Blackpool wins for Betfred World Matchplay debutants

Debutants Luke Humphries and Callan Rydz knocked former champion James Wade and two-time semi-finalist Glen Durrant out of the Betfred World Matchplay in Sunday’s afternoon session in Blackpool.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 6:33 pm
Updated Sunday, 18th July 2021, 6:36 pm

Humphries gained revenge for March’s loss to Wade in the UK Open final with a nerveless display as the former world youth champion averaged 101 in a 10-3 defeat of the 2007 winner.

Humphries raced into leads of 2-0 and 6-1 to take control of the contest, with Wade finishing 148 to hit back, but the youngster went on to close out an impressive victory at the Winter Gardens.

“It was a very tough draw,” said Humphries.

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“James played well in the UK Open final but it wasn’t about revenge - he didn’t play his best darts there.

“I got in front of him early on and punished his mistakes. I felt that there was a lot more to give and I had a few slack darts, but my doubles were good at the right times and I can’t be too critical of myself.”

Humphries added: “I’ve been working hard and I think it’s paying off.

“This is just the start, I feel like there are better performances to come. I just seem at home on the big stage and I produce my best darts.”

Durrant became the first seeded player to exit this year’s event, losing 10-6 to debutant Rydz as the two-time semi-finalist’s struggles continued.

Durrant exited the Premier League without a win earlier this year, and found himself 5-0 down to Rydz after missing doubles in each of the first five legs.

Double 10 in leg six saw Durrant get off the mark, to the happiness of a supportive Winter Gardens crowd, and he also finished 90, tops and a 13-darter in pulling back to 7-4.

Rydz took out 106 and 92 as he moved towards victory, and the emerging talent from Bedlington regained his nerve after three initial missed match darts to close out the victory on double 10.

Rydz will now take on 2019 World Matchplay winner Rob Cross, who overcame a tough test against Ross Smith to progress by a 10-8 scoreline.

Debutant Smith showed no Winter Gardens nerves with legs of 14, 14 and 13 legs as he took an early 3-1 lead, only to see Cross storm back with six legs in a row.

Smith pulled back to 7-6, 8-7 and 9-8, but Cross crucially denied him the chance to level as double 16 saw him close out the win with a 100 average.

Earlier, Krzysztof Ratajski progressed beyond the first round for a third successive year by defeating Brendan Dolan 10-4, producing the first ton-plus average of the tournament.

Poland’s Ratajski was in ruthless mood as he claimed seven of the first nine legs, all being won in between 11 and 15 darts.

Dolan took out 121 as he threatened a mini-fightback, but missed doubles allowed Ratajski to move 9-4 up and double five ensured his spot in the last 16.

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