The European Tour got off to a flying start at Halle 39 in Hildesheim as Peter Wright continued his fantastic form to beat Michael van Gerwen 6-3 to take his £25,000 share of the £135,000 prize pot.
Wright’s win was the main story of the weekend but the supporting cast also produced some moments of magic, none more so than the debutantes.
In fact, Diogo Portela made history, as he became the first Brazilian to win a match on the PDC European Tour. The 28-year-old from Rio beat Martin Schindler 6-3 in their first round clash and showed some decent form, throwing three maximums and cleaning up a 109 finish. Portela was beaten by Kim Huybrechts in the second round.
Fellow debutant Paul Harvey was also very impressive, averaging 102.78 and hitting seven 180’s as he thumped Ryan Meikle 6-2 in the opening round. He eventually fell to Benito van de Pas in round two.
Michael Plooy’s was one of mixed emotions, as he plundered in finishes of 136 and 160 to lead 3-1 against Christian Kist, only to miss a match dart and lose the deciding leg, as Kist took out 106 for the match.
Elsewhere, Paul Nicholson hadn’t played a game on the European Tour for three years before this weekend and announced his return with a first round 6-2 victory over Ryan Searle. The former Players Championship winner couldn’t follow the victory up though as the Spaniard Cristo Reyes dispatched him 6-3 in the second round.
It has been a season of firsts so far for Gerwyn Price, as his remarkable transition from rugby league to professional darts continues. This weekend it was his first ever European Tour semi-final, as he thrashed Krzysztof Ratajski before beating Kevin Painter and Mensur Suljovic before falling to Peter Wright.
Alan Norris has been in great form of late but his title defensive ended prematurely, as he fell to Kim Huybrechts in the third round. Huybrechts lost in the quarter-final to eventual winner Peter Wright but will take some confidence from his good run, having been eliminated from the Premier League himself on Thursday.
Similarly, Jelle Klaasen bounced back from Premier League relegation in style, as he reached the semi-finals. The Cobra had seen his Premier League campaign blighted by tendonitis and was eliminated on Thursday following a defeat to Adrian Lewis.
He looked rejuvenated in Germany this weekend though, starting his run by thumping Mick McGowan 6-1. He then beat Premier League rival Dave Chisnall 6-3 before edging Benito van de Pas to reach the semi-finals, where he was eventually beaten 6-1 by van Gerwen.
The two stand-out performances of the weekend came from Ian White and MvG.
White produced the premier performance of the third round, as he beat Darren Johnson 6-2. The world number 14 averaged 104.68 and boasted a 60% checkout success rate. Mighty Mike bettered this, taking less than 10 minutes to beat Jermaine Wattimena 6-1, with an average of 111.51.
Finally, comeback of the weekend has to go to Darren Johnson, who came back from 5-1 down to beat world number five James Wade in the second round.
Johnson, who reached a Players Championship event final earlier this month, took advantage of some poor finishing from Wade poor finishing and claimed victory in style, with a clinical 90 checkout. This was to be the highlight of Johnson’s weekend though, as he lost to Ian White in the following round.
Richie Corner 6-2 Kirk Shepherd
Ryan Meikle 4-6 Paul Harvey
David Pallett 6-1 Veijo Viinikka
John Bowles 6-2 Stefan Stoyke
Ryan De Vreede 2-6 Krzysztof Ratajski
John Michael 2-6 Mick McGowan
Diogo Portela 6-3 Martin Schindler
Michael Plooy 5-6 Christian Kist
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Adam Hunt
Jan Dekker 6-5 Chris Quantock
Paul Nicholson 6-2 Ryan Searle
Mervyn King 6-5 Michael Rasztovits
Darren Johnson 6-1 Robert Allenstein
Jamie Bain 6-5 Chris Dobey
Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Bernd Roith
Kevin Painter 6-5 Stephen Burton
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Krzysztof Ratajski
Ian White 6-5 John Bowles
Jelle Klaasen 6-1 Mick McGowan
Jan Dekker 6-1 Michael Smith
Cristo Reyes 6-2 Paul Nicholson
Kim Huybrechts 6-1 Diogo Portela
Stephen Bunting 6-4 David Pallett
Alan Norris 6-4 Richie Corner
Darren Johnson 6-5 James Wade
Dave Chisnall 6-0 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Benito van de Pas 6-4 Paul Harvey
Peter Wright 6-5 Christian Kist
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Mervyn King
Kevin Painter 6-2 Simon Whitlock
Joe Cullen 6-2 Jamie Bain
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Cristo Reyes
Ian White 6-2 Darren Johnson
Jelle Klaasen 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Benito van de Pas 6-0 Jan Dekker
Peter Wright 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Alan Norris
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Kevin Painter
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Ian White
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Benito van de Pas
Peter Wright 6-2 Kim Huybrechts
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Mensur Suljovic
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
Peter Wright 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 6-3 Michael van Gerwen