World Champion Peter Wright became the final player to book their spot in the Last 32 of the Unibet Home tour, as he topped the table on the final night of first round action.
The culmination of 32 nights of action saw Wright taking part for a second time, alongside returners Justin Pipe, Krzysztof Ratajski and Adam Hunt.
Wright kicked off the night with a hard-fought 5-3 victory over Hunt, and that was quickly overshadowed by Ratajski’s whitewash victory over Pipe in game two.
Hunt then got his first win on the board as he came from behind to beat Justin Pipe 5-3, and Wright edged past Ratajski 5-4 to set up an intriguing final two games.
But then Polish star Ratajski let slip a massive 4-1 lead to Hunt in game five, meaning Wright required just one leg in his final game to ensure top spot.
Nevertheless, Pipe was keen not to roll over and put in a fine display to ensure he got some points on the board, and spoiled Wright’s 100% record on the night with a 5-3 victory.
Wright squeezed through to the last 32, ahead of Hunt by three legs to complete the field for the Play-Off phase of the Home Tour.
The reigning World Champion joins Stephen Bunting, Cristo Reyes, Glen Durrant, Alan Tabern, Jelle Klaasen, Ryan Murray, Gary Anderson, Luke Humphries, Dave Chisnall, Darren Webster, Jamie Lewis, Nick Kenny, Geert Nentjes, Damon Heta, Rob Cross, Daniel Larsson, Joe Cullen, Chris Dobey, Jeff Smith, Ryan Searle, Luke Woodhouse, Martijn Kleermaker, Nathan Aspinall, Jonny Clayton, Jamie Hughes, Max Hopp, Jose De Sousa, Jesus Noguera, Carl Wilkinson and Scott Waites in the last 32.
The next stage of the Home Tour can be watched live and free through PDCTV for registered users (new users can sign up for FREE here), as well as through bookmakers’ websites and international broadcasters.
Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.
Unibet Home Tour Group 32 – Monday May 18 (1930 BST) Peter Wright 5-3 Adam Hunt Krzysztof Ratajski 5-0 Justin Pipe Adam Hunt 5-3 Justin Pipe Peter Wright 5-4 Krzysztof Ratajski Krzysztof Ratajski 4-5 Adam Hunt Justin Pipe 5-4 Peter Wright
Former World Champion Rob Cross is among the next group of players who will star in the Unibet Home Tour, with the line-ups and fixtures now confirmed for Groups 21-24.
World number four Cross will headline Thursday’s Group 21, while Ian White, Kyle Anderson and Krzysztof Ratajski are also set to feature this week as the home-staged event continues from May 7-10.
Thursday will see the 21st of 32 consecutive nights of live darts take place, as Cross is joined in Group 21 by two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, Scotland’s William Borland and Dutch PDC newcomer Derk Telnekes.
World number ten White will be the top ranked played in Friday’s Group 22, which will also feature PDC ranking event winner Danny Noppert, 2018 World Grand Prix quarter-finalist James Wilson and Spain’s Jesus Noguera, a two-time winner on the 2019 Challenge Tour.
Former Auckland Darts Masters champion Anderson, who recently received the all-clear after spending a month in isolation with coronavirus, will make a welcome return to action on Saturday.
Queensland-based Anderson’s Group 23 will see four players join the live broadcast from around the world, as he is joined by German World Cup star Martin Schindler, Dutch internet sensation Dirk van Duijvenbode and Sweden’s Daniel Larsson.
Sunday’s Group 24 will feature Polish number one Ratajski as the highest ranked player, and he will be up against 2019 Czech Darts Open winner Jamie Hughes, Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas – a World Championship quarter-finalist in December – and Spain’s Toni Alcinas, a former World Cup semi-finalist.
The nightly league format will see all four competitors play each other once in matches played over the best of nine legs, with a winner crowned each night.
With the Unibet Home Tour now past the half-way point, Stephen Bunting, Darren Webster and Damon Heta are among the most recent group winners.
Each night’s action will commence at 1930 BST, with darts commentator Dan Dawson on hand to talk through proceedings, which will also include live score graphics on screen.
All Unibet Home Tour action will be broadcast live on PDCTV for FREE to ALL registered PDCTV users, regardless of whether you have a paid or free membership.
Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.
Fans in Great Britain and Ireland can also watch the action through the Sky Sports app.
As well as being shown through a series of bookmakers’ websites, the Unibet Home Tour is being broadcast live by a number of the PDC’s international broadcast partners.
