Gary Anderson pays tribute to “gentleman” Andy Fordham

Gary Anderson has paid tribute to darting great Andy Fordham, who passed away last week following a long health battle.

Fordham was one of the sport’s most recognisable faces over a period of two decades and his greatest triumph saw him claim the BDO world title in 2004.

Having also won the World Masters in 1999, Fordham was a regular in the latter stages of major tournaments and made 12 World Championship appearances between 1995 and 2006.

He passed away on Friday aged 59 following multiple health complications.

Anderson joined the BDO in 2000 and faced Fordham in only his second Lakeside appearance three years later, prevailing by three sets to one in the Second Round.

Fordham would go on to clinch the Lakeside crown the following year, and Anderson has described ‘The Viking’ as “an absolute gentleman”.

“I’d known Andy for a long time – an absolute gentleman,” he told Live Darts.

“Like myself, he was one of the laziest dart players but he was very, very good!

“He would sit on his backside all day but then go up and play good darts, he was absolutely fantastic.

“If you mention dart players from the past, you had Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson, Andy Fordham, they’re the boys who were always mentioned.

“Andy was a gentleman and he’ll be sadly missed in the darting world.”

Tributes have poured in for one of the sport’s most loved characters, and Sky Sports’ Wayne Mardle has recalled the time he spent in Fordham’s company during his playing years.

“We were doing exhibitions in Holland from 2000 to about 2006 and I’ve shared hotel rooms with Andy and there was one time when we shared a bed,” said Mardle on air during the opening night of the World Matchplay.

“There was a mix-up with the hotel rooms, let’s say!

“He was brilliant to be around. He was a fun character, he was a masterful and brilliant darts player but he was a better human being than that.

“I’ll miss him, of course, and the darting world will miss a legend, that’s for sure.”

Three-time World Champion John Part recalled: “From the first time I travelled to England to play the Welsh Open after I won the BDO tournament in 1994 I was staying with Martin Adams and we were driving from where he lived near Peterborough to Wales and we picked up Andy along the way.

“We had a long car ride with Andy so we really got to know him. To know Andy there were never any problems, or anything but levity and joy really.

“We soon found out how well he could play darts. He was extremely talented and a dangerous opponent around the time I was playing in ’94, it took him 10 years to become a world champion from that point.

“It was never a surprise, but in fact people were surprised it took him that long.

“He had a talent for sure and he knew it.”

Mervyn King, who lost to Fordham in the 2004 Lakeside final, laughed: “I always said to him he was lucky I let him win!

“It was great to play Andy in the final, being a good friend.

“We had been friends for a lot of years and it was one of those things you hope for but never think will happen.

“The game itself, I can’t really remember a great deal about it apart from the 101 checkout I had and his winning dart where he hit the double to win.”

Andy Fordham (1962-2021) (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gary Anderson insists he WILL win another World Championship title after extending Unicorn contract

Gary Anderson insists he “will win” a third World Championship title after committing his future with a new long-term contract with Unicorn.

Anderson, who was beaten by rival Gerwyn Price in the final at Alexandra Palace earlier this month, had been subject to speculation over his immediate future in the PDC.

However, the 50-year-old has quashed any suggestion of an impeding retirement by extending his contract with darts manufacturer Unicorn.

Anderson signed with Unicorn in 2011 and has extended his decade-long partnership in a quest to add to his haul of major titles in the coming years.

The fired-up Flying Scotsman vowed: “I will win another [world title] for sure!”

“I have that hunger and desire back and despite everything, I still love playing this game.

“I’m old school and just want to play darts the way it should be played and I want to prove a point to all the doubters but more importantly to myself.

“The last year has been tough for everyone but it is time for me to take up the challenge with Unicorn in my corner.

“They have stood by me for over a decade and it is the perfect partnership all round.”

Anderson’s run to the world final saw him regain a place in the world’s top eight and affirm himself as one of the most formidable players on planet darts.

