Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson, Mervyn King and Stephen Bunting all progressed to the second round of the World Matchplay in Blackpool on Monday.
Last year’s finalist Lewis romped home courtesy of a 10-0 whitewash against debutant Andrew Gilding, amassing an impressive 110.51 average in the process.
The third seed hit double tops in the second leg to break Gilding’s throw. He hit a double ten and checked out 35 in the third and fifth legs to move 6-0 up.
Gilding was unable to stem the tide with Lewis securing a 10-darter in the ninth for a fifth straight hold. He then closed out the match by hitting double nine to complete a one-sided contest.
“It could have been better I think, I missed that many 180s,” Lewis told Sky Sports. “I’m pretty happy with my performance. I love this place. I finished well.”
In the evening’s opening match Bunting proved his quality with an impressive display to eliminate World No 5 and number six seed Wright 10-6.
The Lakeside Champion broke Wright’s throw in the first leg, a lead he never surrendered. In the eighth leg Bunting moved 5-3 in front courtesy of a 96 checkout.
The 29-year-old made it a double break shortly, capitalising on 12 missed darts at doubles by Wright. He then hit double tops to move into a 7-3 lead.
Wright was able to hold his next three throws, but his inability to break Bunting proved decisive in the 16th leg as the Liverpudlian checked out 72 to advance to the second round in his matchplay debut.
“It’s all a bit of a blur at the minute,” said Bunting. “I put so much into that match. It’s a long race to 10. I’m just glad I got over the line in the end. I’m just happy with the win.”
King claimed the second victory of the night in Blackpool, winning the last four legs to secure a comfortable-looking 10-4 victory over Belgian Kim Huybrechts.
Huybrechts held his throw in the opening leg, but that was his only lead of the match. After Huybrechts checked out 60 in the ninth leg to pull the score back to 5-4 down that was his last success.
King, who averaged 101.06, broke Huybrechts in the 11th and 13th legs to cruise home and set up a second-round clash against Lewis. After the match he commented: “Compared to what I’ve been playing it’s a bit better. I’ve got a lot more in the tank. A win is a win.”
The final match of the night saw Anderson and Caven go head-to-head in an enthralling encounter. Caven broke Anderson in the eighth leg to move 5-3 up only for the Scot to break back immediately and hold to square the contest.
After two holds apiece Anderson moved 8-7 in front after checking out 25 and double tops in the next moved him to within one leg of success. Caven held his throw to force an 18th leg and Anderson held his nerve by checking out 80 to progress.