Paul Nicholson will be looking to avoid an upset when he takes on Andy Smith in the opening round of the World Matchplay this evening.
Andy Smith is not necessarily a household name but he is a very consistent player who has made a career for himself on the PDC Pro Tour circuit, winning six titles. The 45-year-old qualified for the World Matchplay in Blackpool and his reward will be a first round tie with 15th seed Paul Nicholson.
On paper it is a winnable match for Smith, who is ranked 22nd in the world, and some may think that odds of 6/4 at Bet Victor
represent a touch of value on the Englishman. However, The Pieman has disappointed in televised events of late, exiting in the opening round of the World Championship and he has yet to ever go beyond the first round at the Winter Gardens.
That means that Nicholson, who reached the last 16 of the World Championship, and was a finalist in the World Cup (playing with Simon Whitlock), will fancy his chances and he has every right to. The Asset may have had a nightmare at the Speedy UK Open but he is a good scorer and knows how to raise his game for the big occasion. It is 8/13 at Blue Square
that he wins tonight and he may well be a player to keep an eye on over the next few days in Blackpool.