A jump, a scream, and then the fist. So happy is someone who has won a World Cup match for the first time in the fourth attempt. After Gabriel Clemens, Martin Schindler is the second German to enter the third round of the Darts World Championship in London. “The Wall” prevailed in a hard-fought match 3:1 against Martin Lukeman from England. Schindler provided the decisive scene at the end of the third set when he was the first player at this World Cup to achieve the highest possible finish: 170 points, equivalent to the spectacular set win.
In his previous participations in 2018, 2019 and 2022, the 26-year-old was eliminated in the first round, but this time thanks to a strong season with a final and three semi-finals on the Protour, he was among the top 32 in the world rankings and thus directly in as a seed played the second round. As a reward, he can look forward to a duel with title candidate Michael Smith in addition to £25,000 in prize money.
“It’s absolutely brilliant. Of course I knew that I had never won a game here. But it was a great feeling. I had also played good darts at home before. So I would have been really disappointed if it hadn’t worked out again,” said the happy winner.
The German started with a 42 shot, but immediately followed up with his first 180 and shortly afterwards checked on the third try on double 16 in 18 darts to the first leg. After he gave up the following two legs, he immediately regained the advantage of the throw, broke to make it 2:2 and after a missed set dart by Lukeman on the fourth attempt on double two, he just barely secured the first round.
Schindler started the second set much more spectacularly, checking twelve darts to break. A supposed advantage, as the following three legs were also won against serve. “The Wall” missed winning sets on double eight and double four at 2-1, while Lukeman took his first opportunity on double eight to make it 2-2. The tight match again went into the decisive leg, which Lukeman decided with the first throw through: 1:1. Both had an average of 97 points at this point.
At least now it was clear that in this close match between number 29 and number 41, it was the little things that mattered. Like the fourth leg in the third set, for example, when Schindler checked the 170 to win the set. A very big exclamation mark, which was immediately followed by his sixth 180 at the start of the fourth round. A 2-0 lead was quickly worked out with the momentum. Lukeman came back to 1:2, but Schindler didn’t let his maiden victory be taken away and checked 92 points over Bullseye, single 14, double 14 quite strange to win. “The 170 or not. I found the 92 much better,” said Schindler and grinned: “I’m a machine on the double 14.”
With his success, he also defied the chaos surrounding his luggage. After Schindler’s flight was canceled on Thursday afternoon due to heavy fog in London, he took off from Frankfurt two hours later and without his checked luggage. This meant that Schindler didn’t have a chance to train with his work equipment the day before his match. And ultimately it was only thanks to a flash of inspiration from his manager Ioannis Selachoglou that the German had his darts back in his hand, at least on stage on Friday evening.
“Just before we checked in the bags, I distributed Martin’s arrows. One set went in his suitcase, one set in mine. I don’t even know exactly how I came up with it. But I guess I had an inspiration,” Selachoglou told WELT. So it was tolerable that the longtime mentor of the German number two could only receive his own suitcase at Heathrow Airport on Friday morning.
Schindler’s luggage is to be brought to the player’s hotel by Lufthansa afterwards, although he will hardly exchange the winning darts from Friday in his duel for the round of 16 on December 28th. The big duel against the “Bully Boy” Michael Smith is already on Wednesday. Schindler and Selachoglou fly home on Christmas Eve. But the suitcases remain in London over Christmas. You don’t have to tempt fate unnecessarily…
After the conclusion of the second round, the Darts World Championship is now on its three-day break. After Christmas, things continue spectacularly. On December 27, Gabriel Clemens is fighting for a place in the round of 16, as is defending champion Peter Wright. With the duels between Nathan Aspinall and Josh Rock and Gerwyn Price against Raymond van Barneveld, there are already two resonant matches in the third round. Four winning sets are then required for a win.
Brendan Dolan (NIR/26) – Jimmy Hendriks (NED) 3:1 (3:1; 3:0; 2:3; 3:0)
Chris Dobey (ENG/22) – Martijn Kleermaker (NED) 3:0 (3:2; 3:1; 3:2)
Ross Smith (ENG/19) – Darius Labanauskas (LIT) 3:1 (3:2; 3:0; 2:3; 3:2)
Rob Cross (ENG/6) – Scott Williams (ENG) 3:1 (2:3; 3:2; 3:2; 3:2)
Martin Schindler (D/29) – Martin Lukeman (ENG) 3:1 (3:2; 2:3; 3:1; 3:1)
Danny Noppert (NED/9) – David Cameron (CAN)
Jonny Clayton (WAL/7) – Danny van Trijp (NED)
Joe Cullen (ENG/13) – Ricky Evans (ENG)
3rd round from 1.15 p.m.:
Dimitri van den Bergh (BEL/15) – Krzysztof Ratajski (POL/18)
Nathan Aspinall (ENG/10) – Josh Rock (NIR)
Jonny Clayton (WAL/7)/Danny van Trijp (NED) – Brendan Dolan (NIR/26)
from 8.15 p.m.:
Jim Williams (WAL) – Gabriel Clemens (D/25)
Gerwyn Price (WAL/1) – Raymond van Barneveld (NED/32)
Peter Wright (SCO/2) – Kim Huybrechts (BEL/31)