Sunday, December 30, 2018

PDC World Championship Semi Final Preview

Just one step from the final and two cracking matches to decide who will take their place on the prestigious stage.

Three names could have been predicted,and one unlikely name has fought his way through.

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First match is Michael Smith(pic) against Nathan Aspinall (pic). On paper it looks appears Smith very much has the upper hand. Although this tournament has seen the emergence of some fresh talent, and Aspinall is definitely one of those talents. You do not get the the semi final of the World Darts Championship by chance. You have to be an exceptional player and have the will to win. Aspinall has shown his passion on the stage, whilst keeping a cool head when in a losing position. He hit a 100 average (rounded up) in his quarter final victory over Brendan Dolan, which he won quite comfortably. He will need to be playing at that standard again, and there is no reason why he can't repeat that performance.
He certainly has the hunger to perform well, although he really needs to get off to a good start as Smith will come out with all guns blazing.
Michael Smith played near to the top of his game as he defeated the impressive Luke Humphries in the quarter final, averaging 103. He will need to play around that level in order to keep Aspinall at bay, but assuming he does that, he may be able to establish a decent lead. Smith seems to perform better when leading, so it will be interesting to see how he performs if Aspinall takes the first set.
Smith has been in excellent form this year and has got to this stage with less 'trouble' than the other semi finalists, so he will need to keep fully focused, as this is his toughest match yet. Smith is full of confidence and is mentored by Gary Anderson, so he will be given some very good Champion's advice of what it takes to reach the final.
I predict a Smith win, but Aspinall will give him a tough match. Perhaps 6-4?

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The second semi final, is perhaps the most mouth watering match of the tournament as Michael van Gerwen (pic) takes on Gary Anderson (pic). These are the number one and two players in the world at the moment, and have both won multiple World Championships. Both are big scorers and will both average over 100.  It is very difficult to call a winner here. The bookmakers think van Gerwen will win, but I'm not sure what that is based on. Prior to the quarter finals, I would have agreed, but the way Anderson played against Dave Chisnall, showed that Anderson wants this title and it will take an excellent performance to defeat him. And maybe the only person that can stop him is van Gerwen. Van Gerwen said he put a lot of pressure on himself to play unbelieveable darts against Ryan Joyce in the quarter final and this lead to a mid-game 'slump', where Joyce won a set back and Michael's average dipped somewhat. Van Gerwen needs to make sure that he doesn't apply this sort of pressure in the semifinal, because if Anderson goes two or three sets up, it will be exceedingly difficult to catch up. That said, this is Michael van Gerwen and he has won, by far, the most titles this year of any player, whilst seemingly not at his best. He will be ready and Anderson will know this.
Anderson must maintain the form of the quarter final, and finishing will be key to his success. No doubt he will score very heavily, but occasionally his finishing can let him down. If he gets that right then this could be his year. However any mistakes will be punished by van Gerwen.

Very hard to predict. I think it will be 6-5, and maybe van Gerwen might just snatch it, although it really is a very difficult call. This could also be the match where we see the first 9-dart finish of the tournament too!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

PDC World Championship Quarter Final Preview - Evening Session

So the evening session of Quarter Finals and two intriguing matches in store.

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First up is Michael Smith (pic) against the very impressive Luke Humphries (pic). Humphries continues to impress as the tournament progresses. He came back with real quality to beat Rob Cross in the last 16.Prior to that he beat Adam Hunt convincingly and then eliminated Stephen Bunting and Dimitri van den Bergh, so no mean feat. He seems to be full of confidence and will be a tough opponent. His averages have been 98,96,90 and 100. He will probably need to play at 100+ average to get a decent amount of leg winning chances though. However,he is going from strength to strength and it just depends on whether he can handle the occasion.
Michael Smith has looked good throughout the tournament and I'm not sure we have seen the best of him just yet, so tonight could be the night. He too will have to play at 100+ average to stop Humphries, but does have the big scoring game to do so. Smith has beat Ron Meulenkamp, John Henderson and Ryan Searle, so perhaps a slightly 'easier' route, but has produced averages of 94,100 and 100, so he is obviously in good shape coming into the quarter final. If both play their best, then Smith should win, but this is close and a slip from either player will certainly be punished.

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The second game is, Michael van Gerwen (pic) against the outsider Ryan Joyce (pic). Joyce may be an outsider in terms of the bookmakers or television appearances, but he has played magnificently to get here. He will be no pushover after beating Anastasia Dobromyslova, (under a lot of pressure and little crowd support), Simon Whitlock, Alan Norris and James Wade. Although a fantastic achievement, he must keep focused and not get bogged down by the big occasion. Van Gerwen will not give him many chances, so he must be clinical when presented with an opportunity to finish. Van Gerwen will throw a 100+ average unless he has a very off day. This is the standard that the others must keep to. Joyce, so far has hit averages of (to nearest whole number) 90, 90, 88, 88. He is consistent, but will need to up that by around 10 to progress.
Van Gerwen has been here before and hasn't really played his best yet, which is ominous for the other players.  He will be very focused as he nears the final stages. His averages have been 103, 102 and 108, so the gulf in standard is quite visible. Van Gerwen has also beaten Alan Tabern, Max Hopp and Adrian Lewis to reach this stage,winning quite convincingly.
 The pressure will be very much on Van Gerwen,so as long as he handles that he should win. But this year's competition has been anything bu predictable!

PDC WorldChampionship Quarter Finals - Afternoon Session

(Note: Apologies for being away the last couple of days, but Christmas happened! I will fill in any previous days' gaps for continuity in due course. Thanks)

So we are now at the business end of the tournament. There are some big names, but also some surprises here. All will believe they can win and all have shown fantastic darts to get here.

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Proceedings start with two surprise packages in Nathan Aspinall (pic) and Brendan Dolan. Aspinall has fought through the rounds playing excellent darts and fulfilling the potential he has promised for some time. He has hit the big darts when needed and kept a cool head even when in difficult situations. He wears his heart on his sleeve and will be cheering his big scores and finishes once again no doubt. He beat Geert Nentjes, Gerwyn Price,Kyle Anderson and Devon Petersen to get to this stage and all have been tough for him,but he has come through with a strong resilience. This resilience may well be to his advantage. His averages so far are, (to nearest whole number) 88, 92, 96 and 96, which shows that he seems to be improving as the tournament progresses.An impressive set of stats and high 90s may just win this.
Brendan Dolan is an experienced campaigner and has won on the big stage before. He will need to use all of this experience in this tricky match. Dolan has had a resurgence in form to get him here and he seems to have a real belief. His scoring has been consistent and his finishing has been particularly good. He will not be overawed by the occasion,but he must remain mindful that Aspinall will not give in, even if a set or two down. Dolan has beat Yuanjun Liu,Joe Cullen, Mervyn King and Benito van de Pas to to make the quarter finals, with the latter three opponents all experienced Tour professionals and very tough to beat. This will certainly give Dolan confidence. His averages are 87,93,92 and 90, which are slightly lower than Aspinall's, so finishing again will be very important for Dolan.

A close quarter final in prospect but I think Dolan may just win it, based on his experience.

