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World Darts Championship 2021/22 Day Five | Evening Session preview and order of play

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

Jamie Shaw in World Darts Championship 19 Dec 2021
Alan Soutar makes his debut (Photo by PDC)

A trio of players make their World Darts Championship debuts in the afternoon session of Day Five at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.

The action in the early rounds continues thick and fast with another blockbuster double session, kicking off with four intriguing ties in the afternoon.

Stephen Bunting looks to emulate his magnificent run to the Semi-Finals a year ago and marks his return to the palace with a show-down against in-form Ross Smith.

Bunting comes into the event as the number 16 seed, having picked up a Players Championship title this year and reached the Semi-Finals of the World Grand Prix.

The former Lakeside Champion was beaten by eventual winner Gerwyn Price at Ally Pally in January and will be determined to go a step further if he can replicate that blistering form.

Smith has never been beyond the Second Round stage in four previous appearances at Ally Pally but has enjoyed a fine season, qualifying for five of the seven ranked televised majors.

The Kent ace opened up with a commanding straight sets win over Canada’s Jeff Smith in Round One and a further victory here would take him into the world’s top 32.

The opening match of the afternoon sees Dutchman Maik Kuivehoven take on Australian youngster Ky Smith.

Kuivenhoven returns for his second stint at Ally Pally, having lost in straight sets to Matthew Edgar on debut 12 months ago.

The 33-year-old has forged a reputation as somewhat of a giant-killer away from the TV cameras, having beaten the likes of Gerwyn Price, Nathan Aspinall, Joe Cullen and Adrian Lewis on the ProTour this year.

Smith is bidding to follow in the footsteps of his father Raymond – who won through to the Second Round on Saturday afternoon.

The talented 19-year-old secured his World Championship debut by winning the Oceanic Masters in October.

Jason Heaver is another man taking to the iconic Ally Pally stage for the first time and looks to mark a dream debut by overcoming Australia’s Gordon Mathers.

Heaver won his Tour Card at Qualifying School in February and has made steady progress so far, but will look to elevate his career and ranking with a win on the sport’s biggest stage.

Mathers received a late call-up to the event following the withdrawal of Juan Francisco Rodriguez due to Covid and will be out to seize his unexpected opportunity.

The 40-year-old, who is a regular practice partner of compatriot Simon Whitlock, is yet to win a match in two previous appearances at Ally Pally.

Alan Soutar aims to follow in the footsteps of fellow Scotsman Willie Borland by creating the headlines on his World Championship debut.

A fireman by trade, Soutar has reached a Semi-Final on the ProTour in his debut season as a Tour Card holder, as well as the Last 16 of the UK Open and Players Championship Finals.

The world number 77 starts out against Brazil’s Diogo Portela, who came through the Central/South America Qualifier to secure his fifth consecutive appearance at Ally Pally.

Portela defeated Steve Beaton in Round One last year in an emotional triumph on opening night, and will now look to upset the apple-cart once again.

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

The tie break rule does not apply to First Round matches, meaning the fifth leg of a deciding set would be sudden death, while the 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 Five Schedule

Sunday December 19

Afternoon Session

12.45pm Maik Kuivenhoven v Ky Smith (R1)
1.45pm Jason Heaver v Gordon Mathers (R1)
2.45pm Alan Soutar v Diogo Portela (R1)
3.45pm Stephen Bunting v Ross Smith (R2)

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