Runner-up in the World Matchplay last July, the Scot hit the headlines for his outbursts regarding ‘gamesmanship’ in the sport during the Grand Slam and William Hill World Championship.

He insists he still has a point to prove and relishes the heat of battle on the big stage.

“I really savour the combat on the big stages in the big tournaments,” added Anderson. “In the last few months I managed to get to the two biggest finals at the World Matchplay and World Championship without playing well.

“I truly believe if I can get to anywhere near my best, I will be a major threat.

“There isn’t just one dominating. We all know how good Michael van Gerwen is but nobody is scared of him anymore.

“[Gerwyn] Price is a deserved World Champion. Peter Wright will still be challenging. Jose de Sousa has already proved how good he is and I’m a big fan of Nathan Aspinall, while Joe Cullen and Devon Petersen are now in the mix.”

Anderson will begin the 2021 campaign at The Masters in Milton Keynes this weekend, awaiting the winner of the First Round clash between Michael Smith and Adrian Lewis.

GET 3/1 FOR GARY ANDERSON TO WIN THE WORLD MATCHPLAY, WORLD GRAND PRIX, GRAND SLAM OR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2021

Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson: World Darts Championship final 2020/21 preview: Box office duo vie for world title

Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson renew their rivalry in the most important fixture of all as they face off in the 2020/21 World Darts Championship final on Sunday.

The box office duo are set to provide a fitting climax to what has been a unique and fascinating William Hill World Championship as they vie for the sport’s ultimate prize.

For Anderson, this marks his fifth appearance in a PDC World Championship final, while Price finds himself in a first as he looks to create a slice of history.

Price has gone one better than his run to the Semi-Finals last year, where he was beaten by eventual champion Peter Wright, and is out to culminate a sensational season by lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy.

The world number three has already claimed World Grand Prix, World Series Finals and World Cup of Darts glory this term and now stands on the cusp of becoming the first Welshman ever to win a PDC world title.

The 35-year-old has had to do it the hard way in reaching the final at Alexandra Palace, coming through two sudden death legs as well as mounting a superb Semi-Final fightback.

He began by edging out Welsh compatriot Jamie Lewis 3-2 in the Last 64 before narrowly denying Brendan Dolan in a last-leg shoot-out.

Price was then clinical in thrashing Mervyn King 4-1 in the Last 16, but again needed a sudden death decider to deny Daryl Gurney in the Quarter-Finals.

The Semi-Finals also saw him flirt with elimination after going 3-1 down to Stephen Bunting, only to reel off five of the next six sets to set up a date with destiny.

As well as the world title on the line, ‘The Ice Man’ also knows he that if he was to be crowned World Champion on Sunday night, he would also become the new world number one, ending MVG’s seven-year reign.

Anderson, meanwhile, is bidding for a third William Hill World Championship title, having reigned consecutively in 2015 and 2016.

He was also runner-up in 2011 and 2017 has continued his terrific run of consistency on the sport’s most iconic stage despite an indifferent year coming into the event.

Anderson, who celebrated his 50th birthday less than fortnight ago, headed to Ally Pally as a 33/1 outsider, having struggled with injury woes in recent months.

However, he has defied those odds and is now on the verge of becoming Scotland’s most decorated World Champion, eclipsing the joint tally he shares with the great Jocky Wilson.

Anderson kicked with a 3-1 win over Latvia’s Madars Razma, before edging out Mensur Suljovic 4-3 in a marathon contest, after which he launched a furious tirade on the Austrian in his post-match interview.

That appeared to fire up ‘The Flying Scotsman’ – who went on to whitewash Devon Petersen 4-0 before thrashing an in-form Dirk van Duijenbode 5-1 with a 101 average.

The World Matchplay finalist sealed his spot in the final by dispatching Dave Chisnall 6-3 with a 100 average on Saturday night.

There is little to choose between Price and Anderson in terms of their overall head-to-head record, with the Scotsman narrowly edging it 8-7, though ‘The Ice Man’ has won five of their last seven meetings.

