Newton v Pipe: The Force is with The Warrior
Nerves clearly gripped hold of Justin Pipe in his first round match against Sean Reed. But he did enough to battle back from one set down to book his place in the second round, and, as any player will tell you, that is all that matters.
Perhaps one of the main reasons for Pipe’s below-par performance was the fact that he went into the match as a strong favourite, probably for the first time in his career in front of the cameras. He won’t, however, be required to contend with that here as he comes up against the high-flying Wes Newton.
Newton’s first round win was one of the eye-catching performances of the opening round as Ally Pally debutant Kurt van de Rijck forced him into producing some quality darts. The Belgian came away from the match with a 93.84 three-dart average and took two of the three sets to a deciding leg.
But the world number seven responded in kind to get the job done inside the minimum distance and set up this intriguing second round match with Pipe.
The pair have already met once in front of the cameras this year and it was Newton that emerged as the 13-8 winner in the last 16 of the World Matchplay. They’ve also met a further four times on the floor in the last two years and it is Newton who holds the overall 4-1 advantage in the head-to-heads.
Sky Bet are offering odds of 2/5 that The Warrior embellishes that statistic, while Pipe is 15/8 to claw one back on the biggest stage of all. Although short odds, there is no reason for favourite backers to be scared off here.
Pipe’s meticulous preparation and dedication to the sport will see him steadily climb the rankings in the months to come, but even he sees present opportunities in front of the cameras as a stepping stone to future success. Newton on the other hand feels his time is now and after a cagey start I expect him to stretch away in the latter part of this match.
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