2017 William Hill World Championship – Day Five Preview

Monday December 19 (7pm)

 Qiang Sun v Corey Cadby – Preliminary Round

Qiang Sun

  • Qiang Sun made his World Championship debut last year; he picked up just one leg in a 2-0 defeat in his preliminary round match to Mick McGowan.

Cadby

  • Cadby is making his World Championship debut, last month he won the PDC World Youth Championship, registering an average of 98.35 against Berry van Peer in the final.
  • He made a real impression during the Perth Masters in August when he defeated Phil Taylor 6-2 and averaged 103.58 in doing so. In the next round he averaged 109.57 in losing 10-2 to Peter Wright.

 

Mervyn King (22) v Steve West

King

  • Mervyn King is appearing at his 21st consecutive World Darts Championship (10th in the PDC). He was runner-up twice during his time in the BDO.
  • This is the first time he hasn’t been a top 16 seeded player since he made his PDC World Championship debut at the 2008 tournament.
  • In 3 of the last 4 years at the World Championship his first round match has gone to a last set decider.
  • King has been beaten by 8 players on their way to winning a World Championship title. This is second only to John Lowe’s total of 11. All of King’s defeats came against different players.

West

  • This is Steve West’s PDC World Championship debut, though he did feature at the Lakeside 5 times during his time in the BDO.
  • West is still looking to win his first match at a World Darts Championship having lost in the opening round on all 5 occasions at the Lakeside.
  • In October he had his best win on the TV stage when he defeated Phil Taylor in their first round match at the World Grand Prix.

Head to Head (King leads 5-3)

King has the overall advantage in terms of their head to head wins, mainly due to winning the first four matches they played against each other. They have met three times during 2016 with West taking the honours on two occasions, though King did win their last meeting at a Players Championship tournament in July.

 

Adrian Lewis (5) v Magnus Caris

Lewis

  • Two-time PDC World Champion Adrian Lewis is making his 12th appearance at the PDC World Darts Championship. He has only failed to progress to the quarter-finals on 3 occasions and was of course runner-up last year to Gary Anderson.
  • Over the last six years no player has won more matches at the PDC World Darts Championship than Adrian Lewis has.
  • In his previous 11 appearances at the World Championship Lewis has never lost in the first round, so he has also never lost a best of 5 set World Championship match.
  • Lewis has hit a checkout of 120 or higher in each of his last 5 first round matches at the World Championship.
  • He has won 3-0 in the first round in each of the last 3 years.
  • Overall Lewis has played 15 matches at the World Championship against unseeded players and he has only lost once (that was against Paul Nicholson at the 2009 World Championship).

Caris

  • Magnus Caris is competing at a World Championship for the 12th He made his debut all the way back in 1988! That’s earlier than any other player in the tournament.
  • He reached the semi-finals at the Lakeside in 1994 where he lost in a last set decider to Bobby George.
  • In 5 previous appearances at the PDC World Championship he has failed to progress further than the first round (though he has won a couple of prelim round matches), his defeats have been against Lloyd, King, Beaton and Thornton.

Head to Head (Caris leads 2-1)

Adrian Lewis and Magnus Caris have met three times previously (all matches were away from the TV stage in Players Championship tournaments). Surprisingly Caris has the lead in their head to head record having won two of those three matches. The last time they faced off was in 2015 when Caris won 6-2; their other two previous meetings went to a last leg decider.

 

Joe Cullen (28) v Sun/Cadby

Cullen

  • Joe Cullen will be appearing at the PDC World Championship for the 7th consecutive year. He is aiming to get through to the second round for the first time having lost in the first round on all 6 previous appearances (his only match win at the World Championship was in a prelim match five years ago).
  • This is the first time he has been a seeded player so also the first time he will be facing an unseeded player in the first round.
  • His first round defeats have been against Klaasen, van Gerwen, Wright, Part and Terry Jenkins (twice). In each of the last 3 years the player who has knocked Cullen out in the first round has gone on to at least reach the semi-final.

Head to Head

Joe Cullen has no previous head to head matches against either Qiang Sun or Corey Cadby.

 

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2017 William Hill World Championship – Day Four Preview

It’s day four at the 2017 William Hill World Darts Championship and it’s another double session of darting action.

Headlining today’s schedule is the 16-time World Champion Phil Taylor.

phil-taylor

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig (PDC)

Here are my previews for all of today’s matches.

Sunday December 18

 Afternoon Session (1pm)

 Kevin Simm v Gilbert Ulang – Preliminary Round

Simm

  • Kevin Simm is making his World Championship debut. He earned his place in the tournament via the PDPA qualifying tournament at the end of November.
  • Simm has appeared at the UK Open on two occasions (2011 and 2012).

Ulang

  • Gilbert Ulang is also making his World Championship debut having won through the Philippines Qualifier where he beat his World Cup of Darts team mate and former World Championship qualifier Alex Tagarao along the way.
  • Ulang has represented the Philippines twice at the World Cup of Darts and earlier this year in his singles match against van Gerwen gave a very respectable performance in a 4-2 defeat.

Head to Head

This is the first meeting between Simm and Ulang.

 

Justin Pipe (26) v Chris Dobey

Pipe

  • Justin Pipe is playing in his 7th consecutive PDC World Championship; his best performance came in 2011 when he reached the last 16, defeating the number seven seed Wes Newton along the way before losing to Terry Jenkins.
  • He has exited the tournament in the first round in each of the last two years, last year he failed to win a set against Christian Kist, the year before he was beaten by Loz Ryder.
  • Overall his last 3 World Championship defeats have been against unseeded players.
  • Pipe has won 4 matches at the World Championship and none of those players are in the field for this year’s World Championship (those players are Sean Reed, Wes Newton, Andy Jenkins and Arron Monk).

Dobey

  • Chris Dobey is making his World Championship debut; he has also made tournament debuts in the European Championship, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals over the last couple of months.
  • At the Grand Slam of Darts he reached the quarter-finals having notably qualified from his group ahead of two-time PDC World Champion Adrian Lewis and former BDO World Champion Scott Mitchell. His run in the tournament was ended by eventual runner-up James Wade.
  • Dobey reached his first PDC ranking final in October at a Players Championship tournament; he defeated Stephen Bunting, Dave Chisnall and Adrian Lewis in reaching the final where he just came up short against an on form Simon Whitlock.

Head to Head (Pipe leads 1-0)

Justin Pipe came out on top in their only previous meeting; he defeated Dobey 6-4 at a Players Championship tournament back in May.

 

Mark Webster (25) v Joe Murnan

Webster

  • 2008 BDO Champion Mark Webster is competing at the PDC World Championship for the 8th consecutive year and it will be his 11th appearance overall including his time in the BDO.
  • Webster has an excellent record of making it through the first round at the PDC World Championship; his only defeat at this stage of the tournament came at the 2012 tournament where he lost 3-2 against fellow Welshman and fellow former BDO Champion Richie Burnett.
  • Remarkably Webster has registered a ton plus checkout in each of his last 17 World Championship matches, this run stretches right back to the start of the 2011 World Championship.

Murnan

  • Joe Murnan has qualified for the World Championship for the 2nd consecutive year having made his debut last year.
  • He won his debut match on the Ally Pally stage at the 2016 World Championship when he defeated former World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton in a first round marathon match that went all the way to a 10th leg in the deciding set, his run ended in round two with a 4-1 defeat against Alan Norris.
  • Murnan won a ranking title in 2015 but has had a leaner time in 2016 with just one quarter-final appearance to his name.

Head to Head (They are level with 3 wins each)

Webster and Murnan have met six times previously and they have both won three matches. Murnan has won each of the last three times they have met; the last two of those games went to a last leg decider. Webster’s last win against Murnan was in 2012.

 

Ian White (14) v Simm/Ulang

White

  • White is competing at the PDC World Championship for the 6th consecutive year, his best performance came in the 2014 when he reached the quarter-finals and narrowly lost 5-4 against Simon Whitlock. Last year he was beaten in the first round by the young Belgian Dimitri Van den Bergh.
  • In his 9 previous matches at the PDC World Championship Ian White has never faced a fellow Englishman.
  • All of Ian White’s 5 previous first round matches at the PDC World Championship have ended with a 3-1 scoreline (he has won 2 and lost 3 of those matches).

