The opening day of the Belgian Darts Open sees the 32 qualifiers battling it out in the first round of the tournament for the right to take on one of the seeded players in the last 32 of the competition on Saturday.
While it means we have to wait a day for the elite names to come into the competition there are still some recognisable players on show over the course of the two sessions of first round action taking place on Friday.
I think it is fair to say that the action gets underway in a low key manner with two players from the continent in action as Kevin Doets meets Dennis Nilsson. Ryan Meikle is second onto the course when he faces Gian van Veen before another pair of players from the continent look to make it into the next round when Karel Sedlacektakes on Roberto Vandaele. We then go into the interval with the big Croatian player Boris Krcmar meeting Cameron Menzies.
A couple of good matches take us out of the interval with the exciting Irish youngster Keane Barry taking on a Danny Baggish should will probably feel he should have beaten Ryan Joyce in Amsterdam last weekend. The home crowd get to see one of their own on show in the next match when Andy Baetens meets Madars Razma before the final two matches sees Niels Zonneveld facing Alan Soutar and Jelle Klaasen going up against Francois Schweyen.
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The evening session looks very competitive and it begins with the exciting Rusty-Jake Rodriguez going up against Jeff Smith. Bradley Brooks will then look to show his talent on this stage when he takes on Chris Dobey. Steve Beaton is always a popular player whenever he is on stage and he will look for a place in the second round when he meets Ross Smith before we go into the interval with Jamie Hughes facing Vincent van der Voort.
The second half of the evening looks very good indeed and it starts with Mervyn King looking to make progress when he takes on Wouter Vanrolleghem before the home player Mike de Decker meets Remo Mandiau. The biggest home player on show on the opening day takes to the course in the penultimate match of the session when Kim Huybrechts faces Steve West before perhaps the tie of the first round concludes the action when Andrew Gilding meets Simon Whitlock.
I’ll go with one bet which comes along in the final match of the day when Andrew Gilding takes on Simon Whitlock in a match I expect the Englishman to come out on top in. I mentioned last week the incredibly poor checkout percentage of Simon Whitlock and he actually hit more of his doubles than you would have expected against Danny Noppert but when it came to hitting the ones which really matter he was found wanting.
That will keep Gilding interested. Gilding is actually having a great season. He has made the final of a Players Championship event and the semi-final of a European Tour event where Michael Smith proved too good for him. In those events Krzysztof Ratajski, Ryan Searle, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Searle again were among his victims and with Gilding scoring consistently this year and so much better on the doubles than Whitlock I’m expecting an English win here.
Back A.Gilding to beat S.Whitlock for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Betway