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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 January, 2004, 18:11 GMT
Barneveld eases through
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Raymond van Barnevald
You can watch live televised Lakeside action on the BBC Sport website
Raymond van Barneveld began the defence of his World Professional Darts crown with a straight-sets win over qualifier Peter Hunt.

The three-time champion confortably overcame the challenge of the unseeded New-Zealander and will meet England's Paul Hogan in the second round.

"It's been a hectic few days with all the attention and I've not had much time to relax," said Barneveld.

"With all the nerves and tension I'm just pleased to have got started."

Hunt, who travelled from the southern hemisphere for his brief appearance, took the opening leg of the first set.

But the Dutchman fought back to take the first set and threw in a 14 dart finish and two 180s on his way to a two-set lead.

You have to play as if it were a final in every round
Raymond van Barneveld
Despite having taken two legs in the second set, Hunt fell away as van Barneveld closed out the first round tie with ease.

"It was not my best performance," he added. "But I can have rest now and start to get into the flow of the tournament."

Van Barneveld will next face Hogan, who coasted past former quarter-finalist Bob Taylor 3-0 as the first round got underway at Frimley Green.

"I'm just pleased to get through, but I will have to take my game up a few notches if I want to beat Ray," said Hogan.

"I have the ability to do it. I just need to relax and anything can happen."

Andy Fordham was another to enjoy a comfortable passage into the second round with a 3-0 triumph over Lakeside debutant Brian Derbyshire.

"The Viking" edged a tight opening set then raced away with the next two in confident fashion.

"It must have been hard for Brian, especially when I have the crowd behind me like that," said Fordham.

"He battled like a trojan but I am through and I am happy."

Fordham takes on Tony West next after the fifth seed saw off Mick Reed 3-1.

Walton survives

Two other first-round matches on Saturday produced much tighter contests.

Former champion John Walton narrowly avoided becoming the first seed to be knocked out when he prevailed 3-2 against fellow Englishman Tony Eccles.

Walton made a confident start by taking all three legs of the first set, but Eccles came from behind to take the second.

The next two sets were shared before Walton scored heavily to edge the decider four legs to two.

He will meet Robert Wagner in the second round after the Norwegian edged out Dutchman Co Stompe 3-2 in a titanic tussle.

The amateur magician took the opening two sets in confident fashion but former semi-finalist Stompe seized the third and levelled at 2-2.

But Wagner kept his cool in a nervy deciding set to throw three 180s and go through on a tie-break.



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