The final session of pre-Christmas action at the World Darts Championship sees an array of box office stars in action…
The final session of pre-Christmas action at the World Darts Championship sees an array of box office stars in action at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday evening.
Former World Champions Adrian Lewis and Rob Cross became the fourth and fifth seeds to crash out of the competition on Tuesday as they went down at the hands of Danny Baggish and Dirk van Duijvenbode respectively.
A further four seeded stars aim to avoid joining ‘Jackpot’ and ‘Voltage’ through the Ally Pally exit door on Wednesday night as the sport’s show-piece event continues to gather pace.
Michael Smith came within one victory over lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy two years ago when he lost out to Michael van Gerwen in the final, and ‘Bully Boy’ starts his latest campaign against debutant Jason Lowe.
Smith has suffered defeat in five major finals and continues to chase down that elusive maiden major title, having come close most recently at The Masters in January, missing match darts in an 11-10 defeat to Peter Wright in the final.
The world number four ended a two-year wait for a PDC ranking title in the recent Winter Series, winning back-to-back ProTour events, and heads to Ally Pally in a rich vein of form.
The St Helens star is out to avenge his shock Second Round exit to Luke Woodhouse 12 months ago and will be keen to lay down a marker.
He faces 48-year-old newcomer Lowe – who defeated Russia’s Dmitriy Gorbunov 3-1 in Round One but will be required to raise his match average of 86 if he is to live with the relentless scoring power of Smith.
Dave Chisnall, another renowned power-scorer regarded among the greatest players yet to lift a major trophy, starts out against Keegan Brown in the opening match of the night.
Chisnall is making his tenth William Hill World Championship appearance, having twice reached the Quarter-Finals, and was beaten in a classic by Jeffrey De Zwaan at the Last 32 stage 12 months ago.
An eight-time major finalist, ‘Chizzy’ has reached a ProTour event final this year as well as the Semi-Finals of the World Grand Prix.
He faces former World Youth Champion Brown – who held off a strong display from Ryan Meikle to prevail in straight sets last week.
Brown, who has balanced his playing commitments with his work as a medical lab assistant in blood services for the NHS on the Isle of Wight this year, is aiming to improve on a miserable record of just one win in 13 previous meetings with Chisnall.
Premier League finalist Nathan Aspinall faces one of the toughest possible opening ties on paper in the shape of two-time BDO World Champion Scott Waites.
Aspinall boasts a superb record in this competition, having reached the Semi-Finals in each of his two previous appearances.
The number six seed, who won the UK Open in 2019, survived multiple match darts from Waites in their only previous encounter – which came in last month’s Players Championship Finals.
Yorkshireman Waites will be eyeing a dose of revenge as he looks to extend his debut run in the PDC World Championship, having made the switch via Q School this year.
Waites came through arguably the tie of the tournament so far in a sudden death leg against Canada’s Matt Campbell, underlining his calibre in pressure situations on the big occasions.
Rapid Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena looks to hit the ground running by dispatching Welsh debutant Nick Kenny.
Wattimena returns to Ally Pally as the number 24 seed and is bidding to reach Round Three for only the second time in seven World Darts Championship appearances.
The former World Grand Prix quarter-finalist faces 27-year-old Kenny – a former BDO World Trophy semi-finalist who secured his Tour Card at Qualifying School in January.
Kenny came through the last-chance PDPA qualifier to seal his spot in this event and opened up with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Derk Telnekes.
The action gets underway from 6pm 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
Wednesday December 23
6.15pm Dave Chisnall v Keegan Brown (R2)
7.15pm Jermaine Wattimena v Nick Kenny (R2)
8.15pm Nathan Aspinall v Scott Waites (R2)
9.15pm Michael Smith v Jason Lowe (R2)