FORMER semi-finalist Mark Webster failed to make it beyond the first hurdle at the latest PDC major.
The Denbigh dartist was included in the 32-man line-up for the Unibet World Grand Prix, in Dublin, after number two seed Gary Anderson withdrew ahead of the tournament.
Anderson, last year’s beaten finalist in the double-start event, is remaining at home in Somerset ahead of the impending birth of his second child with partner Rachel.
Following Anderson’s withdrawal, the PDC rule book led to the inclusion of Webster, who was the next non-qualified player from the PDC order of merit.
Mark was a semi-finalist in the World Grand Prix two years ago on his most recent appearance in the double-start format, while he also reached the quarter-finals on his debut back in 2011.
However, his first round opponent Richard North made a dream debut on the City West Hotel stage on Monday evening.
Emerging star North enjoyed a straight sets win over Webster to book a second round meeting with Australian Simon Whitlock.
Hampshire-based North only turned professional in January when he won a PDC tour card at qualifying school, but he marked his continued rise with the biggest win of his career.
North claimed the opening set without reply, taking out a brilliant 145 checkout in leg two, before coming from a leg down in set two to claim victory.
“I was preparing to play Gary, but then it got changed to Mark and it scared me - my preparation was out of the window,” admitted North.
“I sneaked a few doubles and hit the right scores at the right time and I got the win.”
It’s been a busy spell on the oche for Webster, with a recent appearance in a European Tour event, as well as competing in two Players’ Championship tournaments over the weekend.
Last month, Mark made a trip to Germany to take part in the HappyBet International Darts Open.
Held in the town of Riesa, some 25 miles from Dresden, the first round of the tournament saw Webster up against home favourite Max Hopp.
Mark hit back from being 3-1 down to level matters, before former world youth champion Hopp finished the stronger to claim a 6-4 success.
Hopp lost out 6-1 in the next round versus Alan Norris, while Peter Wright etched his name into the history books as he beat Kim Huybrechts 6-5 in the final.
Wright become just the fourth man to seal ten PDC titles in a calendar year.
Turning to last weekend’s action in Dublin, and the great and the good of the PDC were drawn to take part in a pair of Players’ Championship tournaments, plus a qualifier for this month’s HappyBet European Darts Trophy, in Germany.
It wasn’t the best of weekends for Webster, who was only able to chalk up a solitary victory.
That came with a 6-2 success versus Jan Dekker in Saturday’s Players’ Championship tournament.
In the next round, Webster was edged out 6-5 in his meeting with fellow Welshman Jamie Lewis.
Webster suffered a first round reverse in the previous Players’ Championship competition, losing out by a 6-2 margin versus Simon Stevenson.
There was also a first round defeat for Mark in the European Darts Trophy, with opponent John Bowles coming out on top 6-3.
Another busy week is lined-up for Mark.
Between October 9 and 11, he will compete in the qualifier for the World Series of Darts, in addition to the final two Players’ Championship tournaments of the year.
Masons B held on to their Denbigh and District Darts League A-League status by the skin of their teeth.
The venue was the Hope & Anchor for the A / B play-off between the A-League’s second bottom side Masons B and B-League runners-up The Kinmel Arms, of Llandyrnog.
It looked plain sailing for the A-League side as they strolled into a 4-1 lead, but the Kinmel Arms clawed their way back to level the tie and take things to a one-leg sudden death shootout.
Kinmel captain Danny Johnson opted to play the leg himself, while the Masons men pinned their hopes on the experienced Paul Jones.
Jones drew on his Superleague experience to outplay the Kinmel skipper and preserve Masons B’s elite summer status for another campaign.
Elsewhere, the Masons have had an indifferent start to their Clwyd Superleague campaign.
After a brilliant top-five finish last season, with the loss of only four games, the Denbigh outfit have already fallen to three defeats in five this time out.
They defeated The Melrose 6-2, with wins from Dave Davies, Dave Cooke, Peter Sim-Mutch, Dil Martin, Rich Martin and man of the match Pete Lewis.
However, seven days later they were downed 5-3 at The Blossoms, of Bagillt, with former Masons chucker Gary Williams grabbing the all-important fifth point for the Flintshire men.
Pete Lewis was again in fine form with a man of the match 27 one-dart average.
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