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The second quarter final is Gary Anderson (pic) against Dave Chisnall (pic) in what should be an exciting battle. Anderson, of course has been here several times before and will be used to the pressure. Although Chisnall maybe under more pressure, he has had an easier time getting to this stage.Anderson has had tough battles, including a nail biting match against Chris Dobey in the previous round,arguably the match of the tournament so far. He has also beaten Kevin Burness and another nail biter against Jermaine Wattimena. Averages have been  95, 97 and 99, so he hasn't quite been at his best, but is improving as the tournament progresses. Expect a 100+ average in this match.
Chisnall nearly went out in his first match before making a fantastic comeback against Josh Payne. After that scare he has won 8 consecutive sets without conceding any, against Kim Huybrechts and then Jamie Lewis. The scorelines are a little flattering, but shows the strength of Chisnall's big scoring. His averages are 96,98 and 99, so almost identical to Anderson's, and once again his averages are improving.

So hard to call, but will just about give it to Anderson based on his experience at this stage of the tournament, but both must play at their best otherwise, the other will pounce on the mistakes.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

World Championship Day 11 Preview - Afternoon Session

More third round action today.

The first match of the afternoon is the quick throwing Vincent van der Voort against Chris Dobey. Van der Voort looked at his best in the last round as he swept past Darren Webster. Dobey will need to make sure that doesn't happen to him, as it can be easy to get caught up with the fast throwing rhythm. Dobey has also played well in the tournament, so he will fancy his chances. This should be close and as in many cases, finishing will be key to finding a winner.

The second game is another one that is very evenly matched. It features two of the most experienced players in the tournament as Brendan Dolan plays Mervyn King. Dolan has been playing close to his best and looks to have timed his World Championship run well. King continues to play good consistent darts and he will want to keep this way. Really hard to call a winner here and whoever makes the least mistakes will win.

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The final match of the afternoon could be tense as James Wade (pic) plays Keegan Brown. Statisically, Wade is the better player, but I think this game will be a lot about mental strength. In round two Wade was chastised for his unsporting behaviour as he berated Seigo Asada during the match. Brown was similarly criticised by his round two opponent Jelle Klaasen, as Brown continually celebrated big shots and finishes. So this game will be about who can keep a cool head and focus on playing good darts. Wade may probably edge this as he has played very well at the close of the season,but Brown has also showed his talent. Could be fireworks!

PDC World Championship Day 10 Preview - Evening

Tonight's 3rd Round matches have the first and second favourite in action, so will be interesting to see how they perform.

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The first match, though, is Ryan Searle  (pic) against William O'Connor from Ireland. Searle has looked very impressive so far and seems to be getting better with each round. He has had a good season and that seems to have given him a new found confidence. O'Connor will be a tough player to beat. He looked good in round two and will just need to keep that form going. I think Searle may have a little bit extra and his big scoring is more consistent.

The second game sees second favourite, Gary Anderson against Jermaine Wattimena. Wattimena has showed some good form so far and will need to show more to compete with Anderson. Anderson looked comfortable in his second round match, and will want to keep a high average against a tougher opponent. Anderson should win this, but it all depends on who gets off to the best start.

The final game is Michael van Gerwen against Max Hopp. Hopp has had his best season,winning on the Tour and is improving. Van Gerwen scored well even though he was not at his best. Van Gerwen will probably hit a 100 average, so Hopp will need to take his chances when he can. If not Van Gerwen could dominate this one.

Evening Session (all round three)

Ryan Searle v William O’Connor 
Gary Anderson v Jermaine Wattimena
Michael van Gerwen v Max Hopp

Saturday, December 22, 2018

PDC World Championship Day 10 - Afternoon Preview

So, the beginning of the third round matches and some great matches ahead, as the competition heats up.

First of the weekend is Ryan Joyce against Alan Norris. Joyce has been impressing so far and knocked out Simon Whitlock in the previous round, so has to be considered. Alan Norris held his nerve to overcome Steve Lennon in a thrilling final set, on a sudden death leg. He showed his experience in a pressure situation and will be buoyed by that. This looks like another close match, but I think Norris may get through.

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Second match should be exciting as Dave Chisnall takes on Kim Huybrechts (pic) of Belgium. Huybrechts was in the form of his life in his second round demolition of Daniel Larsson, hitting a 103 average,the highest of any player in the second round. Chisnall took a while to get going but then pulled out some fantastic darts to win his second round match. Both look in great form and it should be a thriller. I wouldn't like to predict a winner, but if Huybrechts repeats his form he will be very hard to beat.

The final match of the afternoon is Daryl Gurney against last year's semi-finalist, Jamie Lewis. Gurney looked in fine form in his win over Ross Smith, hitting big scores. His finishing wasn't perfect, so there is a potential opening for Lewis. Lewis had a harder second round match, against Cody Harris, but he played well. However Gurney did look very strong and I expect him to go through. Although as this tournament has proved already, anything can happen!

Afternoon Session (All round 3)

Ryan Joyce v Alan Norris
Dave Chisnall v Kim Huybrechts
Daryl Gurney v Jamie Lewis 

Friday, December 21, 2018

PDC World Championship Day 9 Preview Evening Session

Another four second round matches, with more contenders in action.

The first game is Ian White against Devon Petersen. White had a great year on the Tour, topping the Players Tour Order of Merit. Although of late his form has dipped slightly. Petersen had a tough first round match but held his nerve to win in the final set. Both are experienced at this level, but I expect White to be just that little bit better.

The second match is Jelle Klaasen against Keegan Brown. Klaasen hasn't had his best season, but is still a top player. His major fault, is that his darts can be erratic. He may hit a 180, then follow it up with a 23.He must play more consistent. Brown played very well in his first round match and seems to becoming into form at the right time. This could be close and depends on Klaasen's consistency.

Next is Gerwyn Price against Nathan Aspinall. Price has had a fantastic season and is always a tough character, usually shouting after any important shot. Aspinall will have to contend with this,but he has Tour experience and will hopefully use that to focus. Price can score big,so Aspinall will have to take his chances when he can.

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The final match is Dimitri van den Bergh (pic) against Johnny Clayton. This is probably the toughest second round match of them all. Both are players in form and both know how to win.Clayton has won on the Tour and also beat Michael van Gerwen at the Grand Slam in the group stages, so his confidence is high. Van den Bergh won comfortably in his first round and looked in good form.I really cannot call this one and should be a very exciting match.

PDC World Championship Day 9 Preview - Afternoon Session

More second round action today.

The first match of the afternoon is Benito van de Pas against Jim Long. Long did well to bet Mickey Mansell in Round One, but is was one of the lowest scoring first round matches, with both players only averaging 75. Long will need to improve significantly to win this one. Van de Pas hasn't had the best of seasons, but he is a very good player and should prove too strong. 

Second is John Henderson against Gabriel Clemens. Henderson definitely has the experience and is a solid player. Clemens is an improving player and looked good in Round One, so this match could go either way.  There should be some big scoring, so finishing is the key.

The third match is another evenly balanced game, with Steve West against Richard North. North staged a remarkable comeback to win his first match and his confidence should be high. West is a very consistent player and capable of beating anyone if he plays his best. Again, a really tough match to call, but the experience of West may just tell. We should see plenty of 180s in this match.

