Auckland Darts Masters Day 1 first round: PDC stars take on Oceanic underdogs
Holly Thackeray | June 16, 2016
Auckland Darts Masters 2016
- Friday, June 17th – Sunday, June 19th
- First round session from: 08:00 BST
- Trusts Stadium, Auckland
- Shown in UK on ITV4 from 18:30 BST
Can lucky Lewis hit Auckland Jackpot again?
The globe trotting 2016 PDC World Series of Darts tour resumes in Auckland, New Zealand, after a brief but brilliant break for the World Cup of Darts which saw England’s decorated darting duo Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis retain their crown.
Gary Anderson surged to success in the most recent Dubai Darts Masters, with a riveting defeat of Michael van Gerwen, and now attention turns to next arrowsmith stage Auckland, before heading to Shanghai, China later in the month.
Before that East Asian excursion however, Lewis returns to this Kiwi oche aiming to retain the title after vanquishing Raymond van Barneveld 11-10 in a thrilling 2015 final.
The second edition of this tournament stretches across the weekend from Friday, June 17th to Sunday 19th, with the first round showcasing eight of the PDC’s best, brightest and biggest names against as many regional Oceanic qualifiers.
— Auckland Darts (@AucklandDarts) June 16, 2016
Jackpot opens his defence of the inaugural trophy against debutant Stuart Leach, while The Power and Peter Wright battle more familiar faces in PDC World Darts Championship stars Rob Szabo and Warren Parry respectively, with more intriguing encounters along the way.
So, read on for our thoughts on the fixtures and top betting tips for this fascinating first round…
— Auckland Darts (@AucklandDarts) June 16, 2016
James Wade v Ken Moir
Wade raises the competition curtain against newcomer Moir, who is a real Kiwi unknown quantity. Customers can back the marksman at 7/1 to therefore surprise his opponent with The Machine malfunctioning of late.
A finalist in the 2015 Perth Masters, Wade should still pip his less familiar peer to the post at an odds-on 1/16, but with the prospect of then facing Van Gerwen in the next the round, the Englishman will really be required to up his performances.
Adrian Lewis v Stuart Leach
Fresh from sinking Van Gerwen to help England hold onto their World Cup of Darts trophy, and celebrating wildly to boot, Lewis (1/25 match favourite) looks to be on top of the world and in bullish form.
With silverware to defend, Jackpot should relish this rumble against a newcomer and is expected to fly out of the blocks at the scene of his last televised solo triumph.
“It was fantastic last year,” Jackpot stated. “In any new country you go to, you want your name on the trophy straight away so to do that was a brilliant achievement.
“Hopefully my form’s picking up and I’ll make sure I’m right. I’ll be fighting and hopefully I can win it again.”
Lewis is a value 16/1 to retain his crown in New Zealand, and 11/4 to dispatch 139th ranked BDO man Leach with a whitewash, while back in April Jackpot displayed his prowess with a Premier League nine-darter and is 33/1 for another here.
— Auckland Darts (@AucklandDarts) June 15, 2016
Peter Wright v Warren Parry
Truck driver Parry is a seasoned veteran himself, so will have no qualms about wrestling with Wright and is 5/1 to cause a shock on home soil, if the Scottish star lacks bite.
Regularly seen at big events such as the World Cup of Darts and PDC World Championships in the past, Snakebite should certainly be kept on his toes by plucky Parry, with odds of 4/1 for a 6-3 scoreline in the Scot’s favour.
As a 2015 Japan Darts Masters finalist, quirky cult hero Wright has been unlucky in these World Series events before but should still sail into the quarter-finals, despite coming in off the back of a lacklustre Premier League season. Expect a little extra venom here though, as Snakebite has a point to prove after missing out on Scotland’s World Cup team, so has a 14/1 price for outright glory.
Raymond van Barneveld v Cody Harris
Punters may remember Kiwi hero Harris (3/1 for a match upset) as an emergent talent from the World Cup of Darts, as a New Zealand team also featuring Parry crashed out in the first round after almost giving star-studded Scotland a shock.
Barney did beat Harris here 6-3 on his path to the 2015 final, so the younger man clearly knows how to capture a few legs versus the veteran, and there are odds of 4/1 for a Van Barneveld victory by 6-3 again.
It still looks a stretch for the Dutch (22/1 to go one better this year and take the title) great to be ousted this early, but as Van Barneveld rockets from hot-to-cold, and brilliant to sub-par so easily, he could well concede a couple here.
Dave Chisnall v Clinton Bridge
Chizzy (1/16 for the spoils) looked very much on his game in Dubai, where he thumped Lewis 10-1 before being overcome by MvG in the semi-finals, despite a decent performance.
English arrowsmith Chisnall will still have to beware Aussie dark horse Bridge, however, as the left-handed thrower can count Van Barneveld among his scalps in the Sydney Darts Masters. So, punters can plump for Bridge to provide some resistance but a 6-4 result (7/1) still in Chizzy’s favour.
Phil Taylor v Rob Szabo
Wellington native Szabo is still a wily force on the New Zealand darts scene aged 50, and could dig his heels in against three-time Sydney Darts Masters champion Taylor, who is he is still an unlikely 10/1 to sink.
Savvy Szabo, ranked 88th in the PDC, is no pushover though and should at least put The Power under a little pressure, as the English arrow legend (heavily odds-on 1/33 match favourite) takes to the stage with designs on another World Series Event success (9/2).
Taylor traditionally does very well on these tours (though, what tournament does he have a bad record in?) and looks tasty at 10/3 to take the spoils 6-2 with little fuss, eyeing a potential quarters clash against countryman Lewis.
Michael van Gerwen v Damon Heta
One of the most interesting aspects of this Auckland draw, is that it gives viewers across the world the chance to take a look at lesser known local lights, and three-time Dubai Darts Masters champion MvG (even-money favourite to win the tournament with Coral) faces another one of these such underdogs in his opener.
Aussie och hopeful Heta won the DPA Australian Singles Championship to book his spot here, so should not be trifled with, especially by world number one Mighty Mike. Menacing and dominant though the Dutch dynamo may be, he almost came unstuck against ambitious outsiders in both the 2016 PDC World Darts Championship and recent Gibraltar Darts Trophy, highlighting a tendency to be complacent.
Van Gerwen (1/66 for an opening victory) did go on to claim that silverware in rocky British Overseas Territory Gibraltar, however, and should of course have too much in the tank to stumble here, which is why Coral make Green Machine 2/1 to win 6-1.
Gary Anderson v Bernie Smith
Can in-form Anderson make it two World Series successes on the trot after triumph in Dubai? Odds of 7/2 say so as The Flying Scotsman (1/25 for the match) seeks to add further silverware to his impressive haul.
Having slain Van Gerwen in the United Arab Emirates, understated oche idol Anderson will fear nobody, and should come out of his clash with Kiwi qualifying star Smith unscathed, with an 11/4 price to whitewash his opening opponent.
Smith (8/1 to win) regularly racks up regional semi-final appearances and claimed the New Zealand Masters title as his own in 2008, so wills till hope to not be completely bowled over by his Scottish foe, who is prone to the odd slip.
Coral’s top tip: Back Barney at 4/1 to beat Harris 6-3.