2016 Coral UK Open 1st and 2nd round preview: Thornton the star name
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | March 2, 2016
The 2016 edition of the Coral UK Open darts event is finally upon us, where the top 96 professionals in the Order of Merit, as well as 32 Rileys Amateur Qualifiers, battle it out for the prestigious televised trophy.
Likened to the football FA Cup, due to the differing quality of competitors, no seedings and the fact the top players enter at the third round, the tournament always seems to carve up a shock or two. None less so than Phil Taylor crashing at the hands of Aden Kirk in 2014.
Read on below for our general preview of the first two rounds in the afternoon session, before the 32 big-guns take their place on the oche in the evening against mystery challengers.
First round preview
The strength in depth at the Coral UK Open and PDC darts in general has certainly improved year by year.
As, the first round of the 2016 edition sees a former runner-up, a semi-finalist, two World Youth Championship finalists and stars that have reached the semis of other major events among the players ranked 65-96 in the UK Open Order of Merit.
Wes Newton kicks off the action on the Main Stage and, although his form has dramatically dipped in the last couple of years, knows that this is a competition he tends to do well in.
The Warrior, who has never gone out at the first stage here in 12 previous attempts and reached the final in 2011, takes on the relatively unknown Mark Cox, and is odds-on at 4/9 with Coral to beat him for a third time in as many meetings.
Former World Cup of Darts runner-up and European Championship semi-finalist Ronny Huybrechts (1/6), meanwhile, is up against another qualifier in Mark Rice (7/2) next on the same stage.
Two veteran Smiths, ‘Pie Man’ Andy and 2000 PDC World Championship semi-finalist Dennis, complete the first round fixtures on the Main Stage.
Both have tough tests, though, with Dennis Smith up against 2005 and 2006 quarter-finalist Alex Roy (both 5/6), although he has beaten him four times in five clashes. While, Andy (4/5 slight favourite) duels with decent Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena (10/11).
Stage Two sees a few stars too, as Sweden’s Magnus Caris (2/5), who reached the BDO World Championship and World Masters semis in the early 1990s, takes on Jason Mold (7/4). But, not before 2015 Grand Slam of Darts participant Andy Boulton (1/4) tussles with Lee Grimshaw (11/4).
Nathan Aspinall (8/15) has the chance to show what he’s made of, after reaching the most recent World Youth final where he lost to Max Hopp, but goes up against experienced Irishman Mick McGowan (11/8).
Aspinall will be perhaps hoping to avoid the route former World Youth champion Arron Monk went down, having not reached the heights other finalists of the event have achieved such as Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen, Keegan Brown and Rowby-John Rodriguez.
But Monk (1/2) will be present for the 2016 Coral UK Open, and goes up against Scottish qualifier Stewart Rattray (6/4).
Other standout names from the opening round include 2006 semi-finalist Alan Tabern (4/9) against young Harry Ward (13/8), and two players with movie star names Paul ‘Crocodile Dundee’ Hogan (4/9) and Daniel Day (not Lewis), who is 13/8 to win, in a potentially epic duel.
Elsewhere, Darren Webster (1/7), Jan Dekker (1/4) and Dean Winstanley (1/5) have the potential to go far this tournament, but first must see off respective opponents Lee Morris (4/1), Andrew Davidson (11/4) and John Scott (10/3).
Second round preview
Players ranked 33-64 in the UK Open Order of Merit will then begin their quests in the second round, which features the likes of Robert Thornton, Rowby-John Rodriguez, Kevin Painter, Brendan Dolan, Robbie Green, Andrew Gilding and Cristo Reyes.
Of those seven, though, only young Austrian Rodriguez (8/15) and 2014 BDO World Championship semi-finalist Green (1/2) know for sure who they are facing, Lee Evans (11/8) and Yordi Meeuwisse respectively (6/4). Little John is a more tempting 13/2 to win 6-2.
Former champion (in 2012) and current Premier League star The Thorn will take on the winner of Monk v Rattray, while last year’s semi-finalist and once a shock third round winner in 2011 Andrew Gilding will meet with one of Ryan De Vreede (6/5) or Nathan Derry (8/13).
Spaniard Reyes could have a tough tie on his hands if Dekker beats Davidson, as will Kevin Painter if Winstanley defeats Scott. But Dolan is expected to see off either of Steven Rose or Scott Marsh.
Elsewhere, former great Mark Dudbridge (8/11), 2002 BDO Masters winner and 2005 PDC World Championship runner-up, is in fine fettle ahead of his head-to-head with Joey Ten Berge (evens), after hitting a nine-darter in qualifying.
