The 2022 New South Wales Darts Masters gets under way in Wollongong on Friday as the PDC representatives and Oceanic…
The 2022 New South Wales Darts Masters gets under way in Wollongong on Friday as the PDC representatives and Oceanic qualifiers collide.
Part Two of the World Series triple-header in Australia and New Zealand sees the eight PDC representatives and eight Oceanic stars competing for the £20,000 title at the WIN Entertainment Centre for the first time.
The opening day plays host to eight First Round ties as the big names aim to avoid an early exit at the hands of a home hopeful.
Michael van Gerwen is seeded number two as he looks to follow up last week’s Queensland Darts Masters triumph with an 18th career World Series title.
The reigning Premier League and World Matchplay champion has been drawn to face his recent nemesis Simon Whitlock in one of the stand-out ties of the First Round.
Whitlock has recorded four consecutive victories over the Dutchman, including at the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts – all in 2020.
Van Gerwen, however, is in the midst of a prolific winning streak despite not being at his scintillating best, and will be determined to get one over on the Aussie darting icon.
Crowd favourite Whitlock is making his 28th World Series appearance and was notably runner-up in the 2014 Singapore Masters.
The former European Champion and reigning World Cup winner defeated James Wade in Round One in Queensland before eventually losing out to Gerwyn Price in the Quarter-Finals.
World number one Price begins his latest pursuit of a maiden World Series titles with a clash against New Zealand’s Koha Kokiri.
World Series Finals champion in 2020, Price is yet to win a regular World Series event and was narrowly denied glory by rival MVG last week, averaging just 89 in an 8-5 defeat in the final.
Kokiri, PDC World Championship qualifier in 2015, suffered a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Dimitri van den Bergh in Queensland and will be hoping to catch ‘The Ice Man’ cold in Wollongong.
Arguably the pick of the night’s fixtures sees US Open winner Michael Smith take on World Cup winner Damon Heta.
Smith, the number three seed, looked set for another deep run in the World Series last week but only for Gordon Mathers to punish an out of sorts display and claim a shock 6-4 win in the Quarter-Finals.
Smith squandered a 3-1 lead in an eventual 4-3 defeat to Heta in the Semi-Finals of this year’s World Cup of Darts and will be eyeing a dose of revenge in the Aussie’s own backyard.
Heta, the 2019 Brisbane Masters champion, pushed Price all the way to a last-leg decider a week ago and will look to register his first win of the 2022 World Series at the second time of asking.
Top seed Van den Bergh starts his bid for a third World Series title of the campaign with a tie against Aussie qualifier Raymond O’Donnell – a former DPA ProTour event winner and 2018 Melbourne Masters qualifier.
James Wade aims to bounce back from last week’s early exit when he comes up against Tour Card holder Gordon Mathers – who enjoyed his best-ever run in a PDC televised tournament last time out, eventually losing out to Price in the Semi-Finals.
Masters champion Joe Cullen enjoyed a blistering debut Down Under by averaging 108.6 in a 6-0 whitewash of Dave Marland, and ‘The Rockstar’ will be hoping for a repeat performance when he meets the man nicknamed ‘Big Fish’ in an immediate rematch.
Another repeat of a First Round tie from seven days ago sees reigning World Series Finals champion Jonny Clayton take on New Zealand ace Haupai Puha.
Puha pulled off perhaps the biggest win of his career to date by stunning the Welshman with a 6-2 success in Queensland, averaging 95.5 in the process.
Clayton was punished for crucial missed doubles (2/15) on that occasion and will look to rectify those mistakes to get his maiden Oceanic campaign off and running.
Fallon Sherrock has also endured a difficult World Series campaign so far this year but looks to turn her fortunes around when she faces World Series debutant Mal Cuming.
Sherrock, the reigning Women’s World Matchplay champion and 2021 Nordic Masters finalist, was beaten 6-3 by Mathers last week and will look to improve on her match average of 73.
Cuming picked up a DPA Pro Tour title in 2020 and also appeared in the 2019 BDO World Championship, losing out to Aussie compatriot Justin Thompson in straight sets in the Preliminary Round.
The action gets under way from 10am BST (7pm local time) with First Round matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs.
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New South Wales Darts Masters 2022 Day One Schedule
All times BST (local time nine hours ahead)
Friday August 19
Joe Cullen v Dave Marland
James Wade v Gordon Mathers
Jonny Clayton v Haupai Puha
Fallon Sherrock v Mal Cuming
Gerwyn Price v Koha Kokiri
Michael Smith v Damon Heta
Michael van Gerwen v Simon Whitlock
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Raymond O’Donnell
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