The second event of this years World Series of Darts made its way to Copenhagen as the Nordic Darts Masters took place the weekend of the 10th to 11th of June. The line-up of PDC stars had one change from the US Darts Masters as Premier League Champion Jonny Clayton made way for former World Matchplay Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh ‘the Dream Maker’. These players were once again competing against eight of the best players in Northern Europe in what was an exciting weekend of tungsten action.
The Masters opened up with a clash between Dimitri Van den Bergh and home hopeful Benjamin Drue Reus. Unfortunately for the Dane, he came up against ‘the Dream Maker’ in top form and he was whitewashed 6-0 in a comfortable victory for the Belgian. In the second match, former back-to-back World Champion Gary Anderson found himself 3-1 down to Swedish star Daniel Larsson. However, he started the fightback with a ton plus finish of 116 on tops. Then, after finding himself 4-2 down, ‘the Flying Scotsman’ produced a magnificent 100 checkout by pinning two tops to move within one leg of the Swede once again. Anderson eventually managed to close out a hard fought 6-5 victory.
James Wade had a significantly more enjoyable opening to his last 16 tie against Latvia’s Madars Razma racing into a 4-1 lead. In the fifth leg, Razma conjured up a sensational 154 checkout pinning two treble 19s and tops to reduce the arrears. ‘Razzmatazz’ had been able to get within one leg of ‘the Machine’ but, Wade eventually completed the job 6-3. Fallon Sherrock was looking to improve on her performance in New York by defeating the Lithuanian Darius Labanauskas, who hit a fantastic 9-darter at the World Championships. ‘The Queen of the Palace’ was indeed able to improve as she took a 3-0 lead after an out of sorts Labanauskas missed 4 darts at double. ‘Lucky D’ did manage to get a leg on the board but, Sherrock just continued to get better and better and in the sixth leg took out a magnificent 142 to further her lead en route to a routine 6-1 victory.
Gerwyn Price began his Nordic Darts Masters campaign with a tussle against another home hopeful in Brian Lokken who broke the Price throw in the third leg to take a shock 2-1 lead. ‘The Iceman’ however, was able to roar back and deny the Dane anymore legs, wrapping up a 6-2 win. ‘The Bully Boy’, last weeks US Darts Masters Champion, was the next seeded player to take the stage facing a third Danish player in Vladimir Anderson. Unfortunately for the fans in Copenhagen, they would not get to see any of their heroes in the Quarter-Finals as the Dane missed 5 darts at double in the seventh leg allowing Smith, who had missed 3 darts at double himself, to steal the leg and move within one leg of victory ,which he duly won, closing out a 6-2 success.
The final two last 16 clashes started with World Number 1 Peter Wright playing Iceland’s Matthías Orn Friorikssen. ‘Snakebite’ showed why he is both the World Champion and the highest ranked player in the PDC as he took out 100 to move into a 4-0 lead and completed the job 6-0 to produce a second whitewash of the night. Michael van Gerwen rounded off the last 16 action in Copenhagen against Mario Kantele of Finland. ‘Mighty Mike’ went 2-0 up early on in this tie but Kantele was able to get the score back to 3-1 although, ‘the Green Machine’ showed his class in the fifth leg as he checked out 157 on tops in brilliant fashion. MVG did not allow Kantele back in to the match from that point onwards, winning 6-1.
The first Quarter-Final was a mouth watering clash between Gerwyn Price and Dimitri Van den Bergh. The Belgian magnificently opened up a two leg lead making the score 3-1 by taking out 144 on the 18s. ‘The Iceman’ was not without his own ton plus finishes, later in the game he made the scoreline 4-2 by pinning double 8 for a 127 finish. There was yet another ton plus finish in the ninth leg of the match as Van den Bergh extended his advantage with a 112 checkout on double 16. After the thirteenth leg, the Belgian had opened up a sizeable lead but Price was not yet done as he took out a ‘Shanghai’ finish hitting treble, single and finally double 20 to seize the fourteenth leg. Despite ‘the Iceman’ refusing to lose quietly, Van den Bergh took out 87 in the fifteenth leg to seal both the win and a place in the Semi-Finals.