The final signals a repeat of the infamous 2018 Grand Slam final, which Price won 16-13 after one of the most controversial matches ever contested.

Price was handed a record £21,500 in fines and a suspended three-month ban for his antics, while Anderson was given a formal warning by the DRA.

The pair have since buried the hatchet but will be fired-up in their quest to land the £500,000 first prize and stand on top of the world of darts.

The final gets underway from 7.30pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 13 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. Should the deciding set reach two-all, the fifth leg would be the final leg.

WATCH GERWYN PRICE vs GARY ANDERSON STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Price v Anderson – Player’s View:

Price: “I’m here to win this and I’m in the final so I’ve got every chance now.

“I’m full of confidence after that game [Semi-Final]. I definitely improved for this match but there is a lot more in the tank.

“I always seem to find that bit of extra edge when I need to and I know I have got what it takes to win the final.

“The trophy’s coming home to the right place!”

Anderson: “I’ve come here with no expectations whatsoever but I’ve managed to make it through to the final so it can’t be bad.

“I feel like I’ve played alright for most of this tournament and I’ll give it a good go in the final.

“I think I need to play better against Gerwyn but I’ll just play my darts and he’ll play his. I’ll be quiet and he’ll be loud and we’ll see how it goes.

“If I can shut him out, he won’t be able to celebrate.

“For Wayne [Mardle] and Rod [Harrington] to call me a “three-time World Champion” – it’d be great.”

Anderson blasts Suljovic’s slow play as “absolute bull” following gruelling World Championship clash

A furious Gary Anderson has hit out at Mensur Suljovic’s apparent gamesmanship during their World Championship clash at Alexandra Palace on Monday.

Anderson battled back from 3-2 down to close out a 4-3 victory in a marathon Third Round contest which saw Suljovic dictate the pace of the game.

The Austrian appeared to slow down the two-time World Champion in the early stages of the match before picking up the pace midway through.

Anderson dug deep to reach the Last 16 for the eleventh consecutive year but expressed his fury at Suljovic’s tactics in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.

He described the game as: “Absolutely dire, an absolute joke of a game.

“Everyone says ‘why do you get cheesed off with darts?’, that’s one of the reasons. Absolute bull.

“For a start, we were told what tables we were on and I ended up on the wrong table for the duration of the game.

“I thought even Sky would have picked up on what tables the players should have been on for a start.

“Just before we went on stage we were told what tables we were on, Mensur went to the wrong table.

“I’m not going to say anything because it’s up to the refs and the staff.

“As usual, nothing was said and I had to bite the bullet and get on with it.

“You’re walking past the table you should be at, but you’ve got to cut across because the boy’s standing there.

“The next minute you go across he’s not there. What have you to do? My head was gone after the first set. I’d lost the plot.”

Anderson missed 33 darts at doubles and averaged 92.5 in an epic struggle to set up a Last 16 tie with either Devon Petersen or Jason Lowe.

The Scot, who turned 50 last week, admits he felt sorry for the TV audience and says he would not have blamed them for changing the channel.

“I nicked it at the end,” added Anderson. “I don’t know how but if that’s how darts is going then I’m off – I’m away for a game of golf or something. I’m not going through that again.

“Did you watch the last set? Or the third set? Was he slow then? No he wasn’t.

“I just want to play darts. I’m sure there are 90% of folk watching at home, they probably turned over and watched Corrie or something – I would have.

“There’s a lot of things that go on now, I just want to throw darts and if you get spanked, the boy’s been better than you and beaten you – shake his hand and on you go.

“But that’s a load of tripe.

“I feel sorry for the folk who watched it.”

WATCH THE WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Gary Anderson withdraws from PDC Autumn Series and World Series Finals

Gary Anderson has withdrawn from the upcoming World Series of Darts Finals and the PDC Autumn Series due to travel concerns.

The two-time World Champion was set to be among the 24-player field for this month’s World Series Finals in Salzburg, but has withdrawn from the event.