Once the first two rounds on Friday afternoon are played, the game’s top 32 in the order take to the oche, where they could meet anyone ranging from a qualifier to fellow big-gun.
The likes of former champions Phil Taylor (11/2 outright tournament chance), Raymond van Barneveld (25/1), James Wade (28/1), Adrian Lewis (11/1) and title holder Michael van Gerwen (11/8) all enter at this stage, in their bid to lift the UK Open trophy.
It also just happens to be the 10th anniversary of Barney’s maiden UK Open win, in his first year in the PDC, so read our tribute to the crowd favourite who is still going strong.
Read on for the full tournament draw and schedule…
2016 Coral UK Open draw and schedule
Friday, March 4th
Afternoon Session (11:45-17:00)
Mark Cox v Wes Newton
Ronny Huybrechts v Mark Rice
Dennis Smith v Alex Roy
Andy Smith v Jermaine Wattimena
Jeffrey de Graaf v William O’Connor/Mark Jodrill
Lee Evans v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Arron Monk/Stewart Rattray v Robert Thornton
Kevin Painter v John Scott/Dean Winstanley
Andy Boulton v Lee Grimshaw
William O’Connor v Mark Jodrill
Jason Molds v Magnus Caris
Mick McGowan v Nathan Aspinall
Matt Clark v Mike De Decker
Joey Ten Berge v Mark Dudbridge
Brendan Dolan v Steven Rose/Scott Marsh
Darron Brown v Ryan Harrington/Glen McGrandle
Kevin Dowling v Dick van Dijk
Curtis Turner v Jonathan Worsley
Arron Monk v Stewart Rattray
Barry Lynn v Dean Stewart
Gary Stone/Johnny Haines v Jamie Caven
Andy Brown/Mark Frost v Mark Barilli/Darren Layden
Yordi Meeuwisse v Robbie Green
Jay Foreman v Ronny Huybrechts/Mark Rice
Ben Green v Jason Hogg
Michael McFall v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Harry Ward v Alan Tabern
Daniel Day v Paul Hogan
Wayne Jones v Andy Jenkins
Chris Jones/Paul Milford v Jason Heaver/Steve Maish
Harry Ward/Alan Tabern v Josh Payne/Dave Parletti
Darren Webster/Lee Morris v Scott Dale
Mark Barilli v Darren Layden
Ian McFarlane v Jonny Clayton
Ryan De Vreede v Nathan Derry
Darren Webster v Lee Morris
Richie Corner v Berry van Peer
Dennis Smith/Alex Roy v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Barry Lynn/Dean Stewart v Brett Claydon
Jan Dekker/Andrew Davidson v Cristo Reyes
Andy Brown v Mark Frost
Paul Whitworth v Joe Murnan
Jan Dekker v Andrew Davidson
Jason Heaver v Steve Maish
Les Delderfield/Mark Wilson v Matthew Edgar
David Pallett v Jason Marriott
Ian McFarlane/Jonny Clayton v James Wilson
Mark Cox/Wes Newton v Ken MacNeil/Rob Cross
Les Delderfield v Mark Wilson
John Scott v Dean Winstanley
Chris Jones v Paul Milford
Steven Rose v Scott Marsh
Paul Whitworth/Joe Murnan v Ritchie Edhouse
Michael McFall/Dirk van Duijvenbode v Peter Hudson
Andy Smith/Jermaine Wattimena v Kevin Dowling/Dick van Dijk
Jason Molds/Magnus Caris v Ben Green/Jason Hogg
Gary Stone v Johnny Haines
Ken MacNeil v Rob Cross
Ryan Harrington v Glen McGrandle
Josh Payne v Dave Parletti
Curtis Turner/Jonathan Worsley v Andy Boulton/Lee Grimshaw
Andrew Gilding v Ryan De Vreede/Nathan Derry
Daniel Day/Paul Hogan v Tony Newell
Mick McGowan/Nathan Aspinall v Stuart Kellett
Evening Session (19:00-23:00)
Saturday, March 5th
Afternoon Session (12:30-17:00)
Evening Session (19:00-23:00)
Sunday, March 6th
Afternoon Session (12:45-17:00)
Evening Session (19:00-23:00)
First round – Best of 11 legs
Second round – Best of 11 legs
Third round – Best of 17 legs
Fourth round – Best of 17 legs
Fifth round – Best of 17 legs
Quarter-finals – Best of 19 legs
Semi-finals – Best of 19 legs
Final – Best of 21 legs
Fifth Round Losers £5k
Fourth Round Losers £3k
Third Round Losers £1.5k