What a nail-biting night in Wolverhampton, but the Unicorn trio of James Wade, Terry Jenkins and Colin Osborne have made it through to the knock-out stages of the Grand Slam.
The No.2 seed had to be at his very best to see off the challenge of Vincent van der Voort in their match, where it was winner-takes-it-all…..Wade won a brilliant deciding leg with a fabulous 122 finish and he will now face Mervyn King in that 2nd Round.
“I am delighted to win that,” said Wade. “There was a lot of pressure out there, especially with being the favourite but now I can relax a bit and it will be some game against Mervyn on Thursday.”
Wade hit D10 three times to go 3-0 in front and when he nailed a 104 finish to move 4-1 ahead, it looked all over.
But back came Van der Voort….a superb 156 check-out, followed by a break of throw and a 72 finish and all of a sudden it was 4-4!
In the decider, the Dutchman hit a third 180, but Wade kept pace with two 140s and then came that brilliant 122 finish to win it.
Osborne followed up his brilliant win over Simon Whitlock with another terrific performance in his winner-takes-all clash with Dave Chisnall.
He averaged 101.73 in a 5-3 win, which clinches a 2nd Round clash against Group B winner Gary Anderson.
“I am playing well, so I expected to win,” said a confident Osborne. “Obviously there were a few nerves because it was all or nothing, but I have to be very happy!”
After losing the opening leg, ‘The Wizard’ found his magic touch, winning four consecutive legs in 14, 14, 15 and 15 darts.
Chisnall stayed in it, getting two legs back, but only after Osborne had missed one dart at D16 to win the match 5-1. But he wasn’t going to be denied and when he got another shot at D16, he didn’t miss.
Jenkins did what he had to do and beat PDC Unicorn Women’s World Champion Stacy Bromberg.
But the American caused ‘The Bull’ one of two problems and she could easily have been 2-0 in front, but missed five darts at doubles.
Once Jenkins had settled down, he showed his class with a couple of 180s, a 100 check-out and an 11 darter to seal his 5-0 win and second spot in Group C behind King.
I wasn’t looking forward to that one bit,” he admitted. “So, I am just glad to win and get through to the next round, where I hope the longer distance matches will suit me more.”
And Jenkins will now face BDO star Tony O’Shea in the 2nd Round on Thursday….O’Shea’s victory over Justin Pipe saw him top Group D with three wins out of three.
Elsewhere on a dramatic night, Welshman Mark Webster blew a glorious chance to progress. He needed to beat Gary Anderson 5-1 to win through and incredibly, he missed six darts to do just that!
Those misses put Wayne Jones through at his expense, despite Webster eventually winning 5-3.
Simon Whitlock 2-5 Robert Thornton
Colin Osborne 5-3 Dave Chisnall
Wayne Jones 5-3 Mark Hylton
Gary Anderson 3-5 Mark Webster
Terry Jenkins 5-0 Stacy Bromberg
Mervyn King 5-4 John Henderson
Tony O’Shea 5-4 Justin Pipe
James Wade 5-4 Vincent van der Voort
On Wednesday night, it’s make-or-break for the Team Unicorn quartet of Phil Taylor, Wes Newton, Paul Nicholson and Raymond van Barneveld.
Newton and Taylor clash head-on for a place in the knock-out stages…..Barney must beat Darryl Fitton to qualify and despite winning his first two matches, Nicholson has to overcome Steve Beaton to make absolutely sure of making the 2nd Round.
Meanwhile, it’s been announced that Cash Converters will sponsor the first ever PDC World Cup, which takes place between 3-5 December.
By STUART PYKE
Wade and Osborne photos courtesy Chris Sargeant
Jenkins photo courtesy Larence Lustig / PDC