World Grand Prix: Gerwyn Price and Joe Cullen progress as James Wade and Michael Smith suffer shock exits | Darts News
Nathan Aspinall secured a shock win over Michael Smith; Martin Lukeman came through with a surprise upset against James Wade; Gerwyn Price secured a dominant victory as Joe Cullen overcame Damon Heta in a tight contest
Last Updated: 05/10/22 12:47am
Michael Smith suffered a shock first-round exit at the hands of Nathan Aspinall in a night full of upsets at the World Grand Prix in Leicester.
The Stockport man came away with a 2-1 win over Smith as the world No 4 struggled to find his rhythm on the doubles.
Martin Lukeman provided the performance of the night in a shock victory over James Wade, while Gerwyn Price put in a professional performance against Martin Schindler and Joe Cullen overcame Damon Heta.
The final match of the evening was touted as a big encounter and it did not disappoint as Smith and Aspinall faced off in a fast-paced clash.
Aspinall started the encounter with much more promise, breaking Smith early with a 116 finish to go two legs ahead.
‘Bully Boy’ fought back to claim a leg of his own but it was not enough as the world No 16 took advantage of some inaccuracy on the doubles to claim the first set.
The second set continued in the same vein as the first as Aspinall raced into a two-leg lead but Smith was not ready to go down without a fight and checked out on 95 to keep himself in the tie before backing it up with a 101 finish to bring the set level.
A crucial leg followed and a lovely 171 put Aspinall close to victory with three match darts, but he failed to take his chance and Smith checked out on D10 to bring it to a set apiece.
A nervous third set ensued but Aspinall managed to find his form to secure a 3-0 whitewash, checking out on D16 to take the match.
Tuesday, October 4 – Results
|First Round||Madars Razma||2-1||Ryan Searle|
|Ross Smith||2-1||Andrew Gilding|
|Danny Noppert||2-0||Gabriel Clemens|
|Joe Cullen||2-1||Damon Heta|
|(8) Rob Cross||1-2||Daryl Gurney|
|(5) James Wade||1-2||Martin Lukeman|
|(1) Gerwyn Price||2-0||Martin Schindler|
|(4) Michael Smith||1-2||Nathan Aspinall|
Price cut an ultra-confident figure as he stepped out for his clash with Schindler and he got off to a flying start, breaking the throw in the first leg and holding his own to power ahead.
With both players unable to find the doubles to checkout, Schindler battled his way back with a D5 in the third leg of the set but it was to no avail as ‘The Iceman’ discovered his accuracy once again to take out D2 for the first set.
The Welshman’s dominance continued into the second set as Schindler was unable to get comfortable, a sublime 101 finish to break the throw spurring him on to victory and into the second round.
Lukeman came through with the biggest upset of the night against Wade, taking the first set in three straight legs and stunning the world No 5 to secure his first televised victory.
Lukeman, who sits outside the world top 50, was easily finding some big maximums while Wade struggled to get going on the doubles, Wade at one point needing seven darts to get his leg going on the doubles.
The second set produced a partial fightback from Wade as he brought his average back up, a crucial D2 keeping him in the tie but the third leg saw Lukeman battle well and hold his throw with a D10 to take the lead.
Out of nowhere, Wade found a vital 121 finish to bring it to a deciding leg but it was Lukeman who ended with three match darts and used them well, hitting the D8 to secure the biggest win of his career so far.
It was touted to be a tight and exciting match-up and Cullen and Heta did not disappoint in their opening set, trading breaks of throw and ton-plus finishes before a D16 saw Cullen take the opener.
Heta take complete control in the second set, breaking Cullen twice, including a brilliant 115 finish, to take a 3-0 whitewash and bring the tie all square but Cullen took the final set and the match on D8 to conclude a gritty and enthralling match.
The tight contests continued as former world champion Rob Cross and former World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney faced off, both players holding their throw before Cross’ inability to find the crucial double to start, missing nine times, gifted Gurney a chance to break and take the first set.
After Cross fought back in the second set, hitting two maximums and breaking Gurney to make things even, ‘Superchin’ held it together and broke Cross early in the final leg to take the big win.
Last year’s semi-finalist Danny Noppert was back to show his form on the doubles again as he took on Gabriel Clemens. An astonishing second leg saw the Dutchman take 13 darts to get going on the double but he rallied to leave himself on a ton-plus finish of 101 to seal the leg before going on to take the set.
Clemens fought back for a couple of legs but Noppert raised his game and grinded out a 2-0 win as he looks to go one step further than 2021.
With three debutants on show as the opening round came to a close, there were some upsets to be had and Madars Razma had a strong showing as he won 2-1 against Ryan Searle, taking the first set after breaking the throw twice before taking out a lovely 108 finish to win the match and progress to the second round.
An all-British tie between Ross Smith and Andrew Gilding saw Smith come away with the spoils in a closely-fought 2-1 victory.
Wednesday, October 5- Fixtures (1900 BST)
|Second Round||Adrian Lewis||vs||Chris Dobey|
|Peter Wright||vs||Krzyztof Ratajski|
|Michael van Gerwen||vs||Stephen Bunting|
|Jonny Clayton||vs||Dimitri Van den Burgh|
Wednesday sees the players from night one back in action as Adrian Lewis faces Chris Dobey, Peter Wright is up against Krzysztof Ratajski, Michael van Gerwen plays Stephen Bunting and Jonny Clayton faces off against Dimitri Van den Bergh as the second round gets under way.
Live World Grand Prix Darts
October 5, 2022, 7:00pm
Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts. You can watch the 25th staging of the World Grand Prix ‘Double in, Double out’ set format on Sky Sports all the way through to the final on October 9 in Leicester.