Head to Head

Ian White hasn’t faced either Simm or Ulang previously.

 

Evening Session (7pm)

John Bowles v David Platt – Preliminary Round

Bowles

  • John Bowles has made it through to the World Championship for the second time, having earned his spot through the PDPA Qualifying tournament.
  • On his last appearance four years ago he won through to the second round where he was narrowly defeated 4-3 by Gary Anderson in a match where Anderson scored an incredible 19 180s.

Platt

  • David Platt is making his 3rd appearance at the PDC World Championship, on his last appearance back in the 2006 tournament at the Circus Tavern he was defeated by Phil Taylor.
  • Originally from England but now based in Australia he qualified by winning the DPA Oceanic Masters.

 

Daryl Gurney (24) v Jermaine Wattimena

Gurney

  • Daryl Gurney is making his 4th PDC World Championship tournament appearance and 6th overall as he also featured twice at the Lakeside during his time in the BDO.
  • He has only ever suffered one first round World Championship exit, that was two years ago against Ronnie Baxter. Last year he defeated Jamie Lewis in round one before running into the formidable Gary Anderson in round two.
  • All of Gurney’s World Championship defeats have been inflicted by players who have either won a World Championship or reached a World Championship final: Those players are Martin Adams (twice), Dave Chisnall, Ronnie Baxter and Gary Anderson).
  • Gurney was actually the last player to inflict a defeat on Michael van Gerwen, he defeated the world number one in October at the German Darts Championship and van Gerwen has won all four tournaments he has played since then.

Wattimena

  • Jermaine Wattimena is competing at the PDC World Championship for the third time and is looking for his first match win.
  • He was beaten by Robert Marijanovic in a prelim on his debut two years ago. Last year he lost 3-1 to Mensur Suljovic despite having won the opening set.

Head to Head (Gurney leads 3-0)

Daryl Gurney has a 100% record over Jermaine Wattimena in their three previous meetings. All three matches have been within the last two years, the most recent was in February when Gurney won 6-2 in a UK Open Qualifier.

 

Alan Norris (21) v John Michael

Norris

  • 2014 BDO runner-up Alan Norris is taking in part in his 9th World Championship overall and his 2nd since joining the PDC.
  • He had an impressive run to the quarter-finals at the Alexandra Palace a year ago when he defeated number seven seed Robert Thornton, Joe Murnan and Mark Webster before losing 5-4 to Jelle Klaasen in the last eight.
  • Norris has won each of his last six World Championship first round matches.
  • Norris has scored a total of 100 180s across his last three World Championship campaigns (a total of 11 matches).
  • In best of 5 set World Championship matches his record is: Won 7 Lost 1.

Michael

  • John Michael is making his 4th World Championship tournament appearance and his 3rd consecutive in the PDC.
  • He exited the tournament in the first round in each of the last two years, losing to Ian White and James Wade after winning a prelim match on both occasions.

Head to Head

This is their first competitive meeting.

 

Phil Taylor (4) v Bowles/Platt

Taylor

  • The sixteen-time World Champion Phil Taylor enters his 28th consecutive World Championship tournament, equalling the record of John Lowe.
  • Taylor has never lost in the opening round at a World Championship.
  • His record in best of 5 set matches in World Championship tournaments (PDC & BDO combined) is: Won 34 Lost 1 (that one defeat in 1993 against Kevin Spiolek).
  • Taylor has won 3-0 in 19 of his last 23 best of 5 set World Championship matches.
  • In the first round at the PDC World Championship over the last 11 years he has won 3-0 on 9 occasions.
  • He has only lost to one unseeded player at the PDC World Championship, that player was Dave Chisnall during the 2012 tournament.

Head to Head

Taylor has faced David Platt twice previously and has won both times, they first met way back at the 2006 World Championship where Taylor won 3-0, more recently they met in 2014 at the Perth Masters when Taylor won 6-4. Taylor and Bowles would be facing each other for the first time.

 

2017 William Hill World Championship – Day Three Preview

Saturday at the 2017 William Hill World Championship sees the first double session of the tournament, with eight matches spread across the afternoon and evening.

Headlining the day is the world number one Michael van Gerwen, he will be aiming to make a statement of intent as he starts his quest for a second world title.

michael-van-gerwen-darts-world-championship_3392791

Here are my previews for all of today’s matches.

Saturday December 17

 Afternoon Session (1pm)

Tengku Shah v Masumi Chino – Preliminary Round

Shah

  • Tengku Shah is making his World Championship debut having won through the South Asian qualifying tournament, going one step further than last year when he lost to Thanawat Gaweenuntavong in the final qualifying match.

Chino

  • Masumi Chino will also be making his World Championship debut; He very nearly qualified for the 2015 PDC World Championship but lost out in a last leg decider against former World Championship participant Haruki Muramatsu in the final qualifying match.
  • Chino has featured in the two World Series of Darts tournaments held in Japan over the past couple of years, he lost to 6-3 to Michael van Gerwen earlier this year and 6-2 to Phil Taylor in 2015.

Head to Head

This is their first competitive encounter.

 

Terry Jenkins (18) v Josh Payne

Jenkins

  • Jenkins is competing at the PDC World Championships for the 13th consecutive year. His best performance at a World Championship was a semi-final appearance in 2011.
  • He has been defeated in the first round only once in his last 7 World Championship appearances, ironically that first round defeat came in a match where he also hit a 9 dart finish (vs Per Laursen at the 2014 World Championship).
  • Overall Jenkins has played a total of 11 best of 5 set World Championship matches and won 8 of them.

Payne

  • This is a World Championship debut for Josh Payne; the closest he came to qualifying previously was when he lost to Matt Clark in the quarter-finals of the PDPA qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Championship.
  • Payne won his first PDC ranking tournament earlier this year when he defeated James Wade in the final of a Players Championship tournament in April.
  • He made it through to the last 16 of the Players Championship Finals recently where he ran into Michael van Gerwen, the 10-2 scoreline didn’t do Payne justice as he averaged over 99 in a very spirited performance.

Head to Head (Terry Jenkins leads 2-1)

Terry Jenkins has won 2 of their 3 previous encounters but their last meeting went the way of Josh Payne when he won 6-5 in a Players Championship tournament in October. This will be the first time they have met on the TV stage.

 

John Henderson (31) v Andrew Gilding

Henderson

  • This will be John Henderson’s 5th PDC World Championship tournament appearance and his 7th overall having featured twice at the Lakeside during his time in the BDO.
  • He has exited the tournament in the first round in 3 of his 4 appearances at the Alexandra Palace, losing to John Part, Vincent van der Voort and last year to Darren Webster.
  • His only match win at the PDC World Championship came 3 years ago when he shocked the number 7 seed Dave Chisnall in the opening round, Henderson then lost to Mark Webster in round two in a game that went to extra legs in the 7th and final set, Henderson had missed darts at a double to win the match 4-2.

Gilding

  • Gilding is returning to the PDC World Championship for the 3rd consecutive year having made his debut in the 2015 tournament.
  • Both of his previous first round matches at the World Championship have only lasted 3 sets. He lost 3-0 to Robert Thornton on his debut and last year he defeated Gerwyn Price 3-0. After beating Price he then lost 4-0 to Adrian Lewis in round two in a match where Lewis averaged over 103.
  • Gilding’s best performance in a ranking tournament during 2016 has been a semi-final appearance at a Players Championship tournament in July.

Head to Head (Henderson leads 2-1)

Although Henderson has won 2 out of their 3 previous meetings it was Gilding who triumphed the last time they met, which was at a Players Championship tournament in Barnsley earlier this year. Henderson’s two wins came in European Tour events during 2015 and include a 6-0 win in the German Darts Masters; Henderson went on to reach the final of that tournament.

 

Benito van de Pas (15) v Shah/Chino

Van de Pas

  • 23 year old Benito van de Pas has already played in 5 World Championship tournaments (2 in the PDC and 3 in the BDO).
  • He has reached the last 16 in each of the two years he has competed at the PDC World Championship.
  • His most notable win on the Alexandra Palace stage was when he defeated the number 8 seed Dave Chisnall in the 2nd round at the 2015 World Championship.
  • Van de Pas has had a successful year on the PDC tour having won 3 Players Championship tournaments and as a result has broken into the top 16 in the PDC Order of Merit.