He will also be absent from the five Players Championship events in in Niedernhausen, Germany, from September 12-16.

In a statement, Anderson said: “We’ve been discussing the Autumn Series for a few weeks now and I’d be delighted to play in it if it was in the UK.

“But every time I turn on the news I see another country removed from the travel corridor and infections rising around Europe and the rest of the World.

“I’m just not comfortable with the travel involved right now. I need to fly and although I’m confident in my mask wearing and adhering to all the things I should do, I have little faith in other people.

“I’ve watched people outside from the safety of the Milton Keynes bubble and there seems little regard for safety and distancing, so imagine that multiplied on a plane.

“I don’t want to risk my health or the health of the family.

“I’m disappointed for my sponsors and fans that I won’t be there, but I’ve always said health and family are my priority.

“The PDC have made Niedernhausen a bubble and players will be tested, and Salzburg is a bubble, but I still need to fly to get to these places and even driving would mean transiting through non travel corridor countries and they are on a red list for a reason.

“I’ve been playing well at the Premier League but I’m afraid that flying is a risk I’m not willing to take.

“I’ve now got the World Grand Prix in Coventry to look forward to next.”

Anderson secured his place in the Premier League play-offs last week following a successful ten day spell in Milton Keynes.

He will be replaced in the World Series of Darts Finals by Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski, who is the highest-placed player from the PDC Order of Merit not currently in the event, with James Wade stepping up to become a seed.

The four remaining places in the tournament will be confirmed at the Tour Card Holder Qualifier in Niedernhausen on Friday September 11.

CLICK HERE FOR THE WORLD SERIES OF DARTS FINALS ODDS (18+)

World Series of Darts Finals 2020 Field

Seeded Players

Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith
Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall
Daryl Gurney
James Wade

Invited Players

Dave Chisnall
Ian White
Dimitri Van den Bergh
Glen Durrant
Mensur Suljovic
Krzysztof Ratajski
Fallon Sherrock
Simon Whitlock
Damon Heta
Cody Harris
Jeff Smith
Darius Labanauskas

Qualifiers x4 (TBC)

Gary Anderson returns to the winner’s circle at Players Championship One

Gary Anderson ended an 18-month wait for a PDC ranking title by defeating Jeff Smith 8-4 to claim glory in the first Players Championship event of the season in Barnsley.

Anderson, whose last ranking triumph came at the 2018 World Matchplay, continued his red hot resurgence by securing the £10,000 top prize on Saturday.

The two-time World Champion marked his Premier League return with victory over Daryl Gurney in Aberdeen and continued his winning form by registering four ton-plus averages en route to the title.

“It’s been a while since I won something, but I’ve got the hunger back,” admitted Anderson.

“I want to get back to how I was throwing before [injury], I don’t mind if I win or lose, but as long as I throw them how I used to then I’ll be alright.

“I still have work to do, but it’s not a bad start.”

Anderson, whose 2019 campaign was plagued by injury, began the day by averaging 107.5 in a 6-3 win over Germany’s Christian Bunse.

After a 6-1 rout of Simon Whitlock, a 104.4 average saw Anderson defeat rival Gerwyn Price for the second time in a week, which he followed up with a 106.1 to overcome Rob Cross 6-2 and reach the Quarter-Finals.

There, the Scottish World Cup winner overcame Joe Cullen 6-2 before averaging 102.2 in defeating Adrian Lewis 7-3 in the Semi-Finals.

The final saw Anderson race into a 6-2 lead before Smith, who was competing in his first Players Championship event since 2013, fought back to trail 6-4.

However, two-time World Champion Anderson was not to be denied and went on to win the next two legs for victory.

Canadian ace Smith enjoyed a superb run to his first PDC ranking final just over a fortnight after coming through Qualifying School to regain a Tour Card.

The former Lakeside finalist began by edging out Dave Chisnall in a deciding leg before defeating Reece Robinson, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Nathan Aspinall.

