World No 135 Ryan Murray, playing in his very first year on the PDC Tour, produced a huge upset to advance in Group 20 of the Home Tour on Wednesday.
Edinburgh-based Murray lost the opening game of the night to Cullen before bouncing back against 15-time national Greek champion John Michael. He then thrashed Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena 5-1 to progress into the knockout stages of the tournament.
PDC Home Tour – Wednesday’s results (Group 20)
PDC Home Tour – Group 20 Table
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In a thrilling opening game of the night, Cullen was pegged back to 2-2 against Murray before he produced back-to-back 13-dart legs to edge towards victory.
But emerging Scottish talent Murray roared back to win the next two legs, including a 112 checkout, to take the match to a deciding leg. Murray saw his chances of a shock go by the wayside after missing two match darts and that allowed ‘The Rockstar’ to pin D8 with his last dart in hand.
Wattimena and Michael slugged it out in the second match of the night. The Dutchman pinned a ton and 108 checkouts, but the Greek thrower stayed in the game before breaking for a 3-2 lead.
Michael held throw in the next leg to stretch his advantage before he completed a superb win thanks to 93 on the bullseye.
Red-hot Michael returned to face ‘Top Gun’ Murray and the man from Athens nailed a 110 finish in the second leg to continue his fine early form. The first seven legs went with throw before Murray banged in a stunning 121 on the bullseye for the match.
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In the big game of the night, Cullen and Wattimena went toe-to-toe. It was the world No 24 who secured an early break against three-time PDC ranking event winner before taking out 72 for a 4-1 advantage.
But Cullen won the next two legs, including a 118 checkout to close the gap. The Bradford ace survived match darts before sending the contest into a last-leg decider.
Cullen missed two match darts at D16 and that allowed Wattimena to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Any of the four players knew they could progress as Wattimena went up against Murray. The Scotsman took an early 2-0 lead and then broke the Dutch World Cup star again thanks to his second 16-dart leg of the match. He soon cleaned up 46 in two darts to move one leg away from an astonishing victory.
Despite no whitewash for an impregnable-looking Murray, he sealed a 5-1 success thanks to a fabulous 117 finish.
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