Josh Payne booked his place in the second round of the German Darts Championship in Hildesheim as the 24-year old completed a convincing 6-3 victory over Andy Boulton in the opening match of the tournament on Friday lunchtime.
After a long summer break in the PDC calendar, Payne made his return to competitive action. After a period where Josh was really coming into form, the Gravesend ace was determined to get back in the groove on the European Tour. It was a nervy start to the match from both players as they opened up the tournament, but Josh showed great composure as he produced some great finishing to open up a two-leg advantage following a superb 13-dart leg.
Boulton was allowed a path back into the match as he punished some missed doubles from Payne as the match was levelled up at 2-2, but Payne remained composed and determined as he shown his class as he took the next two legs in 30 darts (100.2 average) to move into a comfortable 4-2 lead. Payne kicked off the seventh leg with his third maximum, but Boulton produced a 15-dart leg on his own throw to reduce the arrears to 4-3.
But, Payne continued to remain focused on the task in hand as he comfortably held throw with a superb 13-dart leg to move 5-3 ahead, and within a leg of the match. Payne then confirmed his place in round two in Hildesheim with a solid 15-dart leg as he took out 70. It was a pretty solid display from Payne to open up the tournament, and he’ll need to replicate that sort of form as he takes on the no.5 seed Joe Cullen on Saturday afternoon for a place in the last 16.
It’s well documented that Josh has an unbeaten record against Cullen, and he’ll certainly be full of confidence ahead of Saturday’s clash, and the 24-year old has every right to be full of optimism, Payne’s been in superb form over the past six months as he’s looking to cement his place in the World Grand Prix in October.
Following the victory over Andy Boulton, the post-match statistics are quite impressive. A 91.3 3-dart average, two maximums and 42.86% double success. And, Payne will be sure to improve on that heading into tomorrow’s mouth-watering clash with Joe Cullen.