In the Quarter-Finals, the former North American champion held his nerve to edge past World Champion Peter Wright 6-5 before thrashing Brendan Dolan 7-2 in the Semi-Finals.

Dolan began his run to the Last Four with a 6-2 win over four-time Ladies World Champion Lisa Ashton – who was one of a number of debutants to have come through the recent Q School.

Dolan went on to defeat world number one Michael van Gerwen 6-4 in the Last 32.

Dutch ace Maik Kuivenhoven enjoyed a fine run to his first ranking Quarter-Final, while Steve Brown defeated James Wade on the way to reaching the Last 16 on his ProTour return.

The first of 30 Players Championship events in 2020 saw two nine-dart finishes hit, both in the First Round, by Mickey Mansell and Mike van Duivenbode.

WATCH PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP DARTS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Players Championship One Results

Saturday February 8

First Round

Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Scott Mitchell
Damon Heta 6-3 Geert Nentjes
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Lisa Ashton
John Michael 6-4 Yordi Meeuwisse
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Ross Smith 6-2 Devon Petersen
Jamie Hughes 6-5 William O’Connor
Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Jelle Klaasen
Simon Stevenson 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-3 Jonathan Worsley
Mike van Duivenbode 6-5 Chris Dobey – *van Duivenbode hits nine-darter*
Darren Penhall 6-5 Steve West
Steve Brown 6-5 James Wade
Alan Tabern 6-2 James Wilson
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Luke Humphries
Ciaran Teehan 6-3 Justin Pipe
Peter Wright 6-2 Niels Zonneveld
Gary Blades 6-3 Peter Jacques
John Henderson 6-3 Jesus Noguera
Luke Woodhouse 6-2 Michael Barnard
Daniel Larsson 6-1 Jonny Clayton
Conan Whitehead 6-4 Toni Alcinas
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Jose De Sousa
Matthew Edgar 6-1 Martin Atkins
Jeff Smith 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Reece Robinson 6-5 Max Hopp
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-1 Vincent van der Voort
Ted Evetts 6-3 Bradley Brooks
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Krzysztof Kciuk
Richard North 6-1 Harald Leitinger
Keegan Brown 6-1 Steve Lennon
Wayne Jones 6-3 Joe Murnan
Darren Webster 6-4 Ian White
Scott Waites 6-3 Jan Dekker
Mervyn King 6-3 Cristo Reyes
Karel Sedlacek 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Adrian Lewis 6-0 Kai Fan Leung
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Boris Krcmar
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-5 Carl Wilkinson
Derk Telnekes 6-5 Martin Schindler
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Scott Baker
Mickey Mansell 6-4 Nathan Derry – *Mansell hits nine-darter*
Danny Noppert 6-4 Ryan Murray
Adam Hunt 6-4 Andy Boulton
Glen Durrant 6-4 David Pallett
Wesley Harms 6-4 Jamie Lewis
Steve Beaton 6-5 Vincent Van der Meer
Ryan Searle 6-3 Gavin Carlin
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Jason Lowe
Adrian Gray 6-4 Mark McGeeney
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Andy Hamilton
Gary Anderson 6-3 Christian Bunse
Rob Cross 6-5 Mike De Decker
Barrie Bates 6-3 Steffen Siepmann
Michael Smith 6-3 Ryan Joyce
Robert Thornton 6-3 Harry Ward
Josh Payne 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Nick Kenny 6-3 Kirk Shepherd
Ryan Meikle 6-5 Dimitri Van den Bergh
William Borland 6-0 Marko Kantele
Joe Cullen 6-1 Aaron Beeney
Matt Clark 6-5 Callan Rydz
Ricky Evans 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Darius Labanauskas 6-5 Madars Razma