Unibet Home Tour Group 21 Fixtures Thursday May 7 Rob Cross v William Borland Dimitri Van den Bergh v Derk Telnekes William Borland v Derk Telnekes Rob Cross v Dimitri Van den Bergh Dimitri Van den Bergh v William Borland Derk Telnekes v Rob Cross
Group 22 Fixtures Friday May 8 Ian White v Jesus Noguera Danny Noppert v James Wilson Jesus Noguera v James Wilson Ian White v Danny Noppert Danny Noppert v Jesus Noguera James Wilson v Ian White
Group 23 Fixtures Saturday May 9 Kyle Anderson v Daniel Larsson Martin Schindler v Dirk van Duijvenbode Daniel Larsson v Dirk van Duijvenbode Kyle Anderson v Martin Schindler Martin Schindler v Daniel Larsson Dirk van Duijvenbode v Kyle Anderson
Group 24 Fixtures Sunday May 10 Krzysztof Ratajski v Toni Alcinas Jamie Hughes v Darius Labanauskas Toni Alcinas v Darius Labanauskas Krzysztof Ratajski v Jamie Hughes Jamie Hughes v Toni Alcinas Darius Labanauskas v Krzysztof Ratajski
Tournament Rules * All matches are the best of nine legs. * The player listed on the left of the fixture will throw first in odd-numbered legs. * Two Points awarded for a win. * Should players finish level on Points, the Leg Difference will be used to decide positions. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between two players, then the winner of the game between the two players will determine who finishes higher. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between three players, the Overall Average of each player (across the three games on the night) will be used to determine who finishes higher.
As a fan of our ‘Ones to Watch‘ series James Smith got in – touch with his suggestions of the best of 2020, while his ambitions may seem a bit bold, his viewing choice is solid:
As a darts enthusiast, being trapped indoors currently does present one with a great opportunity to work on one’s throw, with the hope of giving Michael van Gerwen a run for his money when we are allowed outside again.
However, there is only so long that you can kid yourself into thinking that you are good enough to become a World Champion. In the meantime, with no new (live) darts being televised, we are left only to look back over what has happened already.
So, to aid this pursuit of entertainment, here is a run down of the six most exciting PDC matches of 2020 so far:
6. Dobey vs Ratajski: UK Open 4th Round.
The early rounds of the UK open of 2020 were graced with some fantastic clashes, especially this contest between top-twenty players Chris Dobey and Krystof Ratajski. Both players are expected to start picking up serious titles this year, and this match showed why.
Both players averaged over 105 across a match that went all the way to the final leg. With Ratajski averaging 56.25% on his doubles, and Dobey 43.48% it is no surprise that this was a close-fought contest.
Ratajski broke throw early in the match to go into a 4 – 2 lead. Dobey responded brilliantly however, breaking throw twice to win four straight legs to go 6 – 4 up. This included a fantastic 121-check on the bullseye in leg nine to break for the second time.
After another break of throw, Ratajski then missed two darts at double sixteen to win 10-8, surprising given then quality of the match. With the pattern of the game continuing however, the Englishman hit the bullseye again, this time for a 92-out, in the final leg of the match, to break Ratajski and go to the next round. Darting drama right from the start.
5. Dave Chisnall vs Daryl Gurney: Masters First Round
Following disappointing World Championship campaigns, both Gurney and Chisnall arrived at the Marshall Arena at the end of January, with a point to prove. However, with the format of the tournament bringing the top sixteen of the PDC Order of Merit, neither player was likely to enjoy an ‘easy’ first round draw.
Both players showed in this first-round clash their undeniable class. Starting well, ‘Chizzy’ raced into a 5 – 2 lead, only for Gurney to bring it back to 5 – 5. The following six legs were then shared to make things 8 – 8, in this first to ten match.
With both players averaging in the low nineties, this wasn’t the highest scoring game ever. But missed doubles throughout the match, including Gurney’s four across the final two legs, meant that this game was full of darting drama from start to finish.
Chizzy emerged a 10 – 8 winner…only to be knocked out in the second round 10 – 0 by title-winner Peter Wright. A great contest as we get stuck into the list:
4. Peter Wright vs Gerwyn Price: PC 5 (Final).
The first of two Players’ Championship events to make this list – the final of PC 5 saw newly-crowned World and Masters Champion Peter Wright, take on Welsh Number One Gerwyn Price.
The final saw the two Major-holders both average over 109 across the fourteen-leg match. This was a fitting end to a day of darts where ninety-one matches saw averages over a hundred – beating the previous world record (set in February 2019) by a staggering twenty-one matches.
Showing the eminent quality of both players, the first thirteen legs of the match went with throw, leaving Wright with a 7-6 lead going into the fourteenth. Then with Price sat on double top, after twelve darts, ‘Snakebite’ hit ‘The Big Fish’ (a 170 Checkout) to seal his first Players Championship title of 2020.