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The last match of the afternoon is Kyle Anderson (pic) against Noel Malicdem. Malicdem showed some resolve in winning his first round match and he will no doubt fight for every leg. This may be a step too far though, as Anderson has proved himself many times on the world stage, and he has had good form this season. I think Anderson will win, but Malicdem will certainly make life very difficult.

PDC World Championship Day 8 Review (Afternoon)

Another 8 second round matches today and there was certainly some interesting results.

First was Jermaine Wattimena against Michael Barnard. Wattimena was the favourite going in , but some thought a possible upset may happen. And the upset could have been on as the first set went 2 legs each. However, Wattimena held his nerve and took it. That was the turning point in the game as Wattimena then raced away, winning 6 of the next 7 legs to finish a comfortable 3-0 victory.

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Next was one of the matches of the day as Alan Norris (pic) took on Steve Lennon. Lennon had been in much better form this season and this seemed to be the case as he took the first set. But this seemed to galvanise Norris and he won the second, winning 3 legs in succession. But Lennon remained calm and took the third. But Norris was in no mood to be beat and levelled once again. Into the final set and the players could not be separated, each time one player went ahead, the other would level and in the end it was all down to a sudden death leg. Maybe the greater experience told as Norris completed a remarkable win. A shame really,there had to be a loser. Let's hope Lennon bounces back in 2019.

Third was Stephen Bunting against Luke Humphries. Humphries look really good in round one and showed this immediately by taking the first two sets. He hit a series of 180s and really took the game to the former world Champion. Bunting did fight back to grab the third set, but Humphries kept piling on the pressure to take the win3-1. Humphries has really impressed so far and will be interesting to see how far he progresses.

The final game of the afternoon was Chris Dobey against Steve Beaton. These two were closely matched, so it was thought it would be a tight match. However Dobey was in great form. After a closely fought first set, Dobey then won the next 6 legs to wrap up a comfortable 3-0 win. Beaton will be disappointed, but Dobey looked very sharp and will definitely want to continue this form going to the next round.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

PDC Championship Day 8 Preview cont'd

Four more games this evneing, again they are all round Two contests.

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First is Cristo Reyes (pic) against Rowby-John Rodriguez. Rodriguez was showing some of his old form as he won his first round match.He will certainly be hoping to maintain that form in this tough encounter. Reyes is a very good player and when playing at his best, can be excellent and score big. He has more big stage experience too and that may well count in his favour. Should be a good match, but I think Reyes may have too much firepower.

The second game looks quite even as Mervyn King plays Jan Dekker. Dekker beat Lisa Ashton in the first round, so played under a lot of pressure. This game will seem more relaxed for him, and will either improve his form , or lead to a lack of focus. I suspect the former will be the case. King is such an experienced player that he should be able to handle the big occasion. He is another player struggling for form this season, but has put in the odd good performance. He will need to do this again, and I can see this match going to 5 sets.

The third match see two-time World Champion, Adrian Lewis against the young qualifier, Ted Evetts. Evetts was another who looked good in the first round, but Lewis is a different prospect. Lewis has had an indifferent season, but he can never be overlooked. If he plays his best,he is one of the best players in the world. Evetts will be hoping Lewis is not at his best.

The final game is Mensur Suljovic against Ryan Searle.Suljovic's form has dropped off recently, and he will need to be fully focused for this game. Searle played very well in his first round match and looked confident, He also hasn't had a bad year on the tour too. If Suljovic is not quite at his best , then an upset could be very much on the cards.

Evening Session 

Cristo Reyes v Rowby-John Rodriguez 
Mervyn King v Jan Dekker
Adrian Lewis v Ted Evetts 
Mensur Suljovic v Ryan Searle

PDC World Championship Day 8 Preview

I got called away last night so haven't been able to write a Day 7 review yet, but will slot it in later.

So back to Day 8 and another 8 matches.

Afternoon session

First match is Jermaine Wattimena against Michael Barnard. Wattimena has had a solid season and is experienced so this should help. Barnard held his nerve to win his first round match and that may settle him for this encounter. It should be close but I think Wattimena has a slight advantage

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Second is Alan Norris against Steve Lennon (pic). Lennon was very impressive in his first round match and will want to keep his form going. Norris hasn't had the best of seasons but is a strong player and very experienced so he can't be discounted. I think if Lennon wins the first set he will go on to win as Norris sometimes had the tendency to let the pressure get the better of him when losing.

The third game should be interesting. It features former BDO World Champion Stephen Bunting against an up an coming player, Luke Humphries. Humphries caught the eye in his first round match , dropping just one leg. Bunting is a more experienced player and on his day he is a very good player. Humphries will need to up his game and hit around a 95 average but he is capable. Bunting will want to establish and early lead to put the pressure on. This should be close and I think Humphries may just cause an upset.

The final afternoon match is Steve Beaton against Chris Dobey. Beaton is probably the most experienced player left in the tournament and will always play consistently. It will be up to Do you to raise his game as Beaton will be tough to catch if he wins the first set. However Dobey is a capable player and has had a good season, so he does have a very good chance to progress. I think another very close match and I'm not sure I can predict a winner here.

Afternoon Session (All round Two)
Jermaine Wattimena v Michael Barnard
Alan Norris v Steve Lennon
Stephen Bunting v Luke Humphries
Steve Beaton v Chris Dobey 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

PDC World Championships. Day 7 Preview - Afternoon

Another four matches in the afternoon session on Day 7.

The first match will be interesting to watch as two of the younger players onthe Tour go head to head.  Nathan Aspinall takes on Geert Nentjes. Both have played on the PDC Development Tour,with Nentjes finishing above Aspinall. Aspinall however has also played a few events on the main tour and played well. The two are evenly matched, so I guess it's a case of who can hold their nerve. I think Nentjes might just take it, but it is a hard one to call

Second is Jeffrey de Graaf against Noel Malicdem of the Philippines. So far in the tournament, the Asian players have played well, so need to be respected. De Graaf has had a lot of experience on the PDC Tour this season, so he will be used to big matches. Another interesting tie, but I think the fact De Graaf has been playing better players week in and week out, will give him the advantage.

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Next is a game with another two experienced players as Joe Cullen (pic) plays Brendan Dolan. These are two players whose form has gone in opposite directions over the last year or two. Cullen has improved a lot this year and is fulfilling his potential and has reached the last 16 or better in five major tournaments this year. He has a new found confidence which may come into play. Dolan, on the other hand has seen a dip in form. He has had some reasonable results on the Tour, but not playing to the same standard he was a few years ago. He looked good in round one though, so that may kick start him. However I do expect Cullen to win.

The final match is a second round clash between Kim Huybrechts and Daniel Larsson. Huybrechts is another player who has seen a dip in form and he will be desperate to regain it. At his very best , Huybrechts can beat any player, but he just hasn't been consistent. Larsson has been playing consistent, but not quite stepping up to the next level. His win in the first round though looked good and he will be the more confident player. I think whoever takes the first set, will win the match.

Afternoon Session - Day 7

Nathan Aspinall v Geert Nentjes - Round One
Jeffrey de Graaf v Noel Malicdem - Round One
Joe Cullen v Brendan Dolan  - Round One

Kim Huybrechts v Daniel Larsson - Round Two

World Championships Day 6 Review

Eight games on Day 6 and a few contenders inaction.

