Darts: Stompe strides through

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The Independent Online

Co Stompe delighted his orange-clad Dutch followers by racing into the second round of the Embassy World Championship at Frimley Green last night.

The popular 39-year-old is 11 places lower than Mike Veitch on the world ranking list but his greater experience at the Lakeside Country Club paid dividends as he breezed past the Scot 3-0.

Stompe, a former tram driver from Amsterdam, reached the semi-finals two years ago whereas Veitch was returning to the tournament for the first time since his debut in 1990. It showed as the 41-year-old from Bonnyrigg seemed to have difficulty coping with the atmosphere created by the vociferous Stompe fans. He frequently looked distracted and several times had to step back from the oche to compose himself.

The quality was not the highest seen in this year's event, indeed the fourth leg of the opening set resembled a pub game as Veitch took 27 darts to check out with both men struggling in the "madhouse", double one. But Stompe, known as "The Matchstick" because of his slight build, rose above the mediocrity to clinch his place in the last 16.

"I was very pleased with my performance apart from that one leg, when I was rubbish," said Stompe, who gave up driving his tram on 1 August to turn professional. "I felt sorry for Mike because most of the fans were cheering for me and were overpowering his Scottish supporters. But I really love it up there."

Bob "The Bear" Taylor, who had only once got beyond the first round since his Embassy debut in 1991, enhanced his record with a 3-0 triumph against John "The Joker" Ferrell to earn a contest with Stompe.

The Scot, who lives in Sweden, had the advantage this time of being seeded and the world No 6 made no mistake against his 40-year-old opponent from Kent, finishing in style with a 102 check-out.

Already through to the last 16 is Ted Hankey, the 2000 champion and the runner-up last year, who past Jarkko Komula 3-2 on Sunday night. The Finn was upset that the organisers had brought the game forward nearly two hours without telling him until the last minute, a change made to cater for live television coverage.

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