Second Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Damon Heta
Brendan Dolan 6-0 John Michael
Ross Smith 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-3 Simon Stevenson
Mike van Duivenbode 6-5 Darren Penhall
Steve Brown 6-5 Alan Tabern
Ciaran Teehan 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Peter Wright 6-0 Gary Blades
John Henderson 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Conan Whitehead 6-0 Daniel Larsson
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Jeff Smith 6-3 Reece Robinson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-1 Ted Evetts
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Richard North
Wayne Jones 6-1 Keegan Brown
Darren Webster 6-1 Scott Waites
Karel Sedlacek 6-1 Mervyn King
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Derk Telnekes 6-5 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Mickey Mansell 6-1 Daryl Gurney
Adam Hunt 6-2 Danny Noppert
Glen Durrant 6-4 Wesley Harms
Steve Beaton 6-1 Ryan Searle
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Adrian Gray
Gary Anderson 6-1 Simon Whitlock
Rob Cross 6-0 Barrie Bates
Michael Smith 6-0 Robert Thornton
Nick Kenny 6-4 Josh Payne
Ryan Meikle 6-4 William Borland
Joe Cullen 6-1 Matt Clark
Darius Labanauskas 6-5 Ricky Evans
Losers: £500

Last 32
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Ross Smith 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-2 Mike van Duivenbode
Steve Brown 6-5 Ciaran Teehan
Peter Wright 6-4 John Henderson
Conan Whitehead 6-5 Martijn Kleermaker
Jeff Smith 6-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Wayne Jones
Darren Webster 6-4 Karel Sedlacek
Adrian Lewis 6-4 Derk Telnekes
Mickey Mansell 6-1 Adam Hunt
Steve Beaton 6-5 Glen Durrant
Gary Anderson 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross 6-5 Michael Smith
Nick Kenny 6-3 Ryan Meikle
Joe Cullen 6-4 Darius Labanauskas
Losers: £1,000

Last 16
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Ross Smith
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-3 Steve Brown
Peter Wright 6-3 Conan Whitehead
Jeff Smith 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Adrian Lewis 6-1 Darren Webster
Steve Beaton 6-1 Mickey Mansell
Gary Anderson 6-2 Rob Cross
Joe Cullen 6-1 Nick Kenny
Losers: £1,500

Quarter-Finals
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Maik Kuivenhoven
Jeff Smith 6-5 Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Steve Beaton
Gary Anderson 6-2 Joe Cullen
Losers: £2,250

Semi-Finals
Jeff Smith 7-2 Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson 7-3 Adrian Lewis
Losers: £3,000

Final
Gary Anderson 8-4 Jeff Smith
Winner: £10,000
Runner-up: £6,000

Gary Anderson issues “watch out” warning following World Championship exit

Gary Anderson has warned his rivals to “watch out” in 2020 as he nears a return to top form despite bowing out of the World Championship at the Last 16 stage.

The two-time World Champion ended a frustrating season with a 4-2 defeat to Nathan Aspinall at Alexandra Palace to mark his earliest exit in the World Championship for six years.

Anderson missed much of the first half of the season, including the Premier League, through injury and has struggled to keep pace with his rivals since his return, with a World Cup triumph alongside Peter Wright and a Quarter-Final run at the Grand Slam his highlights in 2019.

The Scotsman, who turns 50 next year, admits the defeat to Aspinall has fired him up in a similar way to the Last 16 loss to MVG at Ally Pally in 2013/14 which he banished with back-to-back world titles in his next two appearances.

“That double 15 is doing my nut in,” Anderson told radio’s Dan Dawson. “I’m still thinking about it as we speak.

“Nathan’s a classy player. I’ve had so much time off and if I can keep playing like that – watch out for next year.

“Towards the end of the game I was launching them to be honest but Nathan stuck in.

“There were a few darts at double that were bang on the wire. I had him. I had outscored him, outplayed him, made a mess of it and Nathan cleaned up; that’s the way it goes. We’ll see next year.”

Anderson had been coy over his darting future in his press conference following his Second Round win, responding to rumours of retirement with: “If I want you to know, I won’t tell you.”

