Bookmakers are offering free bets for the Stan James sponsored World Matchplay Darts which continues at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool tonight.
It was a night for shocks as last year’s runner up Terry Jenkins and 2009 semi-finalist Mervyn King were dumped out of this years’ competition at the first hurdle.
Jenkins continued his struggle to find the form he enjoyed last year and suffered first round elimination when beaten by World Matchplay debutant Steve Brown.
The 29-year-old plasterer kept his nerve in only his third television appearance landing three ton-plus finishes on the way to his 10-6 win.
Fourth seed Mervyn King’s challenge for the World Matchplay title lasted less than half an hour after Dutchman Jelle Klaasen reeled off eight successive legs to win 10-4.
King led 4-2 in the early stages but couldn’t stop the quick-fire young Dutch ace from advancing to a second round match with Gary Anderson.
Stan James offers odds of 9/4 for Klaasen to beat Anderson who thrilled last night’s crowd with a white wash over fellow Scot Robert Thornton.
The first round concludes tonight with Phil Taylor beginning his attempt at an 11th World Matchplay crown when taking on Barrie Bates.
Taylor is expected to sweep the Welshman aside with ease, sponsor Stan James give Bates 6.5 legs start on the handicap and still make Taylor favourite at odds of 8/11.
Full scores from last night’s first round matches were; Terry Jenkins 6-10 Steve Brown, Simon Whitlock 10-1 Tony Eccles, Robert Thornton 0-10 Gary Anderson, Mervyn King 4-10 Jelle Klaason.