Ritchie Edhouse, Daryl Gurney and Dimitri Van den Bergh were the big winners on the first day in Leverkusen as the Neo.bet European Darts Open got underway.

It seems to be a common theme this year with Ritchie Edhouse going on a run on an European Tour – and Leverkusen was no different as he once again cruised through the first round. Despite only averaging 84 it was more than enough to get past his German opponent 6-0. Madhouse did hit three maximums but both players will curse their doubling efforts with 23 missed darts between them. The other whitewash of the afternoon came in the last match as Daryl Gurney cruised past Finnish World Cup of Darts star Marko Kantele. Gurney averaged 89 but saw his opponent miss 10 darts at a double meaning that Superchin stays in the hunt to be European Darts Open champion.

The biggest winner of the evening came in the very last match as Dimitri Van den Bergh blew away Ryan Meikle defeating him by 6 legs to 1. The Belgian number one averaged a massive 109.45 – the highest of the first round. He will also be happy to have finished the game without missing a dart at the double as he look to progress deep in the European Darts Open.

Bates beats Rockstar

In the first real shock of the evenings action 21 year old Owen Bates beat world number 14 Joe Cullen. It was extra special for Bates as that was his first win on the European Tour stage. Whilst the numbers don’t make for amazing viewing Bates won’t mind as his 87 average was enough for a 6-4 win. Bates outscored Cullen in the ton pluses and will be hoping for more of the same when he faces Danny Noppert.

Another player who booked his place in the second round on Friday night was Luke Woodhouse. The Englishman beat Mike De Decker 6-3 averaging 97 in the process and hitting 4 maximus. This game was another one that saw both players miss multiple darts at a double with De Decker especially guilty of missing the outer ring.

Afternoon round-up

The first match of the afternoon proved an entertaining one with Dom Taylor overseeing Radek Szaganski 6-3. Whilst Taylor looked in control at 4-1 up the Polish star took out the big fish to break through but was unable to hold his own throw to close the gap further. Taylor ended with a 97 average and hit one maximum. The second match of the afternoon saw two tour card qualifiers for the event pitted against each other and it was Karel Sedlacek who came out on top against Matthew Dennant winning 6-3. Evil Charlie took no prisoners hitting 3 maximums and a 161 checkout on his wat to a victory. Dennant couldn’t keep up with the Czech darters scoring and suffered a first round exit.

Jeffrey de Graaf beat Andrew Gilding as he prepares to represent Sweden at the World Cup.

The tie of the afternoon came in the penultimate match as Andy Baetens took on Nathan Rafferty. Baetens saw an early 4-1 lead turn into a 5-4 deficit only for the Belgian star to break then hold to book his place in the second courtesy of a last leg decider. Whilst the averages weren’t the best – Baetens winning with am 88 average he will be relieved having missed 15 darts at a double.

Elsewhere Kevin Doets continued with his impressive form in 2024 as he got the better of Nico Blum 6-3. The Dutch star ran into a 4-0 lead and controlled the match from there even though Blum did it bring it back to 5-3 Doets eventually getting over the line. The surprise of the afternoon came as Jeffrey de Graaf got the better of Goldfinger Andrew Gilding 6-4. The Swedish star who will make his debut at the World Cup of Darts later this month for Sweden broke in the third leg to take a 2-1 lead and controlled proceedings from there fending off a mini fightback from Gilding who brought it back to 5-4.

Another match dictated by missed doubles was the Jamie Hughes and Dylan Slevin match which the Irish star eventually won 6-4. Both players struggled on the outer ring which resulted in the averages dropping both players finishing on 84, but Slevin won’t mind as he looks on to Saturday and a tasty tie with 7th seed Michael van Gerwen.

Owen Bates hit 3 180’s as he registered his first win on the European Tour

Evening round-up

The home crowd didn’t have to wait too long to see one of their boys win as in the very first match of the night that’s exactly what they got as Kevin Troppmann took out 167 in the deciding leg to get the win. The averages weren’t high but Kevin Troppmann won’t mind as he got through 6-5 against Slovenian darter Benjamin Pratnemer. Both players will be disappointed with their double percentages but the German will hope to put it right against Stephen Bunting in round 2. Another match that went all the way was Raymond van Barneveld’s titanic battle with Krzysztof Ratajski. After eight of the first 10 legs went with throw – Barney got the crucial break in the decider with both players averaging 96.

The crowd were treated to another 11 leg thriller in the very next match as Michael Smith came from 4-3 down to defeat James Wade 6-5. Bullyboy averaged 97 and hit 2 maximums but had to anxiously wait and watch Wade miss a match dart before taking out 20 to book his place in the second round. The penultimate match of the evening threw up the 4th last leg decider as Dirk van Duijvenbode faced Gabriel Clemens. But there wasn’t going to be more joy for the German crowd as it was van Duijvenbode who got over the line and a tasty looking draw against defending champion Gerwyn Price. The Dutch star took out the big fish and ended the match with a 100% on his doubles.

The other match of the night saw Callan Rydz receive a walkover after Nico Kurz withdrew not being well enough to play.


Neo.bet European Darts Open Results

Round 1

Afternoon Session 

Dom Taylor 6|3 Radek Szaganski
Karel Sedlacek 6|3 Matthew Dennant
Dylan Slevin 6|4 Jamie Hughes
Kevin Doets 6|3 Nico Blum
Ritchie Edhouse 6|0 Jan Dueckers
Jeffrey de Graaf 6|4 Andrew Gilding
Andy Baetens 6|5 Nathan Rafferty
Daryl Gurney 6|0 Marko Kantele

Evening Session

Kevin Troppmann 6|5 Benjamin Pratnemer
Callan Rydz w/o Nico Kurz
Owen Bates 6|4 Joe Cullen
Raymond van Barneveld 6|5 Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael Smith 6|5 James Wade
Luke Woodhouse 6|3 Mike De Decker
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6|5 Gabriel Clemens
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6|1 Ryan Meikle