ARRON MONK 1 – 3 Kevin Painter

Arron Monk pushed Kevin Painter all the way in a high quality first round tie at Alexandra Palace, but was unable to overcome the in-form world number nine.

Monk, 21, produced flashes of brilliance despite defeat and further enhanced his profile as a star of the future.

Monk almost made a show-stopping start, just missing the bull for a 161 finish before Painter hit double eight for an early break. The Artist hit double top to open up a two leg lead but Monk hit back with his first maximum, followed by a 58 checkout to reduce the deficit. Monkey was unlucky to miss double top when going for a 103 checkout to save the set, before his opponent found the same bed to claim it.

The under-21 World Champion found the bull to take out 86, as he grabbed a break of throw in the first leg of set two, but he was unfortunate to hit the 25 when needing bull again to hold. Painter hit double two to break him back and held his throw to go in front. Monk hit another 180 on his way to taking the next leg, setting up a decider for the set, but the Players Championship winner held to double his lead.

Monk opened the third set with a third maximum and took out 70 to win the first leg. Painter levelled the score before Monkey cheekily hit two doubles to take out 82, after missing his shot at the bullseye. The Artist checked out 64 to leave the 21 year old throwing to save the match. He did save it, putting together a great leg when he needed to, to deservedly take the set.

Painter held his throw in the first leg of set four before Monk hit double five to level. The 2004 runner up hit double 16 to edge ahead again. Monk produced a brilliant twelve dart leg to keep himself in the match, but Painter hit double 16 again to ensure it was him that would progress to round two.


By Chris Murphy

Play the Pro