Welcome back to OpenOdds’ Darts Round Up, this week raking over the coals of a surprise-filled World Cup in Hamburg, and looking ahead to this week’s intriguing PDC Tour event in Denmark. Copenhagen’s Brondbyhallen will be the venue for 48 professionals looking to add a trophy to their cabinet – and in the absence of World #1 Michael van Gerwen, there’s a wide range of players who could taste glory.
Firstly, though, the World Cup. Regular readers will recall that last week’s Round Up tipped third-favourites Scotland to emerge with the silverware, breaking the Netherlands’ two-year stranglehold on the trophy. The bookmakers were very much of the opinion that the winners of the tournament would be whoever won the England-Netherlands semi-final, but as we’re about to see, the competition really didn’t go the way anyone was expecting.
Spoiler alert: We were right about the winners, though.
We’ll cop to it – going into this competition, we looked at the first round and confidently predicted that there would be no shocks only to see that notion debunked not once, but twice on the opening night. First, Northern Irish pair Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan were upset 5-4 by South Africa. Then came an even more unexpected result as Wales, third seeds and expected to give Scotland a thorough test in the semi-finals, also bowed out at the first hurdle due to a 5-3 defeat by Singapore.
On night two, the other half of the draw played their first-round matches without any more seeds falling. The Dutch hammered Spain 5-0, while England lost just one leg against the Philippines. Austria and Australia had a little more difficulty getting past Russia and Finland respectively – the latter match seeing the Finns make a mockery of Australia’s ⅕ odds with BetVictor to take the match to a decider before bowing out 5-4.
However, if England were imperious in the opening round, they were less so in Saturday’s last 16 action. Up against the unseeded pair from the Republic of Ireland, Michael Smith and Rob Cross both lost their singles matches – against Steve Lennon and William O’Connor respectively – and the joint-favourites were out without even reaching a deciding doubles match. The Irish, 66/1 with William Hill without even an odds boost before the tournament got underway, were just getting warmed up.
With Northern Ireland and Wales eliminated, the bottom half of the draw opened up for Scotland, as they brushed aside Sweden to progress to the final day’s play (which encompassed quarter- and semi-finals as well as the final). Australia were not so lucky, their narrow win over Finland failing to act as a warning, and they exited the tournament at the hands of Canada. Thursday’s shock troops, Singapore and South Africa, were taken out with little fanfare by fellow non-seeds Japan and New Zealand respectively.
Sunday continues the surprise theme
With Ireland having made it to the final day, their first order of business was a quarter-final against Austria. This was won 2-1, with a whitewash in the deciding doubles. The Dutch would be their opposition in the semis, as they recovered from a shock defeat for Michael van Gerwen to defeat Canada 2-1. In the other half, Scotland took out Belgium while Japan took care of New Zealand.
The semi-finals saw the Irish deliver yet another impressive performance against the odds. Lennon took van Gerwen the distance, finally losing 4-3 in the first singles. O’Connor levelled the scores, defeating Jermaine Wattimena 4-1, before the Irish pair took the doubles match in a whitewash, Lennon playing the darts of his life to pick off checkouts of 131 and 128. Scotland defeated Japan 2-0, setting up a final between themselves and Ireland.
In that final, Ireland took first blood, Lennon defeating Gary Anderson 4-2 before Peter Wright equalled the scores, beating O’Connor by the same margin. The Scottish pair then took a 2-1 lead by whitewashing their opponents in the doubles, and the title was secured when Wright, missing only two doubles, delivered a 4-1 win over Lennon. As per our tip, then, the Scottish partnership – 7/2 third favourites with Betway pre-tournament – took the trophy. O’Connor and Lennon, however, can take the momentum from an impressive showing into the rest of the singles season.
On to Copenhagen
So the PDC professionals bid farewell to Hamburg, and move north to the lovely city of Copenhagen to compete for the Danish Open title, starting this Friday. MvG is sitting this one out, leaving a very open field with Ian White – van Gerwen’s conqueror in the Dutch Masters – seeded #1. Rob Cross and James Wade are also present, and will at least have benefited from a day off on Sunday thanks to the efforts of O’Connor and Lennon.
The only odds available on the tournament at the time of writing are at Sportingbet, who have Cross and Wright as joint 6-1 favourites. Could “Snakebite” ride the momentum from an excellent showing on Sunday to take the title? Possibly – although don’t rule out last year’s champion Mensur Suljovic, rated as a 14-1 dark horse. The impressive Irish pairing who made the World Cup final are also involved, though they have to play an extra round as they are unseeded – but if you believe they can marshall the confidence they’ll have gained from last weekend, either of the O’Connor/Lennon pair can be backed at 100/1.