RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD began the defence of his PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic title with a whitewash over Matt Clark at the Mandalay Bay Resort on Thursday night.

The Dutchman claimed the title in Las Vegas 12 months ago, and never looked in trouble in seeing off the Manchester-based qualifier in straight sets.

Van Barneveld included a 118 finish on his way to the win, and praised his finishing following the victory.

“Matt had chances to win two or three legs but you have to hit your doubles and I did that,” said van Barneveld. “I can score better than this but my doubles were great and I’m pleased with that.

“It’s a year since I’ve won a major tournament and hopefully this is the start of a good week.”

Van Barneveld now faces Alan Tabern for a place in the quarter-finals, after the emerging left-hander came from behind to win 6-4 against Larry Butler his opening game.

Stoke duo Andy Hamilton and Adrian Lewis both booked their places in round two earlier in the day, following contrasting games.

Hamilton averaged over 100 in an excellent 6-1 victory over Canada’s Shawn Brenneman, while Lewis twice came from behind to level before edging out Robert Thornton 6-5.

Lewis will now take on Peter Manley in the last 16, with the 2003 Desert Classic champion producing some brilliant finishing to defeat Steve Maish 6-3.

World number three James Wade made a strong start to his bid for back-to-back major titles, seeing off Dennis Smith 6-1, while Jelle Klaasen stormed past Canada’s Gerry Convery by the same scoreline.

Mark Walsh set up a second round meeting with Wade thanks to his final-leg victory over Bill Davis.

PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic VII
First Round – Thursday Results
Andy Hamilton 6-1 Shawn Brenneman
Mark Walsh 6-5 Bill Davis
Jelle Klaasen 6-1 Gerry Convery
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Robert Thornton
Raymond van Barneveld 6-0 Matt Clark
James Wade 6-1 Dennis Smith
Peter Manley 6-3 Steve Maish
Alan Tabern 6-4 Larry Butler

Second Round Order of Play
Friday 10.30am Start – 6.30pm BST
James Wade v Mark Walsh
Adrian Lewis v Peter Manley
Andy Hamilton v Jelle Klaasen
Terry Jenkins v Roland Scholten
Phil Taylor v Dennis Priestley
Raymond van Barneveld v Alan Tabern
Sam Rooney v Adrian Gray
Mervyn King v Darin Young

ANDY HAMILTON 6-1 SHAWN BRENNEMAN

ANDY HAMILTON powered into the second round of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic with a 6-1 demolition of Shawn Brenneman.

Hamilton began his challenge at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino with a fine performance, averaging over 100 in seeing off the Canadian qualifier.

Brenneman was never in the contest, with Hamilton producing some fine finishing to open up a 5-0 lead, hitting double 16, top, 14 and 18 before taking out 128 on the bullseye.

Brenneman got off the mark in leg six, taking out 96 on double eight, but Hamilton responded in superb fashion to take the win with a ten darter, scoring 140, 180, 165 and double eight.

“I didn’t realise my average was so good but it’s pleasing,” said Hamilton. “I had a few sloppy darts in there but I can work on that before the second round.

“I felt good on stage and was relaxed – maybe too much at times!”

MARK WALSH 6-5 BILL DAVIS

MARK WALSH edged out Bill Davis in a deciding leg to book his place in round two of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic.

American star Davis looked set to claim victory when he took a 5-3 lead, only for Walsh to take the final three legs and the win.

Walsh broke Davis’ throw in the opening leg and led 2-0 before being pegged back, with Davis taking advantage of two missed doubles to level before then moving 3-2 up.

Walsh defied a maximum from Davis to hit back on double four, but the American took the next two to move withing sight of the win.

But a 13-darter against the throw saw Walsh hit back, double top sent the game into a decider and he then took the win on double ten, with Davis waiting on 40 but never getting a dart for the victory.

JELLE KLAASEN 6-1 GERRY CONVERY

JELLE KLAASEN blasted his way into the second round of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic with a 6-1 win over Gerry Convery.

The young Dutchman won through the qualifiers at Mandalay Bay to earn a Desert Classic debut, and performed superbly to set up a round two date with Andy Hamilton.

He took the first three legs to put himself immediately in command of the contest, with Convery twice missing doubles.

The Canadian took leg four on double 18, and kicked off the next with back-to-back 180s to set up a possible nine-darter.

However, he missed his seventh treble 20, and went on to miss two darts to pull back to 3-2 before Klaasen – who had hit a maximum himself – landed double 16.

He then took out 100 on double top before securing the win with a 111 finish.

“I’m pleased with the win because that was a pretty good display,” said Klaasen. “I felt good and finished well, and hopefully I can do well here this week.”

