sport

Webster sends Barney packing

Mark Webster provided the latest shock at this year's Ladbrokes World Darts Championship by ousting Raymond van Barneveld.

The Dutchman was never behind in the match and appeared to be stepping up a gear after sweeping through the fifth set, but Webster hung in throughout and won the last six legs to complete the win.

Earlier in the evening, the two other third round matches saw contrasting wins for Simon Whitlock, who crushed Kevin Painter 4-0, and Peter Wright, who edged out Phil Taylor's conqueror Michael Smith 4-3.

The Wright-Smith had been a humdinger and Webster's clash with van Barneveld was slow to come to the boil, the Dutchman edging a low-key opening set before Webster levelled after Barney missed a dart at tops to move 2-0 up.

Barneveld changed his shirt during the interval to a looser fit and the move had an immediate effect as he checked out 86, although Webster responded with 79 of his own before Barney went again with a two-dart 96.

He stepped up a gear to nail 110 and clinch the third set against the head, then a 77 to lead off in the fourth before Webster stopped the rot with double 10 to break straight back, before finding the same bed to go 2-1 up.

Van Barneveld levelled but in a quality final leg Webster finished 101 to level the match at the midpoint.

Barney crucially found tops to break for a 2-0 lead in the next, and he soon clinched the set when checking out 'Shanghai' 120.

But Webster would not be denied, and he fought back tenaciously to sweep the sixth set after hitting his favourite double 10 when Barney missed a shot at tops.

Barney's doubles had dried up and he allowed his opponent to take the opening leg of the final set against the darts, and when he missed a shot at bull in the next once again Webster found a finish.

After failing to win the previous five legs, all of a sudden van Barneveld required three on the spin but Webster quickly closed it out - nailing double top to complete a fabulous win.

"I was struggling, trying a bit too hard maybe," Webster said. "I'm over the moon and I can't believe I won but I never stopped believing. My career's back on track and who knows now.

"I'd have kicked myself if I hadn't have won tonight as he wasn't on his game and I took my chance."

Wright was a hot favourite to defeat Smith but he had to dig deep against a young man who clearly has a big future in the game.

The Mendham man nailed double six for starters but Smith levelled on double 12 and then narrowly missed 105, and then three more shots at tops before Wright filled double nine to retake the lead. Smith levelled again with tops but heavy scoring from Wright set up a dart at double 12 to clinch the set.

Smith was off the mark hitting double top once more and doubled up with a 118 checkout completed with tops before Wright retaliated with a 161 checkout and then took out double eight with Smith a mile back.

But the boot was on the other foot in the decider and Smith hit tops at the third attempt to level things up.

A 180 set up Wright in the first leg on the third set but he was unable to capitalise - Smith nailing tops once more albeit at the fourth attempt.

Wright took out 136 but Smith responded positively with an 84 finish on double six to put his head back in front against the darts, but Wright held his nerve to level after missing two darts at double eight.

Wright pressured the Smith throw in the decider, hitting 134 to leave him on 32, but Smith took out 70 in two darts to take the lead for the first time in the match.

Wright piled on the pressure with a 180 in the next but Smith was up to the task - two treble 20s and double eight giving him a classy 136 out to secure the set.

Both had chances to lead off in the sixth set and it was Wright who finally hit double two with Smith having missed six darts for the leg, and a 180 - his fifth - put him in an unassailable lead in the second leg.

Double five gave Smith the opener in the fourth before Wright levelled with ease, an 87 finish saw Smith back ahead but again Wright levelled with double 16 after a third maximum of the match.

Smith had the darts in the decider but Wright erased the advantage by taking out 116 to make it two sets all.

Wright was first off the mark in a pivotal fifth set but Smith nailed his first 180 on the way to taking out double 10 before double top gave him the lead against the head.

Smith took out 88 to pull one back but Wright made no mistake with a bull-double 16 finish to tie the match up at three sets all.

Wright held his throw with another quality finish of 95 and then backed it up with an 84 checkout to leave Smith requiring a miracle. He threw a maximum in the third leg but although Wright missed a dart at a 116 finish, he knew he would return and duly hit double 10 to a thrilling victory.

"I'm shattered, that was nerve-wracking. I just tried to stay with him and he gave me that little chance, and I took it. It was like that all the way through."

Whitlock was soon in command against a below-par Painter - drawing first blood by taking out tops after Painter missed a half-chance at a 161 checkout, then doubling the lead after nailing the first maximum of the match.

Painter replied with double 12 and then checked 86 to level, but Whitlock was first to a double in the decider and he closed out 80 with ease.

Painter opened the second by finally closing out double two before Whitlock levelled with tops and then broke by taking out 25.

Painter was not scoring heavily enough to pressure the Australian who was able to double his lead by taking out double nine and leave Painter with a huge task ahead.

Double 16 gave Whitlock the edge in the third set and when Painter missed three shots at a double the second seed hit double four on his next visit.

Whitlock left the door ajar when missing a shot at double 12, but Painter fluffed it from 80 and Whitlock duly stepped up and nailed double six.

Painter hit double one after Whitlock had failed to check out for once, but the pony-tailed Aussie kept his focus to level and with his opponent having all-but given up, he duly swept the next two legs to complete the rout.

"With Kevin if you get on top early you've got a great chance of winning - I know that from experience," said Whitlock, who now plays Ian White for a place in the quarter-finals.

"I don't want to be favourite, I just want to be left alone."