We are at that magical time of year again, a new PDC World Darts Champion has been crowned, many congratulations to Peter Wright, a deserving and popular winner. The Premier League players have also been announced and again this year they will be joined by Nine Challengers.
The first two of these players are John Henderson who will star on the opening night in Aberdeen and the new Queen of The Alexandra Palace Fallon Sherrock who has been rewarded for her outstanding victories and performances at ‘The Ally Pally.
So here’s the challenge, who else will be given the opportunity to showcase their talents on the Premier League stage. Pick seven player and one ‘popular choice’ and leave them in the comments or via our social media channels. A prize and bragging rights to whoever gets closest!
I’m going to throw my seven players out there who I think have a chance and more importantly deserve the opportunity, plus one more who could well be a popular addition.
Let’s start with the ‘Popular Choice’ or ‘Housewives Choice’ ! Wouldn’t it be something to see the legend, the Bronzed Adonis himself, Mr Steve Beaton be rewarded for his sheer longevity and dedication to the sport at the highest level, 29 consecutive World Championship appearances and still World Ranked in the top 32 of the PDC rankings. I’m pretty sure Steve would love that one time Premier League Walk-On.
So who will be the other Challengers, it’s certainly a difficult ask to predict all seven selections. I’m not a believer in just picking a ‘Home’ player like a Welsh player for the Cardiff week of the League. If they are ‘Challengers’ then let them do just that at whatever venue. The PDC however take a different view and are likely to give some places partly based on this.
I would certainly throw Luke Humphries in there, another Quarter Final reached at the World Championships and the current World Youth Champion. I think with Fallon already selected you have to go with Mikuru Suzuki too, the Ladies BDO World Champion who was within 36 points of winning her opening World Championship match against James Richardson at The Ally Pally.Third pick would be Chris Dobey, he’s certainly moving swiftly up the rankings and has achieved notable placings in PDC majors and again at the 2020 World Championship.
Premier League crowds love a good Walk-On and there’s none better than YMCA !! My Fourth challenger would be Rapid Ricky Evans. Again he’s produced on the biggest stages at home and at the Euro Tour events and is a joy to watch in full flow even though you could miss it if you blink.
Without question Krzysztof Ratajski deserves to be my fifth selection, he’s lifted five PDC Tour titles already and the former Winmau World Master is a threat to anyone on his day and he would most certainly fit the criteria of a ‘Challenger’. Jeffrey de Zwaan would be my next pick. He’s beaten Michael Van Gerwen in a ‘Major’ TV event and has backed that result up in the last 12 months and is a player the ‘Top Guys’ will not relish facing.
My final challenger would be Jermaine Wattimena. A Quarter Finalist at the World Grand and back to back last 16 spots at the UK Open show this likeable Dutchman is moving in the right direction and sits at a career high 23 in the PDC World Rankings. I’m sure to walk on in front of a sell out Rotterdam crowd in the Premier League to possibly face Michael Van Gerwen would be an occasion he wouldn’t forget but also would rise to!
So there we have it, that would be my list of ‘Challengers’. I believe players outside of the top 16 should be classed as Challengers and it gives fans and followers alike the opportunity to see different up and coming players playing at the highest level against the ‘Top Nine’ players. Only time will tell who actually gets the nod, one thing is for sure though, it’s going to be something special. As World Champion Peter Wright would say ‘Let’s Get This Party Started’.
Andy’s 8: Luke Humphries, Mikuru Suzuki, Chris Dobey, Ricky Evans, Krzysztof Ratajski, Jeffrey De Zwaan and Jermaine Wattimena with Steve Beaton as his wildcard choice.
The Wizard’s Picks: W1—Hendo W2— Sherrock, W3—Jonny Clayton, W4—Willy O Conner, W5—Luke Humphries
W6—Joe Cullen, W7—Dobey, W8—De zwann , W9—Dimi Van den Berg. Wildcard : Barney in Rotterdam!
AIM: Ian White, Krystztof Ratajaski, Seigo Asada, Max Hopp, Ricky Evans, Gabriel Clemens, Josh Payne. Wildcard: Ted Hankey!
Jacco Krook: L Humphries, Ricky Evans, Chris Dobey, Ratajaski, De Zwaan, O’Conner (Dublin), Wattinena (Rotterdam). Wildcard; Jose De Sousa.
Can you do better? Leave your 7+1 in the comments or send them via
- @Darts_World on twitter
- Darts World Magazine (facebook)
Andrew Devonshire is a DartsWorld contributor and popular darts and sports writer who has contributed to many publications. Follow him on twitter @A_Devonshire180