Beau Greaves suffered a 3-0 defeat on their historic World Darts Championship debut, with Willie O’Connor proving too strong in their first round clash at Alexandra Palace.
The 18-year-old is the youngest woman to take part in the tournament and was in dominant form in the PDC women’s series but was unable to deliver a blow to her Irish opponent.
The crowd was boisterous in their support for the Doncaster pitcher, but O’Connor kept his composure to finish the game with six legs in a row and celebrated the moment magnanimously by raising Greaves’ hand.
Her first appearance had started in eye-catching fashion as she checked out 120 in the first set, but then missed the double sixteen to take the set and allowed O’Connor to take the lead.
After nonchalantly checking his phone during the break, Greaves produced another impressive 122 finish in set number two, and also banked a 180.
But the same pattern played out as she hesitated at the decisive moment to go 2-0 behind, fending off a chance to hit the bullseye and leaving the door open.
O’Connor was ruthless as Greaves’ radar wandered into the final set, but with so much time ahead of her, the teenager likely has plenty of better days ahead of her.
O’Connor suggested the focus on the match hadn’t been to his liking, but predicted Greaves would continue to make waves.
“She’s thrown some absolutely awesome stuff, she’s got a huge future ahead of her, and I hope this is the last time I play her for a long time,” he said.
“I don’t need that attention, I’d rather sneak into a corner and mind my own business. I wasn’t going to fall for the circus of what it was, I just took care of the task at hand.
The final game of the evening saw Michael Smith live up to his ‘Bully Boy’ moniker as the reigning Grand Slam champion put on a blistering spectacle against 22-year-old Nathan Rafferty. The fourth seed sprinted to victory, barely letting Rafferty find his feet as he won all nine rounds unanswered.
Smith ended the rushed match with a bullseye finish, advancing into the third round with a statement of intent. Earlier, Keegan Brown lost his tour card as well as his first-round meeting with Florian Hempel, losing 3-2 to return to qualifying school.
Rowby-John Rodriguez had previously lost 3-2 to Lourence Ilagan in a back-and-forth that went all the way.
The afternoon session saw a quartet of straight-set wins, with Alan Soutar beating Mal Cuming, Boris Krcmar beating Toru Suzuki, Adrian Lewis beating Daniel Larsson and Kim Huybrechts beating Grant Sampson.