Scotland and England cross the World Cup of Darts, but Australia only lacks nine darts

Scotland and England cross the World Cup of Darts, but Australia only lacks nine darts

Scotland’s reigning champions, Peter Wright and John Henderson, opened their Cazoo World Cup of Darts title defence with an easy victory over Hong Kong, while top seeds England produced the performance of the evening in Frankfurt.

Hong Kong’s Lee impressed on his big-stage debut, but the 2015 quarter-finalists were unable to maintain their promising start, and two 14-dart legs helped Scotland reel off the final four legs without reply.

On a night when all of the seeded nations advanced, Wright and Henderson put on a professional show to defeat debutants Lok Yin Lee and Ho Tung Ching 5-1.

“They were very dangerous opponents,” said Henderson. “We didn’t know what to expect, but I believe Peter’s experience got us through there.

“We play with pride, we’re representing our country and we are here to win it.”

“I don’t see why we cannot win it again. I’m playing with one of the best players in the world, if not the best!

English duo Michael Smith and James Wade impressed at the Eissporthalle, averaging almost 99 to dispatch the capable Czech pairing of Adam Gawlas and Karel Sedlacek 5-1.

Smith and Wade, featuring as a partnership for the first time, showed no sign of early nerves by drawing first blood with a 12-darter, courtesy of an 86 finish on the bull by Wade.

The left-hander provided an effective foil for Smith, who fired in three of England’s four 180s, and the Premier League duo reeled off the final three legs to advance in emphatic style. “I am playing with the best player in the world at the moment. I was buzzing up there,” said Wade, making his third World Cup appearance.

“All I have to do is back him up, and when Michael was producing, I was also scoring, so that was reassuring for me. “I’ve not clicked with a player as much as I’ve clicked with Michael. We have connected and I believe we’re one of the teams to beat.”

Smith and Wade will play Latvia in the last 16, after Madars Razma and Nauris Gleglu posted an impressive 91 average in easing past Hungary 5-1. Australian stars Simon Whitlock and Damon Heta came agonisingly close to landing the first pairs nine-darter in World Cup history during their 5-2 win over Lithuania.

“It would mean the world to me to win this,” said Whitlock, one of four World Cup ever-presents. “If we could finally lift this trophy for Australia it would be amazing. “I’ve got a great partner in Damon, he’s overtaken me in the rankings and I’m so proud of him. He’s brilliant, a great guy and a great dart player.

Heta returned to clean up a 10-darter, and a 117 finish from Whitlock in leg four inspired the fifth seeds to a routine 5-2 success. The opening two legs were shared, before the Australians opened up leg three with back-to-back 180s, only for Whitlock to wire double 18 for a spectacular 141 checkout.

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