The World Darts Championship continues at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday afternoon for the first of two unmissable sessions. The opening…
The World Darts Championship continues at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday afternoon for the first of two unmissable sessions.
The opening night saw Peter Wright kick-start the defence of his William Hill world title with a 3-1 victory over Steve West, while Jeff Smith and emotional Brazilian Diogo Portela progressed to Round Two.
Day Two of the sport’s show-piece event features two debutants and a host of familiar names kicking off their campaigns behind closed doors.
World number 22 Chris Dobey aims to avoid a potential scalp at the hands of Canada’s Jeff Smith.
Dobey is appearing in his fifth consecutive World Championship, having suffered narrow 4-3 defeats at the Last 16 stage in each of his last two Ally Pally campaigns.
The two-time major semi-finalist reached the Last 16 of the UK Open back in March but has struggled for consistency since and will be keen to recapture his brilliant best on the sport’s biggest stage.
Smith punished a plethora of missed doubles from 18-year-old Irish star Keane Barry on his way to a 3-1 victory in Round One on Tuesday.
The former Lakeside finalist is appearing in the Second Round of a PDC World Championship for the first time and is likely to serve up a tough test for the Bedlington ace.
One of the stand-out ties of the opening round sees in-form Ross Smith take on PDC newcomer David Evans.
Kent’s Smith qualified as the fourth highest ranked player from the ProTour Order of Merit, having beaten the likes of Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith on the circuit this season.
Smith warmed up for his fourth Ally Pally appearance with a run to the Last 16 of the Players Championship Finals and is enjoying a career-high ranking of 41.
Evans secured a dream debut in this year’s World Championship by finishing top of the 2020 PDC Challenge Tour Order of Merit.
That success also secured ‘Stretch’ a two-year Tour Card, having kicked off this year by reaching the Quarter-Finals of the BDO World Championship.
Evans was one of the most active players during lockdown, competing almost daily in the Modus Icons Live League – where he faced the likes of Phil Taylor, Fallon Sherrock and Raymond van Barneveld.
The opening match of the afternoon sees world number 37 Ryan Joyce take on Czech Republic star Karel Sedlacek.
Joyce enjoyed a breakthrough run to the Quarter-Finals on his Ally Pally debut in 2018/19 and has since established himself as a tough nut to crack on both floor and stage.
The Newcastle thrower notably defeated Peter Wright in the World Grand Prix and claimed his first PDC ranking title during this year’s Summer Series.
Sedlack is making his second successive Ally Pally appearance, having lost in straight sets to Keegan Brown in Round One on debut last year.
Now a Tour Card holder, ‘Evil Charlie’ came through the PDPA Rest of the World qualifier, continuing the fine form which led him to the Last 16 of the recent Players Championship Finals with wins over Krzysztof Ratajski and Madars Razma.
Former World Cup finalist William O’Connor faces a tricky opener as he takes on Dutch debutant Niels Zonneveld.
O’Connor’s best run at Ally Pally to date saw him reach Round Three two years ago and he has shown glimpses of his best in recent months, notably reaching the Quarter-Finals of the European Championship.
A Premier League Challenger in Dublin at the beginning of the year, ‘The Magpie’ will look to draw upon his vast experience in an effort to overcome the Dutch youngster.
Zonneveld made a name for himself by defeating James Wade in last month’s Players Championship Finals and continued that impressive vein of form by coming through the PDPA Rest of the World qualifier to seal his place in this event.
The 22-year-old won a Development Tour event in 2018 and reached the Semi-Finals of this year’s World Youth Championship.
The action gets underway from 12pm 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
Wednesday December 16
12.15pm Ryan Joyce v Karel Sedlacek (R1)
1.15pm Ross Smith v David Evans (R1)
2.15pm William O’Connor v Niels Zonneveld (R1)
3.15pm Chris Dobey v Jeff Smith (R2)