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World Darts Championship 2021/22 Day Eight | Afternoon Session preview and order of play

Jamie Shaw in World Darts Championship 22 Dec 2021
Joe Cullen celebrates (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The Second Round action continues at the World Darts Championship on Wednesday afternoon, featuring a clutch of the sport’s most exciting emerging stars.

The penultimate day of pre-Christmas action at Alexandra Palace kicks off with a youthful afternoon session line-up, involving two debutants and three televised finalists this season.

Scottish star Willie Borland returns to the scene of his historic nine-dart exploits last week when he takes on in-form Ryan Searle in the opening match of the day.

Borland made global headlines by becoming the first player to win a match in a PDC major with a nine-dart finish, striking perfection in a sudden death leg against fellow young gun Bradley Brooks on Friday.

The 25-year-old, competing in only his second year on the PDC circuit, has enjoyed new-found fame in the days after his feat, acquiring 25,000 Twitter followers and gaining recognition from a host of celebrities.

He now returns to the sport’s most iconic stage bidding to back up that display and potentially become the first player to hit two nine-darters in a World Championship – a feat which would land him a £50,000 bonus.

Borland, however, faces a formidable task against one of the sport’s current hottest properties – who comes into this event as a seed for the first time.

Searle came within a double 12 of becoming a major tournament winner at last month’s Players Championship Finals when he was denied by Peter Wright in a thrilling deciding leg final.

That run saw him surge into the world’s top 16 for the first time ahead of his fourth consecutive World Championship appearance, having reached the Last 16 on his last visit to Ally Pally.

Glen Durrant looks to spark a desperately-needed resurgence by defying the odds to defeat Irish number one William O’Connor.

Three-time BDO World Champion Durrant has endured a torrid 12-month spell which has seen him struggle to muster a win on both floor and stage, tumbling to 24th in the Order of Merit as a result.

The 2020 Premier League champion has failed to qualify for the last three televised tournaments and fore-fitted a match midway through during the most recent Super Series.

Durrant, who finished bottom of this year’s Premier League without a point to his name, is fighting to save his career and will be desperate to turn the tide with a win over The Magpie.

O’Connor was involved in one of the stand-out ties of the opening round, coming through an epic sudden death decider against America’s Danny Lauby.

The former World Cup of Darts finalist is aiming to reach the Third Round of the sport’s show-piece event for only the second time and goes into the game as overwhelming 1/7 favourite.

UK Open finalist Luke Humphries begins his campaign against World Cup of Darts finalist Rowby-John Rodriguez in a clash between two exciting young guns.

Humphries is closing in on a place in the world’s top 16, having lost in a host of finals this season, and is seeded at Ally Pally for the first time.

The world number 19 will be out to atone for last year’s shock defeat to Paul Lim in Round One behind closed doors, prior to which he had made back-to-back Quarter-Finals on this famous stage.

Rodriguez, who reached the knock-out stages of last month’s Grand Slam, averaged 97.5 in a dominant straight sets victory over Nick Kenny in Round One.

The Austrian ace is now vying to reach the Third Round of the World Championship for the first time in his sixth appearance.

The final match of the afternoon sees world number 13 Joe Cullen take on 2020 BDO world finalist Jim Williams.

Cullen banished his darting demons at Ally Pally 12 months ago by reaching the Last 16 for the first time, only to lose out to Michael van Gerwen in a pulsating sudden death leg after squandering a 3-1 lead and missing two match darts.

Since then, ‘The Rockstar’ has picked up two Players Championship titles and reached the Semi-Finals of the European Championship.

Williams enjoyed a fine debut last week by defeating World Youth Champion Ted Evetts 3-1 and is effectively on a free-roll as a non-Tour Card holder, having qualified by winning the UK Challenge Tour.

The Welshman, who has featured in three previous editions of the Grand Slam, is aiming to subject Cullen to his tenth opening-match defeat in this competition since 2011.

The action gets under way from 12.30pm GMT, with Second Round matches to be contested over the best five sets, best of five legs per set.

Final set in matches from Round Two onwards must be won by two clear legs, unless the score reaches 5-5, in which case a sudden-death leg will be played.


World Darts Championship 2021/22 Day Eight Schedule

Wednesday December 22

Afternoon Session

12.45pm Ryan Searle v William Borland (R2)
1.45pm Glen Durrant v William O’Connor (R2)
2.45pm Luke Humphries v Rowby-John Rodriguez (R2)
3.45pm Joe Cullen v Jim Williams (R2)

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