Eight players from seven different nations face off in the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on Thursday. Day…
Eight players from seven different nations face off in the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on Thursday.
Day Three of the sport’s blue riband event kicks off with three First Round ties, before an eye-catching Republic of Ireland versus Northern Ireland show-down in Round Two.
Derry’s Daryl Gurney aims to put a miserable recent run of results behind him by overcoming Limerick’s William O’Connor for a place in the Last 32.
World number 11 Gurney has suffered successive First Round exits in the European Championship and Players Championship Finals and failed to qualify for the Grand Slam.
His best run of his seven Ally Pally appearances to date saw him reach the Quarter-Finals in 2016/17 before losing out to eventual champion Michael van Gerwen.
The two-time major winner, who featured in this year’s Premier League, has won seven of his nine previous meetings with O’Connor, including all three in televised competition.
O’Connor began his campaign on Wednesday with a straightforward 3-0 win over a below-par Niels Zonneveleld.
The former World Cup of Darts finalist last reached Round Three here two years ago and he has shown glimpses of his best in recent months, notably reaching the Quarter-Finals of the European Championship.
The opening match of the afternoon session sees Latvia’s Madars Razma take on Japanese debutant Toru Suzuki.
Razma qualified for his second successive PDC World Championship after finishing as the fifth highest ranked non-seed on the ProTour Order of Merit.
He was beaten in a fifth set decider by Harry Ward in Round One 12 months ago but has since gone on to reach a Players Championship final and make his debut for Latvia in the PDC World Cup.
Suzuki came through a field of 102 players to win the PDC Asian Tour qualifier last month and is particularly renowned for his credentials on the soft-tip circuit.
Suzuki will be proceeded on stage by his fellow countryman Edward Foulkes – who faces Belgian youngster Mike De Decker.
Foulkes, who is also making his Ally Pally debut and in fact his first televised appearance, won October’s PDJ qualifier and has Welsh roots having been born to a Japanese mother and a Welsh father.
De Decker, 25, is also taking to this iconic stage for the first time, having qualified via the ProTour Order of Merit.
The four-time Development Tour event winner regained his Tour Card at Qualifying School in January and has featured in both the UK Open and Players Championship Finals this season.
Scotland’s Ryan Murray steps up onto the Ally Pally stage for the first time to face Filipino number one Lourence Ilagan.
Murray, who earned his Tour Card at the beginning of the year, has reached the Quarter-Finals of a ProTour event a decade on from qualifying for the UK Open as an amateur.
Ilagan is appearing in his fifth William Hill World Championship as he bids to progress to the Last 64 stage for only the second time.
The World Cup of Darts star won the Philippines qualifier last month to secure his return and notably reached the Semi-Finals of the World Masters back in 2009.
The action gets underway from 12pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of five sets, best of five legs per set.
In a change from previous World Darts Championship rules to reduce the possibility of sessions over-running, there will be no tie-break in any match. Should any deciding set reach two-all, the fifth leg would be the final leg.
William Hill World Darts Championship 2020/21 Schedule
Thursday December 17
12.15pm Madars Razma v Toru Suzuki (R1)
1.15pm Mike De Decker v Edward Foulkes (R1)
2.15pm Ryan Murray v Lourence Ilagan (R1)
3.15pm Daryl Gurney v William O’Connor (R2)