Springer’s 9 Sparks Superleague Into Life

Red Dragon Darts

Niko Springer lit up the opening day of the 2023 Hylo PDC Europe Super League with an astonishing nine-darter, as Lukas Wenig and Dragutin Horvat enjoyed perfect starts to the round-robin phase on Tuesday.

The latest staging of the PDC Europe Super League got underway in Bitburg on Tuesday, as Germany’s top stars compete for a place at the 2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship.

The 24-player field are competing in four groups of six across the first two days of action, with the top four players from each group progressing to the last 16 following the conclusion of Wednesday’s play.

Springer – a runner-up to Florian Hempel in last year’s tournament – stole the headlines on an action-packed opening day, achieving perfection to wrap up victory in a staggering Group D clash against Manfred Bilderl.

Rising star Springer followed up successive maximums with a sublime 141 checkout to complete a 6-3 success, despite dropping his dart just before aiming at double 12.

Bilderl was also sat on a potential nine-darter following visits of 171 and 174, but he wasn’t afforded an opportunity as Springer rounded off a combined perfect leg, featuring a remarkable sequence of 15 perfect darts.

Springer averaged almost 103 in his victory over Bilderl, and he posted another ton-topping average in his 6-1 demolition of Markus Kessler, finishing the day with four wins from his five Group D encounters.

His solitary defeat came against two-time World Championship qualifier Nico Kurz, who won through their deciding-leg tie to finish the opening day level with the 23-year-old on eight points.

However, experienced duo Wenig and Horvat are the only players to boast a 100% record heading into Day Two, as they lead the way in Groups A and C respectively.

Wenig – a two-time finalist on the Winmau Challenge Tour in 2023 – produced his performance of the day to deny Players Championship 21 runner-up Daniel Klose, averaging 102 in an impressive 6-3 win.

The 29-year-old made a flawless start to Group A after also overcoming Marco Obst, Michael Klonhammer, Michael Hurtz and Kai Gotthardt, with the latter in second spot with four wins from a possible five.

Meanwhile, Horvat won five consecutive matches in Group C, edging out two-time PDC title winner Max Hopp in a high-quality contest to begin his bid for an Alexandra Palace return next month.

Hopp is also poised to progress to the last 16 after winning his other four Group C ties, which included a dramatic deciding-leg victory over Arno Merk, where he converted a 113 checkout to prevail.

Elsewhere, Tour Card Holder Pascal Rupprecht occupies top spot in Group B, winning four of his five matches to overhaul the returning Andree Welge.

Rupprecht averaged over 96 in wins against David Schlichting, Liam Maendl-Lawrance and Marcel Gerdon, and also accounted for Paul Krohne following a 6-2 reverse against Welge.

Welge finished the day on six points alongside Gerdon, who delivered the performance of the afternoon to dispatch Krohne 6-1, averaging 108.97 and registering winning legs of 13, 12, 13, 13, 17 and 13 darts.

The group stage action continues on Wednesday, and following the conclusion of the day’s play, the bottom two players in each group will be eliminated.

Day Three will then feature the last 16 stage, before the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final take place on a bumper Finals Day, which will be broadcast live on SPORT1 and PDCTV.


Image: PDC

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