The First Round draws to a close at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on Thursday, while two closely-matched Second Round…
The First Round draws to a close at the 2019/20 World Darts Championship on Thursday, while two closely-matched Second Round ties also feature in a fascinating line-up.
For those unseeded players yet to step out onto the Alexandra Palace stage, the wait is finally over as they get their campaigns underway on day seven of the £2.5 million show-piece.
The afternoon session begins with a clash between two players of contrasting styles and experience as Justin Pipe take on Slovenia’s Benjamin Pratnemer.
Pipe is a six-time ranking event winner who has underlined his longevity by reaching a ninth William Hill World Championship.
Once ranked among the world’s top 16, ‘The Force’ has fallen to 56th in the Order of Merit following a torrid two years on and off the oche but will be hoping banish his Ally Pally demons this December.
Pipe was involved in ‘cough-gate’ in his most recent appearance in this tournament, an unsavoury incident which made headlines worldwide, but will he has since put that behind him to reach the final of a ProTour event and the Quarter-Finals of a European Tour event.
Pratnemer became the second Slovenian after Osmann Kijamet in 2010 to qualify for the PDC World Championship after he won the Eastern Europe qualifier, defeating János Végső of Hungary 6–1 in the final.
The 40-year-old appeared in October’s BDO World Masters, where he lost 3-0 to Carl Hamilton in the First Round at the Circus Tavern – the former home of this tournament.
The 32nd and final First Round tie sees last year’s quarter-finalist Ryan Joyce take on former Lakeside semi-finalist Jan Dekker.
Newcastle’s Joyce defeated James Wade in a dream debut 12 months ago but has not kicked on in quite the way he would have hoped since, with his seasonal highlight a run to the Semi-Finals of a Players Championship event.
Dekker is embarking on his fourth PDC World Championship outing, having made the Last Four at Lakeside in 2011 and 2014 and secured his return to Ally Pally via the West Europe Qualifier in Leeuwarden.
Crowd favourite John Henderson commences his eighth World Championship campaign with a Second Round tie against James Richardson.
Henderson, former semi-finalist at the World Grand Prix, enjoyed a memorable cameo role in this season’s Premier League as a ‘Contender’ in Aberdeen, holding Michael van Gerwen to a 6-6 draw.
The popular Scot reached the Last 16 here in 2017/18, defeating Daryl Gurney along the way before bowing out at the hands of eventual champion Rob Cross.
Richardson survived a major scare to see off reigning Women’s World Champion Mikuru Suzuki in Round One, holding his nerve in a last-set decider to avoid being on the wrong side of history.
Like ‘Hendo’, Richardson also enjoyed his best run here two years ago and is in need of another deep run in order to protect his Tour Card for next season.
The final match of the afternoon sees 1996 BDO World Champion Steve Beaton mark his 29th appearance in a World Championship with a tough test against former Auckland Masters winner Kyle Anderson.
Only Phil Taylor (25) has made more appearances in this competition than ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ – who has underlined his incredible longevity by qualifying as number 25 seed.
Beaton reached the Semi-Finals of a Euro Tour event this season, as well as a further four Quarter-Finals, but has won just one of his previous five meetings with Anderson.
Australian number two Anderson came from two sets down to avert a major upset from China’s Xiaochen Zong and keep his hopes alive of ending an otherwise below-par year on a high.
Anderson has had to contend with numerous health problems as well as being away from his family Down Under for much of the year, but remains a formidable all-round performer on his day and will have fond memories of his infamous nine-darter here in 2013.
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
Thursday December 19
12.45pm Justin Pipe v Benjamin Pratnemer (First Round)
1.45pm Ryan Joyce v Jan Dekker (First Round)
2.45pm John Henderson v James Richardson (Second Round)
3.45pm Steve Beaton v Kyle Anderson (Second Round)