Head to Head

Benito van de Pas hasn’t previously met either Shah or Chino in a competitive match.

 

 

Evening Session (7pm)

Ross Snook v Kim Viljanen – Preliminary Round

Snook

  • Canadian Ross Snook is making his World Championship debut at this year’s tournament. He qualified courtesy of winning the North American qualifier back in August.
  • On his way to qualification he defeated three-time World Champion John Part, former UK Open finalist Gary Mawson and regular World Championship qualifier Darin Young.

Viljanen

  • Kim Viljanen is appearing at the PDC World Championship for the 3rd consecutive year having made his debut in the 2015 tournament.
  • This will be the 3rd time he has played in a preliminary round match. On his debut he lost to Sascha Stein and last year he defeated Sven Groen before losing 3-0 to Kevin Painter in the first round.
  • Viljanen earned his spot in the tournament by finishing top of the SDC (Scandinavian) Order of Merit ahead of Magnus Caris.

Head to Head

This will be the first competitive meeting between Snook and Viljanen.

 

Cristo Reyes (32) v Dimitri Van den Bergh

Reyes

  • Reyes is returning to the PDC World Championship for the 3rd time, he announced himself to the darting world here two years ago when he knocked out seeded players Wes Newton and Kevin Painter before losing 4-1 to eventual champion Gary Anderson in the last 16.
  • Reyes had won the opening set of his match against Anderson without conceding a leg and averaged 116 in doing so, only for Anderson to turn on the style and win the next 4 sets.
  • Last year he suffered a disappointing first round defeat to Wes Newton who exacted revenge for the previous year’s defeat; Newton averaged only 77.8 in beating Reyes last year.

Van den Bergh

  • Dimitri Van den Bergh made his World Championship debut last year and he made an instant impact by defeating the number nine seed Ian White 3-1 in the opening round. His tournament ended in the next round though with a 4-2 loss to Benito van de Pas.
  • In September Van den Bergh reached his first PDC ranking semi-final at a Players Championship tournament in Barnsley, on his way to reaching that semi-final he defeated Cristo Reyes 6-3 in the quarter-final.

Head to Head (They have won 2 matches each)

This will be their fifth meeting overall and their fourth during 2016. Van den Bergh has won 2 of their 3 encounters this year and won their most recent meeting which was their quarter-final match at the Players Championship tournament as mentioned above.

 

Stephen Bunting (16) v Darren Webster

Bunting

  • 2014 Lakeside World Champion Stephen Bunting is making his 10th World Championship tournament appearance and his 3rd since his switch to the PDC.
  • He has won both of his two previous first round matches at the PDC World Championship, winning 3-1 and 3-0 against Robert Marijanovic and Jyhan Artut respectively.
  • Bunting’s World Championship hopes have been ended by Raymond van Barneveld in each of the last two years, both matches went all the way to a last set decider.
  • Bunting hasn’t reached a major semi-final since the UK Open in 2015 but he did claim a ranking tournament triumph in 2016, he won a Players Championship tournament back in March beating Adrian Lewis, Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen along the way.

Webster

  • Darren Webster made his PDC World Championship debut back in the 2006 tournament at the Circus Tavern and this will be his 7th overall appearance.
  • His best performance in a World Championship came in 2007 when he reached the quarter-finals before losing to Phil Taylor. Earlier in that tournament Webster had beaten former World Champion Bob Anderson.
  • Webster has beaten a seeded player in round one in each of the last two years at the World Championship, he upset number seven seed Simon Whitlock in the 2015 tournament and last year accounted for John Henderson who was seeded number thirty two.
  • Overall he has won three World Championship first round matches and all were won by a 3-1 scoreline.
  • Webster has reached 3 ranking semi-finals during 2016; the most recent was at the recent Players Championship Finals where he led van Gerwen 6-0 before finally losing 11-8. The semi-final against van Gerwen came only a matter of weeks after Webster defeated Phil Taylor 5-0 in their Grand Slam of Darts group match.

Head to Head (Bunting leads 2-1)

Bunting and Webster have met 3 times previously; all were matches in Players Championship tournaments so this is their first meeting in a major TV tournament. The last time they faced each other was in August when Bunting took the honours with a 6-3 win.

 

Michael van Gerwen (1) v Snook/Viljanen

Van Gerwen

  • 2014 World Champion Michael van Gerwen will be competing at his 11th World Championship tournament; this is his 10th consecutive appearance at the PDC World Championship.
  • This will be the 4th time in 5 years that van Gerwen has faced the winner of a preliminary round match in the first round at the World Championship and it will be the 5th year in a row that he has faced a preliminary round winner in the tournament as he also played prelim round winner Sascha Stein in the second round in the 2015 World Championship.
  • The only unseeded player van Gerwen has lost to at the PDC World Championship is Mensur Suljovic, van Gerwen was beaten 3-1 by the Suljovic in the first round 6 years ago and that was also the last time MvG exited the tournament in the first round.
  • Van Gerwen has won all 6 PDC major ranking tournaments played since losing to van Barneveld in the last 16 here last year. That’s a run of 34 consecutive matches won in PDC major ranking tournaments.
  • He enters the World Championship having won 25 tournaments during 2016 and since losing to Daryl Gurney in the German Darts Championship in October he has won 22 consecutive matches in picking up the European Championship, World Series of Darts, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals titles.

Head to Head

Michael van Gerwen hasn’t met either Ross Snook or Kim Viljanen previously in a competitive match.

 

 

2017 William Hill World Championship – Day Two Preview

It’s day two at the 2017 William Hill World Championship.

Tonight’s action will see the number three seed Peter Wright start his World Championship campaign. The evergreen and ever popular Steve Beaton will take to the stage to face the flamboyant South African Devon Petersen. There is also an intriguing match between Welshmen Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton to look forward to.

peter-wright-wc

Peter Wright (Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig PDC)

Here are my previews for the evening’s matches.

Friday December 16 (7pm)

Jerry Hendriks v Warren Parry – Preliminary Round

Hendriks

  • Jerry Hendriks will be competing at the PDC World Championship for the 2nd time having earned qualification via the PDC West Europe Qualifier where he defeated twice BDO World Championship semi-finalist Jan Dekker in the final match.
  • On his last visit to the Alexandra Palace for the 2013 World Championship he won 3-0 in the first round against Wayne Jones before running into the eventual champion Phil Taylor in round two, Hendriks took the first set against Taylor but lost the next four sets without winning a leg.

Parry

  • Warren Parry has qualified for his 4th PDC World Championship, he made his debut at the Circus Tavern during the 2006 World Championship, it’s the first time he has qualified since the 2010 tournament.
  • Parry qualified for the 2017 William Hill World Championship courtesy of winning the DartPlayers New Zealand Qualifier where he defeated Cody Harris and former World Championship participant Rob Szabo along the way.
  • All 3 of his previous World Championship appearances resulted in first round defeats, having lost to Mark Walsh, Alex Roy and Raymond van Barneveld.
  • Parry has previously competed at the PDC World Cup of Darts and also in a number of World Series of Darts tournaments, notably he claimed the prize scalp of Michael van Gerwen at the 2014 Sydney Masters in their last 16 encounter.

Head to Head

This is their first competitive meeting.

 

Gerwyn Price (19) v Jonny Clayton

Price

  • Gerwyn Price is making his 3rd appearance at the PDC World Championship having also qualified in each of the last 2 years.
  • Price hasn’t managed to get through the first round on his 2 previous visits to the Alexandra Palace and indeed has failed to win a set, having lost 3-0 to both Peter Wright and Andrew Gilding.
  • On the PDC circuit in 2016 he has two tournament wins to his name; both were in Players Championship tournaments only a matter of weeks apart in May.

Clayton

  • Jonny Clayton is making his PDC World Championship debut, last year he lost to Ricky Evans in the qualifiers.
  • He does have previous TV tournament experience having played at the Grand Slam of Darts, UK Open and Players Championship Finals.
  • Clayton’s best ranking tournament performance this season came at a Players Championship tournament in Barnsley back in August where he reached the semi-finals before losing to Gary Anderson, on his way to the semi-final he had beaten Gerwyn Price in the quarter-final.