You will struggle to find a final of such consistent quality anywhere else from this season. In fact, Wright’s performance in the final meant that of his seven matches en route to lifting the trophy, he averaged less than one hundred on only one occasion:
3. Nathan Aspinall vs Dirk van Duijvenbode: Belgian Darts Championship Quarter Final
2020 is the first year that the PDC European Tour hosted an event in Belgium. The inaugural venue was the Expo Hasselt, in Hasselt, where forty-eight competitors took to the stage.
The final was won by Gerwyn Price, in an 8-3 victory over Michael Smith. Arguably, however, the game of the tournament came in the Quarter Final between Nathan Aspinall and Dirk van Duijvenbode.
With both players reaching averages of over 102, this match was full of quality, with the Dutchman edging his English opponent 6-5, as the match went right to the final leg. Having hit the twenty-five for a 170-Check, Van Duijvenbode was let off the hook as Aspinall failed to get a dart at a double from ninety-five. The Dutchman cleaned up on double eight to proceed to the semi-fianls.
Despite losing 7-4 to price in the semi’s, he must have been over the moon for his performance that weekend. As well as this being the Dutchman’s first final’s day at a PDC European Tour event, the financial implications are also clear. Van Duijvenbode last season earned £14,500 – after reaching the semi-finals in Belgium, he has already supposed that in 2020.
This is the perfect chance to watch one of the new greats of the game in Aspinall, coming up against a young player of whom much is expected in the years to come:
2. Nathan Aspinall vs Gary Anderson: P.L. (6)
Having not played a Premier League match in almost two years due to injury, Gary Anderson returned to the Thursday-Night tournament continuing to reach his former best. His match against Nathan Aspinall in Liverpool showed that he still has a lot left in the tank.
Gary averaged 94.27 across the match, and flew into a 5-1 lead straight away after Aspinall missed six darts at a double in the first leg. The man from Stockport rallied however, hitting eight maximums to bring the match back level at 5-5.
Aspinall then responded to the Scot’s ninety-five finish to win the final leg to claim a 6-6 draw with an average pushing 108. With both players coming off stage pleased with coming away with a point it isn’t hard to imagine how much quality the two of them were producing:
1. Michael Van Gerwen vs Gerwyn Price: Players’ Championship Six Final
The second match in the list from the Players Championship events from Wigan this year – the final of PC Six saw the MvG lose to the ‘Iceman’ 8-7 in the most thrilling contest of the year.
With over 1,112 180’s thrown over the two days, as well as two nine-dart legs (from MvG and Steve Lennon) the Sunday final had a lot to live up to. It did not disappoint.
Price raced into a 4 – 1 lead, continuing to show the class that has brought him up to number three in the PDC Order of Merit. MvG managed to bring the tie back to 5 – 4, only for the Welshman to win to extend his lead to 7 – 4. As Price struggled to close the game, MvG won legs in eleven, fifteen, and eleven darts again to send the match to a deciding leg for what would have been his first title in 2020.
Price however, took the £10,000 cheque by hitting the bulls eye to complete a 94-checkout with the big Dutchman sat on double eighteen.
Price continues to ooze confidence and class – stating after his victory “I truly believe now that if I hit my double I will win matches against Michael, Peter [Wright] or whoever; my scoring game is up there, if not better than them.”
So there are James’s picks for the best viewing of 2020, so far!
Many thanks to James for his contribution. Perhaps you have a different pick of the 2020 crop? Maybe you have a ‘Six of the Best’ or ‘Ones to Watch’ of your own to offer to those currently stuck within four walls?
Get in touch with your suggestions: email@example.com or @Darts_World
Our first selection is the Diamond, Ian White. Whitey has been consistently on the vrge of the Premier League (by right) for quite a few years. It seems very unfair that he does not even get an opportunity to get used to it. He is a very funny guy and a player who adapts and improves to every situation. This tester session could be just what he needs to jump up another level. Kryzstof is a major champion and he has claimed PDC titles already, it is only a matter of time before he qualifies and this would give him a chance to show he can do it under these conditions.
Selecting two Germans is both sensible for the development of the game and keeping up the standard of those selected. Clemens is a seriously hard working player who gets better on the time and Hopp know how to win matches and titles.
Ricky Evans is the such a singular player that it would be good to see him in these conditions. If he could retain his composure and relaxation he would be superb entertainment, the crowd would love him. Baby Shark anyone?
Asada gives the Asian tour a focus within the Premier League and may lead to a visit there very soon! He is a quality player who has performed well both on tour and in World Championships.
Josh Payne has developed strongly. He has taken his time and matured through each stage of the modern game. Talented, though a little under rated, Josh is a fine example of what a new generation young player should be in attitude, presentation and professionalism. It would be wise to reward this.
