PDC World Championship – Day One Preview
The waiting is almost over! Thursday sees the start of the 23rd PDC World Championships from Alexandra Palace in London and it’s not to be missed. The standard on the PDC tour right now is as high as it’s ever been and this tournament could be something special.
The action all begins on Thursday evening with four matches being played and they include current World Champion Gary Anderson and former finalist Peter Wright.
To guide you through the matches here is my Day One preview.
Andy Boulton v Per Laursen (Prelim)
- Boulton’s previous World Championship forays came in the BDO (2008, 09, 12), although he only won 1 game in those 3 tournaments he did lose against quality performers in Hankey, Green and Waites.
- Boulton joined the PDC tour this season and has had a steady enough season; his best results undoubtedly in coming through the qualifiers for the Grand Slam and winning 7 matches to qualify for this tournament.
- This is Laursen’s 8th World Championship appearance; he made his debut in the BDO back in 2006 but since then has played in 7 PDC World Championships. He is no stranger to the prelim matches having started in this round 4 times previously. He won 2 and lost 2 of those prelim matches. His best results at the Worlds have been wins against John Part and Terry Jenkins.
- Laursen qualified via his position as runner up in the SDC order of merit, mainly on the back of winning consecutive tournaments back in May. He has played the majority of his darts on the Scandinavian tour over the last 4 years.
This is a very tough draw for both as they are two of the better players in the Prelim Round. Boulton starts as the favourite with the bookies, though Laursen has shown enough in the past to suggest he has a real chance of overturning those odds. The fact Boulton has been competing more regularly against top players on the tour may be a factor to take into account but all in all I would think there is more value on Laursen in the betting market.
Jamie Lewis v Daryl Gurney
- Lewis is appearing in the PDC World Championships for the 4th year in a row and is looking for his first ever win. On his debut 3 years ago he lost in the Prelim round and in the last two years he lost to van Barneveld and Wade.
- Jamie Lewis reached the quarter-final of the World Grand Prix in October and also won his first round matches at the World Matchplay and Players Championship Finals.
- Gurney has played in 4 World Championships previously (2x BDO and 2x PDC), he has won at least one match in each of those appearances. His best wins came against Scott Mitchell and Andy Smith.
- The high point of Gurney’s PDC career so far was his run to the semi-finals of the Players Championship Finals at the end of November, that run included a win over World Champion Gary Anderson.
- They have met 3 times previously with Gurney leading 2-1. Gurney won their last encounter in a Euro Tour qualifier earlier this year 6-5.
This is a very difficult game to call as both players come into the tournament with confidence on the back of some good recent TV results. Both are good scorers in the T20, if they get into a rhythm early we may see a good 180 count but there could be a fair bit of tension which may hinder both players. I am just edging towards a Jamie Lewis win if pushed, but it really is hard to separate them and the match should be capable of going the full 5 sets.
Peter Wright v Keegan Brown
- Wright is in his 8th World Championships; having made his debut in the BDO back on 1995 it was nearly 15 years until he next appeared on the World Championship stage in the PDC.
- He reached the final 2 years ago and the quarter-finals last year, losing to the eventual champion Gary Anderson.
- An interesting fact is that all of Wright’s 7 defeats at World Championships have been against players who have either won or gone onto win a World Championship title.
- He has had a very consistent year in the TV ranking tournaments having reached the final of the UK Open and the semi-finals at the World Matchplay and European Championships.
- Brown made his World Championship debut last year defeating former champion John Part in the opening match of the tournament. He lost to Adrian Lewis 4-2 in the Last 32 but that 4-2 score doesn’t tell the full story, it was a lot closer, Lewis won the final 3 sets of the match all 3-2 in legs.
- He has wins against Ian White and Robert Thornton on the TV stage this season and has previously beaten Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld on the main stage.
- Brown has the edge over Wright in previous meetings having won 3 games to 2, including their most recent encounter on the pro tour back in May in the tournament where Brown captured his maiden PDC tour title.
It’s a tricky opening round draw for the World Number 4 Peter Wright as he faces one of the more dangerous players ranked outside the Top 32. Brown is growing in big match experience all the time and will be progressing even further in TV tournaments next year. I just feel Wright has too much in his all round game to avoid an early exit and despite a good fight from Brown I think this will be 3-1 to Peter Wright.
Gary Anderson v Boulton/Laursen
- Defending champion Gary Anderson is competing in his 7th PDC World Championships having previously also played in 8 BDO World Championships.
- He was beaten 5 times in the opening round during his time in the BDO but has never lost in his first game in his previous PDC World Championships. He has played against the winner of a Prelim match on 3 occasions and has dropped a set in 2 of these (vs Kirchner last year and Haavisto 3 years ago).
- Anderson has played Boulton twice and Laursen twice previously and has won 1 and lost 1 against both players. Anderson defeated Boulton at the Grand Slam in November but it is over 9 years since he last played Laursen in competitive darts.
It’s hard to give a verdict when it is unknown who will be competing against Gary Anderson. Anderson did make hard work of his first round match last year against the methodical Kirchner and although Laursen isn’t as slow, he may be able to affect Anderson more than Boulton in that aspect. I would still expect Anderson to win comfortably enough against whoever he will face in this match.
I hope you enjoyed my preview, don’t forget to catch me on twitter @3dartanalyst and call back here throughout the tournament for more previews.