A multitude of dangerous darters take to the World Darts Championship stage at Alexandra Palace on Thursday evening. Day Three…
A multitude of dangerous darters take to the World Darts Championship stage at Alexandra Palace on Thursday evening.
Day Three of the £2.5 million show-piece continues behind closed doors with another unmissable session of First and Second Round action.
All eyes will be on newly-crowned Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa as he begins his fourth World Championship campaign with a clash against in-form Ross Smith.
A month on from his fairy-tale Grand Slam triumph and receiving a congratulatory message from his fellow countryman Jose Mourinho, De Sousa returns to the sport’s biggest stage to begin his quest for world title glory.
De Sousa has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence in the PDC, winning a European Tour event and hitting a nine-darter in the European Championship alongside his historic Grand Slam success.
He heads to Ally Pally as the number 14 seed, bidding to record a first win in the tournament, but will be poised for a tricky opener from the world number 42.
Former UK Open quarter-finalist Smith kicked off his campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory over David Evans on Wednesday and is bidding to reach the Last 32 here for the first time.
Prior to that, ‘Smudger’ enjoyed a run to the Last 16 of the Players Championship Finals and is enjoying a career-high ranking as he looks to edge closer to the world’s top 32.
The opening match of the night sees Luke Woodhouse take on resurgent Welshman Jamie Lewis.
Woodhouse enjoyed an impressive debut 12 months ago, defeating Singapore legend Paul Lim in Round One before knocking out Michael Smith prior to an eventual Last 32 defeat to Dimitri van den Bergh.
He has since featured in both the UK Open and Players Championship Finals and notably landed a nine-darter on the PDC Home Tour.
Lewis, meanwhile, has been battling his darting demons for the best part of two years and has dug deep to secure a return to Ally Pally via the PDPA qualifying event.
The highlight of the Welshman’s career to date saw him reach the Semi-Finals here in 2018, defeating the likes of Jonny Clayton and Peter Wright before seeing his run ended by Phil Taylor.
A four-time Development Tour winner, Lewis has dropped to 63rd in the Order of Merit and in danger of losing his Tour Card, but will be determined to produce his brilliant best on the sport’s biggest stage once again.
Another intriguing tie sees Dutch left-hander Ron Meulenkamp take on Croatian ace Boris Krcmar.
Meulenkamp has bowed out at the Last 64 stage on four occasions, notably losing 3-2 in a thriller to Chris Dobey last time out, and will be keen to take the next step.
Krcmar was involved in an epic First Round tie with Michael Smith at the recent Players Championship Finals and found himself on the wrong end of a 6-5 scoreline despite an average of 107.
An Eastern European Qualifier, Krcmar is making his first appearance at Ally Pally for a decade and has enjoyed some impressive results on the circuit this season after securing his Tour Card in January.
World number 38 Ryan Searle faces a tricky opener against American left-hander Danny Lauby.
Searle embarked on a superb run to the Last 16 on his debut two years ago and lost out his darting hero Gary Anderson in the Last 32 in 2019.
The Somerset star picked up his first Players Championship title at the beginning of the year and is renowned for his power-scoring ability.
Lauby is making his debut in the World Championship after winning the 2019 CDC Continental Cup in New York and has previously competed in the US Masters and World Cup of Darts.
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
Thursday December 17
6.15pm Luke Woodhouse v Jamie Lewis (R1)
7.15pm Ron Meulenkamp v Boris Krcmar (R1)
8.15pm Ryan Searle v Danny Lauby (R1)
9.15pm Jose de Sousa v Ross Smith (R2)