By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 01/06/18 11:33pm
Belgium booked their spot in the second-round of the World Cup of Darts after edging out Republic of Ireland in a thrilling last-leg decider in Frankfurt.
For the first time since 2012, Kim Huybrechts was not paired alongside his brother Ronny, with World Youth champion Dimitri Van den Bergh making his World Cup bow for the Belgians.
They made a lacklustre start to the contest and failed to register a dart at double until the fourth leg, as William O’Connor and Steve Lennon stormed into a 3-0 lead.
2018 World Cup of Darts – Day Two Results
|Northern Ireland (6)||5-4||Poland|
|Belgium (7)||5-4||Republic of Ireland|
|England (2)||5-3||Czech Republic|
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The Belgians reduced the arrears to 3-2, but O’Connor moved the Irish to the brink of victory after Huybrechts missed a dart at tops to level.
Nevertheless, with their backs firmly against the wall, the seventh seeds perfected the art of brinkmanship to complete a sensational fightback.
Van den Bergh, who struggled with nerves early on, conjured up an inspired 130 checkout on the bull to keep Belgium afloat, with the Republic of Ireland poised on 48 for the match.
‘The Dream-Maker’ then landed a maximum and completed a stunning 11-dart leg against the throw to force a decider, in which Belgium had the advantage of throw.
Lennon fired in a maximum to give the Republic of Ireland hope, but Van den Bergh replied by piling in his second 180, before producing a perfect set-up shot to leave Belgium on 36 after 12 darts.
However, O’Connor almost denied the 2013 finalists in the most dramatic fashion; missing the bull for a spectacular 170 finish.
The tension was palpable, but Huybrechts showed nerves of steel; pinning D18 with his last dart in hand to complete an incredible comeback and provoke jubilant scenes from the Belgians, who will now face Finland in Saturday’s second round.
Our live action from Frankfurt continues on Saturday with two sessions of second round action – coverage is underway from 12.30pm and again at 6pm on Sky Sports Action
Live World Cup of Darts
June 2, 2018, 12:30pm
2018 World Cup of Darts – Second Round
|N Ireland (6)||v||Germany|
|Netherlands (3)||v||South Africa|
Live World Cup of Darts
June 2, 2018, 6:00pm
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