Head to Head (They are level with 1 win each)

The two Welshmen have met in PDC competition twice and have both claimed a win. As mentioned above Clayton got the better of his compatriot in a Players Championship quarter-final match in August. Price won their previous match in a European Tour event qualifier back in 2015.

 

Steve Beaton (27) v Devon Petersen

 Beaton

  • 1996 BDO World Champion Steve Beaton is appearing at his 16th PDC World Championship and overall this will be his 26th appearance at a World Championship tournament since making his Lakeside debut way back in 1992. Only Phil Taylor and John Lowe have made more World Championship tournament appearances.
  • During his time in the PDC he has won just 8 matches at the World Championship, though he did win 6 of those matches without dropping a set.
  • 11 of Beaton’s last 14 wins in best of 5 sets matches at World Championship tournaments (PDC & BDO included) have been won without dropping a set.
  • Overall Beaton has played 11 best of 5 sets matches at the PDC World Championship, 8 of those matches have only lasted 3 sets.
  • Steve Beaton’s 8 previous match wins at the PDC World Championship have been against 8 different nationalities. A win here against Petersen would make it 9 wins against 9 different nationalities.
  • The 8 players he has beaten at the PDC World Championship have been from: New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Spain, Wales, Canada, Scotland and England.

Petersen

  • This is Devon Petersen’s 4th PDC World Championship tournament appearance and it will be first time he hasn’t had to play in a preliminary round match (he never failed to win his prelim round match).
  • Petersen last appeared at the Alexandra Palace in the 2014 World Championship when he reached the last 16 defeating seeded players Steve Beaton and Justin Pipe along the way before losing to James Wade.
  • At the 2012 World Championship he defeated the number 29 seed Steve Brown before losing 4-2 to Gary Anderson.

Head to Head (Petersen leads 2-1)

They have met three times previously with Petersen having won each of the last two games, this includes his 3-1 win against Beaton in the 1st round of the 2014 World Championship, in that match Beaton led 1-0 and had darts to win the 2nd set before Petersen rallied and turned the match around. Their most recent encounter was in April this year at a Players Championship tournament when Petersen won 6-4.

 

Peter Wright (3) v Hendriks/Parry

Wright

  • 2014 PDC Championship finalist Peter Wright is appearing at his 8th consecutive PDC World Championship having made his debut at the 2010 tournament. Wright had featured at the 1995 BDO World Championship where he lost to Richie Burnett in the opening round, but he didn’t appear at another World Championship tournament until 15 years later.
  • Wright has won 3-0 in each of his last 4 first round matches at the PDC World Championship.
  • His only 2 PDC World Championship first round defeats have been against Michael van Gerwen and Jelle Klaasen.
  • All of Wright’s 8 World Championship defeats have been against players who have either been a World Champion or have won a World Championship since. Those players are: Richie Burnett, Jelle Klaasen, Michael van Gerwen (3 times), Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis.

Head to Head

Peter Wright has played Warren Parry twice previously and has won both matches, the most recent of which was a 6-1 win in the Auckland Masters in June. Wright and Hendriks have yet to meet in a competitive match.

 

 

 

 

 

2017 William Hill World Championship – Day One Preview

The waiting is almost over!

The 2017 William Hill World Darts Championship starts on Thursday evening and the opening night is headlined by the defending champion Gary Anderson who begins his quest to win the title for the 3rd year in a row.

gary-anderson-william-hill-world-darts-championship-2016-final-lawrence-lustig-pdc_1e5fgbg4t5uxw1gyx2w4ty63t6

Gary Anderson with the Sid Waddell Trophy (Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig PDC)

This is the 24th staging of the PDC World Championship and this year the total prize money is a whopping £1.65 million with £350,000 going to the winner.

The world number one Michael van Gerwen is a strong favourite for the tournament with the bookies and the fact he has won 25 tournaments this year alone speaks for itself. The second favourite is Gary Anderson, who as mentioned above is seeking his 3rd consecutive world title, winning back to back world titles is no easy feat and on his day he is more than capable of going all the way again. The top two seeds face very strong competition from Phil Taylor, Peter Wright, Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld and Dave Chisnall who all possess plenty of quality.

As usual I’ll be producing stats based previews on all the matches throughout the tournament to hopefully compliment your darting viewing.

Here are my previews for the matches on the opening night.

Thursday December 15 (7pm)

 Jamie Caven (29) v Kevin Painter

 Caven

  • Jamie Caven has qualified for the PDC World Championship for the 10th consecutive year, he reached the Last 16 at the 2016 World Championship which was his best ever run in the tournament.
  • Caven has won each of his last 3 first round matches at PDC World Championship tournaments. His last defeat at this stage of the tournament came in December 2012 against John Bowles.
  • He has won 5 and lost 4 in best of 5 set matches at PDC World Championship tournaments. 3 of those 4 defeats were in matches that went to a deciding set.
  • Caven comes into the World Championship having lost his last 8 matches in PDC tournaments, his best performance in a ranking event during 2016 was a run to the final in a Players Championship tournament in May.

Painter

  • 2004 PDC World Championship runner-up Kevin Painter will be competing at the PDC World Championship for the 16th time; overall this will be his 23rd World Championship tournament having also featured 7 times at the BDO World Championship.
  • This is the first time Painter hasn’t been a seeded player at a World Championship since his first PDC World Championship appearance in 2002.
  • He has been defeated in the opening round in only 3 of the 15 PDC World Championship tournaments he has qualified for, and hasn’t failed to get through the first round in his last 5 attempts. The last player to defeat Painter in the opening round was Brendan Dolan in December 2010.
  • Painter’s record in best of 5 set matches in PDC World Championship tournaments is: Played 11 Won 9 Lost 2. Only 1 of those 11 best of 5 set matches has gone to a deciding set.
  • Painter has yet to reach a ranking quarter-final in 2016; the last time he reached the last eight in a ranking tournament was back in October 2015.

Head to Head (Jamie Caven leads 7-4)

Jamie Caven has the edge in their previous head to head matches having won 7 of their 11 meetings since they first faced each other in 2009. They have met twice during 2016 and have won one match each, Painter won 6-5 at the Dutch Darts Masters in February whilst Caven triumphed 6-4 in a Players Championship tournament in April.

 

Jamie Lewis (30) v Mick McGowan

Lewis

  • Jamie Lewis is appearing in his 5th PDC World Championship tournament and has yet to register a win, having lost in the first round in each of the last 3 years and in a prelim match on his debut in the 2013 World Championship.
  • This is the second year in a row that Lewis has been seeded at the PDC World Championship, last year he was the 31st seed and lost on the opening night to Daryl Gurney.
  • Lewis has hit a total of 3 180s in each of his 3 first round matches at the PDC World Championship.
  • The best run Jamie Lewis has had in a PDC tournament this year was a semi-final appearance in a UK Open qualifier back in February.

McGowan

  • Mick McGowan won the Tom Kirby Memorial Trophy to earn his spot in this tournament, he is playing in his 4th PDC World Championship having made his debut back at the 2007 World Championship where he notably averaged over 101 in a 2nd round defeat against Phil Taylor.
  • Last year he returned to the World Championship for the first time since 2008, in last year’s tournament he won a prelim match against Qiang Sun before losing 3-0 to Mark Webster in round one.
  • McGowan has won a match in each of his 3 previous World Championship appearances (though as mentioned above his win last year was in the prelim round).
  • McGowan’s best performance on the PDC circuit in 2016 so far was when he reached the semi-finals of a Players Championship tournament in September.

Head to Head

This is their first competitive meeting.

