Germany was the host of the darts European Championship over the weekend, which saw Rob Cross pick up his 3rd major title.
The tournament is one of the calendars top majors. A crucial warm up for the prestigious world championships taking place at the alexander palace in under 60 days.
The tournament saw three local men involved as St Helens Stephen Bunting, Dave Chisnall and Michael Smith all involved. A good start for Stephen Bunting in the first round with a prolific 6-1 win on Keegan Brown. This win set up a local clash with Michael Smith. It was a close high quality game but Smith went on to take the spoils with a 10-7 win securing a quarter final spot.
Chisnall was the in-form player of the three Merseyside men. On the back of a Grand Prix final defeat, he was back to his best. It was a solid start for Dave with a 6-3 win over Belgian superstar Dimitri Van Den Bergh. He followed this with a great 10-4 win over Johnny Clayton in the last 16.
With both Smith and Chisnall in the quarters, there was hope for a potential Merseyside winner of the tournament. Dave Chisnall was in action first on the Sunday afternoon up against world number 6 Daryl Gurney. Gurney was very much in form and punished any missed doubles from Dave. The final score was 10-5 to Gurney, Leaving only Michael smith left for Merseyside success.
Smith was up against Dutch hot shot Jeffrey De Zwaan in his last eight clash. The game was a rapid-fire free flowing game. With eleven 180’s the game never disappointed but De Zwaan was disappointing on his doubles. Smith was clinical and won the game comfortably 10-5.
Smith set up a tasty semi-final clash against ferocious Welshman Gerwyn Price and it was a cracker. It was a back and forth and the final statistics were almost identical. Price managed to find an extra gear when it came to the latter stages and managed to win 11-7. Despite the defeat there were positives to take from the match.
World number 2 Rob Cross showed his class in the final. Tremendous power scoring including 18 140’s seen him beat Gerwyn Price 11-6. Cross stays at world number 2 and makes him a big favourite for the all-important major in December.
Despite none of the Merseyside contingent coming through victorious, there were great signs of positivity for all three players. Showing good form, all three will pose real threat in the world championships.
mage by Sven Mandel under creative commons license