James Wilson meets Nico Kurz for a place in the PDC World Championship second round.

With the Ally Pally action fast approaching, we’re nearing the end of our 32 first round previews. Yesterday evening, we covered Harry Ward’s clash with Madars Razma. By Friday’s opener, you can read every World Championship first round preview on dartsnews.com – and also get the full schedule right here.

Facts and figures

Match time/date: 19:40, December 18

Head-to-head record: First meeting

Previous meeting: N/A

Best major performance this season: Last 32, Players Championship Finals (Wilson); N/A (Kurz)

Previous PDC World Championship appearances: Wilson 3, Kurz 0

Best PDC World Championship performance: Second round (Wilson); N/A (Kurz)

Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe

Photo: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe

Preview

It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for James Wilson. After a year marred by injury and subsequent dips in form, the Huddersfield ace is looking for a way to climb back up the rankings. The World Matchplay looked like it’d be an ideal platform – but then Jamie Hughes’ last-gasp European Tour win in Prague saw Wilson slip away. On the plus side, he’s ditched ‘Lethal Biscuit’ and returned to the much better ‘Jammy Dodger’.

In a genuine plus, the 47-year-old goes into the World Championship having improved his form significantly in recent months. The latter half of Wilson’s year has featured a few decent runs on the floor, and a quarter-final at the Austrian Darts Championship. Most significantly, he stunned Peter Wright for a cathartic first-round win at the Players Championship Finals.

The only way is up for his opponent, the exciting German prospect Nico Kurz. Benefiting from his nation’s darts boom, Kurz has begun a rise to prominence, appearing a handful of times on stage. This year, the 22-year-old Hessian scored a first stage win – and in some style, planting a 170 finish en route to a spectacular defeat of Gary Anderson at the German Darts Masters. Kurz made his way through a hugely competitive German Superleague field to reach the World Championship, seeing off Martin Schindler in the final.

Prediction

There’s no doubt that Kurz can cause his senior opponent some headaches here. But Wilson has hit his stride at exactly the right time, and will fancy having a run at Joe Cullen in round two. James Wilson 3-1 Nico Kurz is what we’re going for here.

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Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

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Author: Ed McCosh