Afternoon Session

First game of the afternoon was Robert Thornton against Daniel Larsson. Larsson was the underdog, but Thornton's form has been very sporadic. Larsson took the first set, but Thornton levelled as he looked to be playing well. However this only lasted a little while as the inconsistency crept in and Larsson continued playing steady darts.This led Larsson to take the third set and this seemed to affect Thornton as he played inconsistently in set 4. Larsson played well and hit the big numbers at crucial moments to secure a 3-1 win.

The next game saw Ricky Evans against Rowby-John Rodriguez. Rodriguez needed to do well at the World Championships to keep his Tour card. It was Rodriguez that looked most comfortable as he took the first set. Evans, as always was throwing extremely quick. This, at times, was his downfall,as he hit some inconsistent shots. Evans did get some form together in the second set and rattled through in quick time to level the scores. But Evans hit inconsistency again in the third set as Rodriguez kept his focus and the same story occurred in the 4th set. It was a good result for Rodriguez,as he had been lacking form this season,even though he definitely has the talent.

Third game was a cracker as Krzysztof Ratajski took on Seigo Asada. Ratajski was one of the form players on Tour this season and stamped his authority on the game by taking the first two sets. Asada hadn't been playing too badly and the sets were close, so he didn't panic. He battled to win the third set, which seemed to give him new confidence  and Ratajski seemed to lose his. Asada soon levelled the scores and then applied the pressure in the 5th set to gain a remarkable comeback win.

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The final game of the Afternoon session was between two experienced Tour Professionals as Darren Webster took on Vincent van der Voort (pic) . Statistically this looked as though it should be close, with perhaps Webster the favourite. However, the story of the match was very much different.Van der Voort was in sublime form and won the first set.After this Webster couldn't get going and won the next 6 legs in double quick time. It was a comfortable win for van der Voort, who looked close to his best,but Webster will be bitterly disappointed.

Evening Session

The Evening Session opened with Steve Lennon against James Bailey. Lennon has been in good form all season and continued in the same vain. Bailey was the outsider but had played well in Australia, so he had the potential to do well. However, Lennon was dominant in Set one and this seemed to give him the momentum. Bailey tried hard to fight back and did pick up legs,but Lennon's overall play was too strong and he won comfortably 3-0. Lennon plays Alan Norris next and will be confident that he can progress further into the tournament.

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Second match was a thriller between Ron Meulenkamp (pic) and Diogo Portela. Portela was flying at the start, hitting big scores and some great finishing. He raced into a 2 set lead. Meulenkamp looked out of it and it seemed just a matter of time before Portela closed out. In set 3 Meulenkamp found something extra and this seemed to put the pressure on Portela, who started making mistakes. Meulenkamp then managed to draw level and it looked like Portela had been broken. Some superb scoring from Meulenkamp in the final set and some poor finishing by Portela, led to a very unexpected comeback and win by Meulenkamp. Portela will be bitterly disappointed, but he is a good player and just needs a little more experience. He'll be back next year I'm sure.

The third game was Dimitri van den Bergh against the American Chuck Puleo. From the first set, it was clear there was a large gulf in ability and experience and van den Bergh won the first set comfortably. Although Puleo rallied slightly, van den Bergh always looked in complete control and ran away with the match 3-0. I expect van den Bergh to go quite far in this tournament and this was a nice warm-up for him.

The final game saw Daryl Gurney against Ross Smith. Gurney was the clear favourite and is one of the biggest scorers on tour. He hit a succession of big scores to take the first set, although his finishing was quite suspect. This allowed Smith opportunities to take legs,but he didn't capitalise as Gurney took the first set. This seemed to knock Smith's confidence a little and Gurney picked up his finishing.He was also hitting 180s and 140s regularly, which Smith couldn't quite match. To his credit Smith did play some good darts, but Gurney was in dominant form and showed that you need to be around the 100 average to beat him.

Day 6 Results

Afternoon Session

Daniel Larsson 3-1 Robert Thornton  - Round One
Rowby-John Rodriguez 3-1 Ricky Evans - Round One
Seigo Asada 3-2 Krzysztof Ratajski  - Round One
Vincent van der Voort 3-0 Darren Webster - Round Two

Evening Session

Steve Lennon 3-0 James Bailey - Round One
Ron Meulenkamp 3-2 Diogo Portela  - Round One
Dimitri Van den Bergh 3-0 Chuck Puleo  - Round One
Daryl Gurney 3-0 Ross Smith  - Round Two

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

World Championship Day 6 Preview - Evening Session

A couple of title contenders appear this evening so should be good viewing.

First game is Steve Lennon against Australian qualifier, James Bailey. Lennon has improved a lot this year and been getting to the later stages of several Tour events. He has also beaten top players along the way and will be a very tough opponent. Bailey has played well in Australia this year, winning the Oceanic Masters and qualifying for the Melbourne Darts Masters, where he lost to Gary Anderson 6-2, so he does has a little form. However I think Lennon may be a little too strong over 5 sets.

Second match sees Ron Meulenkamp take on Diogo Portela of Brazil. Portela is particularly noted as the only  South American ever to have played at the PDC World Championships. Meluenkamp has had a solid season and has had big stage experience and some good Tour results.Portela played well at the World Cup of Darts and can always be a threat if playing well. This looks close and I think it will go to all 5 sets.

Next is World Youth Champion, Dimitri van den Bergh against the American qualifier Chuck Puleo. Van denBergh will be a strong favourite going into this match with a real improvement in form this season. He is certainly a player on the up and looks to improve every game. It seems he gets better, the bigger the tournament. Puleo has won some tournaments in America and Canada this season, but this level is much higher and it does seem that it would need van den bBergh to have a very bad game to lose this one.

The final game involves Daryl Gurney against Ross Smith. Some believe Gurney could win this tournament, and he has proved himself worthy of the plaudits. Most recently he won the Players Championship beating Michael van Gerwen , so comes in with lots of confidence. Ross Smith will need to nearly average 100 or hope Gurney is not at his best.Smith played well in his first round, but Gurney is a completely different proposition. However if Smith can keep focused he might nick a set or maybe two.

PDC World Championship Day 6 Preview - Afternoon Session

Four matches in the afternoon session, with some big name in action.

First is Robert Thornton against Daniel Larsson. Thornton is a very experienced player, and has played at the very top, including the Premier League. His form has dropped a little over the last couple of years, but has shown some spark in patches this season. Daniel Larsson has also played on the Tour this year, with a few decent results. Thornton will need to be on top form to win this and I think he will, although I expect Larsson to grab at least one set.

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The second game is 'Rapid' Ricky Evans (pic) against Rowby-John Rodriguez of Austria. Evans is an exciting player to watch and is thought to be the quickest thrower on the circuit. He has made big strides this season and made the latter stages of a few tournaments. Rodriguez is a consistent performer on the Tour, without quite breaking through. A lot will depend on Evans' form. If he plays close to his best, he should win, but a dip in form, will let in the consistent Rodriguez.

Third is one of the most improved players of the year, Krzysztof Ratajski against the experienced Japanese player, Seigo Asada. This is an interesting match up and should be a good game. Ratajski has really made a move into the top echelon of the darts world, taking three Tour titles this year, including back to back titles in October. He also beat Gerwyn Price  6-5 at the Players Championship after being 5-1 down. He will be very hard to beat. However Asada has big stage experience and played in the BDO World Championship, so he will not let the occasion overawe him. He will, however need to have a 90+ average to stay in contention.

