Youth and experience collide at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on Saturday afternoon as a clutch of veteran throwers and…
Youth and experience collide at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on Saturday afternoon as a clutch of veteran throwers and emerging talents take to the stage.
Part One of a marathon opening Saturday at Alexandra Palace features three First Round ties and one Second Round show-down as a host of familiar faces and a trio of debutants kick off their campaigns.
World number 17 Jermaine Wattimena is the highest ranked player in action as he begins his sixth consecutive William Hill World Championship campaign with a Second Round clash against World Youth Champion Luke Humphries.
Wattimena has crashed out at the first hurdle in four of his previous six visits to Ally Pally, but has proved nothing short of a revelation this season, storming to within touching distance of a place in the world’s elite top 16 for the first time.
A PDC World Cup debutant for the Netherlands, Wattimena also reached his first major Quarter-Final at the World Grand Prix and reached the final of a Players Championship event in August.
Humphries defeated South African ace Devon Petersen 3-1 on opening night to continue his love affair with Ally Pally, having dethroned defending champion Rob Cross last year on his way to the Quarter-Finals.
Singapore legend Paul Lim embarks on his 24th World Championship campaign as he takes on in-form Tour Card holder Luke Woodhouse in Round One.
Lim, the oldest player in the competition at 65, made his debut at Lakeside back in 1982 and made history by hitting the first-ever World Championship nine-darter in 1990.
The soft-tip pioneer famously wired double 12 for another nine-darter 27 years later in a Second Round defeat to Gary Anderson and is sure to prove a firm favourite among the sell-out crowd once again.
Lim, however, faces a tough ask against ProTour qualifier Woodhouse – making his debut in the sport’s show-piece after a solid second season as a Tour Card Holder.
Woodhouse recently enjoyed his best win to date by knocking out defending champion Daryl Gurney at the Players Championship Finals and also has a ProTour Quarter-Final run under his belt this season, though this will be only his fourth appearance in a TV major.
Darius Labanauskas, who hit the headlines 12 months ago thanks to his shock victory over Raymond van Barneveld, aims to replicate that display when he faces PDPA qualifier Matthew Edgar.
Labanauskas, the only Lithuanian ever to feature in a BDO and PDC World Championship, secured his return to Ally Pally via the ProTour Order of Merit after notably reaching a Players Championship Final in May.
He set up his show-down with Barney by beating Edgar 3-1 in the First Round with a 93.5 average to Edgar’s 83 in a cagey contest.
Edgar is also making his second successive appearance in this blue riband event having battled through last month’s PDPA Qualifying event and will undoubtedly have revenge on his mind as the duo collide for the right to face Ian White in the Last 64.
Ryan Meikle looks to mark his World Championship debut with a win over Japanese newcomer Yuki Yamada as the pair lock horns for the right to face Darren Webster in Round Two.
Ipswich left-hander Meikle, a barber by day, secured the penultimate qualification spot via the ProTour Order of Merit and climbed to 70th in the Order of Merit courtesy of his landmark run to the Last 16 of the recent Players Championship Finals.
The 23-year-old has four Development Tour titles to his name and will look to come of age on the biggest stage of all against a relatively unknown, but dangerous quantity.
Yamada is one of three Japanese qualifiers in this year’s tournament having finished fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, finishing runner-up in Asian Tour Event Six in the Philippines.
The action gets underway from 12.30pm 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
Saturday December 14
12.45pm Darius Labanauskas v Matthew Edgar
1.45pm Ryan Meikle v Yuki Yamada
2.45pm Luke Woodhouse v Paul Lim
3.45pm Jermaine Wattimena v Luke Humphries (Second Round)
5⃣ to watch at Ally Pally 👀
— Live Darts (@livedarts) December 11, 2019