory.

He opened the game with a 12-darter and led 2-0 before Barry took out 83 in two darts to get off the mark in the third leg.

Taylor kicked off the next with a 180, taking the leg in 12 darts and the next in 11 to move 4-1 up.

He then hit a maximum for a third successive leg as the pair traded 180s in the sixth, and double seven gave Taylor the win.

“I’m very happy with the win and the 106 average,” said Taylor.

“There was a lot of pressure with it being a short format in the first round, but Jacko didn’t start as well as he can do.

“Later on he got into his game and showed how good a player he is, but I managed to find my scoring at the right time.”

Taylor now meets Mervyn King in the second round on Saturday, and predicted: “There could well be a nine-darter in that game because we always enjoy good matches against each other.”

ROBERT THORNTON 5-3 JOHN PART
ROBERT THORNTON dumped World Champion John Part from the PartyPoker.net European Championship with a 5-3 comeback win in Frankfurt.

The Scottish star came from 3-2 down to win three successive legs in seeing off the Canadian, and now meets Austria’s Mensur Suljovic in the last 16.

Missed doubles from Thornton allowed Part to take the opener, but the Scot landed a maximum in winning the second, before defying back-to-back maximums from the World Champion to edge the third.

Two successive 70 finishes saw Part move 3-2 up, but double 18 saw Thornton level, he landed the same bed to lead 4-3 and then wrapped up the win on double nine.

“That’s the first time I’ve played John and I was really looking forward to the game,” said Thornton.

“He’s the World Champion and to beat him is tremendous.”

MENSUR SULJOVIC 5-1 ROLAND SCHOLTEN
AUSTRIAN Mensur Suljovic piled on the agony for Roland Scholten with a 5-1 defeat of the Dutchman in the first round of the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

Scholten has struggled since the summer with a neck and shoulder injury that has got progressively worse, and the former UK Open champion’s battling effort was not reflected by a comprehensive scoreline.

Scholten could offer little resistance as Suljovic strolled into a 3-0 lead, thanks to finishes on double top, double eight and double 17 showing the GDC number one’s versatility around the board.

A first 140 of the game came for Scholten in the next, leaving a double 12 finish as he got off the mar, Suljovic having missed double 16 to further extend his advantage.

Double top pit the Austrian 4-1 up, and he had enough breathing space in the next to miss five darts for victory before landing double one to reach the last 16.

“I’m very happy to be in the second round, but it was a hard game under the circumstances,” said Suljovic. “It was very hard for Roland and he kept trying, and it would have been a different game if he hadn’t been injured.”

RONNIE BAXTER 6-4 VINCENT VAN DER VOORT
RONNIE BAXTER made a fine fightback to edge out Vincent van der Voort and win a place in the second round of the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

Baxter trailed the Dutchman 2-0 and 4-2 before winning four successive legs to set up a tasty last 16 meeting with Spanish newcomer Carlos Rodriguez on Saturday.

Van der Voort made a lightning start to claim the first two legs of the match, and landed a maximum in taking the fourth for a 3-1 lead.

A party-piece 100 finish including two double tops from Baxter gave him the fifth, but a 121 finish for a 12-darter put the Dutchman into a 4-2 lead.

However, he missed one dart at the bullseye for victory in the next as Baxter scrambled home double two to stay in the contest.

Double top saw the Blackpool ace level and a tricky double 16 saw him move in front for the first time in the game at 5-4.

He struggled to wrap up the win in a tie break, opening the next leg with scores of 180 and 140 only to miss four match darts before van der Voort reached a double – but wayward finishing from the Dutchman gave Baxter a final chance, which he took on double two.

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