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World Darts Championship 2021/22 Day One preview and order of play | Price commences title defence

Gordon Mathers receives World Darts Championship call-up after second withdrawal

Jamie Shaw in World Darts Championship 11 Dec 2021
Australia’s Gordon Mathers (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Juan Francisco Rodriguez has been ruled out of the 2021/22 World Darts Championship and will be replaced by Gordon Mathers.

Spain’s Rodriguez had won the South-West Europe Qualifier in Avila to secure his TV debut, but has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the tournament.

As a result, he has now withdrawn from the William Hill World Championship and is replaced by Australia’s Mathers – who was the next-ranked player on the reserve list.

The Brisbane ace will now take on Jason Heaver in the First Round on Sunday December 19, with the winner progressing to play Danny Noppert on Thursday December 23.

Mathers made his second World Championship appearance last year and subsequently won a PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School.

A close friend of Simon Whitlock, Mathers has remained based in the UK throughout the year and reached the Last 16 of a Players Championship event back in March.

Mathers was beaten by Nick Kenny in the final round of the Tour Card Holder qualifier for the World Championship last month but has now been handed a late call-up.

Rodriguez becomes the second player to withdraw from the tournament, with South Africa’s Charles Losper having been ruled out due to visa issues.

Belgium’s Mike De Decker will replace Losper in the draw and now meets Darius Labanauskas on Saturday December 18, with the winner to play Dave Chisnall on Tuesday December 21.

The World Darts Championship gets under way on Wednesday December 15, with the final to be held on Monday January 3.

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