Darts: Duke fights back as Essers is plagued by old problem

Steve Duke is Australia's only remaining representative at the 2004 Lakeside World Professional Championship after inflicting a 3-1 defeat on Albertino Essers in the first round here last night.

His compatriot Tony David, who won the title in 2002, was knocked out yesterday when he lost 3-2 to Darryl Fitton. But the Manchester-born Duke, whose family emigrated to Australia in 1969, battled back from losing the opening set to reach the second round.

Essers won the opening set by three legs to one. But the Dutchman has suffered before with dartitis, which stops players from releasing the dart, and it came back to haunt him, letting Duke gain the upper hand.

Duke next plays the Welshman Ritchie Davies, who produced some devastating darts to defeat Martin Adams. Davies, a surprise finalist last year, used the experience he gained in that run to pull off a 3-2 victory over the England captain. Adams made a fast start but Davies took command after taking three legs in a row with a three-dart average of 102.6.

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