ANDY HAMILTON produced the biggest upset of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay first round with victory over number four seed Gary Anderson on Tuesday night, as former champion Colin Lloyd and Blackpool favourite Ronnie Baxter also crashed out of the competition.

Anderson entered the £400,000 event as the second favourite with sponsors Sky Bet, but although he hit ten 180s the Scot paid for missed doubles as Hamilton took out finishes of 135, 130 and 122 on the bull in progressing with a 10-6 win.

Ironically, Anderson’s win over Dennis Smith in the quarter-finals of the final Players Championship had meant Hamilton hung onto the last qualifying place for the World Matchplay, but he showed no mercy in booking his own last 16 spot.

“I’ve not had the best year but it feels great to be winning and performing like I can do,” said Hamilton. “I had nothing to lose and everything to gain against Gary, and I went into the game relaxed and felt great on stage.

“When Gary got back into the game at six-all I thought I’d lost it but my 140 scoring was good throughout the game and there were a couple of good finishes which got me going again, and those big bull finishes won me the match.”

2005 champion Colin Lloyd, meanwhile, was defeated 10-7 by Scottish debutant John Henderson, who won the final four legs without reply – including a ten-darter – to take victory in a see-saw game, which saw the lead change hands five times.

“It was nerve-wracking but I enjoyed every minute of it and I’m delighted,” said Henderson. “It’s a big confidence boost for me – it’s a dream and I’m walking in the clouds!”

Whilst Henderson plays Hamilton in the second round on Thursday, Simon Whitlock and Denis Ovens also set up a last 16 clash with victories on the final night of first round action.

Ovens – a semi-finalist in the Speedy Hire UK Open last month – produced an upset of home favourite Ronnie Baxter as he sealed a narrow 10-8 win, although the Blackpool ace had hit back from 6-1 down to level at seven-all.

Whitlock, meanwhile, defeated Lowestoft’s colourful Peter Wright 10-7, as the colourful qualifier – who sported a Mohican haircut with six different shades of the rainbow dyed into his hair – shared the first six legs before the Australian pulled clear.

The second round begins with the first four matches on Wednesday night, including five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld against Paul Nicholson and World Champion Adrian Lewis facing Holland’s Vincent van der Voort.

2007 World Matchplay winner James Wade takes on Mark Walsh, and the night will open when two former World Champions Steve Beaton takes on Mark Webster, after both secured impressive first round victories.

Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay
First Round
Tuesday July 19

Ronnie Baxter 8-10 Denis Ovens
Colin Lloyd 7-10 John Henderson
Gary Anderson 6-10 Andy Hamilton
Simon Whitlock 10-7 Peter Wright

Wednesday July 20
Second Round (7pm)

Steve Beaton v Mark Webster
Adrian Lewis v Vincent van der Voort
Raymond van Barneveld v Paul Nicholson
James Wade v Mark Walsh

Thursday July 21 (7pm)
Simon Whitlock v Denis Ovens
Andy Hamilton v John Henderson
Phil Taylor v Wayne Jones
Wes Newton v Justin Pipe
All second round games are the best of 25 legs. All games must be won by two clear legs.

DENIS OVENS 10-8 RONNIE BAXTER
DENIS OVENS survived an inspired comeback from Ronnie Baxter before edging into the second round of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay with a 10-8 triumph over the Blackpool favourite.

Local star Baxter hit back from 6-1 and 7-5 down to level a tight contest as he looked to secure a place in the last 16 of the £400,000 event.

But Ovens continued the form which saw him reach the Speedy Hire UK Open semi-finals last month as he held his nerve to win the final two legs without reply to break a deadlock from eight-all and book his second round place.

After the first two legs were shared, Ovens produced a sparking run of five straight legs, following up a 14-darter in leg three with a 121 finish on the bull to break throw, two double 16 checkouts and a 72 finish.

Baxter stopped that by winning the eighth, and punished Ovens for missed doubles to win the next thanks to a superb 146 checkout.

Baxter then hit a 180 and double four to take the tenth leg, and when he finished 80 on double top, the lead was cut to 6-5 as Ovens faltered.

Baxter also gave himself a chance to level in the next, but missed two darts at double eight as Ovens finished 120 to stem the tide.

