The travel chaos does not even stop at the German darts professionals. Instead of traveling to Great Britain by plane as usual, Gabriel Clemens and Martin Schindler had to take the car. “Flying is a bit of a disaster right now,” Schindler said. “Easy is a very understatement.” The one-way route across Luxembourg, Belgium, France and England to Blackpool took more than ten hours. Certainly not optimal preparation for the second most important darts tournament of the year.

For the first time in the tradition of World Matchplay, which has been going on since 1994, two Germans qualified. And the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) meant well for the fans who kept it black, red and gold. Both Clemens and Schindler had to go on board for the first time on Monday evening – one after the other. It could have been a German party.

Instead, on the way home, the two have plenty of time to reflect on the missed opportunities. Both failed at their opening hurdle. Schindler brought former world champion Gerwyn Price to the brink of defeat, but then lost 8:10. “You have to take every chance, I didn’t do that. It was annoying, but I take away a lot of positive things. It hurts too,” Schindler said after the knockout. at DAZN.

The German, who is currently in the best form, had stood up to the Welshman for a long time and set the biggest exclamation point in the early phase of the match with a 141 finish to make it 5:5. Only then did Price, who had previously had problems with scoring, improve significantly. The number two in the world rankings, who could climb back to the top of the rankings at the tournament in the Winter Gardens, scored an average of 111.70 points by the end of the match. “It worked at the end of the game. I felt like I couldn’t miss,” Price said of his rise in form.

Schindler was able to keep up, but conceded the decisive break to make it 7:8. “That’s darts sometimes. I gave everything. I didn’t come here to lose 10-8,” said the 25-year-old after his World Matchplay debut.

Even for Clemens, who had already defeated players like Rob Cross and Peter Wright in the big tournaments, it wasn’t enough this time. The Saarlander lost 6:10 against the Portuguese José de Sousa. “I think I wasn’t without a chance. I fought, I didn’t give up,” Clemens clarified.

The 38-year-old missed a better performance in the doubles fields. When the score was 5:7, Clemens missed the double 11, a short time later he even missed seven chances to make it 7:9. De Sousa countered and checked 136 points to the match. In the end, Clemens had a double quota of 25 percent. Last year he failed in the first round against the Portuguese.

Former world champion Rob Cross celebrated the comeback of the evening. The Englishman came back after beating his compatriot Chris Dobey 8-2 and won 11-9 in overtime. “Chris was the better player but he never blew me away,” Cross said.

Krzysztof Ratajski – Stephen Bunting 10:6

Dimitri van den Bergh – Callan Rydz 10: 2

Peter Wright – Madars Razma 10:4

Jonny Clayton – Rowby-John Rodriguez 7:10

Dirk van Duijvenbode – Ryan Searle 10:8

Danny Noppert – Brendan Dolan 10: 6

Gary Anderson – Daryl Gurney 7:10

Michael Smith – Andrew Gilding 11:9

Joe Cullen – Damon Heavy 10:2

James Wade – Martin Lukeman 10:4

Michael van Gerwen – Adrian Lewis 10:7

Luke Humphries – Nathan Aspinall 5:10

Rob Cross – Chris Dobey 11:9

Jose de Sousa – Gabriel Clemens 10:6

Gerwyn Price – Martin Schindler 10:8

Dave Chisnall – Kim Huybrechts 10:7

Rowby-John Rodriguez – Dimitri van den Bergh

James Wade – Nathan Aspinall

Peter Wright – Krzysztof Ratajski

Michael van Gerwen – Joe Cullen

Daryl Gurney – Danny Noppert

Jose de Sousa – Rob Cross

Gerwyn Price – Dave Chisnall

Michael Smith – Dirk van Duijvenbode