WILDCARD – Ted Hankey
We cant help thinking, that if Ted is fit enough, The Count would be a superb guest star. In many ways Hankey, at the Grand Slam, showed the way in terms of a darts villain. It would certainly be a challenge for his opponent and great fun for the crowd.
THE RISE OF POLISH DARTS & THE LIFE AND CAREER OF SEBASTIAN STEYER, ONE OF THE POLISH PLAYERS BREAKING THROUGH – with Jacco Krook.
Sebastian Steyer guaranteed himself a spot in the first round of the BDO World Championship by being the number 24 of the BDO Invitational Table at the cut-off date. He is the third player I have interviewed. Steyer will be the fourth Polish player to participate in the BDO World Championship. Krzysztof Ratajski was the first Polish player at the BDO World Championships after qualifying for the BDO World Championship 2009. He however lost his first round against Edwin Max (3-2). In 2017 he did slightly better reaching the last 16 where he lost 4-3 against Darius Labanauskas. Krzysztof Kciuk qualified for the BDO World Championship 2019 reaching immediately the last 16, where he was beaten 4-0 by Scott Mitchell. Karolina Podgorska is the only Polish lady to have qualified for the BDO World Championship, like Kciuk she did so in 2019. However she lost her first round match against Trina Gulliver 2-1.
In 2018 he reached the last 32 of the World Masters, where he was beaten 3-0 by Richard Veenstra. Steyer impressed at the World Trophy 2019, where he reached the semi finals eventually losing 7-4 against number one seed Richard Veenstra after he had beaten Ross Montgomery, Scott Mitchell and Roger Janssen on his way to the semis.
Steyer is however still waiting to win his first international event, however that seems just a matter of time looking at his results of 2019. Just like Boris Koltsov he came one point short of winning a PDC tour card at Q-School. He reached the final of the Polish Open in his home country, where he was beaten by Toon Greebe with 6-3. Further he was a runner-up at the Greek Open after losing 6-2 against Thibault Tricole from France. He however has a good weekend in Greece, because a day earlier he also reached the semi finals of the Acropolis Open. He also was a semi finalist at the Lithuania Open and Ukraine Open. He also made it to the PDC European Tour in Prague, where he however lost his first match.
Who are you? I am Sebastian Steyer and own a car rental company.
When and how did you start playing darts? I played football first, however after a knee injury I started playing darts.
What are your best achievement(s) so far? The semi-finals of the World Trophy and the finals of the Greek and Polish Open.
Who are the top 5 players from Poland (either man, woman, youth, may of course be players of the past as well)? And why? Krzysztof Ratajski, Tytus Kanik, Krzysztof Kciuk, Lukasz Waclawski and Sebastian Bialecki.
Krzysztof Ratajski doesn’t need any introduction. The Polish Eagle has played five World Championships, twice in the BDO and three times in the PDC with respectively a last 16 and last 32 as best result. He won a tour card by the money won at the European Tour 2018, some Players Championship events and World Championship 2019 which means he won on those events enough money to make it into the top 64 of the PDC with many players playing the whole PDC tour for two years.
Tytus Kanik earned himself a PDC tour card via PDC Q-School 2018 by winning on day three. He however hasn’t been able to reach the last 64 and therefore needs to go back to Q-School to earn a PDC tour card again. Tytus has played three European Tour events, the Austrian Darts Open 2019 reaching the last 16 was his best result, and reached the last 32 of a Players Championship four times.
Krzysztof Kciuk is one of the two Polish players having played at both the PDC and BDO World Championship. He reached the PDC World Championship 2010 by winning the Polish qualifier, however he didn’t win a game on the big stage. At the BDO World Championship he did better reaching the last 16 by beating Dave Parletti, who is the number four seed at the upcoming BDO World Championship before losing against Scott Mitchell. Krzysztof also made it to the last 32 of the World Masters.
Lukasz Waclawski has won the Ukraine Open 2018 and the Kiev Masters 2018. At the first Challenge Tour of 2019 he reached the last 32, however he only played the opening weekend, four events, of the Challenge Tour last year. Ukraine seems to suit Lukasz, because in 2019 he made it to the quarter finals of both the Ukraine Open and Kiev Masters.
Sebastian Bialecki is a great talent. He has just turned 16 years of age and already reached the last 32 of the Polish Open 2019 and the last 64 of the Polish Open 2017.
What is your favourite tournament and why? I don’t have a favourite tournament. Each tournament is a new experience and I’m glad participating in it.
What is your goal for 2020 and the further future? A good performance at the BDO World Championship and getting a PDC tourcard.
