ANDY BOULTON condemned new World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney to a shock exit at the HappyBet European Darts Trophy with a stunning victory on Saturday, as five seeded players crashed out in the second round at the Lokhalle in Gottingen.
Boulton, who lost out to Gurney in a Players Championship semi-final earlier this year, gained revenge with a brilliant display, resulting in a 6-3 victory.
The Scotland-based Englishman raced into a three-leg lead to take control of the contest and maintained his exceptional level of performance, posting a 103.25 average – the highest of the tournament so far.
“That was my best performance ever on the stage,” said Boulton, after ending the hopes of the number five seed.
“Daryl is such a good player and will be on a high after winning the World Grand Prix so I’m really pleased. I haven’t always turned up on the European Tour and if you don’t play your best you go home. I hope I can repeat it on Sunday.”
Boulton will take on Vincent van der Voort in the last 16 after the Dutchman defeated number 12 seed Ian White in a last-leg decider.
Former Austrian Darts Open winner Van der Voort started the match in style, completing a 120 checkout with two bullseyes before going on to defy a 99.46 average from White.
World number one Michael van Gerwen marked his return to action, following his first round defeat at the World Grand Prix, with a 6-3 victory against Austria’s Zoran Lerchbacher.
The World Champion took the opening leg with a 114 checkout but saw Lerchbacher respond by landing the bullseye to finish 84.
Van Gerwen won the following three legs before a spectacular bull-19-bull combination checkout of 119 moved him into a 5-1 lead.
Lerchbacher, who reached his first ProTour final earlier this year, staged a mini-fightback but a 180 in the ninth leg helped number one seed Van Gerwen seal the win.
“The 119 was a nice checkout,” said the Dutch ace, who is chasing a sixth European Tour title of 2017.
“Apart from that, I didn’t play my best but there is a long way to go here. I feel fine and will get better. I am ready to win this tournament.”
Peter Wright, who has also picked up five European Tour titles this year, survived a scare against Germany’s Martin Schindler.
Host nation favourite Schindler fired in a 180 with his opening throw but Wright took the first leg and went on to open up a 4-2 lead to take control of the tie.
Schindler hit back with a 117 checkout to break the Scotsman but Wright, who has recently moved up to a career-high second in the PDC Order of Merit, won the next two legs to progress to round three.
“Martin is an amazing player for his age,” said Wright, who faces Kim Huybrechts on Sunday.
“He scares me to death but he’s great for German darts and he will be around for a long time, when I’m retired and watching on television.
“It has been hard work to get to number two but it is an aim I had and now I am there. It feels good and it is all down to my family and the team behind me.”
Huybrechts won five of the last six legs to deny Nathan Aspinall a second scalp of the weekend, after the former PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship runner-up had defeated James Wade in round one.
The Belgian ace hit three 180s and a checkout of 104 on the way to a 6-3 defeat of Aspinall, whose highlight of the match was a 130 finish.
Former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown claimed the most convincing win of day two as he thrashed 11th seed Benito van de Pas 6-0.
Brown hit six out of seven attempts at doubles and fired in finishes of 124 and 109 as he breezed past his Dutch opponent with a memorable display.
Jan Dekker made it 12 legs won out of 13 played in the year’s final European Tour event, as he followed up Friday’s whitewash over Christian Kist with a 6-1 success against number 13 seed Mervyn King.
World Grand Prix runner-up Simon Whitlock claimed a 6-4 win against Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski, who missed four darts to force a deciding leg before the Australian landed double ten to set up a meeting with Dekker on Sunday.
Rob Cross was taken all the way to a 11th leg in his win against Jamie Caven, before showing the class that has helped him win four Players Championship titles in 2017 as he won the decider in 12 darts with a 116 checkout.
Stephen Bunting also showed his class to fend off Germany’s Rene Eidams, who levelled up at four legs apiece before the former Lakeside Champion closed out a 6-4 success.
Jonny Clayton, who picked up his first PDC ProTour title on Wednesday, continued his fantastic form with a victory over fellow Welshman Gerwyn Price, the number 14 seed.
Jelle Klaasen claimed a comfortable victory, as he defeated Chris Dobey 6-1, while Joe Cullen breezed past Steve West 6-2.
There were also victories for former European Tour winners Dave Chisnall, Michael Smith and Alan Norris.
Chisnall defeated James Wilson 6-4 despite a 156 finish from the Yorkshireman in the opening leg.
Smith, who is carrying a foot injury, battled through the pain barrier to beat Jermaine Wattimena 6-3.
Norris, who won last year’s final European Tour event, hit five 180s in his 6-4 victory against James Richardson.
The HappyBet European Darts Trophy concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session’s third round followed in the decisive evening session by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
The HappyBet European Darts Trophy can be watched worldwide by PDCTV-HD Subscribers, and is also available live through a series of bookmakers’ websites listed below.
HappyBet European Darts Trophy
Saturday October 14
Keegan Brown 6-0 Benito van de Pas
Alan Norris 6-4 James Richardson
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Dave Chisnall 6-4 James Wilson
Joe Cullen 6-2 Steve West
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Ian White
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Rene Eidams
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Jelle Klaasen 6-1 Chris Dobey
Rob Cross 6-5 Jamie Caven
Peter Wright 6-4 Martin Schindler
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Zoran Lerchbacher
Jan Dekker 6-1 Mervyn King
Andy Boulton 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Sunday October 15
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Michael Smith v Jonny Clayton
Rob Cross v Keegan Brown
Dave Chisnall v Jelle Klaasen
Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock v Jan Dekker
Andy Boulton v Vincent van der Voort
Alan Norris v Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
All games are the best of 11 legs. Sunday’s games played in Draw Bracket order.