Belgium bounce back to deny Republic of Ireland in World Cup of Darts thriller

Kim Huybrechts and Dimitri van den Bergh of Belgium celebrate (credit:Kelly Deckers/PDC)

Belgium recovered from 3-0 and 4-2 down to snatch a deciding leg victory over Republic of Ireland in Round One of the World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt on Friday.

Kim Huybrechts, who was runner-up alongside his brother Ronny in 2013, was partnered for the first time by reigning World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Begrh.

However, a slow start allowed Ireland's Steve Lennon and William O'Connor to clinch the first three legs with notable finishes of 76 an 60.

Lennon then missed one dart at tops to allow Huybrechts to get Belgium off the mark, and 'The Hurricane' swept in that same double in leg five.

One missed attempt at tops from Huybrechts then handed O'Connor the chance to make it 4-2, which he converted, but the key turning point came in the seventh leg as Van den Bergh blasted in a stunning 130 checkout on the bullseye.

The youngster then followed up a 180 with double 18 to force a decider, and after O'Connor missed a match dart at the bullseye for a 170 checkout, Huybrechts returned for double 18 to get Belgium over the line.

"I think it was an all-time classic World Cup game," admitted Huybrechts.

"Before the draw was made we knew Ireland was one of the teams we wanted to avoid and they gave us a hard game as we knew they would.

"Obviously it’s different for me this year playing with Dimitri but he is one of the best players in the world – a future world star.

"If we can play to our best level then we’ve got a real chance of doing some damage here."

Elsewhere, sixth seeds Northern Ireland came from 2-0 and 4-2 down to edge out Poland in a gripping contest.

Krzysztof Ratajski and Tytus Kanik began brightly as they punished a clutch of missed doubles from Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan, but a crucial 82 checkout from 'Superchin' pegged Northern Ireland back to 3-2 behind.

Kanik then landed double eight but missed one match dart at the bullseye in the following leg and Northern Ireland stepped in to clinch the next two and force a decider.

Gurney then underlined his Premier League quality by producing a terrific 101 checkout to seal the victory for Northern Ireland.

"We kept on fighting to stay in the game and it was such a great feeling to take out the 101 at the end," said Gurney.

"In the last leg I said to myself ‘if Brendan hits a 140 I will take out the 101’ and sure enough that’s what I did.

"In that situation you really don’t want to let down your partner but we got the win, and now we want to play better in the rest of the tournament and go a long way."

Netherlands began the defence of their title with a routine 5-0 whitewash of Gibraltar, averaging 102.95 in the process.

Michael van Gerwen got off to a flying start with a 160 checkout to secure the first leg and added finishes of 78 and 103 alongside veteran Raymond van Barneveld as they powered past Dyson Parody and Justin Broton.

"I don't think we can complain at all with how we played," said Van Gerwen.

"It was a phenomenal performance from both of us which we can build on going into the next round.

"Whichever team you play you need to give it 100% and that’s what we will be doing for the rest of the tournament and hopefully we will win it again."

A new-look England side held off a spirited effort from Czech Republic to wrap up a 5-3 victory.

Dave Chisnall and debutant Rob Cross raced into a 4-1 lead with the aid of a brilliant 134 checkout from 'Chizzy' in leg five.

However, Roman Benecky and Karel Sedlacek rallied to take the next two legs, with Benecky landing a 104 finish, but England steadied the ship with a 13-darter to seal the win.

"I was a bit nervous but it's great to represent my country," said Cross.

"It's weird, I've never played pairs before but it was a decent start and we'll be better for this now that I've had the experience of the stage and won the game."

Singapore, quarter-finalists 12 months ago, continued their love affair with the World Cup of Darts as they knocked out New Zealand 5-3.

Paul Lim and Harith Lim trailed Cody Harris and Warren Parry 2-0 before an 81 checkout for an 11-darter saw the Lims halve the deficit.

Paul Lim took out 66 and 80 to give Singapore the lead before Harith finished tops to make it 4-2, and though Harris hit double ten to stop the rot, 64-year-old Paul Lim finished 68 to clinch victory.

Max Hopp and Martin Schindler thrilled their home crowd as they pulled off a 5-3 victory for hosts Germany over Sweden's Daniel Larsson and Dennis Nilsson with the aid of a timely 126 checkout from Schindler to break throw in leg seven.

Kim Viljanen and Marko Kantele of Finland set up a Last 16 clash with Belgium after they brushed aside Greece's John Michael and Veniamin Symeonidis 5-1.

South Africa's Devon Petersen and Liam O'Brien battled their way to a hard-fought 5-3 win over Hungary's Tamas Alexits and Nandor Bezzeg.

World Cup of Darts 2018 Results

Friday June 1 

First Round

New Zealand 3-5 Singapore
Greece 1-5 Finland
Northern Ireland 5-4 Poland
Hungary 3-5 South Africa
Belgium 5-4 Republic of Ireland
England 5-3 Czech Republic
Sweden 3-5 Germany
Netherlands 5-0 Gibraltar

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Belgium bounce back to deny Republic of Ireland in World Cup of Darts thriller

Belgium recovered from 3-0 and 4-2 down to snatch a deciding leg victory over Republic of Ireland in Round One of the World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt on Friday.

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