The final match of the afternoon is a second round clash between Darren Webster and Vincent van der Voort. Van der Voort has the advantage of already playing, but Webster is a dogged player and one with much experience.It will be a close match as both are very capable players. Like many matches, finishing will be key.

Afternoon Session

Robert Thornton v Daniel Larsson - Round One
Ricky Evans v Rowby-John Rodriguez - Round One
Krzysztof Ratajski v Seigo Asada - Round One
Darren Webster v Vincent van der Voort   - Round Two

Today's Tip.  I've gone for a Treble of Thornton to beat Larsson (4/11) Evans to beat Rodriguez (2/5) and Ratajski to beat Asada (1/5) Odds are a bit tight, but that trebles gets 1.29/1

PDC World Championship Day Five Review

A good evening of darts including a shock result.

First game featured Vincent van der Voort against Lourence Ilagen from the Philippines. Although Van der Voort is ranked much higher than Ilagen, it was to be a very competitive match. Van der Voort, with his rapid throwing technique took the first set, despite some good darts from Ilagen. This was illustrated in the second set, which Ilagen took. He looked focussed and up for the challenge. Piling on the pressure he went 2 legs up in the third set, but Van der Voort upped his own game and clawed it back from seemingly nowhere. This may have finally broke the resolute Filipino and Van der Voort won the match 3-1. A great game and a slightly flattering scoreline.

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Second game saw Wayne Jones against Devon Petersen (pic).Two experienced players trying to find a resurgence in form. A tight first set saw Petersen on top and he had the momentum to go two up. However, the game was still in the balance and Jones took his chances in the third and fourth to draw level. The fifth set was a nail biter. At two legs each a sudden death leg was played. Amazingly Jones had 6 darts for the match, but the pressure told.Petersen,who had missed match darts himself, finally composed himself to claim the win.

The third game saw Anastasia Dobromyslova take on Ryan Joyce. Dobromyslova came out confident,cheering her 140s as they went in and won the first leg. But Ryan Joyce remained laid back and focused to hit three 90+ finishes. He followed up with a quick second set win and never really looked back, claiming a 3-0 victory. Dobromyslov can take credit from the game though as she was certainly not outclassed,and on another day it could have been closer.

The final game was a thrilling second round match between Raymond van Barneveld and Darius Labanauskas. Van Barneveld was the favourite, but Labanauskas had proved his worth in the first round and was not to be taken lightly. It was Labanauskas who took the early advantage, going one set up, but van Barneveld hit back to level the scores. However, Labanauskas was in good form and would not back down,  retaking the lead. Van Barneveld was also not to be beaten and levelled the scores at 2-2. But van Barneveld could not break the Lithunian's throw and succumbed in the deciding set, and Labanauskas got the upset result. Van Barneveld will know he didn't play his best, but Labanuaskas is proving to be a very tough opponent

Day Five results

Vincent van der Voort 3-1 Lourence Ilagan   - Round One
Devon Petersen 3-2 Wayne Jones  -Round One
Ryan Joyce 3-0 Anastasia Dobromyslova  - Round One

Darius Labanauskas 3-2 Raymond van Barneveld  - Round Two

Tip-wise I'm now £7.85 up now following the Van der Voort to beat Ilagen Joyce to beat Dobromyslova by 3-0 or 3-1 double.

Monday, December 17, 2018

PDC World Champioship Day Five Preview

After a busy weekend, there is just the one session this evening, but four interesting matches take place.

Opening the session is quick thrower Vincent van der Voort against Filipino player Lourence Ilagen. Van der Voort comes with a lot of experience in televised and World Championship events and knows what to do to progress. Ilagen is not so experienced, although he had previously played at the World Cup of Darts. He also won the 2018 Asian Tour World Championship Qualifiers ahead of players such as Seigo Asada and Royden Lam, so has to be given repsect. However I think that van der Voort will have too much fire power, although he is prone to mistakes, in which case Ilagen must take his chances.

The second game, sees two very experienced players who are no stranger to the World Championships. Wayne Jones plays Devon Peterson in what seems to be a close match. Both have not had their best seasons but are here on merit. The key to this will be who can find their form quickest. I think Jones may just sneak it.

Third game sees the second Womens qualifier, Anastasia Dobromyslova against Ryan Joyce. Dobromyslova has had some previous experience in playing at the World Championship, but will need to beat her very best to go through. Ryan Joyce has played quite well on the tour this year and may prove to be just that little bit too good.Although fingers firmly crossed for Dobromyslova.

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The final game of the night is a second round match between Raymond van Barneveld (pic) against Darius Labanauskas. Labanauskas looked good in his first round and will not be deterred by the occasion. Van Barneveld is expected to win, but he will need to play well as any slip up may let Labanauskas in for an upset. Should be a good game!

Evening Session

Vincent van der Voort v Lourence Ilagan  - Round One
Wayne Jones v Devon Petersen  - RoundOne
Ryan Joyce v Anastasia Dobromyslova  - Round One
Raymond van Barneveld v Darius Labanauskas Round Two

PDC World Championship Day 4 Review

The afternoon session was very much a case of three one-sided matches and one that was the complete opposite.

First up was Gabriel Clemens against the English qualifier Aden Kirk. Clemens showed his good form and raced to a first set lead. However, Kirk did try to fight back in the second, but ultimately lost. It was the same story in the third and Clemens ran out a 3-0 win.Clemens looked impressive and hopefully Kirk will use this experience as a springboard for next year.

Nest up saw William O' Connor play Dutchman Yourdi Meeuwisse. Both have played a lot on the tour this year, but O'Connor has more big stage experience. He used this to take the first set. Meeuwisse then tried to fight back in the next two sets, but O'Connor was just too good. He won 3-0 although Meeuwisse may be a little disappointed that he couldn't put a set on the board.

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This match looked straightforward for Brendan Dolan (pic) as he took on Chinese qualifier Yuanjun Liu. And so it proved to be. Dolan looked confident as he rattled of the first 6 legs to gain a 2-0 lead. Liu did get a leg on the board in the third set, but it looked as though the occasion got the better of him and Dolan won easily in the end 3-0

The final match of the afternoon was the complete opposite of the above as Dave Chisnall took on Josh Payne. Chisnall went in as the favourite, but Payne has been impressive. Both are big scorers and so an exciting game was on the cards. Chisnall was slow out of the blocks and his trademark 180s seemed to desert him as Pyane raced away to a 2 set lead, with some excellent scoring and finishing.
Chisnall didn't panic however and his 'A' game started to kick in an he held his nerve to pull one set back. He then continued this new found form to claim the 4th set. So into a decider and here is where the experience of Chisnall ultimately told. He hit big darts and finished just at the crucial moments to win 3-2. Payne will obviously be very disappointed, but all credit to Chisnall for having a steely resolve and refusing to give in.

Evening session.

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The evening session opened with Luke Humphries (pic) against qualifier Adam Hunt. Both had played on the Tour, but Humphries has won mulitple times on the PDC Development Tour and was the favourite. However it wasn't expected to be so one sided. Humphries took out the first set quite comfortably and looked in full control.Hunt did win a leg,but that was about as good as it got as Humphries won the second and third sets without dropping a leg. Although Hunt may be disappointed, Humphries looked very,very impressive and will certainly provide Stephen Bunting a very tough match in the second round.

