DARTS: Missed doubles cost Ward

Dorset Echo: ON WORLD STAGE: Ben Ward ON WORLD STAGE: Ben Ward

MISSED doubles proved Ben Ward’s downfall at Alexandra Palace tonight as the Dorchester star fell at the first hurdle on his PDC World Championship debut.

Ward lost his best of seven legs preliminary round encounter with Austrian plumber Zoran Lerchbacher 4-1 at the Ladbrokes-sponsored event in London.

But it could have been a lot different for 25-year-old Ward had he made the most of his chances to win the first, third and fourth legs.

He missed nine darts at doubles in total and paid the price for his wayward finishing with Lerchbacher going on to seal the game, courtesy of a 138 checkout.

However, although disappointed with the result, Ward was not too downhearted when speaking to Echosport after his loss.

“I played alright but just missed a couple of doubles,” he said. “I should have won the first leg, all my darts at the doubles were on the wire, but that’s the way it goes.

“I was pretty nervous beforehand but I felt okay on the stage and I thought I scored quite well.

“I probably tried a bit too hard and my doubles cost me, but it’s all a learning curve for me and I’ll be back.”

He added: “I said before I came here that I wanted to enjoy it, which I have, and I tried my best but that wasn’t quite good enough on the night.”

Lerchbacher looked the more relaxed of the two men as they made their way to the oche and, throwing first, he took a 1-0 lead despite Ward squandering five opportunities to take the leg against the darts.

There was nothing wrong with Ward’s scoring and after posting 100, 136 and 130 in the opener he levelled the match in the second thanks to a ton, 134, 140 and double eight.

The Austrian hit the game’s first maximum in leg three but might have lost it had Ward not missed double five while attempting a 130 checkout.

Lerchbacher hit the double at the third time of asking to make it 2-1 and he then extended his advantage in the next against the throw.

Again it was Ward who got to the double first having hit a brace of tons and 134, but he couldn’t find his range and a couple of misses at double 19 let his rival in.

Ward did all he could to stay in touch during the fifth leg but Lerchbacher hit 140, 123 and 100 before two treble 19s and double 12 secured him a place in the first round against Michael van Gerwen.

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