John O’Shea defeated on World Darts debut.
Day 7 of the 2023 World Darts Championship has begun with John O’Shea losing out to Darius Labanauskas in what was the Corkman’s World Championship debut.
The match kicked off proceedings at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday, and it was Labanauskus who got the better of the opening exchanges, racing into a 2-0 lead in the first set.
John O’Shea twice comes back from 2-0 down.
Not to be outdone, O’Shea hit 180s in each of the next two legs, helping him to pull the score back to 2-2, before he closed out a 40 finish to take the first set 3-2.
Remarkably, O’Shea repeated the trick in the second set, falling behind 2-0 again, before winning three consecutive legs to take a 2-0 lead and move to within one set of victory.
The third set began with Labanuskas winning the first two legs again, but coming back from this situation for a third time proved too much for O’Shea.
The fourth set also went to the Lithuanian, to leave a winner-takes-all battle in the fifth set. O’Shea started brightly by beginning leg 1 with a score of 100, but the crowd then began to sense that the match was getting away from him.
There it is!! His SIXTH match dart 😰
Darius Labanauskas is through to the second round where he will face Ross Smith! ⏳ pic.twitter.com/cjjBILIwdq
— Sky Sports Darts (@SkySportsDarts) December 21, 2022
Labanauskus won the first two legs of the final set, before both players exchanged 180s in the third leg, which O’Shea finished by hitting double 20.
The Lithuanian eventually put the match to bed in the fourth leg of the fifth set, and was full of praise for O’Shea after the game.
Great reception for John O’Shea at Ally Pally 🎯 🇮🇪 #WCDarts pic.twitter.com/YoVw4tjcDq
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) December 21, 2022
“I think the crowd and TV viewers like these styles of games, with a lot of drama,” the 46-year-old told Pundit Arena afterwards. “But for the players it’s hard. He (O’Shea) did better on the bulls and he broke me in the important moments. Credit to John, he played well.”
Labanauskas will now prepare for a round two battle with Ross Smith, while O’Shea can reflect on what could have been while taking plenty of pride in his performance.
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