The second match was Matt Edgar against Darius Labanauskas from Lithuania.Edgar is not short of confidence and even has his own You Tube Channel, but Labanauskas had the experience . Edgar got off to a good start winning the first set, after Labanauskas missed a succession of chances to finish. After the short break,Labanauskas gained his composure and started playing to the top of his game. Gradually he piled on the pressure, which Edgar couldn't compete with. Final result was 3-1 to Labanauskas.

Next was Ross Smith against the veteran Paul Lim. After an edgy first few legs, it was Smith who took his chances to win the first set. This gave him a boost and won the next set comfortably. However Lim showed signs of improvement by taking the third set. This could have rattled Smith, but he kept his head and threw some excellent darts to win the match 3-1.

Final game, is probably the biggest talking point so far as Peter Wright took  on Toni Alcinas. Alcinas played well in his first round match so came in full of confidence. Wright has no shortage of confidence or experience and some pundits thought he could reach the final this year. It was Alcinas who came out of the block quickest, winning the first set. He then capitalised on some erratic darts in the second set to go 2 up. However, Wright got his rhythm back and pulled a set back. This looked like a Chisnall-esque comeback might happen, but Alcinas was not to be defeated, throwing a succession of big scores and some excellent finishing to win 3-1 and cause the first big upset of the tournament.

Evening Results:

Luke Humphries 3-0 Adam Hunt  - Round One
Darius Labanauskas 3-1 Matthew Edgar   - Round One
Ross Smith 3-1 Paul Lim (R1)  - Round One
Toni Alcinas 3-1 Peter Wright (R2) - Round One

My tips did better too.

Dave Chisnall to beat Josh Payne (2/7) and Gabriel Clemens to beat Aden Kirk (2/5) and Brendan Dolan to beat Yuanjun Liu (1/10) This gives a 1.97 to 1 treble - Won

Labanauskas to beat Edgar (10/11) and Smith to beat Lim(4/6) for a 2.18/1 double  - Won

Sunday, December 16, 2018

World Championship Day 4 Evening Session Preview

Two crowd favourites feature in the evening session, so should be exciting.

First game is between two fairly evenly matched players, Luke Humphries and Adam Hunt. Humphries has played in more tour events than his opponent and does have some big stage experience. Hunt had to go through the UK qualifiers to get here, but that is no mean feat. This game will be about who can hold their nerve and I can see this going either way.

Next is Matthew Edgar v Darius Labanauskas of Lithuania. Edgar has certainly improved this year and made the last 32 of the UK Open.Labanauskas has had BDO World Championship experience and has been around for a while, so should be quite comfortable on stage. He has also won a tournament this year,which may just give him that edge. Edgar is a quality player so a tough one to call,but I think experience may just see Labanuaskas over the line

Third up sees improving player Ross Smith against veteran and crowd favourite Paul Lim. Lim is famously remembered for his 9 dart finish at the 1990 World Championship. He got the crowd going again last year where he almost completed the feat for a second time, only to see his 9th dart hit the wire of the double 12. Lim has a wealth of experience and usually puts in one very good game during the World Championship, and will need to do this against Smith who has been playing very well on the Tour this year.

Image result for peter wright
The final match sees another crowd favourite,Peter Wright (pic), take on the Spaniard Toni Alcinas.Alcinas had a comfortable first round, but this is the next level.Wright has blown hot and cold this year. At times, unbeatable, but other times, out of sorts. He is experienced enough to make sure he is well prepared and he should come through, although Alcinas is good enough to run him close.

Evening Session

Luke Humphries v Adam Hunt -  Round One
Matthew Edgar v Darius Labanauskas  - Round One
Ross Smith v Paul Lim - Round One

Peter Wright v Toni Alcinas - Round Two

Tonight's tip. Labanauskas to beat Edgar (10/11) and Smith to beat Lim(4/6) for a 2.18/1 double

World Championship Day 4 Preview - Afternoon Session

So we have seen some of the big guns play and there are more to come on Day 4.

First match sees the very good German player Gabriel Clemens against English qualifier,Aden Kirk. Clemens has played well onthe Pro tour this year and had some good results. He is part of a group of very good up and coming German stars and will want to do well. Aden Kirk had to qualify and has had minimal Tour experience. He is no doubt a good player but I think the experience of Clemens will tell.

The next game is William O'Connor against  Yordi Meeuwisse. O'Connor has gone further in tournaments this year, but both are quite equally matched,This is a very tricky game to call.My stats show O'Connor is ahead in terms of form, but Meeuwisse will still be a tough opponent.

Third up is the very experienced Brendan Dolan against Chinese debutant Yuanjun Liu. I don't know very much about the Chinese player, to be honest, so it makes it hard to see how he will perform, Clearly good enough to qualify, so has to have respect, but Dolan has been here so many times, that he should win quite comfortably.

Image result for dave chisnall
The last match of the session is an exciting match between Dave Chisnall (pic) and Josh Payne. Payne showed his class in getting to the second round and is a big scorer. Chisnall is arguably one of the best heavy scorers, and 180s are no stranger to him. The key to this match will be the ability to finish. I expect Chisnall to win, but will not be surprised if Payne takes it. This should be a close game.

Afternoon Session

Gabriel Clemens v Aden Kirk   -  Round One
William O'Connor v Yordi Meeuwisse  -Round One
Brendan Dolan v Yuanjun Liu  -Round One
Dave Chisnall  v Josh Payne Round Two

Saturday, December 15, 2018

PDC World Championship Day 3 Review

There were some surprising results on Day 3 and some very flattering scorelines. The big difference was the ability to hit a double.

First game of the day saw Robert North against Robert Marijanovic. After seeing North missing his chance for the first set, Marijanovic quickly went 2 sets up. It seemed like North had a mountain to climb, despite playing well. The next 2 sets could have gone either way, but North increased his scoring power to draw level. In the fifth set,North asserted his authority and pulled away. Marijanovic could count himself unlucky, but he certainly missed chances to take the match. Next up for North is Steve West, which also looks like it could go the distance.

Next was the experienced Mickey Mansell against Canadian qualifier,Jim Long. Mansell looked good and took the first set. Then both players seemed to struggle, Mansell in particular. He hit a series of '1s' which took his average way down. Long capitalised on this poor form and gradually took set by set, eventually winning 3-1. It was a scrappy match and Mansell was well below his best,but all credit to Long for taking his chance. Both players could only manage 75 averages, so Long will certainly need to score better to trouble BenitoVan de Pas in the next round.

On paper match 3 Josh Payne v Jeff Smith was a 50/50 match and so it proved to be. Smith took control of the first set with some consistent darts, however he couldn't keep this up and Payne took his chances including a couple of 3 figure finishes. Smith came fighting back to bring the match to 2-2, but Payne pulled away and got the win 3-2. A good match and Payne showed that he may be one to watch as the tournament progresses.

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The last match of the afternoon was the second round match between Max Hopp (pic) and Danny Noppert. Again, this was a 50/50 match. However the scoreline suggested otherwise. Hopp raced to a 2-0 lead,with Noppert missing his chances at the doubles.  Noppert tried to fight back in the third set, but it was too late and Hopp kept his nerve to secure a 3-0 victory. The result flattered Hopp slightly, as Noppert did play well, he just couldn't finish the legs off unfortunately.

