Day 2 of the World Matchplay started off with the same kind of excitement that we had day 1, with Paul Nicholson needing to go to 12-10 to defeat a very game Colin Osbourne, needing 5 or 6 match darts to finally seal the deal. However, after that, it was beatdown city, as Mark Walsh ran a subpar Dave Chisnall 10-3 next, Raymond van Barneveld overcame leaving his darts in Holland to destroy Steve Brown 10-3 while averaging 100 for much of the match, and in the middle of those two, James Wade whitewashed Jamie Caven 10-0.
Chisnall prevented a sweep on the day, but it was a profitable day to the tune of +2.33 units. Day one is well in the past, so let’s get back to the grindstone, here is my abbreviated preview of day 3, forgive the short length, I’m short on time and today’s games are short on intrigue.
Match #1: #16 Wayne Jones vs. Scott Rand
Who cares? Seriously, I don’t give a damn about this match. Nobody does. If you want to watch the darts tomorrow, start at 3, not 2. Let this one go.
Prediction: I don’t watch (Jones 10-7 just for fun) (No bet)
Match #2: #9 Mervyn King (-225) vs. Justin Pipe
Behold the king! The Mervyn King! Everyone’s favorite bad boy of darts (before the rise of Paul Nicholson), the talented but unpopular and temperamental King returns to the big stage to face the methodical (aka boring because he throws so slowly) Justin Pipe. Pipe has had some success in the last few months, including a 9 darter on the floor last month, but this will be his first match at the Winter Gardens. King has a over .500 record at Blackpool in the Matchplay, albeit with two first round losses, but King is just a cut above Pipe, actually a few cuts above. This line should be higher. Bet King with confidence.
Prediction: King 10-5 Pipe (2 units at -225)
Match #3: Phil “The Power” Taylor (-1600) vs. Mark Hylton
Mark Hylton reached the final 8 in the UK Open, losing a good match to Denis Ovens 10-6. His opponent is a 1-16 favorite. Because he’s The Power, the 15 time champion of the world, the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. You got a spare $1600? Make it $1700. Bet it on Taylor. What, is Phil Taylor going to lose in the first round? That would be ludicrous!
Prediction: Taylor 10-4 Hylton (1 unit at -1600)
Match #4: #8 Wes “The Warrior” Newton (-200) vs. Andy “The Pieman” Smith
Andy Smith’s nickname is The Pieman. It is quite possibly the most fitting nickname on earth. He looks exactly the way someone called The Pieman should look. Smith, like Hylton, is in a good run of form. But Newton is a beast, and while Newton is 0-4 at the Matchplay, he’s never been in the form he’s in now, coming off a UK Open runner up finish. I like Newton a lot, I’m not afraid of no Pieman
Prediction: Newton 10-5 Smith (2 units at -200)
Enjoy the darts everyone!