Anderson has now revealed he plans to compete in all ranked tournaments in 2020 as well as the Premier League, but will continue to sit out the European Tour.

He added: “Am I enjoying it? No. Am I a dart player? Yes. It’s like going to work.

“Do I want to go to work on a Monday morning? No I don’t, but I’ve enjoyed it I reckon the last two weeks. Even on Christmas Day I was throwing darts.

“I’ll play the Premier League. Back problems or not I don’t care now. If you mention it you get abuse. You get on with it, you play. I’ll play everything the PDC throws at me, except the European Tours.”

Anderson coasts past Dolan in World Championship opener as Rydz enjoys dream debut

Gary Anderson avoided becoming the latest seeded casualty at the World Championship as he swept aside Brendan Dolan in straight sets, while Callan Rydz, Vincent van der Voort and William O’Connor also advanced.

Anderson recovered from a slow start which saw him average just 79 in the opening set as he averted a potential upset at the hands of the methodical Northern Irishman.

The two-time World Champion grew into the match, piling in seven 180s and landing a 144 checkout on his way to a commanding victory for the loss of just one leg.

“I’ve been playing really well on the practice board but I went up there tonight and I was nowhere near it in the first set because of nerves,” said Anderson.

“But there were some good signs there, the 180s and 140s are coming back and there were a few moments when I felt in full flow up there.

“I’ve not had a lot of stage time this year so I’m a bit out of practice and because of that I felt so nervous walking on stage.

“I’ve had four days solid on the practice board and I’ve been really happy with the way they’re going so hopefully we will see that come out in the rest of the tournament.”

Keane Barry became the third youngest player to compete in a PDC World Championship but was whitewashed 3-0 by a ruthless Van der Voort.

The first two sets both went to a deciding leg, with the Dutchman drawing upon his experience to peg crucial doubles at key moments and keep Barry at bay.

The young Irishman averaged 91.72 on his Ally Pally debut, hitting three 180s but he was powerless to stop the Van der Voort assault, and he will now face tenth seed Dave Chisnall in Round Two.

“It definitely wasn’t a comfortable game to play in, I’m so happy to win,” said Van der Voort.

“Keane is a quality young player with so much potential, the way he hits the treble 20 is frightening.

“But at the key moments he didn’t deliver and thankfully I managed to hit the big shots at the right moments.

“I’m known as a quick player but at one point I thought ‘I need to slow down’ because he’s playing too fast for me!

“Dave is a great player, he’s in the top ten in the world so I will be giving everything I have to win that one.”

Callan Rydz enjoyed a debut to remember as he came through a dramatic sudden-death leg with Steve Lennon.

Rydz celebrates a landmark win (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

World Cup of Darts runner-up Steve Lennon crashed out at the first hurdle as he squandered a one set lead in an eventual sudden death defeat at the hands of debutant Callan Rudz.

Lennon coasted to the opening set without reply before 21-year-old Rydz reeled off six consecutive legs of his own to lead 2-1.

The fourth set was also won to nil by Lennon to take the tie to a decider, and after Rydz took the first two legs, Lennon produced back-to-back 15-darters to take the match all the way to a last-leg shoot-out.

Rydz was first to a finish but the Northumbrian wired the bullseye for a 161 checkout, meaning Lennon had a chance to take out 87.

The Irishman missed two match darts at double 18, allowing Rydz a shot at 25 for the match which he took with a last dart double two.

There was better fortune for Lennon’s World Cup partner William O’Connor, who breezed past experienced Fin Marko Kantele 3-0.

Despite not being at his best, O’Connor managed to land six 180s and never allowed Kantele a way into the contest, and he will now await world number three Gerwyn Price in the Second Round.

WATCH THE WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

William Hill World Championship 2019/20 Results

Monday December 16

First Round

Steve Lennon 2-3 Callan Rydz
William O’Connor 3-0 Marko Kantele
Vincent van der Voort 3-0 Keane Barry
Gary Anderson 3-0 Brendan Dolan (Second Round)