Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson aims to avoid becoming the latest seeded casualty of the 2019/20 World Championship when he…
Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson aims to avoid becoming the latest seeded casualty of the 2019/20 World Championship when he commences his Ally Pally campaign on Monday.
A pulsating opening weekend saw three of the world’s top ten crash out of the competition at the first hurdle as well as five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld.
The tournament is already showing signs of following suit to last year, when a number of rank outsiders embarked on fairy-tale runs to the latter stages, but the big names still left standing will be determined to remain on course for the £500,000 world title.
Anderson, who won this title back-to-back in 2015 and 2016 and was runner-up the following year, aims to rekindle his love affair with the Alexandra Palace and mark a long-awaited return to form on the sport’s biggest stage.
Anderson missed much of the first half of the season, including the Premier League, through injury and has struggled to keep pace with his rivals since his return.
The proud Scot did pick up the World Cup of Darts title alongside Peter Wright in June but has not been beyond the Quarter-Finals of a televised singles event since his last outing at Ally Pally.
The world number five will be braced for a gruelling opener against former World Grand Prix runner-up Brendan Dolan in Round Two in a contest which presents a distinct clash of styles.
The methodical Northern Irishman swept aside India’s Nitin Kumar in straight sets on Sunday and is looking to follow up last year’s landmark run to the Quarter-Finals.
He has picked up two Players Championship titles this year and will be buoyed by his strong head-to-head record against Anderson, having shared eight wins from their 16 previous meetings.
Elsewhere, two top young talents collide as Republic of Ireland number two Steve Lennon takes on North East debutant Callan Rydz.
Lennon was runner-up in this year’s PDC World Cup alongside William O’Connor but has overall struggled to replicate the promise he showed in his breakthrough season in 2018.
Premier League ‘Contender’ in Dublin earlier this year, Lennon has fallen at the Last 64 stage in his two previous appearances in this event and has been handed a tough opener against the 21-year-old raw talent.
Rydz has enjoyed success on the Challenge Tour, Development Tour and ProTour this year, finishing top of the Challenge Tour Order of Merit and securing his Tour Card after two event wins, while also reaching a Quarter-Final of a Players Championship event.
The Newcastle youngster is appearing in only his second televised tournament, following on from March’s UK Open, and will look to settle quickly and draw upon his fluent scoring power in a bid to pile the pressure on the Irishman.
William O’Connor, who joined Lennon in reaching the final of the World Cup, looks to culminate a fine season with a strong run this Christmas and starts out with a First Round tie against Finland’s Marko Kantele.
O’Connor has clinched a Players Championship title this term and warmed up for this event in style by reaching the Last Eight of the Players Championship Finals in Minehead to mark his first major Quarter-Final appearance.
Kantele is making his third William Hill World Championship appearance after qualifying from the Nordic & Baltic Order of Merit and is bidding to record his first win on the biggest stage of all.
Crowd favourite Vincent van der Voort aims to avert a potential scalp at the hands of teenage sensation Keane Barry in the third match of the evening.
Former UK Open finalist Van der Voort is appearing in his 13th consecutive PDC World Championship, having twice reached the Quarter-Finals, and has enjoyed a welcome return to form this season.
The rapid Dutchman is closing in on a return to the world’s top 32 after reaching the Last Eight of the European Championship, the Semi-Finals of the Austrian Championship and a host of ProTour Quarter-Finals this year.
Van der Voort, however, can ill-afford a slow start against the fearless young Irishman, who has established himself as a star in the making this year.
At 17, Barry becomes the third youngest player ever to compete in a PDC World Championship, having won the Irish Matchplay title in October.
Barry has also reached the final of the JDC World Championship, which will also be staged at Ally Pally, and has landed a nine-dart finish on the Development Tour.
The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with First Round and Second Round matches to be contested over the best of five sets, best of five legs per set.
A tie-break will be in operation from the second round onwards, where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches 5-5, the 11th leg will be sudden-death.
William Hill World Championship 2019/20 Match Schedule
Monday December 16
7.15pm Steve Lennon v Callan Rydz
8.15pm William O’Connor v Marko Kantele
9.15pm Vincent van der Voort v Keane Barry
10.15pm Gary Anderson v Brendan Dolan (Second Round)