However, it was the 54-year-old from Stevenage who would miss in the next, with a brace of chances at double ten slipping away as Baxter hit double top to win the leg.

He then levelled at seven-all by taking out double ten, and hit a 180 to leave 24 in the 15th leg, only for Ovens to finish a pressure double top for a 15-darter to edge 8-7 up.

Ovens then missed four darts to break in the next, as Baxter landed double top to square the contest once more, but it was the veteran from Hertfordshire who made the decisive move.

He landed a 180 to be first to a finish in the 17th leg, and although Baxter replied in kind he finished double two to move a leg away from the win, and when his opponent failed to set up a double when needing 70 Ovens secured victory on double ten.

“It’s a fantastic win,” said Ovens. “I did a nine-darter in practice earlier in the day, which is my first ever, so I knew I was playing well.

“Ronnie didn’t play as well as he can, but maybe that was because I didn’t let him. I dropped off but I get tired now and maybe I needed a sleep after ten legs or so.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself but I’ve got into this tournament with the same attitude as Darren Clarke, the golfer who won the Open last week, of being happy and thinking everything’s going to go right, and I think it will.”

JOHN HENDERSON 10-7 COLIN LLOYD
FORMER Sky Bet Mobile World Champion Colin Lloyd was knocked out of this year’s tournament with a 10-7 defeat to Blackpool debutant John Henderson on Tuesday night.

Lloyd enjoyed arguably the greatest night of his career when he won the World Matchplay title in 2005, but entered this clash having won just once in Blackpool since then as he took on Henderson.

The Scottish newcomer extended that run for another year in a see-saw contest where the lead changed hands five times before Henderson emerged victorious, having hit a key ten-darter in winning the final four legs without reply.

Lloyd made a strong start, hitting a 180 and a 128 finish in the game’s opening leg, but Henderson levelled and then traded 180s with the Essex star before finishing 91 on the bull to break for a 2-1 advantage.

Lloyd hit back immediately on double five, and punished two misses from the Scot to win the fifth and regain a 3-2 advantage at the first break.

A miss from Lloyd in the next, though, allowed Henderson in to level before he hit another 180 in a 13-darter to break and lead 4-3.

Lloyd opened the eighth with scores of 180 and 140, but missed four darts to square the contest as Henderson finished 65 on tops, a double he hit to add a third successive leg in taking a 6-3 lead in the next.

However, a missed double top in the next allowed Lloyd back in as double one kick-started his challenge, and he took out 82 to win the 11th leg, double 18 to level and double two to edge in front 7-6 as Henderson faltered.

Henderson hit a timely 180 to steady himself in the next, and a 70 finish levelled the match once more before he capitalised on misses from Lloyd to take an 8-7 advantage.

He then kicked off the next with scores of 180 and 140, before adding a 141 and double top for a ten-dart finish as he moved a leg away from the win, which he sealed after a miss at tops from Lloyd by hitting the same bed.

“It was nerve-wracking but I enjoyed every minute of it and I’m delighted,” said Henderson. “It’s a big confidence boost for me and to come here and win a game is more than I expected when I joined the PDC in January.

“I had my sights set on qualifying for the UK Open first and the World Championship later in the year, so this is a bonus but it’s a dream and I’m walking in the clouds after this win.

“On the ProTour this year I’ve been getting into some good leads and letting it slip, but in the longer format you get another opportunity. When Colin hit back at me my best darts came out and I put in the ten-darter.

“I feel a little bit for Colin because neither of us played to our full potential, but luckily I got through. Hopefully I can take this experience on to my next game and play a bit better.”

ANDY HAMILTON 10-6 GARY ANDERSON
ANDY HAMILTON produced the biggest upset of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay first round with a 10-6 victory over number four seed Gary Anderson on Tuesday night.

Anderson entered the tournament as the second favourite with sponsors Sky Bet, but although he hit ten 180s the Scot paid for missed doubles as Hamilton took out finishes of 135, 130 and 122 on the bull in progressing.

Ironically, Anderson’s win over Dennis Smith in the quarter-finals of the final Players Championship had meant Hamilton hung onto the last qualifying place for the World Matchplay, but he showed no mercy in booking his own last 16 spot.

Anderson made a strong start, hitting double seven for the opening leg and hitting a 180 in leg two, although Hamilton levelled the match on double 16.

