So with one day to go before the PDC Darts Championships begin, here is my third and final part of my '12 To Follow' preview.
This section is those 'outsiders' who may cause an upset or two. The vast majority of players who have qualified are all World Class players and only fine margins can be the difference between winning or losing. Of course, they will have their work very much cut out, but anything is possible. For example, back in 2011 when Adrian Lewis won his first title he was 40/1 !
So lets look at some of those potential 40/1 + players.
Often thought of as the most naturally gifted player of recent years, Adrian Lewis has had some up and down form over the last couple of years and failing to make the 2018 Premier League may well be one of his low points. However, Lewis had shown sparks of form this year and is still ranked in the top 15 on the Order of Merit. He does have a tough draw, potentially having to beat Raymond van Barneveld, Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson to make the final, but he will still be a very difficult opponent for anyone.The fact that he remains a top player despite this lull in form, means that perhaps, an upturn inform could spur him on. Remember he has won this event twice and on his day he is still a World beater.
Perhaps, unfairly, thought of a Tour journeyman, Darren Webster can be a match for any player. He's not made the heady heights of the Premier League yet, but has had a number of important wins and performances. In 2018 he made the quarter final of the World Championships and also made two more ranking quarter finals. He is a heavy scorer and if he gets his doubles right, he will a player to avoid. The draw is reasonably kind to him too.Chris Dobey or Steve Beaton can potentially stand in his way, but assuming he is victorious, he can get to the last 16, although Gary Anderson could await. However Darren Webster is not the sort of player to be overawed and has enough experience to focus on his own game in a pressure situation.
In 2013 Kyle Anderson had a memorable World Championship, when he hit a televised 9-darter against Ian White. Since then, he has remained a solid player without ever quite making the jump to the next level. However, he is a big scorer and the draw looks reasonably good for him. He also showed some spark at the World Cup of Darts,beating Gary Anderson in his semi final match.The Australian team lost narrowly, but Kyle Anderson more than proved his worth. Confidence plays a lot in his game and if he can get through his first couple of matches, then he has the game to compete. He may end up playing Gerwyn Price in the last 32 and that will be a real test. But if the luck goes his way, the draw does open up somewhat. He could even face Ian White again, so he will definitely be hoping history repeats itself.
One player who could really turn heads at the World Championships is Dimitri van den Bergh. At 24 he is still relatively young as a darts player, but is making progress every year. So much so, that some have speculated that he may earn a Premier League place in 2019. With those kind of plaudits, he is a player to be respected. The draw isn't too bad for him either. 2018 has been a great season for van den Bergh, beginning with a quarter final at the World Championships, before following this with another quarter final at the Grand Slam of Darts, where he scored a 9- dart finish against Stephen Bunting. He also claimed his second successive World Junior Title last month, beating Martin Schindler, another exceptional young player. The only way seems to be up for the young Belgian and will be very exciting to see how he performs. Johnny Clayton will be his opponent if he wins his opening game, so a real test. Then he could meet Stephen Bunting (and like Kyle Anderson above), will hope history repeats itself.
Regardless of his progress, he is definitely worth watching, just for the walk-on performance!
So there is my preview finished. Hopefully it will be a very enjoyable tournament whatever the outcomes. I am particularly looking forward to seeing how the Women qualifiers perform and will be keeping an eye on my own personal favourites,Kim Huybrechts and 'Rapid' Ricky Evans.
Tomorrow will see a preview of the 1st round matches. Also some more round-up news
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