Richard North thrashes Ian White on European Championship debut as Van Gerwen comeback denies Nicholson

North enjoys a dream debut in Dortmund (credit:Kelly Deckers/PDC)

Richard North enjoyed a dream debut at the 2018 European Championship by thrashing Ian White 6-1 in Dortmund, while Michael van Gerwen came from behind to deny Paul Nicholson.

North recorded his first televised victory of the year in style as he took advantage of a below-par White to move through to the Last 16 at the Westfalenhallen.

White took the opening leg with a 64 finish but endured a nightmare on the doubles from there on in as North reeled off six unanswered legs, sealing the win with an 82 checkout.

"I thought it would be much more difficult than that but Ian seemed to struggle," admitted North.

"It can be a struggle in the first round sometimes and that seemed to happen to him for some reason and I just took advantage.

"If I start learning how to play on that stage, watch out," he added.

Van Gerwen began his bid for a fifth consecutive European Championship title by coming from 2-0 down to defeat a resurgent Nicholson 6-2.

The world number one survived six missed darts from 'The Asset' to go 3-2 up and took full advantage to extend his unbeaten run in this competition to 21 games.

A dream start for Nicholson saw him take out 81 and 127 to claim the first two legs, landing a 180 in each, but Van Gerwen hit back with notable legs of 11, 13, 12 and 12 and fired in a show-stopping 170 checkout on his way to victory.

"Everyone wrote him off before the game but I didn't, I took it seriously," said Van Gerwen.

"At the beginning he put me under big pressure and I still played well. I was still feeling good and I had no other choice than to play like that."

Last year's runner-up Rob Cross dug deep to recover from 4-2 down to clinch a 6-4 victory over debutant Danny Noppert.

Noppert settled quickly and opened up a 2-0 lead before Cross got off the mark with a 13-darter on double 16 and levelled with a 14-darter on double three.

Noppert then replied with double ten and a 108 checkout to restore a two-leg cushion, but only for 'Voltage' to reel off four consecutive legs with crucial finishes of 76, 88 and 84 along the way.

Fifth seed Joe Cullen reeled off five straight legs from 2-1 down to knock out Jelle Klaasen with four 180s and a 94.7 average to his name.

Cullen landed a high finish of 99 as he punished 12 costly missed darts at doubles from the former Lakeside Champion.

Peter Wright made light work of Jermaine Wattimena as the world number two claimed the only whitewash win of the opening night.

The Scotsman averaged 101.33 and hit six doubles from eight attempts as he set up a Second Round meeting with Simon Whitlock.

Former European Champion Whitlock produced a superb start to his campaign, seeing off veteran Steve Beaton 6-3.

The Australian ace averaged over 101 and landed 75 percent of attempts at doubles, including a 128 checkout to complete the win.

"My doubles were good so I'm happy to win that game because Steve's amazing," said Whitlock.

"I've still got more to come - I've been playing really well lately but I haven't got the results I've wanted and it is really important to me to show what I can do in the big tournaments. Tonight is the start of that."

Steve West landed a timely 106 checkout in the deciding leg of his clash with Mervyn King to edge through after King had missed a match dart at the bullseye.

King squandered two darts at doubles to go 3-0 up as West turned the tables to move 4-3 in front and produced a 14-darter to make it 5-4.

King took out 72 to send the tie the distance and hit a 180 in the decider, but it was West who stepped up to the plate with a clinical 106 outshot to snatch victory.

Michael Smith produced a professional display to defeat Irish debutant Steve Lennon 6-3 with a 100.7 average and three 180s to his name.

Unibet European Championship 2018 Results


Thursday October 25

First Round

Steve West 6-5 Mervyn King
Ian White 1-6 Richard North
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Steve Beaton
Michael Smith 6-3 Steve Lennon
Joe Cullen 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Paul Nicholson
Rob Cross 6-4 Danny Noppert
Peter Wright 6-0 Jermaine Wattimena


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Richard North thrashes Ian White on European Championship debut as Van Gerwen comeback denies Nicholson

Richard North enjoyed a dream debut at the 2018 European Championship by thrashing Ian White 6-1 in Dortmund, while Michael van Gerwen came from behind to deny Paul Nicholson.

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