 

Gary Anderson (2) v Mark Frost

Anderson

  • The back to back 2015 and 2016 William Hill World Championship winner Gary Anderson will be competing at his 8th PDC World Championship (his 16th consecutive World Championship including his time in the BDO).
  • Anderson has won 12 consecutive World Championship matches stretching back to his 4-3 defeat against van Gerwen in the Last 16 at the 2014 World Championship.
  • A quirky stat is that Anderson’s winning set in last year’s final against Adrian Lewis was the 180th set he has played in PDC World Championship tournaments since he made his debut back in December 2009 against Jamie Caven.
  • Gary Anderson has never lost to an unseeded player at the PDC World Championship.
  • Anderson has won all 7 of his previous first round matches at the PDC World Championship.
  • It has been 6 years since Anderson averaged over 100 in a first round World Championship match (the last time was in against Hashimoto in the 2011 tournament when Anderson averaged 103.26).
  • Anderson has never lost a PDC World Championship best of 5 set match: Played 7 Won 7, Sets Won/Lost W21 L6.

Frost

  • Mark Frost is making his World Championship debut at this year’s tournament; he earned his spot by winning 7 matches in the PDC qualifying tournament.
  • He has previously qualified for the UK Open finals on a number of occasions and also qualified for the World Matchplay back in 2008 where he was narrowly defeated 11-9 by Raymond van Barneveld in round one.
  • In October at the penultimate Players Championship tournament of the season he reached the semi-finals, it was his best performance in a PDC ranking event since 2008. His run to the semi-finals of that tournament included wins over top 16 players Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts.

Head to Head

This is their first competitive meeting.

 

Michael Smith (11) v Ricky Evans

Smith

  • This is Smith’s 6th consecutive PDC World Championship appearance. Having failed to win a set on his first two visits he has now made it through the first round three times in a row.
  • Smith hasn’t failed to reach the Last 16 here in each of the last 3 years and last year he had his best ever run in the tournament when he reached the quarter-finals before losing in a deciding set to Raymond van Barneveld.
  • Ricky Evans will be the first Englishman that Smith has met in the first round at the PDC World Championship; Smith’s previous opponents have been from Netherlands (x3), Austria and Japan.
  • Smith has scored a combined total of 15 180s during his last 2 PDC World Championship 1st round matches.
  • Michael Smith has lost each of his last 10 matches in PDC tournaments stretching back to September. His best tournament performance this season was an appearance in the final of the Austrian Darts Open in June where he was eventually beaten by Phil Taylor.
  • Smith has managed just 1 win from his last 13 TV matches, that solitary win came against Simon Whitlock at the World Matchplay.

Evans

  • Ricky Evans is returning to the PDC World Championship for the 3rd time and has managed to progress through the first round on each of his two previous appearances.
  • Last year he defeated the number 10 seed Simon Whitlock in round one before losing to Jamie Caven, at the 2014 tournament he defeated Ronnie Baxter and lost out to Mervyn King in round two.
  • In his match against Whitlock last year he trailed by 2-0 in sets and was 2-0 down in the 3rd set before he managed to somehow turn it around, Evans eventually won 6-4 in the deciding set where he hit a 130 finish to win the match.
  • Evans has lost each of his last 7 matches in PDC competitions.
  • His best performance in 2016 on the PDC circuit was in September when he reached the semi-finals at a Players Championship tournament, it was his first ranking semi-final since 2013.

Head to Head (Michael Smith leads 6-0)

All 6 of the previous matches between Michael Smith and Ricky Evans have gone the way of Michael Smith, though this is their first encounter since February 2014. Their most high profile meeting was in the final of the PDC World Youth Championship in 2013 when Smith won 6-1.

Don’t forget to add me on twitter @3dartanalyst for more stats.

 

 

2016 Cash Converters Players Championship Finals – Tournament Preview

The 2016 Cash Converters Players Championship Finals takes place this weekend at the Butlins Minehead Resort (TV coverage is screened on ITV4). This is the ninth staging of the tournament, though the format has altered this year due to the field being expanded from 32 to 64.

Qualification for the tournament was based on the 20 Players Championship events played during 2016, with the top 64 in the Players Championship Order of Merit earning their spot in the tournament. The Australian Kyle Anderson had to withdraw from competing due to awaiting the completion of his Visa renewal; Andy Hamilton is the player who replaced Anderson in the field. Phil Taylor is without doubt the biggest name absentee from the tournament, he only played in 3 of the 20 Players Championship tournaments due to cutting down on his playing schedule away from the TV tournaments and didn’t earn qualification.

As usual for the Players Championship Finals the tournament draw is based purely on the seeding from the Players Championship Order of Merit. It may come as no surprise to see Michael van Gerwen as the number one seed for the tournament but none of the remaining top four seeds are ranked in the top 10 of the main ranking list (they are Benito van de Pas (2nd), Ian White (3rd) and Simon Whitlock (4th)).

Here is the tournament draw broken down into four quarters and complete with each players best ranking tournament performances during the 2016 season.

pcf-draw-q1-q2

pcf-draw-q3-q4

Rather than produce an individual preview for each of the 32 matches I am going to select the following.

  • The standout first round match of each quarter (that’s the match I like the look of most in each quarter).
  • A match I would like to see occur in each quarter (be it in the 2nd round, 3rd round or quarter-final).
  • The two players I predict to meet in each quarter-final.

First Quarter

Standout First Round Match: Mensur Suljovic vs Raymond van Barneveld

It has to be doesn’t it? Both players must have been cursing their luck at this opening round draw, especially as they were drawn together in the group stage at the recent Grand Slam of Darts (Barney won on that occasion). Expect a high quality encounter from two players who are both capable of having a run deep in this tournament. It’s a tough game to call but I’ll go for van Barneveld to win 6-4.

Match I Would Like to See: Michael van Gerwen vs Raymond van Barneveld (Quarter-Final)

A clash of the Dutch giants in the quarter-finals would surely be a match to savour. Van Gerwen is sweeping aside all before him at the moment but a resurgent van Barneveld could pose a major test to Mighty Mike, don’t forget Barney was the last player to defeat MvG in a TV ranking tournament last December at the World Championships when he ended van Gerwen’s quest for a second world title. I’m not sure Barney would be able to halt the run of van Gerwen this time though and I think van Gerwen would progress.

Predicted Quarter-Final Match: Michael van Gerwen vs Adrian Lewis

This would be a repeat of last year’s final.  Adrian Lewis has reached the final at this tournament in each of the last 2 years and also won the UK Open at this venue so he must feel comfortable  playing here. He had some tough results at the Grand Slam which really didn’t do justice to how he played, I expect him to be motivated to perform at this tournament but he does have a tricky draw. Van Gerwen should have an easier passage to the quarter-finals and at odds on with the bookies he is very much the man to beat at the tournament. Lewis has what it takes to trouble van Gerwen but he hasn’t done it enough recently and I predict MvG will progress to the semi-finals.

 

Second Quarter

Standout First Round Match: Alan Norris vs Michael Smith

Two players who are both capable of high quality darts need to arrest a losing run ahead of the World Championships. Smith has slipped out of the top 8 after a poor season, at this time last year he had just reached the semi-finals at the Grand Slam and then went on to reach the quarter-finals at the World Championship but he comes into this tournament having lost his last 9 matches and has won only 1 of his last 14 going back to September. Norris has enjoyed success this season winning a Euro Tour event in October but he has lost his last 5 matches (including all 3 at the Grand Slam) and ideally needs a win heading into the World Championships. I’ll go for a Norris 6-3 win.

Match I Would Like to See: Steve West vs Chris Dobey (Quarter-Final)

West and Dobey are both outside the top 32 in the PDC rankings but are very much on an upward curve having both reached ranking finals during the past couple of months and I think it’s only a matter of time before they are in the top 32. They are both capable of hitting a good number of 180s and I think this would be an entertaining encounter between two players who will be a tough match for anyone in their quarter.

Predicted Quarter-Final Match: Steve West vs Simon Whitlock

West and Whitlock were amongst the in-form players on tour during the months September and October, they both produced their highest level of darts for quite a while. Although they’ve had some recent defeats that halted their momentum a little I still believe that both will come into the tournament with confidence that they can have a good run and the ability to back that up. I reckon Whitlock might just prove to have the edge over the longer format.

 

Third Quarter

Standout First Round Match: James Wade vs Mervyn King

Wade and King are certainly no strangers to facing off as this will be the 38th time they have met during their illustrious careers. The most famous encounter was arguably at the 2014 Masters where Wade overturned a big lead to deny King a first PDC TV title. Since then they have met 5 times and King has won 3 of those matches, including a 10-5 win at the World Matchplay earlier this year.  Wade comes into the tournament having reached the final at the Grand Slam whilst King has struggled for good form since the Matchplay. Wade starts as a strong favourite but write King off at your peril he wasn’t fancied to beat Wade at the Matchplay but overturned the odds and that makes this match all the more intriguing.