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The evening session began with Toni Alcinas (pic) taking on the New Zealand qualifier Craig Ross. From the off, it was clear there was a significant gulf in ability.Ross did hit some 100+ shots, but they were few and far between. Alcinas took advantage and won the first 6 legs taking a comfortable 2-0 lead.  Ross did claim a leg in the final set, but was way too late and Alcinas closed the set and progressed. Alcinas plays Peter Wright next, which could be a very interesting match.

Next match was a quick fire match between rising stars Ryan Searle and Stephen Burton. Both have played well on tour this season and were hitting 90+ averages throughout. Searle rattled through the first set, as Burton missed a double for the set. It was much the same after this and Searle grabbed another set. The difference was definitely the ability to finish as both scored heavily. However Burton just couldn't seem to find a double. Burton fought back in the third set, but Searle maintained his focus and took it, winning 3-0 in the end. If Ryan Searle plays like this in the next round, he will be a tough opponent to beat.

The third match was Keegan Brown against Czech player Karel Sedlacek. Sedlacek took the first two legs, which seemed to motivate Brown.Brown then hit some big scores, and some excellent finishing saw him take the first set. He then won the second set comfortably and the pressure was now on Sedlacek. This pressure told as Brown kept his momentum to win 3-0. Sedlacek did show he was a very good player,but he caught Brown on a particularly good day. Maybe Brown is finally fufilling his potential.

The final match between Michael van Gerwen and Alan Tabern was marred by an incident at the walk-on. A member of the crowd threw a drink over van Gerwen, which menat he had to go back to the dressing room and change his shirt and clean himself up. Needless to say the crowd member was ejected and is likely to be banned from darts events for a very long time.
Van Gerwen was clearly affected by this, but as the game progressed he gained his composure. Alan Tabern didn't back down though and took the third set, sighting a possible upset. However van Gerwen was playing with a 100+ average and ultimately Tabern couldn't keep pace. The match finished 3-1 to van Gerwen. Let's hope Round 3 is incident free as there is no place for the sort of antics that occurred pre match.

My tips weren't great today, although they were slightly shock results(excuses!)

Stephen Burton to beat Ryan Searle Lost
Mickey Mansell and Richard North double to beat Jim Long and Robert Marijanovic Lost.

Tomorrow is another day......

Day ThreeResults:

Afternoon Session 
Richard North 3-2 Robert Marijanovic Round One
Jim Long 3-1 Mickey Mansell              Round One
Josh Payne 3-2 Jeff Smith                     Round One
Max Hopp 3-0 Danny Noppert             Round Two

Evening Session 
Toni Alcinas 3-0 Craig Ross                Round One
Ryan Searle 3-0 Stephen Burton         Round One
Keegan Brown 3-0 Karel Sedlacek     Round One
Michael van Gerwen 3-1 Alan Tabern  Round Two

World Championship Day 3 Evening Preview

Michael van Gerwen opens his World Championship account tonight to round off the third day.

Before that we see Toni Alcinas play Craig Ross. Spaniard, Alcinas has established himself on the pro tour this season and has generally played well. Last year he made the last 16 of the World Championship,so he does have some form. Little is known about Craig Ross, but a little luck saw him qualify.He finished runner-up to Tahuna Irwin, winner of the DPNZ Qualifier, however Irwin was stopped entering the UK due to an issue, so Ross replaced him.Maybe this is an omen and Ross will take his chance, although I think Alcinas is probably a little too strong.

Next is quite an even match on paper as Ryan Searle plays Stephen Burton. Both have played on the PDC Tour this season and both have appeared in televised competitions. Burton in particular played exceptionally well at the Players Championship finals and he looked as he may have more to give.If both play at their best,I expect Burton to edge it.

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Third match sees Keegan Brown (pic) against the Czech qualifier Karel Sedlacek. Brown has made the latter stages of some big events this year and is gaining valuable experience all the time. He may not be improving as quickly as some may have thought since his World Junior win in 2014, but he his still an excellent player and will be tough to beat. Sedlacek does has some form from his BDO days, and he has won tournaments in his own country this year. He also has some televised experience, representing the Czech Republic at the World Cup of Darts. I think Brown will be too good though, although I don't expect a whitewash.

The final game of the evening see Michael van Gerwen versus Alan Tabern. This should be a relatively straightforward match for van Gerwen, however if he is not at his best, Tabern does have the game to punish him. Tabern would need to throw around a 100 average to stand any chance, I think, but you never know. It will certainly be interesting to see how van Gerwen plays and what message he may send out to his rivals.

My tip for the evening is Stephen Burton to beat Ryan Searle at Evns, although you could double it and add Keegan Brown at 1/7 just to boost the odds a little!

Evening session

Toni Alcinas v Craig Ross              Round One
Ryan Searle v Stephen Burton       Round One
Keegan Brown v Karel Sedlacek   Round One
Michael van Gerwen v Alan Tabern Round Two

Friday, December 14, 2018

PDC World Championship Day 3 Preview - Afternoon Session

Already we have had some exciting darts and great matches and Saturday looks no different.

First match of the afternoon is Richard North against the German Robert Marijanovic. Both have played a lot on tour this season, so will be used to the playing the best.Richard North, however has the edge going into the game making the later stages of more tournaments, including the last 16 at the European Championship in October. It could be close,but I think North has a little too much scoring power.

This is followed by Mickey Mansell versus Jim Long. Mansell has been here before and is an experienced player,playing on the big stage many times. Mansell also won a tour event in April which has spurred him on.For Jim Long,this will be a big test. Long qualified by topping the Canadian Circuit, which is no mean feat, but this is maybe a step too far.I don't think it will be one sided but expect Mansell to triumph.
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Josh Payne (pic) against Jeff Smith could be an interesting match. Smith made the final of the BDO World Championship in 2016, losing to Scott Waites, He then switched to the PDC and won through qualifying school, which is a tough route, so has to be respected. Josh Payne has improved this year and won a tour event in May, so again a top player. This has 3-2 written all over it, but which way it goes,I'm not sure.

The final match of the afternoon is a mouth watering second round match that pits Danny Noppert against German number one player Max Hopp. This has been a breakthrough season for Hopp and he has won two events, including a thrilling 8-7 win against Michael Smith at the German Open in April. He is only 22 and has so much potential. Noppert had a comfortable time to get to the second round, but he has already played and may be a bit less rusty, which will help his cause. Noppert is experienced and there really is very little between the two. My personal stats shows Hopp on 56 points and Noppert on 57, (based on tournament performances and form), so another 3-2 could be in the offering.

PDC World Championship Day Two - Round Up

The first day of morning and afternoon sessions produced some great darts and one or two surprises.

Afternoon session
First up was Michael Barnard v Jose De Sousa . In terms of averages, perhaps not the highest scoring, but in terms of excitement, this was right up there. I would say Barnard raced into a 2 set lead, but he is not the quickest player in the world,but nevertheless, he did go 2-0 up. It seemed that maybe it was a step too far for de Sousa,although he had been playing well.But a sudden burst of good form soon saw him level the match2-2. He looked to have the momentum, but Barnard seemed to move up another gear and eventually won through. The Portuguese player, however was very unlucky.

