Lukewarm Heta Sees Off Smash

Red Dragon Darts Logo


Number 10 seed Damon Heta rallied to a 3-1 victory over England’s Martin Lukeman to advance to the third round for the second time.

A slightly shaky opener from Heta was put to bed on double 10 after a rather sloppy 24 darts, but Lukeman soon levelled. ‘The Heat’ was still struggling on the doubles in leg 3, but managed to retain the lead, before three ton-plus scores from Lukeman helped him to 2-2. No such problems would dog the Aussie in the decider, as he sealed the set.

The second set proved a whole lot comfortable, Lukeman struggling to find his rhythm and make an impact in the scoring sections of the leg. He failed to pounce on some missed darts from Damon at double in leg 1, before finding himself way off the pace in leg 2.

It would take Heta 20 darts to seize set number 2, but an increasingly frustrated Lukeman once again squandered opportunities to nab a leg himself.

But the Australian was in a far from indomitable mood, hovering around the mid 80s in average, and a 17 dart break-of-throw for Lukeman helped show some promise of a comeback. ‘Smash’ very ably followed it up with a 14-darter, before a 110 out from Heta restored hopes of a quick clean-up job. But it wasn’t to be, Lukeman revived and a set away from catching the fiery Antipodean.

Heta was less than 1 in 3 on his doubles, but the momentum began to swing back towards him from an early stage in set 4, a 15 dart leg followed by a heavy-scoring 13 dart leg taking him to 2-0. A first trebleless visit in leg 3 was about the only blemish on his record, as he tidied up on double 8 to take what was a fairly below-par match all-round.

Improvements will likely be required for Damon Heta to get past either Josh Rock or Berry van Peer in round 3, but his part of the draw has now opened up. He is now the highest ranked player in his section of quarter 3 and could be eyeing up a last 8 showdown with Michael van Gerwen. Plenty of work to be done until then, of course.

“I feel like I have done the business,” Heta told Sky’s Abigail Davies following the match. “He didn’t turn up and so I felt like I needed to run away with it. I owned the stage and owned the match and found a way.”

“It was such a great crowd and I didn’t get too many boos!”

Kicking off the session, Luke Littler continued his dream start to the World Championship, as he ousted UK Open champion Andrew Gilding 3-1.

The 16-year-old may have had the eyes of the world on his young shoulders after last night’s outstanding dismissal of Christian Kist, but faced a tough challenge in the seeded Gilding.

The pair went toe-to-toe in set 1, Littler edging it in a decider 3-2, before taking set 2 by the same margin. ‘Goldfinger’ bit back in set 3 with a 3-0 victory in response, but he could hold off the wonderkid little longer, Littler tieing the match up in set 4 with a 3-1 win in games and sets.

Scott Williams picked up where Littler left off to defeat another former UK champion, the number 7 seed Danny Noppert, by a margin of 3 sets to 1. Noppie is the second biggest scalp of the tournament so far after Peter Wright last night.

Noppie kicked off his campaign with a Big Fish 170, but it was Williams who took the first set. The man from Boston didn’t look back, sealing set 2 in another decider amidst a flurry of missed doubles from an inefficient Noppert. After taking the opening leg of set 3, Williams nearly brought the house down, going 8 darts into a slightly unconventional nine-darter. After shaving treble 16 of 141, he nailed the treble 19 before going inside on double 18.

‘Shaggy’ would wrap that leg up in 12 darts, but would be made to wait until leg 4 of set 3 to seal the deal after the Dutchman rallied. In victory, Williams betters his run to the second round in 2023 and will now face either Martin Schindler or Jermaine Wattimena.

Last year’s semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens also eased to a 3-0 victory over Hong Kong star Man Lok Leung.

Leung impressed on debut against Gian Van Veen on Monday evening, but lacked the firepower that helped him to victory on that day as he quickly fell a set and then two behind, Clemens capping off both sets with ton-plus checkouts.

‘Gaga’ was heavy on the 140s all evening, hitting 13 en route to the win, but did have to face a fourth set when Leung put up a strong showing to win set 3 3-0. But opportunities proved hard to carve out after that point, and it took Clemens only 44 darts to complete the win and reach the next round.

Tomorrow’s action sees former Grand Slam champion Jose de Sousa and number 12 seed Dirk van Duijvenbode both feature in the afternoon session. Meanwhile, 2007 PDC World champion Raymond van Barneveld begins his 30th World Championship campaign after 7pm.

The tournament is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).

2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship
Thursday December 21
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round
Luke Littler 3-1 Andrew Gilding (3-2, 3-2, 0-3, 3-1)
Scott Williams 3-0 Danny Noppert (3-2, 3-2, 3-1)
Gabriel Clemens 3-1 Man Lok Leung (3-1, 3-2, 0-3, 3-0)
Damon Heta 3-1 Martin Lukeman (3-2, 3-0, 1-3, 3-0)

Friday December 22
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
4x Second Round
Brendan Dolan v Mickey Mansell
Jose de Sousa v Jeffrey de Graaf
Krzysztof Ratajski v Jamie Hughes
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Boris Krcmar

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round
Dimitri van den Bergh v Florian Hempel
Martin Schindler v Jermaine Wattimena
Raymond van Barneveld v Radek Szaganski
Chris Dobey v William O’Connor


Images: Simon O’Connor and PDC


Latest articles

Newsletter Signup

Previous article
Next article

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here