The William Hill £1.8m World Darts Championship is less than a week old - and already two of St Helens’ three representatives have been shown the exit door at the first hurdle
Eighth seed Dave Chisnall was whitewashed by Holland’s Vincent van der Voort last night (Sunday, Dec 17)) and former Lakeside champion Stephen Bunting went down 3-1 to World Youth Champion Dimitri den Berg two days earlier
Out of sorts Chizzy had no answer to his rival who lived up to his nickname, the Dutch Destroyer, by hitting six 180s and seven 140s in a 3-0 win.
Van der Voort, who celebrates his birthday today (Monday, Dec 18)), admitted that faced with such a long road of rehab on a back problem he thought about hanging up his darts.
“At one point I thought I better just give up,” he said.
“I’ve been practising and doing everything I can, sometimes four or five hours a day doing rehab, being dedicated just to play well.
“I was ready to retire from the sport but my wife said give it one more go because in two or three years you’ll regret it. I said I’d give it two years, try my hardest and if it’s not there pack in, but right now I think I’ll stay a little bit longer.”
New World Youth Champion Van den Bergh is aiming high after he produced a 104.17 average - the fifth best first round effort in tournament history - to see off Bunting, despite the former Lakeside champion hitting a 170 checkout.
No. 13 seed Michael Smith is now St Helens’ last hope of progressing in the competition and on Wednesday (Dec 20) faces Steve Lennon of the Republic of Ireland, ranked 83 in the world.