Comeback kids illuminate BetVictor World Matchplay in Blackpool

Dave Chisnall stormed back to defeat Michael Smith             Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Dave Chisnall stormed back to defeat Michael Smith Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Dave Chisnall reached his first televised quarter-final for a year with a miraculous comeback against Michael Smith in the BetVictor World Matchplay.

Chisnall looked set to crash out in the second round in Blackpool when Premier League finalist Smith raced into a 7-1 lead.

However, Chisnall fired his challenge with back-to-back finishes of 148 and 128 and landed 10 180s as he claimed 10 of the final 11 legs for an 11-8 success.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Chisnall. “I’ve had a few good comebacks before but I had nothing to lose at 7-1 and my doubles started going in.”

Joe Cullen won through to only his second TV quarter-final with a comfortable 11-3 defeat of Daryl Gurney.

Northern Ireland’s Gurney shared the opening six legs, only to see Cullen pull away with eight in a row at an average of 110 as he sealed his place in Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Cullen’s only previous televised quarter-final came at the 2016 UK Open, and the Yorkshireman admitted: “It’s a big moment in my career and it’s been a long time coming.”

Jeffrey de Zwaan continued his dream debut with an incredible 11-9 win over former finalist Adrian Lewis.

Fresh from his shock win over Michael van Gerwen in round one, De Zwaan took a commanding 6-2 lead.

With De Zwaan leading 10-7, he missed three match darts at double 20 before Lewis stepped in to capitalise with a 49 finish and go within a leg of catching the Dutch youngster.

In what turned out to be the final leg, Lewis put De Zwaan under immense pressure to level the tie but De Zwaan held his nerve to book a place in the quarter-finals where he will take on Chisnall.

“I’m still in dreamland, I am so happy with this win,” said De Zwaan.

“I think it was a fantastic game, we both played well.”

Gary Anderson came from 5-1 down to beat Raymond van Barneveld 11-9 as he continued his quest for a first World Matchplay title.

The two-time semi-finalist threw a magnificent 104.17 average, the highest of the tournament so far, to come out on top against a determined van Barneveld and will now face Cullen.

Anderson said: “When I was 5-1 behind I wasn’t nervous at all.

“I was kicking myself that I was behind and I knew I could get back into it.”