JAMES WADE turned the pressure up on his rivals for the Stan James World Matchplay title with a 13-7 win over Ronnie Baxter on Wednesday night.

The defending champion averaged 98 and took out a ten-dart leg in seeing off local star Baxter after taking a 10-1 lead, to earn a place in Thursday’s quarter-finals, where he meets Matt Clark.

“I couldn’t believe it when I went 10-1 up and Ronnie came back to scare me a little,” said Wade. “But I’m still learning and I haven’t hit top gear yet.”

World number two Raymond van Barneveld announced a return to form with a 13-3 win over Tony Eccles, including finishes of 138 and 116 in a clinical display.

Van Barneveld takes on Wayne Mardle in the last eight, after the Essex star took seven of the final eight legs to come from 8-6 down and defeat Michael van Gerwen.

“I’m still not scoring as well on stage as I do in practice but my doubles helped me against Tony,” said van Barneveld. “I’ll have to improve against Wayne because you have to put him under pressure.”

Clark reached his first quarter-final in a major PDC event with a fine 13-6 defeat of Peter Manley, while Alan Tabern made the last eight for a third successive televised tournament after seeing off World Champion John Part.

Tabern meets Dennis Priestley in the quarter-finals, while eight-time World Matchplay champion Phil Taylor takes on 23-year-old Kevin McDine.

Wednesday 23 July
Collated Second Round Results
Phil Taylor 13-5 Colin Osborne
Kevin McDine 13-9 Mark Walsh
Dennis Priestley 13-11 Terry Jenkins
Alan Tabern 13-7 John Part
Wayne Mardle 13-9 Michael van Gerwen
Matt Clark 13-6 Peter Manley
Raymond van Barneveld 13-3 Tony Eccles
James Wade 13-7 Ronnie Baxter

Thursday 24 July
Quarter-Finals
12.30pm Start
Dennis Priestley v Alan Tabern
Matt Clark v James Wade
7pm Start
Raymond van Barneveld v Wayne Mardle
Phil Taylor v Kevin McDine

MATT CLARK 13-6 PETER MANLEY

MATT CLARK reached the quarter-finals of the Stan James World Matchplay for a first time with a 13-6 win over Peter Manley at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

The Manchester-based thrower had never won a game in Blackpool before his first round win over Roland Scholten, but claimed another major name with an assured win against the 1999 runner-up.

Clark’s performance was founded on some superb finishing, taking out 50 percent of his chances at a double.

The game was locked early on, with the first six legs shared and Manley taking out a 156 finish to level at three-all.

Clark then found another level to take four in a row and lead 7-3, and though Manley took out his favourite double top to cut the deficit, four more for the qualifier gave him a 10-4 lead.

Manley won two of the next three to stay in the hunt, but missed doubles gave Clark his chance for victory – and though for once his finishing was wayward he landed double one for the win.

“To reach the quarter-finals of a major tournament in the PDC for the first time is a dream come true,” said Clark. “I’ve been close so many times and tripped at the final hurdle.

“I was determined to do it this week and gritted my teeth. I’ve worked hard to lose three stones in weight this year and had to change my stance but it’s working.

“Peter’s a fantastic player and I’ve known him for a lot of years, but he can’t seem to beat me.”

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 13-3 TONY ECCLES

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD returned to top form to power past Tony Eccles into the quarter-finals of the Stan James World Matchplay.

The Dutchman was unconvincing in a first round win over unknown qualifier Mark Frost at the Winter Gardens on Monday, but showed flashes of his brilliant best to see off Eccles 13-3.

He romped into a 5-0 lead before Eccles got off the mark, and included finishes of 138 and 116 in setting up a quarter-final against Wayne Mardle on Thursday.

“I’m still not scoring as well on stage as I do in practice but my doubles helped me against Tony,” said van Barneveld. “I’ll have to improve against Wayne because you have to put him under pressure.

“But Tony probably gave me about five legs tonight by missing doubles and let me off.

“This is a very big tournament for me to try to win and I’m very focused on doing that.”

The duo traded 180s in the first leg before double 16 put the Dutchman in front, and double top in the second saw him break Eccles’ throw immediately.

Van Barneveld landed a second maximum on the way to leg three, and a 116 checkout, finishing on double 18, saw him move 4-0 up.

He hit a third 180 in extending the lead to five legs before Eccles took out double 16 to get off the mark.

A 90 checkout saw van Barneveld restore his lead, and misses from the Hartlepool man in two of the next three allowed the Dutchman to take an 8-1 lead.

Although Eccles took two of the next three, a crisp 87 finish from van Barneveld and two double 12 checkouts – one for a 138 finish – saw him pull to the brink of victory.

And nine missed darts at a double from Eccles were swiftly punished as the Dutchman landed double seven to seal a quality win.

JAMES WADE 13-7 RONNIE BAXTER

DEFENDING champion James Wade booked his place in the last eight of the Stan James World Matchplay with a storming win over Ronnie Baxter.

Wade made an assured start to the defence of his title in the first round against Wayne Jones, and held off a spirited fightback from Baxter before booking a quarter-final place against Matt Clark with a 13-7 win.

He landed a ten-darter in taking a 10-1 lead before Baxter took six successive legs, but Wade regained his composure to seal the win.

Wade opened up a 3-0 lead with three succcessive double top finishes before Baxter got off the mark, and the 25-year-old landed back-to-back 180s in leg six to take out an 11-darter and earn a 5-1 cushion.

He also took out double 14, a 124 checkout finishing on the bullseye and double 12 in effortlessly pulling clear, before a majestic ten-darter made the scoreline 10-1.

Baxter responded with a 14-darter, and broke Wade’s throw three times in winning six successive legs to bring his local crowd to its feet.

However, Wade regained his range on the doubles to take double four twice to wrap up the win.

“I couldn’t believe I was 10-1 up and thought I was home and dry, but I nearly paid the price,” said Wade. “I’m still learning and taking things on board, though.

“All I can do is keep practising and doing what I do best, but I still haven’t hit top gear yet.”

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