The Heat Is On and A Hollywood Start

Red Dragon Darts

Australia’s No. 14 seed Damon Heta impressed many as he got his World Matchplay campaign of to a strong start and got the better of a much favoured Josh Rock by 10 legs to 5.

Heta arrived on stage in an Aussie cap, armed with a cricket bat, keen to stir emotions in the crowd.

But perhaps he was left unable to knock away the critics, the antics only building resentment amongst the Blackpool crowd.

And it was something which Josh Rock was quick to capitalise on, moving to a 1-0 lead.

The Heat had to accept that the introductions were behind him, and it showed no signs of cursing his match, as he reeled off three legs in a row to lead 3-1.

Rock won the last leg before the break, before taking another in scrappy circumstances.

A 16 dart stand of a very different kind to that seen at the crease helped Heta to 4-3 after a Rock hold, soon made 5-3.

Some would tighten and lose confidence after receiving such an antagonistic welcome on arrival, but not Damon, who in 13 and 15 darts was lunging to the finish line.

A 102 would not go for Rocky, favoured by many for a serious run in this competition. But the gap widened instead to 5 legs and a commanding 8-3 lead.

More of the class which has defined the Northern Irishman’s early career arrived in the following leg, with a stylish 125 on tops.

But another ton plus out, the second in two legs, put Heta one away at 9-4.

Josh may not have had things his way in the match, but he was determined not to go down without a fight. A 112 out duly followed to pile the pressure on Damon.

Things remained tight in the next leg, but a 168 from Damon Heta helped to set up an effort at double 8. It went, to make it 10-5 and the match.

But, as Heta will know, the Matchplay is more like a gruelling Test series than a 20 over match.

“The Pro Tours are a long stint with 7 matches in a day so I really feel like that prepares me well for this tournament,” Damon told Darts World after the match.

“It’s such a tough competition though with the top 16 in the world and top 16 on the Pro Tour, so anyone really can win it.”

A Hollywood Begining:

Hollywood Chris Dobey pulled off an exceptional Matchplay Sunday victory over James Wade, winning 10-8.

Dobey was not in the mood to hang around, easing to 1-0 before knocking in two maximums in leg 2.

Wade clawed himself back into the match in leg 3 but a blitz of four legs on the bounce with little response from Wade left Hollywood already past the halfway line.

The arraz began to click for James in the following leg, a 14 darter proving the antidote.

A phenomenal leg against the throw left tops after just 9 darts, a clean-up job on double 10 after just 11 helping the tables turn in his favour.

Now at 6-3, Dobey had to find something else, the edge required to turn a promising lead into a commanding grip.

Despite some slightly better stuff in the next leg, Wade continued the comeback charge to draw back to 6-4 at the break.

Revitalised, it was Hollywood returned, after the breather, in fine fettle, eventually edging out leg 11 in 16 darts to lead 7-4.

A 121 from Wade was just what he needed and what he does best.

When crunch doubles came calling in the subsequent leg, neither had a response. Dobey mustered something in the end, a double 5 to put him within 2 legs at 8-6 up.
A maximum from 200 to go in the next leg left a double 10 beckoning for Wade, pinned with ease.

With Wade on 200 again, Chris had 141 on the board. He may have chosen to play the percentages, but saw through on his gutsy effort to take it out and go to 9-6.

He then went 4 darts into a perfect leg, and then had to see things through with Wade still breathing down his neck.

Shakiness arrived on doubles for Dobey, leaving Wade to pull back again.

On the throw this time, some steady scoring helped to put the man from Bedlington in position once again. A missed opportunity at 148 left Wade sitting on a faultlessly delivered double 10 again.

The pressure may have been growing heavy for Dobey, but he ensured he had a fighting chance in leg 18.

An uncharacteristically missed chance at double 20 from Wade gifted Dobey a firm chance at 80, taking it and the match. Another seed falls in a first Blackpool victory for Chris.

Speaking to Darts World after the match, Dobey said: “You should never doubt yourself and you have to back your own ability.”

“It is just doing it when it matters and so to close that game out in two darts is something special.”


Images: Taylor Lanning / PDC

Grab a copy of the 50th Anniversary Darts World 581 here or the new Issue 583 here :

The Darts World 50 limited edition dart set is available to order (Here) in your choice of pack/bundle.Also Available Free: Darts World Extra 9 – Gezzy NiceDarts World Magazine‘s fantastic value bundles:
Subscribe or purchase your copy


Latest articles

Newsletter Signup

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here