By Alex Moss
15 DECEMBER 2016 • 11:36PM
Gary Anderson began the defence of his William Hill World Darts Championship with a straight sets win against PDPA Qualifier Mark Frost on the opening night at Alexandra Palace.
The reigning world champion dropped just two legs as he won 3-0 in sets against the world number 76 Frost, who was making his debut in the tournament.
The 2015 and 2016 champion was far from his best in the opening set, averaging just 79, but Anderson punished missed doubles from Frost to win it in three legs.
Anderson raced through the gears in the second set, with a 112 average helping him to another whitewash set, before Frost threatened a comeback by winning two of the first three legs after the restart.
After a 91 checkout got the Scot back on level terms in the set, Anderson hit tops in the fifth leg to complete a straight sets win and book his place in the second round.
Michael Smith battled back from 1-0 and 2-1 down in sets to edge past Ricky Evans 3-2 in a fast-paced first round clash.
Evans took out 120 in the opening leg of the match on his way to winning the first set 3-1, before 11th seed Smith reversed the scoreline in the next set to get back on level terms.
All five legs in the third set went with throw as Evans regained the lead in sets at 3-2, but Smith fought back in style by reeling off six legs on the spin to advance into the last 32.
Bully Boy’s six-leg winning streak included checkouts of 143 and 94, the latter of those on the bullseye, to finish the match with a 96.78 average.
Kevin Painter also rattled off six legs on the bounce as he knocked out 29th seed Jamie Caven 3-1 in the first game of the tournament.
Caven took the first leg on double 18 before Painter fought back with four consecutive legs to go 1-0 up in both sets and legs.
Missed doubles in the next three legs proved costly for the Artist, as Caven went on his own winning streak, claiming five legs on the spin to level the match up in sets and go 2-0 up in the third set.
Painter, who qualified for this year’s tournament after Kyle Anderson withdrew due to visa problems, regained the initiative by winning the next three legs to steal the third set 3-2.
The former World Championship finalist then continued his hot streak in the fourth set, with a 124 checkout sealing a 3-0 win in the set and a spot in the second round.
Jamie Lewis ended his losing record at the Alexandra Palace with a hard fought 3-2 win over Mick McGowan.
The Welshman had lost all four (one preliminary round, three first round) of his previous matches in the World Championship, but stopped the rot with a deciding set win against the Irish qualifier.
The 30th seed took sets one and three in straight legs as he established leads of 1-0 and 2-1, with McGowan winning the second and fourth sets to force a final set.
Leading 2-1 in the fifth set, Lewis took out 108 on double 16 for a 108 checkout to end his wait for a first win on the Alexandra Palace stage.
Stats of the Day
- 2.16 – Ricky Evans took just 2.16 seconds to hit a 180 in the third leg of the third set during his first round defeat against Michael Smith (Sky Sports)
- Jamie Lewis finished 11 out of 12 checkouts of less than 100 on his way to beating Mick McGowan in the first round (Burton DeWitt)
- 34.39 – Mick McGowan’s improvement in three-dart average compared from sets one to two in his defeat against Jamie Lewis. McGowan averaged 68.19 in the first set before averaging 102.58 in the second set (Burton DeWitt)
2017 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play
Thursday December 15 (7pm)
Jamie Caven (29) 1-3 Kevin Painter
Jamie Lewis (30) 3-2 Mick McGowan
Gary Anderson (2) 3-0 Mark Frost
Michael Smith (11) 3-2 Ricky Evans