Match I Would Like to See: Gary Anderson vs Stephen Bunting (Last 32)

Gary Anderson played some excellent darts last week at the Grand Slam; he scored well and finished well for most of the tournament and looks to be running into good shape ahead of his World Championship defence. Bunting hasn’t enjoyed the best of times in TV ranking tournaments over the last 18 months having not gone further than the last 16 stage in one since the 2015 UK Open, it hasn’t always been a case of Bunting not performing as some of this is down to opponents playing out of their skin but the bottom line is he is long overdue a good run in a TV ranking tournament.  Maybe a match against Anderson would bring out the best in Bunting and if they both turned up playing something near their best darts it would surely be a treat of a match.

Predicted Quarter-Final Match: Kim Huybrechts vs Peter Wright

When Kim Huybrechts reached the quarter-finals at the World Grand Prix in October it was has only his 2nd TV ranking quarter-final since he reached the final of this event back in 2012, this record is a big underachievement given his talent. He should be a slight favourite to come through his section of this quarter though may have to come through tough matches against Gurney and van de Pas to do so. Wright has a good opening draw against Jason Wilson but then may have to win back to back games against Wade and Gary Anderson to reach the quarter-finals, this isn’t beyond him though as he has shown on countess occasions he has the ability to beat the best and his consistency gives him a good chance of making it through those matches.

 

Fourth Quarter

Standout First Round Match: Mark Webster vs Terry Jenkins

Mark Webster and Terry Jenkins have both featured in the later stages of TV tournaments down the years, although not so much recently, they still have the ability to turn on the style and are capable of a good run in this quarter of the draw. Surprisingly this is only their third meeting since 2012 (they met last December at the World Championships and in October in the German Darts Championship).

Match I Would Like to See: Dave Chisnall vs Jelle Klaasen (Last 16)

Just typing out this fixture gives me visions of a fast, frantic and fabulous game littered with 180s, high scores and rapidly taken high combination finishes, pretty much an all-round thrilling game of darts. When at their peak they are such a joy to watch but they also both have inconsistencies that make this potential match all the more intriguing. Klaasen has won his last 4 matches against Chisnall; will this be a factor in the final outcome?

Predicted Quarter-Final Match: Jelle Klaasen vs Mark Webster

It would be a match between two former BDO World Champions who have never truly fulfilled their potential in PDC TV tournaments. Klaasen has been playing better over the last couple of years than when he won the Lakeside and I think he’s going to be in a PDC TV tournament final before long. To reach the quarter-finals Klaasen may have to win back to back matches against James Wilson and Chisnall. Webster might not be showing his best darts regularly on the tour but he still has what it takes to pop up in the quarter-finals of a TV tournament as he proved at the UK Open back in March (at this venue). It wouldn’t be an easy route for Webster to reach the quarter-finals but he’s capable.

Finally some tournament information

Players Championship Finals Schedule

Friday November 25

Afternoon Session (12.45pm) & Evening Session (7pm) – First Round

 Saturday November 26

Afternoon Session (12.45pm) – Second Round

Evening Session (7pm) – Third Round

 Sunday November 27

Afternoon Session (12.45pm) – Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (7pm) – Semi-Finals and Final

 

The Format per Round is:

First Round – Best of 11 legs

Second Round – Best of 11 legs

Third Round – Best of 19 legs

Quarter-Finals – Best of 19 legs

Semi-Finals – Best of 21 legs

Final – Best of 21 legs

There will be no tie-break in any match.

 

Players Championship Finals Prize Fund

Winner £75,000

Runner-Up £35,000

Semi-Finals £20,000

Quarter-Finals £11,500

Third Round £7,500

Second Round £5,000

First Round £2,500

Total £400,000

Nine-Dart Finish Bonus £35,000

 

Players Championship Finals: Past Finals

2009 Phil Taylor 16-9 Robert Thornton

2010 Paul Nicholson 13-11 Mervyn King

2011 (Feb) Phil Taylor 13-12 Gary Anderson

2011 (Dec) Kevin Painter 13-9 Mark Webster

2012 Phil Taylor 13-6 Kim Huybrechts

2013 Michael van Gerwen 11-7 Phil Taylor

2014 Gary Anderson 11-6 Adrian Lewis

2015 Michael van Gerwen 11-6 Adrian Lewis

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading my preview, don’t forget you can find me on twitter @3dartanalyst and let me know your views.

2016 Grand Slam of Darts – Final Preview

The 2016 Grand Slam of Darts final will be contested between Michael van Gerwen and James Wade.

With the short turnaround between the semi-finals and final I haven’t had much time to produce a detailed preview but here’s a shortened version that I hope you will find useful.

van-gerwen-v-wade

Van Gerwen really stepped up a level in his semi-final win over Peter Wright producing a tremendous performance of darts which included 17x 180s, 10 legs won in 12 darts or less and a match average of 111.17. His double success percentage of 47% was his highest of the tournament so far.

Wade came through a very tight tussle against Gary Anderson in his semi-final. Wade got over the line 16-14 despite having a much lower match average, the timing of key darts from Wade throughout the contest proved to be pivotal.

Head to Head (van Gerwen leads 23-14)

Van Gerwen has the overall lead in their previous meetings and has won each of their last 5 encounters, the most recent of which was only 3 weeks ago in the semi-finals at the European Championships. Wade has beaten van Gerwen 3 times this year however, those wins coming in the Premier League, the European Matchplay and the Auckland Masters where Wade won 10-6 in a match where both he and van Gerwen averaged 107.

Verdict

Michael van Gerwen starts as a big favourite for this match and as he proved in his win over Wright in the semi-finals that when he is pushed he can move to an extra level. His power scoring has been way above what Wade has produced during the tournament and the pressure on Wade to hold his throw will be so much greater than it has been previously. One key stat to note is that van Gerwen has won 18 legs in 12 darts or less during the tournament whilst Wade has yet to win a leg in 12 darts or less. In terms of 180 hitting van Gerwen has managed a total of 27 more 180s during his matches than Wade has, the 17 hit by MvG in his win over Wright is a higher total than Wade has hit in all his matches combined.

Wade has had some wins over van Gerwen on the TV stage in 2016 but they were over a shorter format and not in a match with the prestige that this final holds. I just think van Gerwen will really turn it on when it matters and will outscore Wade, I’m predicting a score of around 16-9/16-10 to van Gerwen.

2016 Grand Slam of Darts – Semi-finals Preview

It’s the final day of the 2016 Grand Slam of Darts and four players will battle it out for the £100,000 first prize. It’s a top class quartet and there’s sure to be some world class darting action.

The semi-finals are to be played in the afternoon with the final being played in the evening session.

Here are my previews.

van-gerwen-v-wright

Michael van Gerwen

  • Michael van Gerwen hasn’t been troubled in reaching this stage of the tournament; he has dropped just 12 legs. In the quarter-finals against Brendan Dolan he had a very easy 16-3 victory.
  • Against Dolan he missed a total of 37 darts at a double in the 19 legs of darts, most of the misses were when he was under no pressure, but overall his tournament double success percentage is under 35%, at the same stage of last year’s Grand Slam his double success percentage was over 52%.
  • His tournament average is also well below the levels it was in reaching the semi-finals at last year’s Grand Slam. This year its 99.05 compared to 108.28 in 2015.
  • This is his 3rd appearance in the semi-finals at the Grand Slam; he won both of his 2 previous semi-finals only dropping a total of 14 legs across both matches (16-8 v Winstanley in 2012 and 16-6 v Michael Smith in 2015).
  • Van Gerwen has won his last 10 TV ranking semi-final matches; the last time he was beaten in a TV ranking semi-final was at the 2015 World Championships when he lost to Gary Anderson.

