Auckland champ survives tough first round
REIGNING champion Kyle Anderson survived a scare on an exciting first night of the 2018 Auckland Darts Maters at Trusts Arena.
Anderson defeated Haupai Puha 6-4 on a night when the local players all did themselves proud in front of a vociferous home crowd.
The Aussie said he knew he was in for a tough game when he was drawn against Puha.
"There are no easy games at all against these blokes," he said.
"At the World Cup I was talking to (NZ darts star) Warren Parry and all he was saying was Haupai this and Haupai that.
"I walked into the draw at Burger King yesterday and said to myself 'I am going to play him' and sure enough his name came out.
"I thought to myself 'we will find out if people were telling the truth or not' and you know what, they were telling the truth. He played really well."
All of the first five games in round one went to 4-4 in the best-of-11 game matches with Australian Simon Whitlock and world champion Rob Cross both surviving match darts to move through to round two.
Whitlock won 6-5 against Kiwi qualifier Ben Robb, who missed a dart at double 16 to defeat the world No.7.
Cross, too, went all the way against another Christchurch qualifier John Hurring, who had two match darts for the upset of the night, before Cross held his nerve to set up a clash with Whitlock on night two.
There was an surprise in the next match, with qualifier Mark McGrath defeating Shanghai Masters champion Michael Smith 6-4 to become the first New Zealander to win a match in Auckland Masters history.
Raymond van Barneveld beat veteran New Zealander Warren Parry 6-4, world No.2 Peter Wright defeated 21-year-old Tahuna Irwin 6-3 before Michael van Gerwen eased past Cody Harris 6-2.
In the last game of the night Australian qualifier Tim Pusey's big-stage debut ended in a 6-3 defeat to World Matchplay champion Gary Anderson.
First round scores
Simon Whitlock 6 Ben Robb 5
Rob Cross 6 John Hurring 5
Michael Smith 4 Mark McGrath 6
Raymopnd van Barneveld 6 Warren Parry 4
Kyle Anderson 6 Haupai Puha 4
Peter Wright 6 Tahuna Irwin 3
Michael van Gerwen 6 Cody Harris 2
Gary Anderson 6Tim Pusey 3
Simon Whitlock v Rob Cross
Mark McGrath v Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Kyle Anderson v Peter Wright