Anderson hit another maximum and a 100 finish for the third, but Hamilton powered in his first ton-plus finish of the game with a 130 bull checkout in the fourth, broke on double 16 after four misses from the Scot and then hit the same bed to take a 4-2 lead.

Anderson hit a 180 and tops to hit back in the seventh, but another maximum was not enough in the next as Hamilton finished double four to retain his two-leg advantage.

Hamilton also hit a 180 to open leg nine, but Anderson replied with two as he posted a brilliant 11-darter and then broke throw to level in the next on double 16.

Another 180, his fourth in three legs, helped Anderson to regain the lead for the first time since the third leg of the game at 6-5, but Hamiton took the crucial 12th in dramatic fashion.

Anderson had piled in yet another maximum to lead 41 after nine darts, but missed two darts at double top and Hamilton powered home a 135 finish on the bull to level.

Further misses from Anderson allowed Hamilton to move back in front with double 16, and when he won the 14th by hitting a 177 which he followed with another bull finish, of 122, he moved to within two legs of the win.

Hamilton missed double 11 in the next, but a miss at tops for a 120 finish for Anderson allowed him back to hit the bed and move a leg away from victory, and he hit a 174 score to set up a 72 finish in wrapping up a famous victory.

“I’ve not had the best year but it feels great to be winning and performing like I can do,” said Hamilton. “I had nothing to lose and everything to gain against Gary, and I went into the game relaxed and felt great on stage.

“I’d maybe lost a bit of self-belief but recently I’ve got a new manager, Jess Harding, and that has given me confidence because he believes in me.

“When Gary got back into the game at six-all I thought I’d lost it but my 140 scoring was good throughout the game and there were a couple of good finishes which got me going again, and those big bull finishes won me the match.”

SIMON WHITLOCK 10-7 PETER WRIGHT
SIMON WHITLOCK overcame the spirited challenge of colourful Peter Wright with a 10-7 victory as he booked his place in round two of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay.

Australian ace Whitlock, a semi-finalist on his Winter Gardens debut last year, set up a last 16 clash with Denis Ovens on Thursday night courtesy of a strong display against the improving ace from Lowestoft.

Wright, who previously competed in Blackpool at the 2009 World Matchplay and sported a multi-coloured hairstyle, produced darts to match Whitlock for much of the game and led 6-5 before the Australian took five of the final six legs for victory.

Both players hit 180s in the opening leg as Wright opened with a break of throw on double 18, but Whitlock hit back immediately on double five for a 14-darter and then hit a maximum to set up a 108 finish in leading 2-1.

Wright responded with a ton-plus finish of his own to square the match with a 123 checkout, only for Whitlock to win the fifth with a sparkling 12-dart leg which featured three 140s followed by an 81 checkout.

The next two were shared before Wright posted a 12-dart leg of his own in the eighth to level once more, hitting his first 180 of the game and a 116 finish.

Both players recorded maximums in the ninth, but when Wright missed the bullseye for a 91 finish Whitlock held throw on double 16 for a 5-4 lead.

Wright, though, wrestled himself in front for the first time since winning the game’s opening leg by hitting back-to-back 14-dart finishes as he took a 6-5 lead.

Whitlock won the 12th leg on double ten to square the game once more, and won the next in a leg which would prove pivotal, as Wright opened with seven treble 20s only to see his chance of a nine-darter slip away when he missed treble 19 for the 141 finish.

He then missed four darts to win the leg, and Whitlock landed double four to move 7-6 up.

The Australian was punished for five misses of his own in the next as Wright levelled but Whitlock was too strong with a 14-darter in moving 8-7 up before breaking throw on tops and taking out 60 to kill off the match.

“I’m very happy to get the win,” said Whitlock. “Peter’s a fantastic player and that was a very tough game for me.

“He could have gone ahead near the end and I could never get the break to get away from him until the end of the match.

“I’ve got Denis Ovens next and I’ll approach that like any game. He’s a seasoned player but I’m feeling confident after this and playing well at the moment.

“I’ve had a really good year but my results haven’t reflected how well I’m playing. I’ve had six semi-finals but not reached a final, and although that’s not as good as last year I think I’m playing better but the overall standard has gone up incredibly.”