How often do you practise? How do you practise? Two times a day for two hours in the morning and evening.
Did you ever hit a 9-dart leg? I did twice, however only during practise.
What are your good and bad sides within darts? My good side is striving for a goal. I won’t say anything bad.
What do you think about darts in Poland? I am happy that the Polish players perform well and Polish darts is developing all the time.
Sebastian played in the 2020 BDO world championships from the 02 arena. He was involved in the first game but lost out to Mario Vandenbogaerde.
Jacco Krook writes for various publication and is often featured in dartfreakz.nl
In the days before this years’, William Hill PDC, World Championship we asked a group of our friends and writers to offer their opinions on the likely outcome. Each was asked to choose a title favourite, a dark horse for the crown and an outsider likely to do some damage. So how are they doing so far?
The Coach – Picked MVG for the title and this seems to have proven a safe bet. However Coach’s other picks have proven less insightful. Ian White bowed out early and Lourence Ilagan was unlucky in his first round clash with Reyes. So 1 out of 3 at the Qtr final stage for ‘Coach’. Must try harder!
JR Lott – JR had a good record for the winners of majors in 2019, especially those not favoured at the star. However his three picks for the Worlds have bombed out before the Qtr finals. JR thought that Gary Anderson might play himself into very good shape and benefit from a long event. This thought applied to Adrian Lewis as well both played very well at times and were defeated in very high quality tough matches. Krystof Ratajadski did do some damage and had his best Ally Pally event so far. So its a case of close but no cigar for JR!
The Wizard – Colin Osborne showed himself to be still in touch with the elite game and has his title pick still in the draw. He was of the view that Gerwyn Price would triumph due to his current form and increasing mental toughness. His darl horse also provided a decent run. Chris Dobey ended Fallon Sherrocks superb run and made the last 16. The Wizards’ choice of an outsider to do damge was a bit of a damp squib, Gabriel Clemens did not fire this year. Our Wizard’s Wizdom will be refered to again in the coming year!
The Manufacturer – Despite all the inside knowledge possessed by those in the industry picking winners and losers is still tough. Gerwyn Price is providing the only high-point for out manufacturing expert. His outsider Jamie Hughes fell at an early fence as did his dark horse Rob Cross. However one in three seems to be about the average so far among our chosen tipsters.
Official View – Our resident official, John Fowler, is looking good so far. Although his title tip crashed out early (Rob Cross was picked by three of our ‘experts’) John’s selected Glenn Durrant as a dark horse and Steve Beaton to do damage. Beaton did indeed cause damage and this was a very unusual pick as Steve had a poor Ally pally record before this year. Durrant is still going and may yet confirm John’s prediction.
Overall, its a mixed picture from the experts. But most still have at least one ‘runner’ left in the event and could yet claim success. Will we ‘have had enough of experts’? the jury is still out!
Fallon Sherrock became the first woman to win a William Hill World Championship match on a historic night at London’s Alexandra Palace on Tuesday.
The former Lakeside Championship Women’s finalist produced a stunning performance to defeat Ted Evetts 3-2 and move into the second round.
25-year-old talent Sherrock landed six 180s and converted 41 percent of double attempts in a remarkable display to see off 2019 PDC Unicorn Development Tour winner Evetts.
“I can’t believe that I’ve made history,” said Sherrock, who had watched on as Mikuri Suzuki came close to winning her match against James Richardson on Sunday.
“I was inspired by Mikuru and I don’t think I would have believed in myself as much if she hadn’t performed so well.
“I’m absolutely over the moon – I have always dreamt of playing on that stage and winning on it is something I have dreamt of too but I never thought it would happen.
“I can’t remember much of the match but the atmosphere was amazing. I didn’t want it to end but I’m glad it ended the way it did with me making history.”
Sherrock sent he first warning signal by checking out 106 in the second leg of the match but went on to lose the first set 3-1.
A flurry of 180s – including two to kick-off one leg – helped her win the second set, but Evetts regained control by taking out 68 after she had missed four darts to take set three.
Sherrock clinched the fourth set 3-2 with a brilliant 13-darter under pressure before going on to seal glory by winning the deciding set 3-1.
The moment was greeted with enormous cheers and applause from a vocal Ally Pally crowd, with the historic sporting moment being shared widely around the world.
Jeffrey de Zwaan came from behind to deny Darin Young a second giant-killing of the tournament.
American ace Young, who had beaten Raymond van Barneveld in round one, led the tie by two sets to one before the 23-year-old Dutchman rallied back to snatch victory.
“I feel relieved more than anything after that,” admitted De Zwaan, who will face either Dave Chisnall or Vincent van der Voort in the third round.