Peter Wright

  • Wright produced a very accomplished all round performance to defeat Phil Taylor 16-10 in the last 16. The platform for victory was set in the opening session when he raced into a 5-0 lead. Taylor rallied and closed the gap to 1 leg at 7-6 and 9-8 but Wright was relentless in his pressure and he produced some key high checkouts to establish control again and he never let it slip.
  • The 103.37 average Wright registered against Taylor pushed his tournament average over the 100 mark (101.35); he also has a very respectable double success percentage of 47%.
  • This is Wright’s first time in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam but he is no stranger to the later stages of TV ranking tournaments as this will be the 8th time he has contested one, of the previous 7 he has won 3 and lost 4.
  • Wright is aiming to reach consecutive finals in TV tournaments having lost in the final of the recent World Series of Darts finals to van Gerwen.

Head to Head (van Gerwen leads 41-8)

Michael van Gerwen has a very dominant head to head record over Peter Wright and has won 15 in a row against ‘Snakebite’ (11 of those wins were in 2016). In total van Gerwen has only lost 1 time in his last 25 matches vs Wright (they also drew once in the Premier League during this spell). Their most recent meeting was only a couple of weeks ago in the final of the World Series of Darts finals; van Gerwen won 11-9.

Verdict

These two players are certainly no strangers to facing off in the later stages of tournaments and it has been van Gerwen who has enjoyed the vast majority of success. Peter Wright is ahead on performance stats during this tournament and there is no doubting he has the ability to trouble van Gerwen but the dominance MvG has had over Wright can’t be ignored. Van Gerwen hasn’t hit peak form during this week especially on his doubles and if he carries on hitting the percentage he has been doing then Wright might be able to capitalise, van Gerwen however hasn’t had to be on the top of his game and he hasn’t had to hit any pressure doubles and going on past record there is a strong likelihood he will respond when it counts.

I’m not sure Wright will overturn van Gerwen but he has a chance of running him close and the handicap of Wright +5.5 looks possible. A Wright highest checkout is another mild fancy.

 

anderson-v-wade

Gary Anderson

  • Anderson won 16-13 against van Barneveld in the quarter-finals and in the final legs of that match produced the best spell of darts of any player during the tournament. Anderson was 12-11 down and proceeded to hit a total of 8 180s during the final 6 legs of the match, he won the last 4 legs in 13, 12, 11, 11 darts. It was a surge of exceptional darts that Barney could do nothing about.
  • Anderson’s final average against Barney was 103.81 his highest of the tournament so far, his overall tournament average is 100.76 but his average over his two knockout matches is 102.74.
  • Barring his group match against Derry his doubling throughout the tournament has been consistently good, he has hit over 45% of his attempts in each of his last 2 matches and his overall tournament percentage is a touch over 44%.
  • This is his 4th time in the semi-finals at the Grand Slam; he beat Mark Walsh to reach the final in 2011, but lost to Taylor in 2007 and Terry Jenkins in 2008.

James Wade

  • In the quarter-finals Wade eased past Chris Dobey by a score of 16-5 added to his 10-2 win over van de Pas in the previous round means he has only dropped 7 legs in the knockout rounds. He dropped 11 in the group stage.
  • Wade has the lowest tournament average of any of the remaining four semi-finalists; his highest average of 100.58 came in defeat against Chisnall in the group stage.
  • This is his 2nd time in the semi-finals at the Grand Slam, on his previous appearance back in 2010 he defeated Wayne Jones 16-6 on his way to the final where he lost to Scott Waites.

Head to Head (Anderson leads 28-14)

Anderson has a big lead over Wade in their head to head record but Wade has had some recent success against Anderson having won 3 of their last 4 meetings. Their most recent encounter came at the European Championship when Wade won 6-0 in the first round, Anderson was well below par in that game and averaged below 80.

Verdict

Gary Anderson has had a tough run of matches to get to this stage of the tournament and he has risen to every challenge set before him, coming through a last leg decider against Noppert and producing an exceptional run to see off van Barneveld in the quarter-finals, the way Anderson has closed out those games was very impressive. Wade hasn’t been tested in the knockout rounds but he has beaten his opposition with no problems and if pushed he will raise his level, but can he raise it to the levels that Anderson can produce?

Anderson is showing great belief and composure this week and if you couple that with his talent he really will take some stopping, I don’t think Wade will be able to stick with him over the long format, at some stage Anderson may produce a run of darts which pulls him away and makes the difference. I’m predicting 16-11 or 16-12 to Anderson.

2016 Grand Slam of Darts – Quarter-finals (3 & 4) Preview

The remaining two quarter-finals at the 2016 Grand Slam of Darts take place tonight; my preview has all angles covered.

Here’s the updated tournament draw.

grand-slam-qf-line_up

Now on the with games…

dobey-v-wade

Chris Dobey

  • In the last round Chris Dobey came through 10-9 in a very tense match against Jamie Hughes, he had led 9-5 only for Hughes to claw his way back into contention. Dobey missed 3 darts at double to win 10-7 and 10-8 but then had to withstand 5 missed darts at double by Hughes in the deciding leg.
  • In 10 winning legs against Hughes his highest checkout was only 48.
  • Against Hughes he hit a very impressive 10 dart leg; no other player in the tournament prior to the quarter-finals had finished a leg in fewer than 11 darts.
  • Dobey has scored a total of 14 180s on his way to this stage of the tournament, of the 8 quarter-finalists only van Barneveld and van Gerwen have a better 180 ratio.
  • This is only the 4th ranking quarter-final that he has reached since he joined the PDC in January 2015, though 2 of those previous quarter-finals have been in the last couple of months which includes his run to the final at a Players Championship tournament last month.

James Wade

  • Wade had the most comfortable win of any player in the last 16 as he dropped just 2 legs in brushing aside Benito van Pas. From the start of the match Wade won 8 legs without reply as van de Pas struggled for consistency. Wade averaged just under 93 at the end of the match but was averaging around 99 with 3 legs to go.
  • Wades double success percentage was marginally the lowest of any of the 8 quarter-finalists, partly due to taking a combined total of 12 attempts to hit his final 2 doubles against van de Pas.
  • This is the 3rd time that Wade has made it through to the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam (all 3 have been 3 years apart), back in 2010 he won 16-15 against Terry Jenkins and in 2013 he lost 16-12 to Phil Taylor.
  • This is only his 4th TV ranking quarter-final since October 2014 (a 15 tournament span), though he did reach the quarter-finals at the recent European Championship, on that occasion he defeated James Wilson before losing to van Gerwen in the semi-finals.

Head to Head (Dobey leads 1-0)

They have only met once previously and it was Dobey who took the honours, he won 6-5 in a Players Championship tournament back in April.

Verdict

This run to the quarter-finals will have exceeded all of the expectations that Chris Dobey had coming into the tournament and it has to be said he has deserved his place in the last 8, his match against Hughes did get nervy which is to be expected given the lack of experience but there is arguably less pressure on him here in a match he is considered to have less chance of winning. Wade hasn’t hit peak form during the tournament but has produced the key darts when it matters, for example his scoring for a 6 leg spell against van de Pas was very impressive and gave him complete control of the match, one of Wade’s key strengths is the timing of his big scores and high checkouts.

If this was a short format match Dobey’s chances of a win would be higher but this is new territory for him, Wade has the experience of long format matches and this could be a key factor. I expect a very good effort from Dobey but don’t think he will overturn Wade in this match.

 

anderson-v-van-barneveld

Gary Anderson

  • Anderson won a high quality 10-9 thriller against Danny Noppert in the last round; Noppert was deadly on his doubles and as the score proves pushed Anderson all the way. Anderson had to dig deep and showed his class by checking out 100 to win the last leg of the match.
  • The win against Noppert was his second last leg decider of the tournament; he previously defeated Glen Durrant in his opening group match. Anderson had the throw in the deciding leg in both of those last leg wins.
  • Anderson reached the quarter-finals in 4 of the first 5 years of the Grand Slam but this is the first time he has made it through to this stage of the tournament since 2011 when he went on to reach the final.
  • Of his 4 previous Grand Slam quarter-finals he has won 3 and lost 1, that sole defeat was a narrow 16-15 loss to Wayne Jones in 2010.
  • Anderson has won each of his last 8 TV ranking quarter-finals; the last time he lost at this stage in a TV ranking quarter-final was at the Players Championship finals in December 2013.

