Peter Wright launches his latest pursuit of a second World Darts Championship title on Day Three at Alexandra Palace. Wright…
Peter Wright launches his latest pursuit of a second World Darts Championship title on Day Three at Alexandra Palace.
Wright lifted the Sid Waddell trophy two years ago and faces a hugely important campaign at Ally Pally in 2021/22 as he bids to defend the £500,000 against his Order of Merit tally.
The world number two has picked up two major ranking titles this season – the World Matchplay and Players Championship Finals, while also partnering John Henderson to World Cup glory.
Runner-up in last month’s Grand Slam, ‘Snakebite’ has been hit and miss on the sport’s greatest stage in recent years, reaching the final in 2014 and Semi-Finals in 2017, but losing his opening match in both 2018 and 2019 before going on to take the title the following year.
He kicks off his latest campaign against fellow Suffolk star Ryan Meikle – who registered his first win on the sport’s biggest stage at the third attempt when he overcame 16-year-old German qualifier Fabian Schmutzler 3-0 on Thursday.
Meikle, who registered a blistering 108.7 average in defeating Dirk van Duijvenbode at the recent Players Championship Finals, also reached the Quarter-Finals of a Players Championship event in October and has retained his Tour Card for next season.
The opening match of the night features a moment of history as Paul Lim becomes the oldest player to compete in a PDC World Championship when he faces Bolton’s Joe Murnan.
The 67-year-old Singapore Slinger returns for his 14th appearance in a PDC World Championship and a 26th in total, having made his debut at the Jollees Club in Stoke back in 1982.
Nine-dart hero at Lakeside in 1990, Lim continues to mix it with the sport’s elite and enjoyed a superb First Round win over Luke Humphries behind closed doors at Ally Pally last year.
He now comes up against former Players Championship event winner Murnan – who is making his first World Championship appearance since 2017.
Murnan, once ranked inside the world’s top 40, now resides at 94th in the Order of Merit but could storm up the rankings with a strong run in the sport’s show-piece.
Two rising stars collide as 2020 World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks plays Scotland’s William Borland.
Brooks enjoyed a ground-breaking run to the Last 16 of the Grand Slam in November, losing out to eventual champion Gerwyn Price in a thrilling contest, and is making his second successive appearance at Ally Pally.
The Blackburn ace opened up a 2-0 lead over Dirk van Duijvenbode on debut last year but went on to lose in a decider and will be determined to register his first win on this iconic stage.
Borland, 25, is making his debut as one of four Scotsmen in the event, having also made his first appearance in the European Championship this year, defeating Simon Whitlock in Round One.
A clash of the namesakes sees Ross Smith take on Canada’s Jeff Smith in another potentially close-run encounter.
Ross 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 thrower is closing in on a place in the world’s top 32, having won his first Players Championship title earlier this year.
Jeff Smith qualified as CDC Continental Cup champion despite holding a Tour Card and returns for his fourth stint at the palace.
The former Lakeside finalist defeated Keane Barry on opening night last year before going down to Chris Dobey in an epic deciding set.
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 Three Schedule
Friday December 17
7.15pm Joe Murnan v Paul Lim (R1)
8.15pm William Borland v Bradley Brooks (R1)
9.15pm Ross Smith v Jeff Smith (R1)
10.15pm Peter Wright v Ryan Meikle (R2)