“Darin played really well but I was expecting that and I didn’t start very well – but I’m really happy I turned it around to win.”
Krzysztof Ratajski also reached round three as he defeated Zoran Lerchbacher to win at Alexandra Palace for the first time.
The Polish ace, who has won six PDC ranking titles, recovered from dropping the first set to claim a 3-1 triumph.
“I feel free now and I can relax,” said Ratajski, who won the Gibraltar Darts Trophy in September.
“In the last two years I have come here and lost so I am really happy.
“I won a title on the stage earlier this year and I think that has helped me a lot – this is a magnificent win for me.”
Australia’s Damon Heta breezed to a straight sets success on his World Championship debut, defeating Portuguese star Jose De Sousa.
August’s Brisbane Darts Masters Heta made light work of De Sousa, who had picked two PDC ranking titles in 2019.
There was also a comfortable debut victory for Ritchie Edhouse over Russia’s Boris Koltsov.
London born Edhouse took out 106 to win the first set before doubling his lead – but had to fend off a late fightback to win 3-1.
Ryan Searle won a tight affair against Australia’s Robbie King, who missed a match dart in a sudden-death leg.
Devon thrower Searle struggled with his finishing – despite landing the tournament’s second 170 – missing 37 darts at doubles during the tie but pinned the crucial tops to win.
Spanish star Cristo Reyes completed a great escape to defeat Lourence Ilagan in an entertaining encounter which also went to a fifth set.
PDC Asian Tour winner Ilagan looked to be on course for victory when he won the first two sets but Reyes stormed back, taking the last five legs of the match to set up a second round meeting with Adrian Lewis.
Ilagan’s Philippines World Cup teammate enjoyed success with a straight sets victory over an out-of-sorts Rowby-John Rodriguez.
Malicdem will face Peter Wright in round two after finishes of 104 and a match-winning 107 saw him win his opener for the second successive year.
The William Hill World Darts Championship continues on Day Six with six first round ties and two second round matches across two sessions, with James Wade and Stephen Bunting featuring.
Day Six will broadcast live on the Sky Sports Darts channel and through NOW TV in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.
Tuesday December 17 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) 3x First Round, 1x Second Round Ryan Searle 3-2 Robbie King (First Round) Cristo Reyes 3-2 Lourence Ilagan (First Round) Noel Malicdem 3-0 Rowby-John Rodriguez (First Round) Krzysztof Ratajski 3-1 Zoran Lerchbacher (Second Round)
Evening Session (1900 GMT) 3x First Round, 1x Second Round Ritchie Edhouse 3-1 Boris Koltsov (First Round) Damon Heta 3-0 Jose De Sousa (First Round) Fallon Sherrock 3-2 Jose De Sousa (First Round) Jeffrey de Zwaan 3-2 Darin Young (Second Round)
Wednesday December 18 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) 3x First Round, 1x Second Round Ron Meulenkamp v Ben Robb (First Round) Mickey Mansell v Seigo Asada (First Round) Harry Ward v Madars Razma (First Round) Stephen Bunting v Jose Justicia (Second Round)
Evening Session (1900 GMT) 3x First Round, 1x Second Round James Wilson v Nico Kurz (First Round) Josh Payne v Diogo Portela (First Round) Gabriel Clemens v Benito van de Pas (First Round) James Wade v Ritchie Edhouse (Second Round)
With only days to go until the start, of the William Hill PDC World Darts Championship, we asked our writers and contributors to select their favourite for the title, a ‘dark horse’ and an outsider who might cause a shock or two. Here are their thoughts:
Fav: MVG , Dark Horse: Ian White, Outsider: Lourance Ilagan
It is tough to see past MVG at the moment. He is back in the winning habit and, although not as dominant, still the one to beat. Micheal is scheduled to meet my Dark Horse in the Qtr-finals and has quite a tough route but he should still have enough to claim a fourth title. Ian White has under-performed on TV for at least five years. However things may have turned in his favour at last. He reached the last four at Minehead and was playing very good solid darts. Ian has a few things that have held him back over a two week, long format, event previously. Perhaps its time for our ‘Diamond’ to show how tough he can be? Lourance is superb to watch and is getting more and more experienced in all formats and codes. If he can get a win under his belt he could be a match for anyone.
JR LOTT– (The Columnist)
JR spotted both Rob Cross for the Matchplay, and Ian White’s recent form, before most pundits. Yet he has picked neither to win the World Championships.
