Danny Noppert opened his 2023 Machineseeker European Championship campaign in fantastic fashion, whitewashing UK Open Champion Andrew Gilding 6-0 in the Last 32. Former 2 Time World Champion Peter Wright staged a huge fightback to defeat home favourite Gabriel Clemens 6-5 in Dortmund, coming from 4-1 down to beat the World Championship Semi Finalist.
Number 4 Seed Gerwyn Price safely reached the Last 16 at the Westfalenhallen after beating Irish international Keane Barry 6-1, including a 54.55% checkout rate having missed just 5 darts on the outer ring.
Former UK Open champion Danny Noppert opened the tournament on Thursday night in Germany, producing the highest average of the tournament so far having scored 106.09 over 6 legs played against Andrew Gilding.
The Freeze missed just two darts at double in Dortmund whilst also finding checkouts of 138 and 98 to break the Goldinger throw. The 2 Time European Championship Quarter Finalist moves through to the Last 16 where he will face tournament number 5 seed Rob Cross, after the former 2-Time Winner defeated Dimitri van den Bergh 6-2 including a 127 checkout.
Peter Wright produced some clinical match saving shots against Gabriel Clemens later in the night, after the German Giant broke in the fourth leg before moving into a 4-1 lead. Snakebite however fought back, finding the only ton plus finish of the match in the 7th leg having hit a 116 checkout to reduce the arrears to just a leg.
The last leg decider highlighted the capabilities of the former 2 Time World Champion, responding to a 180 from Clemens with consecutive maximums himself to leave 81, before breaking the throw with the finish on double 12, wrapping up 8 perfect darts in Dortmund.
“I was chasing Gabriel all the way through the game. Michael’s (Van Gerwen) darts work alright under pressure! I had to dig as deep as I have in a long time, but I’m starting to believe in my own ability again.”
“I’m not rolling over anymore, and if you want to beat me, you’ve got to play really well, because I can still play this game.”
Peter moves through with a 94.83 average to face 2022 Runner Up Michael Smith, who defeated Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 in the penultimate game of the night.
Gerwyn Price included the one maximum over his 7 legs played with Keane Barry, including a 75 finish to break the Dynamite throw in the 6th leg, before securing his place in the Last 16 in the following leg.
The Iceman remains on course for a maiden European Championship title having lost in the Final back in 2019, moving through to face World Matchplay Champion Nathan Aspinall who defeated Ryan Searle 6-3 in the night’s second match.
Friday sees the conclusion of the opening round in the 2023 European Championship, with World Grand Prix Champion Luke Humphries taking on 2012 Semi Finalist Brendan Dolan, whilst Gian van Veen makes his tournament debut in the night’s opening match against recent Pro Tour finalist Damon Heta.
By Harry Masterson
2023 MachineSeeker European Championship: Day 1 Results
Danny Noppert (12) 6-0 Andrew Gilding
Nathan Aspinall (13) 6-3 Ryan Searle (20)
Chris Dobey (32) 6-2 Dave Chisnall (1)
Rob Cross (5) 6-2 Dimitri van den Bergh (28)
Gerwyn Price (4) 6-1 Keane Barry (29)
Peter Wright (9) 6-5 Gabriel Clemens (24)
Michael Smith (8) 6-1 Raymond van Barneveld (25)
Stephen Bunting (17) 6-1 Martin Schindler (16)
Day 2 Order of Play:
Damon Heta (6) v Gian van Veen (27)
Krzysztof Ratajski (15) v Joe Cullen (18)
Josh Rock (11) v Daryl Gurney (22)
Jonny Clayton (10) v Jose de Sousa (23)
Dirk van Duijvenbode (7) v James Wade (26)
Luke Humphries (2) v Brendan Dolan (31)
Michael van Gerwen (3) v Madars Razma (30)
Ricardo Pietreczko (14) v Ross Smith (19)