Raymond van Barneveld returns to Alexandra Palace on Day Six of the 2021/22 World Darts Championship as the First and…
Raymond van Barneveld returns to Alexandra Palace on Day Six of the 2021/22 World Darts Championship as the First and Second Round action continues.
Stephen Bunting joined Krzysztof Ratajski on the list of seeded casualties on Sunday, and a further pair of decorated darters aim to avoid suffering a similar fate.
Van Barneveld returns the scene of his most devastating loss from two years ago when he was beaten by America’s Darin Young in the opening round of what was set to be his last William Hill World Championship.
However, the five-time World Champion reversed his decision in 2020 and secured a Tour Card at Qualifying School at the beginning of this year to regain his place on the circuit.
The 54-year-old returned to the winner’s circle at only the third time of asking, picking up a Players Championship title in February and also qualified for last month’s Grand Slam.
Van Barneveld, runner-up at Ally Pally in 2009 and a five-time semi-finalist thereafter, begins his redemption mission against the highly-rated Lourence Ilagan in Round One.
Ilagan is competing in his sixth World Championship and a fourth in a row after winning the PDC Asia qualifier on home soil in the Philippines.
The 43-year-old is yet to win a match at Ally Pally and will be out to produce a stunning upset to subject Barney to yet more misery on the sport’s greatest stage.
Elsewhere, world number four James Wade launches his latest quest for an elusive first world title when he takes on ‘giant killer’ Maik Kuivenhoven.
Wade is making his 18th consecutive appearance in the World Championship, with his best runs coming in 2009, 2012 and 2013 – when he reached the Semi-Finals.
Wade took his tally of televised titles into double figures by winning the UK Open back in March and landed a nine-dart finish on this stage 12 months ago in defeat to Stephen Bunting.
Kuivehoven registered his first win at Ally Pally at the second attempt as he dispatched Australia’s Ky Smith 3-1, and the Dutch ace will be eyeing another considerable scalp, having already beaten the likes of Gerwyn Price and Michael van Gerwen on the floor circuit.
The opening match of the night sees Luke Woodhouse take on James Wilson for the right to face Damon Heta in Round Two.
Woodhouse reached the Third Round on his debut two years ago before losing out to Dimitri van den Bergh, and has also reached the Last 32 of the UK Open this season alongside two Players Championship Quarter-Finals.
Wilson came through the Tour Card Holder qualifier to secure his fifth appearance in the event, having battled back from injury which has severely impacted his form and led to a drop to 84th in the Order of Merit.
The former BDO World Trophy winner has reached two PDC major Quarter-Finals and will be determined to kick-start his resurgence with a win in the sport’s show-piece event.
Austria’s Rusty-Jake Rodriguez takes on New Zealand’s Ben Robb for the right to face Chris Dobey in the Second Round.
Rodriguez, who celebrates his 21st birthday later this week, is aiming to follow in the footsteps of his brother Rowby-John – who won his opening match at the weekend.
Rusty-Jake is making his debut in the World Championship thanks to his superb form on the ProTour despite being a non-Tour Card holder, taking advantage of top-up appearances after finishing tenth in the PDC European qualifying school Order of Merit.
Robb returns for his second World Championship appearance, having lost in straight sets to Ron Meulenkamp on debut two years ago.
The DPNZ qualifier has featured in three previous World Series events and notably made the Quarter-Finals of the 2019 New Zealand Masters.
The action gets under way from 7pm 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 Six Schedule
Monday December 20
7.15pm Luke Woodhouse v James Wilson (R1)
8.15pm Rusty-Jake Rodriguez v Ben Robb (R1)
8.45pm Raymond van Barneveld v Lourence Ilagan (R1)
9.15pm James Wade v Maik Kuivenhoven (R2)