Fav: Gary Anderson, Dark Horse: Adrian Lewis, Outsider: Krystof Ratajadski
I have a hunch that this might be a very unconventional event but with big names coming through at the finish. Thus both my main choices are previous world champions. Both Adrian and Anderson are ranked lower than previous and are trying to get back to former glories. Both may gain from a long event to really wirk their way into it and hit their peak at the right time. If either gets motoring then they may prove unstoppable. Krystof is a superb player who has adapted to the PDC like a duck to water. It is only a matter of time before he has a big impact on a major event. His experience, winning the World Masters, makes him different to most outsiders. When the chips are down this guy can hit the target and take the trophy.
The Wizard (Former World Qtr Finalist) –
Fav: Gerwyn Price, Dark Horse: Chris Dobey, Outsider:Gabriel Clemens
Darts World contributor, and Major Finalist, Colin ‘The Wizard’ Osborne has gone with the the players instinct that people on a roll can do well. With Gerwyn’s recent success and finally being able to defeat MVG being important factors. Chris Dobey is a name that is being mentioned, as one who could go a long way, by many. Colin’s outsider is ‘The Giant’ himself Gabriel Clemens. The Wizard reckon’s that Clemens is in mighty fine shape and damage his Qtr of the draw quite severely!
The Manufacturer –
Those involved in the darts business look at a lot of data, and canvass a lot of opinions, its in their interest to do so. Whether its signing a new player, making a new model or entering a new market, they tend to gather many view and not often give them but we managed to get one to commit:
Fav: Gerwyn Price, Dark Horse: Rob Cross, Outsider: Jamie Hughes
A real mixed bag here, our business expert goes for the in form Price, mainly due seeing him as on an upward curve. His second pick is a cop out! Rob Cross as a ‘dark horse’, more like a white charger! But perhaps some bets are being hedged there? His outsider is very interesting. Jamie Hughes is a superb player when he is at the top of his game, Hughes’ victory on the European Tour proves his can win titles, yet he has not seemed at his best since. Could some one know something we don’t?
The Official’s Verdict:
John Fowler is a referee and MC. He has recently made his televised event debut at the World Trophy & World Masters events. He works will players from every code and indeed almost every era.
Fav: Rob Cross, Dark Horse:Glenn Durrant, Outsider: Steve Beaton
John tired to hedge his bets on these questions and provided two for each catagory! We have selected the ones that no one else has picked so far! The selection of Cross for the title is a pretty shrewd one. It is possible that many of the other high ranked and in form players dfeat each other and Cross comes through to claim a second title. Glen Durrant is a great pick for a dark horse. he has made the Qtrs & Semis for the last few majors and knows how to win a long event under the highest pressure. Another first time champ?
Lastly, John has both an eye for value and is a romantic at heart. His selection of Steve Beaton, as an outside to do damage, has an element of both. Despite not having a good Ally Pally record he is playing very well and might benefit from being disregarded. The 500/1 price tag is almost disrespectful.
So who will look smug in January or who will look the mug? We’ll be sure to update you after this year’s event.
Peter Wright claimed his third Pro Tour title of 2019 by defeating Krzysztof Ratajski 8-1 in Tuesday’s Players Championship 30 final in Barnsley.
Scottish ace Wright followed up Monday’s record broadcast average achieved against Ratajski with another dominant display as he took the £10,000 top prize in the year’s final Players Championship event.
Wright maintained that brilliant form throughout Tuesday’s tournament, averaging over 104 against Ryan Searle, Steve West and Mark McGeeney in progressing to the latter stages.
He also overcame Joe Murnan and Arron Monk before taking a 7-2 semi-final win over Danny Noppert.
Wright asserted his dominance immediately in the final, leading 3-0 before legs of 11 and 12 darts moved him five clear of the Polish number one.
Ratajski hit back with a 14-darter, but Wright matched that in two of the next three legs to complete the win.
“It’s been a great couple of days,” said Wright. “I beat Krzysztof yesterday and today I wanted to try and beat him 8-0!
“He’s a fantastic player and the past two days have been very tiring for both of us, so I’m happy to win. It was a hard day and to come through and take the title is brilliant.”
Wright now sets his sights on the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts, which will be held in Leicester on Saturday and Sunday as he challenges for the title, live on BBC Sport, from a group which includes Rob Cross, Daryl Gurney and Gerwyn Price.
“I’m looking forward to it,” added Wright. “I lost to Gary [Anderson] in the final last year and he played fantastic. I beat MvG in the semis and that took it out of me.
“I approached the Champions League last year with a brand new set of darts and got to the final with them, but if I use these ones…
“The group I’m in, earlier in the season you’d say that wasn’t a bad group because Daryl wasn’t playing well, Gezzy wasn’t and Rob wasn’t quite on his game. Now, Rob’s won the World Matchplay, Gezzy’s playing fantastic and Daryl’s not too shabby either. I’m the outsider and I’m not bad!”