Fallon Sherrock stunned in an-form Michael Smith in the opening legs of their Quarter-Final hitting both a 25 and a bullseye to complete an impressive 95 checkout as she opened up a 3-1 lead. Not to be outdone ‘the Bully Boy’ finished on the bull to bring the match level at 3-3 as he brilliantly took out 121. After levelling the scores Smith went on to lead the match 5-4 but this time it was the turn of ‘the Queen of the Palace’ to bring the scores level once again with a ton plus finish as she took out 124 for the second time. Her form has certainly improved from the last World Series event but it wasn’t quite enough in this game as Michael Smith booked his place in the Semi-Finals with a 10-6 success.
In the next game Michael van Gerwen took on James Wade. ‘The Green Machine’s’ doubling seemed off in the match as he missed 6 darts at double allowing ‘the Machine’ to open a 3-1 lead by taking out 81 with two double 18s. MVG simply was not on form with James Wade increasing his lead to 7-2 and van Gerwen’s doubling woes continued in the tenth leg as he missed three darts to take out 36 with Wade duly punishing him on his favourite double 10. Despite his poor form on the outer ring, there was an impressive ton plus finish from MVG as he took out 110 on double 18 to reduce the deficit to 8-3. This did not matter to ‘the Machine’ though, as he wrapped up a 10-4 victory.
The last Quarter-Final was possibly the most intriguing tie as former World Cup teammates in Gary Anderson and Peter Wright went head-to-head. Anderson looked back to his best in this contest as he hit back-to-back maximums on his way to pinning double 5 and breaking the ‘Snakebite’ throw to lead 2-1. In fact there were ten 180s hit in seven legs. Anderson hit back-to-back 180s once again in the eleventh leg and, after Wright narrowly missed double 14 for a 121 finish, took out 83 in two darts to extend his lead to 8-3 breaking the ‘Snakebite’ throw once more on his way to a 10-4 win.
In the first Semi-Final Dimitri Van den Bergh took a 4-1 over Michael Smith ahead of the first break in play. In the seventh leg missed darts at double proved costly for ‘Bully Boy’, who had hit 1 out of 10 on the outer ring, as ‘the Dream Maker’ was afforded the opportunity to take a five leg lead, which he grabbed with both hands. Van den Bergh headed into the second break 8-2 ahead with Michael Smith clinging onto the now faint hope of picking up a second World Series Title in a row. ‘The Dream Maker’ was playing absolutely brilliantly and he won the match on a ton plus finish taking out 111 to seal a stunning 11-4 success, the most impressive stat being that Van den Bergh didn’t allow Smith to break his throw at all during the match.
Gary Anderson started his Semi-Final by breaking the James Wade throw and went into a 2-0 lead. However, ‘the Machine’ hit back in typical fashion with a 111 checkout on tops, 2-1. Despite this, Anderson broke throw again heading into the break to give himself a three leg lead at 4-1. Wade was not finished though and he was able to close in on ‘the Flying Scotsman’ in the tenth leg making the score 6-4. However, in the eleventh leg Gary Anderson sensationally hit a 180 on a score of 186 to leave himself double 3, which he only needed one dart to checkout and re-establish his three leg lead. In spite of this, Wade just would not wilt in this match and had got the match back to 8-7 when Gary Anderson hit both double top and double 10 to make the score 9-7, and then hit an eleven darter to increase his lead in the next leg. He would go on to secure an 11-7 victory and a showdown with Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Dimitri Van den Bergh had a blistering start as he broke the Anderson throw with a 12 dart leg to open up an early 2-0 lead, he then broke throw for the second time in the match to make it 4-0. His superb form throughout the competition continued as he made it 5-0 with a ton plus finish of 130, it was absolutely sensational darts by the Belgian and he broke throw again in the sixth leg, ‘the Flying Scotsman’ still yet to register a leg. The Anderson throw was then broken for a fourth time, 8-0 and it was looking like a seemingly impossible whitewash final could’ve been on the cards. That was not to be but Van den Bergh did wrap up an immensely impressive 11-5 victory to be crowned the 2022 Nordic Darts Master and pick up a maiden World Series Title. In a similar vein to Michael Smith, Dimitri Van den Bergh will be hoping the incredible form he showcased in Copenhagen will continue as he competes in the World Cup of Darts alongside Kim Huybrechts this week, and will also be looking to regain his Matchplay crown in July, having lost it last year to Peter Wright.