Two of this season’s major finalists commence their 2020/21 World Darts Championship campaigns at Alexandra Palace on Friday night. The…
Two of this season’s major finalists commence their 2020/21 World Darts Championship campaigns at Alexandra Palace on Friday night.
The afternoon session saw the first seed crash out of the competition as Jamie Hughes averaged just 75 in a straight sets defeat to Adam Hunt.
James Wade will be hoping to avoid a similar fate when he takes centre stage in the final match of the evening against emerging star Callan Rydz.
Wade, widely regarded as one of the greatest players yet to have won a world title, begins his latest pursuit of an elusive Ally Pally crown with a tricky test against an in-form Rydz.
Wade has enjoyed an impressive post-lockdown period, finishing runner-up in both the European Championship and Grand Slam, while also reaching the Last Four of the World Series Finals.
The nine-time major champion has fallen at the Semi-Final hurdle on three previous occasions, most notably squandering a 5-1 lead in an eventual 6-5 defeat to Adrian Lewis in 2012.
Newcastle’s Rydz opened up with a 3-1 victory over Australian qualifier James Bailey to reach Round Two for the second year running.
The 22-year-old reached the Last 16 of the recent Players Championship Finals, following on from a run to the Semi-Finals in the Winter Series and is enjoying the best spell of his young career so far.
Meanwhile, World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode aims to continue his superb second half of the year by overcoming Blackburn debutant Bradley Brooks.
Van Duijvenbode is making his return to Ally Pally after a four-year absence – when he lost to fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld.
The 28-year-old reached his first major final in October as well as a further two major Quarter-Finals and has rocketed to 43rd in the Order of Merit within his first 12 months back on the circuit.
Brooks, 20, regained his Tour Card at Q School and secured his first appearance at Ally Pally by virtue of his World Youth Championship final win over Joe Davis in Coventry last month.
Former World Youth Champion Luke Humphries aims to avert a potential banana skin at the hands of Singapore legend Paul Lim.
Humphries holds a superb recent record at Ally Pally, having made the Quarter-Finals in his last two visits, saving his brilliant best form for the big occasion.
Cool Hand Luke became the first Premier League Challenger to win a match when he defeated Gary Anderson earlier this year and will be braced for a tricky test from the evergreen Lim.
Lim is appearing in a staggering 25th World Championship, having famously landed the only nine-darter in BDO World Championship history 30 years ago.
Lim, who has defeated Mark Webster on this stage in recent years, came through the PDC Asia’s Hong Kong qualifier to secure his return to this prestigious event.
Popular Scotsman John Henderson aims to book his place in Round Two at the expense of Finland’s Marko Kantele.
Premier League Challenger in February, Henderson is making his ninth William Hill World Championship appearance, with his best run coming three years ago to the Last 16.
The Highlander faced a nervous wait on the final day of the Winter Series to secure the 32nd and final qualification spot via the ProTour Order of Merit.
Kantele is appearing at the World Championship for the fourth time after qualifying through the PDC Nordic & Baltic system and is an eight-time World Cup of Darts representative for Finland.
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
Friday December 18
6.15pm Dirk van Duijvenbode v Bradley Brooks (R1)
7.15pm John Henderson v Marko Kantele (R1)
8.15pm Luke Humphries v Paul Lim (R1)
9.15pm James Wade v Callan Rydz (R2)