Ratajski had been bidding to win a third Players Championship of the year himself, with his run to the final including some equally impressive darts as his eventual conqueror.
He averaged almost 107 in a superb 7-5 semi-final win over Gerwyn Price, missing double 18 for a nine-darter in that contest, while he took the deciding leg of his quarter-final with Jermaine Wattimena with a ten-darter.
Ratajski also averaged over 102 against Andrew Gilding and more than 96 in every match on his way to the decider, only for Wright to prove too strong.
Price landed a nine-dart finish during his run to the semi-finals, achieving perfection in the second round against Jonathan Worsley, before later averaging over 104 in a quarter-final win over Jonny Clayton.
Dutchman Noppert won through to his fourth Players Championship semi-final of the year, only to lose out to Wright.
Max Hopp recorded the day’s highest average with a stunning 119.24 in his victory over Ian White, who replied with a 111 average in defeat in their last 32 contest.
Hopp, though, was subsequently knocked out by Andy Jenkins as the veteran star booked his place in the quarter-finals, while Monk, Clayton and Wattimena also reached the last eight.
Tuesday’s event was the last ProTour event of 2019, with the field for the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals and provisional qualifiers for the William Hill World Darts Championship now set to be confirmed.
Brendan Dolan continued his resurgence by winning Players Championship 29 in Barnsley on Monday, while Peter Wright set a new record for the highest ever recorded average in a live broadcast match.
Having ended his five-year wait for a PDC title at Players Championship 22 in August, Dolan made it two in just over months with a hard-fought 8-6 win over Ian White in the final.
The Northern Irishman fired in averages of 104.9 and 104.8 in victories over Mark Webster and Gerwyn Price respectively on his way to the semi-finals, before overcoming record-breaker Wright in a last-leg decider to reach the final.
“I can still do it, I played quality darts today at the right times and I think I deserved any luck I got,” said Dolan, who now has six PDC titles to his name.
“The one in Hildesheim was more of a relief, whereas today I came into it with more belief that I could win having done it recently.
“When you’ve not been winning for five years your confidence is not so high and winning in Hildesheim has drastically changed that.
“In my head today I was determined to add money to my ranking to give me shot of qualifying for the 2020 World Matchplay and World Grand Prix.
“I’ve missed those two events for the last three years and it’s killed me not being there, so hopefully next year I will be.”
Former World Grand Prix runner-up Dolan produced checkouts of 136 and 161 to hold throw in two of the opening four legs of the final, before finding his way through to double three for the first break of the match in leg seven to take a 4-3 lead.
Another ton-plus finish, this time a 108, opened up a two-leg cushion for Dolan, an advantage which he soon doubled by taking the next two legs.
White then began a spirited comeback, and after Dolan squandered three match darts in leg 12, White found himself within a leg of Dolan at 6-7.
However, Dolan held firm and a strong leg on throw saw ended with him hitting the match-winning double at the fifth attempt.
Earlier in the day, Wright averaged 123.5 in his 6-0 quarter-final win against Krzysztof Ratajski, the highest ever recorded in a live broadcast darts match.
The previous record broadcast average was 123.4, set by Michael van Gerwen in a 7-1 defeat of Michael Smith in the 2016 Premier League.
Elsewhere, the day was also a significant one for Ron Meulenkamp who reached his sixth ProTour semi-final, but the Dutchman was unable to break his duck of never making it to a final.
Tuesday’s Players Championship 30 will be the final PDC ProTour event of 2019, after which the top 32 players on the one-year rolling ProTour Order of Merit will provisionally qualify for the 2019/2020 William Hill World Darts Championship, excluding players who will qualify as one of the top 32 players on the main PDC Order of Merit.
Places at November’s Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals will also be on the line, as the top 64 players on the Players Championship Order of Merit at the conclusion of Players Championship 30 will qualify for the Minehead event.
All the action from Players Championship 30 will be streamed live on video.pdc.tv.
See full Players Championship 29 results in the Match Centre.
Players Championship 29 Monday October 14 Last 16 Ian White 6-5 Jose De Sousa Joe Cullen 6-4 Joe Murnan Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Daryl Gurney Dave Chisnall 6-5 Stephen Bunting Gerwyn Price 6-4 Devon Petersen Brendan Dolan 6-2 Callan Rydz Peter Wright 6-2 Jonny Clayton Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Michael Smith
Quarter-Finals Ian White 6-1 Joe Cullen Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Dave Chisnall Brendan Dolan 6-2 Gerwyn Price Peter Wright 6-0 Krzysztof Ratajski
Semi-Finals Ian White 7-5 Ron Meulenkamp Brendan Dolan 7-6 Peter Wright
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