Raymond van Barneveld

  • Van Barneveld came through 10-7 in his last 16 match against BDO number one Glen Durrant. Barney was never behind in the match but Durrant was often in close contention.
  • Van Barneveld had the highest tournament average, highest double success percentage and highest 180 count of all 8 quarter-finalists.
  • In particular his finishing has been superb during his 4 matches so far; he has an overall double success percentage of 56.82%.
  • This is Barney’s 5th appearance in the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam and he has won each of his last 3 matches at this stage of the tournament. Over the best of 31 leg format Barney has won 3 out of 3 Grand Slam quarter-final matches. The only defeat came in 2008 in a 10-9 defeat by Terry Jenkins.
  • Van Barneveld has won each of his last 5 TV ranking quarter-finals; the last time he lost at this stage in a TV ranking quarter-final was at the Players Championship finals in December 2013 (the same tournament where Anderson last lost in a TV ranking quarter-final!).

Head to Head (Anderson leads 16-14)

Anderson holds a slender lead in overall matches against van Barneveld but he has dominated recent meetings, having won each of their last 9 encounters (stretching back to April 2015). Their last meeting was last month in the semi-finals at the Grand Prix when Anderson had a convincing 4-1 win (in sets). Most of their encounters have been in the Premier League but Barney has actually won only 2 knockout round games against Anderson in matches they have played during their time in the PDC.

Verdict

An excellent match is in store for the last quarter-final, van Barneveld has been the form player going into the quarter-finals but Anderson hasn’t exactly played shabbily and has had to come through some tough matches to reach this stage. One key factor could be their recent head to head record with Anderson having very much the upper hand, records though are made to be broken and van Barneveld has a real chance of breaking that streak with the level of performance he has shown this week. It’s a tough match to call as Anderson has responded in the right way to the challenges in front of him this week and van Barneveld might bring out the best in him. I do think Barney could be decent value on the handicap with 3.5 legs start. I also think Barney to have the highest checkout looks possible.

 

2016 Grand Slam of Darts – Quarter-Finals (1 & 2) Preview

The 2016 Grand Slam of Darts has now reached the quarter-final stage with two of the four matches being played on Friday evening and the remaining two matches taking place on Saturday evening.

Here’s the updated tournament draw.

grand-slam-qf-line_up

It’s the two quarter-finals from the top half of the draw this evening and as usual I have previews to complement the darting action.

van-gerwen-v-dolan

Michael van Gerwen

  • Van Gerwen had a convincing 10-5 win over Robert Thornton in the last 16, he pulled away from Thornton by winning 4 legs in a row when the match was level at 2 legs each and never looked likely to let Thornton back in the game.
  • His average of 103.24 in the match against Thornton raised his overall tournament average to 100.08 the second highest of the players who still remain in the tournament (van Barneveld has the highest).
  • This is van Gerwen’s 4th appearance in the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam, of the previous 3 he has won 2 and lost 1. The defeat came in 2014 against Kim Huybrechts when he lost 16-10 despite averaging 103.87. He exacted his revenge on Huybrechts last year though when he averaged 111 in a 16-4 win.
  • He has scored a combined total of 23 180s in the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam over the last 2 year (11 in 2015 and 12 in 2014).
  • Van Gerwen has won his last 17 TV ranking tournament quarter-final matches; the last time he lost in one was way back in October 2013 at the Grand Prix vs Chisnall.

Brendan Dolan

  • Dolan had to come from behind to win his match 10-9 vs Gerwyn Price in the last 16. He trailed 4-0 and 5-1 before battling his way back into contention (helped by checkouts of 160 and 157); he then had to survive a missed match dart by Price before going onto to win the final 2 legs.
  • Dolan had only managed to hit a single 180 in the group stage but he scored 7 in his win against Price, 4 of those 7x 180s came in the last 4 legs of the match (1 in each of the last 4 legs).
  • This is his first appearance in the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam and it’s his first TV ranking quarter-final since the 2014 UK Open.
  • Dolan has progressed further than the quarter-finals in 3 TV ranking tournaments during his career, including back to back semi-final appearances at the European Championship and World Grand Prix in 2012; he also memorably reached the Grand Prix final in 2011.

Head to Head (van Gerwen leads 15-3)

Van Gerwen has a very strong winning record against Dolan; his only defeat in their last 14 meetings was when he lost 4-3 in a short format World Cup match in 2014. They have only met on two occasions since October 2014 when van Gerwen squeezed past Dolan 10-8 in the last 16 at the European Championship; Dolan led that match 8-7 and missed darts in 2 of the final 3 legs. Of course they played only a matter of days ago in the group stage when MvG ran out a 5-1 winner.

Verdict

World number one and defending champion Michael van Gerwen is a huge favourite with the bookies for this match, an example is Dolan is 14/1 to win the match whilst van Gerwen is 11/1 to win by a 16-2 leg score. Dolan has pushed van Gerwen hard in some of their previous meetings but Dolan was a more confident player back then, the matches were over a shorter format and van Gerwen is a more formidable player now.  It’s really hard to make a genuine case for Dolan to overturn MvG especially over this long format and I can’t see anything other than a comfortable van Gerwen victory.

 

wright-v-taylor

Peter Wright

  • Wright had a comfortable 10-3 win over Darryl Fitton in the last round, Fitton had led 3-2 with a break of throw but Wright came out strongly after the break and played very consistent darts whilst Fitton faded.
  • He has dropped a total of only 7 legs in reaching this stage of the tournament; this is the fewest of any player currently remaining in the tournament.
  • His average against Fitton was 99.69 which is very similar to his overall tournament average of 99.79, of the quarter-finalists only van Barneveld and van Gerwen have higher tournament averages.
  • The finishing of Wright overall in the tournament has been very impressive, he has a double success percentage of 53% and in his match against Fitton he only needed 10 attempts at double to win the final 8 legs of the match.
  • This is the furthest he has ever progressed in this tournament, having exited in the last 16 in each of the last 2 years.

Phil Taylor

  • Taylor had a convincing win in his last 16 match beating Jeff Smith 10-5, he had a winning run of 5 legs in a row to move into a 7-2 lead which never looked likely to be overturned. Although he played some good darts in patches he coasted in the final 5 legs and saw his average drop from 103 to 98.
  • Taylor has hit 37.7% of his double attempts during the tournament which is the 3rd lowest of the 8 quarter-finalists; his highest checkout of 100 is the lowest high checkout of any of the 8 remaining players.
  • Another quirky stat is that Taylor has won the fewest legs of any player in the quarter-finals, that’s courtesy of his 5-0 defeat to Darren Webster in his final group match.
  • This is the 9th time that Taylor has appeared in the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam, he has won 7 and lost 1 of his 8 previous QF matches, the sole defeat came in 2010 against Steve Beaton. Wright will be the 9th different player he has faced in a Grand Slam quarter-final match.

Head to Head (Taylor leads 18-7)

Taylor has a lead on their overall head to head record but it is worth bearing in mind that Taylor did win their first 9 encounter so things have been a lot tighter in recent times, in their last 7 meetings they have won 3 each and drawn a match in the Premier League. Their most recent match was only a couple of weeks ago in the semi-finals at the World Series of Darts finals where Wright won 11-10.

To break down their head to head record even further I have produced some analysis of their last 7 meetings.

last-7-meetings-of-wright-and-taylor

Verdict

As you can see from their recent head to head record the matches between Wright and Taylor have been very competitive and I expect this to be no different. They have played a total of 113 legs during those their last 7 encounters and there is just 1 leg between them. In terms of performance throughout this tournament so far it is Wright who has been more consistent and performed to a higher level in his scoring and finishing. It would be folly to write Taylor off though; he might not be as consistent as he used to be he still has the potential to play to a very high standard over a long format.

I think this match really could go a good distance and might even go to a last leg decider, there should be some value on overs on the total legs market and also Wright on the handicap could be worth looking at. Wright should win the battle for most 180s, he’s among the best 180 hitters in the game and the fact he has outscored Taylor by a total of 17x 180s over their last 7 games backs this up. Finally I fancy Wright has a good chance of the highest checkout, Taylor has only managed a high finish of 100 during this tournament and Wright’s highest match checkout has been superior to that in 3 of his matches during the tournament.