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Day 5 darts review: Thornton the latest star to fall at Ally Pally

| 22.12.2015

Holly Thackeray | December 21, 2015

Day five reaction

  • Greek hero Michael saw off South African Scheffer in the final preliminary match
  • Norris sent sixth seed Thornton packing, in another evening of underdog triumph
  • Teenager De Zwaan took Smith to sudden death, but Bully Boy edged through
  • Wade whitewashed preliminary winner Michael 3-0

Can’t wait for more tungsten tussles? Check out our preview of tomorrow’s evening action.

Thornton falls at first hurdle, Smith scared, Wade sails through

These ‘shock’ first round exits of top players are becoming less surprising by the hour, as yet another PDC star fell on a truly thrilling day five.

It was recent World Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton’s turn to be frustrated, and incredibly whitewashed, this time, with tournament debutant Alan Norris illustrating his skills have transferred over seamlessly from the BDO.

As for the rest of the action, Michael Smith and Jeffrey de Zwaan arguably delivered the most exciting darting duel so far, taking it all the way to a sudden death decider, with Bully Boy winning the right to play Steve Beaton next. While, after sinking Warrick Scheffer, John Michael was dumped out by James Wade.

Warrick Scheffer 0-2 John Michael (1-3, 0-3)

Deadly Rose did not wilt in the heat and pressure of the Ally Pally stage, despite a few initials errors to allow Scheffer a first leg lead, but six recovered on the spin saw the Greek grab the game by the scruff of its neck to win two sets to nil.

The pick of crowd-pleaser Michael’s throws was easily a 161 on the bull, a checkout even upcoming opponent James Wade would have been proud of. A fitting finish for the final preliminary fixture, then.

Robert Thornton 0-3 Alan Norris (0-3, 2-3, 1-3)

Another match, another festive thrill, as Chuck knocked out the highest ranked player yet. Former BDO World Championship finalist Norris notched the first two 180s and the opening set against favorite The Thorn, who looked to have been caught off guard by his opponent’s blistering beginning.

2015 William Hill PDC World Championship - Day Five - Alexandra Palace

Number six seed and Scot Thornton came back after the break much pricklier, snatching back two legs and taking out double tops, but Chuck was unruffled and struck back with a timely maximum or two for a 2-0 lead. The Thorn again managed to draw blood in the third but it was not enough to halt Norris on his impressive PDC World Championship debut. Joe Murnan waits in the wings next for Chuck, who has taken to this biggest of stages with ease.

Michael Smith 3-2 Jeffrey de Zwaan (3-1, 0-3, 1-3, 3-1, 6-5)

What an absolute cracker. Customers and fans are in for a Christmas treat if this first round has been anything to go by, with this clash one of the closest and explosive to date.

Star in the making Smith looked a little stunned by Dutch youngster De Zwaan’s scintillating start, and the pair traded heavy blows during the first set. An excellent 11-dart leg stirred the crowd, before Bully Boy, who was one shot off a nine-darter, eventually took the advantage against his teenage challenger.

The Black Cobra proved much more lethal as he bit back for a two leg lead in the second, eventually going on to whitewash Smith 3-0. It looked as though Smith still had no reply in the third, as defiant De Zwann’s swagger saw him set to take that set in the same smooth manner, until two misses at the double allowed the Englishman back in to at least record a leg.

A previous deliverer of shock defeats on this oche himself, Bully Boy instead turned from hunter to hunted, and summoned all his style and skill to pull level, though The Black Cobra would not be shaken and forced a tense sudden death decider.

Smith fatefully won the right to throw first and dug deep for darting class to take him over the line, just. As for De Zwann, yet another fledgling talent to emerge from the woodwork, this arrowsmith is another to look out for in the future.

James Wade 3-0 John Michael (3-1, 3-2, 3-1)

Michael was certainly enjoying his night in the limelight, as the Greek delighted the crowd with a dance to the song Zorba the Greek, missing only plates for authenticity, in easily the best walk-on of this competition yet.

Though, when it came down to business, it was Wade who had the right moves, as The Machine claimed his first set with little resistance, despite missing a handful of doubles and trebles.

Deadly Rose quietly racked-up some decent scoring to stay competitive in the legs, but could not capture a set, with Wade icily efficient, if not spectacular, and averaging around 99 for most of the match. It was cruise control for The Machine, and perhaps he would have wished for a sterner test, though Michael did make him wait for the win.


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Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.