ADRIAN LEWIS 6-5 ROBERT THORNTON

ADRIAN LEWIS twice came from behind before booking his place in round two of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic with a thrilling 6-5 win over Robert Thornton.

Lewis, the number seven seed, found himself facing an early exit when Thornton took leads of 2-0 and 4-2, only for the Stoke youngster to sneak through.

Thornton opened by breaking the throw with a 14-darter, and landed a maximum on his way to doubling the lead.

Lewis took out double 12 twice to level matters, but Thornton took advantage of missed doubles to once again take a two-leg cushion.

He missed two darts at double top for a 5-2 lead, with Lewis landing double five with his third dart to pull back again.

A 14-darter saw Lewis level, and a 121 finish on the bull put him ahead for the first time.

Thornton then took out 116 to send the match into a decider – with Lewis waiting on 40 – before both players traded 180s in the final leg.

It was Lewis who was first to the double, and he took out double 18 with his first dart to move into the last 16.

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 6-0 MATT CLARK

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD began the defence of his PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic title with a whitewash over Matt Clark at the Mandalay Bay Resort.

The Dutchman was never in trouble against the Manchester-based qualifier, who failed to find his rhythm until it was too late.

Van Barneveld included a 118 finish in taking the first three legs comfortable, before Clark missed four darts at a double in the fourth as the Dutchman extended his advantage.

Clark kicked off the next with a maximum, but it was van Barneveld who was first to the double, and he wrapped up the win on double 16 after three more misses from his opponent.

“Matt had chances to win two or three legs but you have to hit your doubles and I did that,” said van Barneveld. “I can score better than this but my doubles were great and I’m pleased with that.

“It’s a year since I’ve won a major tournament and hopefully this is the start of a good week.”

Van Barneveld used a pair of earplugs to aid his concentration during the game, and added: “The crowd are quite quiet but occasionally you hear little noises and it can put you off, so I put them in.

“In front of thousands of people in the UK it’s different and you manage to focus despite the noise, but it worked for me.”

JAMES WADE 6-1 DENNIS SMITH

JAMES WADE swept past Dennis Smith 6-1 to reach the second round of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic.

The world number three made a confident start to his bid for a fourth major title, having won last month’s UK Open, and had few problems against Smith after a nervy start.

Smith, who came through the qualifiers to win a place in the event, missed two darts to win the game’s opening leg before winning the second to level matters.

But a quick double salvo from Wade saw him push clear at 3-1, before a 174 score set up a double 16 finish to extend the cushion.

Two misses from Smith in the next allowed Wade to move a leg away from victory, and he sealed the win on double top.

“I’m glad that’s over and done with because I was nervous going into the game,” admitted Wade. “It was an enjoyable game and Dennis did well, but I’m starting to show my experience on stage now.

“I’ve never played well in Las Vegas before so hopefully I’ll settle down on stage this week and do well.”

PETER MANLEY 6-3 STEVE MAISH

PETER MANLEY opened his PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic bid with a clinical 6-3 win over Steve Maish.

The 2003 Desert Classic champion lived up to his “One Dart” nickname with some superb finishing to see off the qualifier from Essex.

Maish actually led 2-1, taking out 101 on double 16 to break Manley’s throw.

Manley immediately broke back, and a superb two-dart 75 finish saw him lead 3-2, despite Maish opening the leg with five perfect darts.

Maish took out 86 on the bullseye to level again after Manley burst his 80 finish, but three misses cost him dear in the next as Manley moved 4-3 up.

A 107 finish saw Manley put breathing space between the pair, and an 86 checkout on double 16 earned him victory and sets up a tasty clash with Adrian Lewis in round two.

ALAN TABERN 6-4 LARRY BUTLER

ALAN TABERN battled past Larry Butler to put himself into the second round of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic with a 6-4 victory.

The duo enjoyed a fine battle, with Butler showing glimpses of the form which took him to the 1994 World Matchplay title as he took a 4-3 lead.

But Tabern finished the stronger, winning the final three legs without reply to set up a clash with Raymond van Barneveld on Friday.

Tabern kicked off the match with a 180 and took the first leg before Butler, buoyed by a maximum of his own, took the next two to lead.

The next four legs were shared, but a crucial missed double eight from the American saw his hopes of a 5-3 lead ended, with Tabern levelling on double 16.

A two-dart 68 finish put Tabern in front 5-4, and he sealed the win with an 84 finish on double six.

“It was a real battle,” said Tabern. “Larry took out some good finishes when I was waiting on a finish myself, and I had to fight all the way.

“I had to grind out the result but if I can play on stage the way I do away from TV I could go a long way in this tournament.

“I’ve got Raymond next but he holds no fear for me. I’ve loads of respect for him and am looking forward to it.”

About The Author