The second game was also another close affair as Alan Tabern took on the Australian Raymond Smith. In a game almost identical to the first Alan Tabern went 2 sets up. Smith did have chances, but didn't take them. However, he held his nerve and played some fantastic darts to level at 2-2. This seemed to take a little out of him though as Tabern continued to score well, which Smith was unable to match. And what a prize for Tabern as he plays Michael van Gerwen in the next round

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Next saw Paul Nicholson play Kevin Burness,(pic) with the winner set to play GaryAnderson. Many pundits were tipping Nicholson to win. He had the experience and had been playing well of late. But maybe as Burness is relatively unknown, people under estimated him (including myself!). Admittedly Nicholson was not at his best, but Burness capitalised on his mistakes and won comfortably 3-0.

Last game of the Afternoon session was the second round match between Jamie Lewis and Cody Harris. There was definitely a feeling of deja vu as Lewis raced into a 2 set lead. He showed glimpses of last year's form and seemed too much for Harris. However Harris rallied and showed the good form that he had in the first round to level the scores. Like Raymond Smith earlier, this seemed to exhaust Harris as Lewis took command of the final set winning 3 legs to 0. This certainly isn't the last we will hear of Harris, but Lewis just had too much power in the end.

Evening Session

The first game of the evening session was Danny Noppert v Royden Lam. Although Noppert is a much higher ranked player, Lam has had a lot of experience on the World Championship stage and this looked as thought it could have been close as Lam took the first leg. However that was as good as it got for Lam as Noppert was dominant and won the next 9 legs in a row for a very comfortable 3-0 win.

Image result for Ted Evetts
Next was an intriguing matchbetween the 21 yearold Ted Evetts (pic) against Simon Stevenson. They were equally matched going into the match and hard to call a winner. However it was Evetts who took the first set with some impressive finishing. After the break Stevenson tried to rally,but Evetts hit the big scores when needed to, constantly put on the pressure. After he took the second set, he Stevenson crumbled slightly giving him the opportunity to wrap up the match 3-0. The scoreline did flatter Evetts, and Steveson actually had a higher average, but Evetts took his chances at important times.He  looked impressive and will certainly give Adrian Lewis a headache in the next round.

Chris Dobey versus Boris Koltsov was next and was nearly as one sided as the Noppert v Lam match. Dobey won the first 6 legs to race into a 2 set lead. Koltsov put up some resistance in the third set,but Dobey held his throw complete the whitewash and will go into the next round with a lot of confidence.

Final match of the evening was Gary Anderson versus Kevin Burness in the second round. Anderson was a 1/40 chance going into the game, and a whitewash was expected. However, Burness was underestimated again,(well for a while anyway). Anderson took the first set,but Burness played brilliantly to draw level and put Anderson under real pressure. The third set would be crucial and Anderson moved up a gear to win 3 legs to 0. And he repeated it in the 4th set to win fairly comfortably in the end. But kudos must be given to Burness, who has equipped himself well at his first World Championship and I expect to see him on more televised events next year.

Update on my World Championship darts tips.

So far: (to a £10 level stake)

Martin Schindler to beat Cody Harris     4/7            Lost
Rob Cross to beat Jeffrey de Zwaan       1/2             Won
Michael Barnard to beat Jose de Sousa and Jamie Lewis to beat Cody Harris at 1.83/1 Won
Simon Stevenson to beat Ted Evetts 6/5                 Lost
Chris Dobey to win 3-0 or 3-1 vs Boris Koltsov 4/6 Won

So I am exactly level! Hopefully profit tomorrow:)

PDC World Championship Day Two preview cont'd

First up in the evening session is Danny Noppert vs Royden Lam. Noppert has played well since coming over from the BDO and recently made the semi final of the Players Championship, finding Daryl Gurney in fantastic form . However, he has had a lot of BDO World Championship experience and is a very good player on his day. Royden Lam has played on TV many times at the World Championship and the World Cup of Darts.He has the ability to do well, but often he is inconsistent. Noppert should win, but it will be close.

Next is Simon Stevenson against Ted Evetts. Evetts is one of the youngest players on Tour, but he won't let the occasion overawe him. He has a lot of natural ability, but is very much at the beginning of his career. Simon Stevenson has had some steady results on the Pro Tour and plays consistently, if not necessarily at the level to go far. However, a level head may just be too good and this could well be a 5 set match, but Stevenson may just edge it.

Image result for chris dobey
This is followed by Chris Dobey (pic) against Boris Koltsov. Chris Dobey has improved this season and has had some good results , including making the final of the Players Tour 21 tournament. Koltsov is the best player in Russia and has appeared at the World Cup of Darts, where he has shown some ability, but Dobey is probably too good and expect him to progress.

The final match of the evening sees Gary Anderson against either Paul Nicholson or Kevin Burness. Anderson is one of the favourites to win the tournament and has been in great form all season. Nicholson or Burness will need to hit close to a 100 average to stand any chance.Anderson's scoring is so strong, and so they will need to play their own game and not let his big scoring get to them. Easier said than done! I think Anderson will beat whoever he plays, although Nicholson has the experience not to panic, and might possibly use mental tactics to try and assist him.

Day Two Evening Session

Danny Noppert v Royden Lam   Round One
Simon Stevenson v Ted Evetts   Round One
Chris Dobey v Boris Koltsov     Round One
Gary Anderson v Nicholson/Burness  Round Two

PDC Darts Championship Day Two Preview

Eight matches take place today, so plenty to think about. Six first round games and two in the second round.

First up is Michael Barnard against Jose de Sousa. Barnard has showed some good form at times this season on the PDC Players Tour and has been gaining more and more experience against top players. The Portuguese qualifier de Sousa, has obviously played well to qualify and will be a competitive opponent, but I expect Barnard's experience will see him victorious.

Next is Alan Tabern against Raymond Smith. This could go either way. Both men are very experienced and have both played on the big stage and on TV. Raymond Smith did show some glimpses of brilliance when  beating Michael Smith at the 2018 Brisbane Darts Masters and also topped the rankings on the Dartplayers Australia tour. Tabern is always a tough opponent, but I would say Smith has played slightly better this year and may give him the edge, although all five sets may well be needed.

Paul Nicholson versus Irishman Kevin Burness follows. Nicholson has had an upturn of form this year and goes into the match with some confidence. Burness hasn't really showed form on the tour but is still a good player and will want to perform well. The big stage experience will help Nicholson a lot and he should be good enough to win, although it may be a tight game. The bookies have Nicholson as a strong favourite, but I suspect it will be closer than that.

Image result for jamie lewis
The final game of the afternoon session is a second round match between Jamie Lewis (pic) and Cody Harris. Lewis was a semi-finalist last time and will definitely want to repeat that. He has played well on tour this season and although has had dips in form, he is still a very good player. Harris played really well to get past Martin Schindler in the first round, but Schindler wasn't at his best. Harris will certainly need to up his game if he is to progress, but I think Lewis will come out on top.

Afternoon Session

Michael Barnard v Jose De Sousa  Round One
Alan Tabern v Raymond Smith      Round One
Paul Nicholson v Kevin Burness    Round One
Jamie Lewis v Cody Harris            Round Two

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