Michael van Gerwen hits 167 in opening World Championship win

The Dutchman disposed of Keane Barry 3-0.

Jonathan Veal
Wednesday 20 December 2023 09:01 GMT
Michael van Gerwen celebrates winning the Cazoo Premier League at The O2, London. Picture date: Thursday May 25, 2023.
Michael van Gerwen celebrates winning the Cazoo Premier League at The O2, London. Picture date: Thursday May 25, 2023. (PA Archive)

Michael van Gerwen began his bid for a third World Championship title by easing into the third round.

The Dutchman has not won the biggest tournament in darts since 2019 and is ready to end that drought, opening his campaign with a 3-0 win over Keane Barry.

The highlight was an impressive 167 checkout, finishing with an average of 98.17 at Alexandra Palace.

Van Gerwen knows there is room for improvement but is happy to be in the next round.

“I’m a little disappointed with my scoring, the most important thing is I won my first game,” he said during his on-stage interview.

“You don’t want to let yourself down, you have to fight for every leg, and when things like the 167 work it gives you a great boost.

“It’s the first round of the World Championship no one wants to lose, there is pressure on me, like there is all the top boys. The most important thing is I’m back after Christmas.”

Matt Campbell is flying home for Christmas after sending 13th seed James Wade crashing out.

The world number 57 beat the four-time semi-finalist 3-2 to record the biggest win of his career and win back-to-back matches at Ally Pally for the first time in his career.

He will now return home to Canada before returning for the post-Christmas last 32.

“The flight back is going to suck,” he said. “I have been doing it for two years flying back and forth, I’ve got to the Worlds twice.

“I think I need to fly home and see my family more than anything. If I stay awake when I fly back there is no jetlag, right?”

Wade, who became the first seeded player to exit the tournament, did not shake Campbell’s hand after the match but the Canadian had no hard feelings.

“I woudldn’t be happy either,” he said. “I guarantee if I see him now he would come down and be like nothing happened. But in that moment, we work all hard all year for this, I don’t blame him for being disappointed.”

Keegan Brown will not want to hear the name Boris Krcmar again after enduring a chastening afternoon.

Brown was left confused when MC John McDonald mistakenly called out his opponent’s name when he was due to walk onto the stage before the first-round match.

Things got even worse once play began as the Croatian cruised to a 3-1 win.

Brown took the first set but things went downhill from there, with Krcmar coming back to reach the second round for the second successive year, with Dirk van Duijvenbode waiting for him in the next round.

Leading women’s player Mikuru Suzuki is still waiting for her first win at the Alexandra Palace after she was beaten 3-0 by German Ricardo Pietreczko.

Suzuki follows Fallon Sherrock out of the tournament.

There were also wins for Steve Beaton, Jeffrey de Graaf, Tomoya Goto and Mike De Decker.

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