John Part hit a nine-dart finish in defeat to Mark Webster on the opening night of the Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay on Saturday, as World Champion Adrian Lewis edged past Kevin Painter in a classic at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
Canadian ace Part, a three-time World Champion, became only the third player behind Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld to achieve a nine-darter in the 18-year history of the World Matchplay.
Part is now in line to claim a £10,000 bonus should no other player hit a nine-darter during the remaining eight days of the tournament in Blackpool, although that would be double his prize money of £5,000 after he went on to lose 10-8 to Mark Webster.
Webster capitalised on a string of missed doubles by Part in taking a 7-1 lead, and although the nine-darter came as Part hit back to trail only 8-7 at one stage, the Welshman held his nerve to take the win.
“For a player who’s been around a long time and been acknowledged for a lot of achievement’s it’s great,” said Part. “Some other guys hit nine-darters all the time but I’m a three-time World Champion and I hadn’t had one, so now I’m in there too and it’s nice.
“I needed it to get back in the match too. I have been playing well and showed some good darts up there against Mark, but it was spotty and I gave away too many chances.”
Webster will now take on Steve Beaton in Wednesday’s second round, and admitted: “I need to improve but I’m still in the competition. The first round’s always tough but John gave me chances and I took them early on.”
Beaton had produced his best-ever World Matchplay performance to dump two-time runner-up Terry Jenkins from the event, averaging over 100 in a 10-3 victory.
Beaton led 3-0 before Jenkins hit back to level, but the former World Champion hit an 11-darter amongst a run of seven successive legs as he powered to victory.
Holland’s Vincent van der Voort also survived a comeback before winning his clash with left-hander Alan Tabern, who hit back from being 3-0 and 7-3 down before losing out 10-7.
The night’s best fightback, though, came from World Champion Lewis, who edged out Kevin Painter 14-12 in a thriller.
Painter missed three darts for a 10-6 victory and a further trio of chances to take a 12-10 triumph before Lewis, who hit 12 180s, finally edged through to the last 16.
“It was a brilliant game and I thought Kevin was absolutely fantastic,” said Lewis. “I thought I’d lost it at one stage and put my darts away, but he missed his chance and I came back well and took mine in the end.”
The first round continues on Sunday, with the four matches including 2007 champion James Wade up against Jamie Caven and Raymond van Barneveld – who hit a nine-dart finish in last year’s event – taking on Steve Brown.
Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay
Saturday July 16
Terry Jenkins 3-10 Steve Beaton
Vincent van der Voort 10-7 Alan Tabern
Adrian Lewis 14-12 Kevin Painter
Mark Webster 10-8 John Part – includes nine-dart finish from John Part
Sunday July 17 (7pm)
Paul Nicholson v Colin Osborne
Mark Walsh v Dave Chisnall
James Wade v Jamie Caven
Raymond van Barneveld v Steve Brown
Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.