There’s a real contrast in experience as Vincent van der Voort plays Keane Barry at the World Championship.

Barry will be the third Irishman to play in a World Championship first round match on December 16; he follows on from William O’Connor, who we previewed here. You can go through the schedule for every known match at the Ally Pally by following this link.

Facts and figures

Match time/date: 21:00, December 16

Head-to-head record: First meeting

Previous meeting: N/A

Best major performance this season: Quarter-finals, European Championship (van der Voort); N/A (Barry)

Previous PDC World Championship appearances: van der Voort 12, Barry 0

Best PDC World Championship performance: Quarter-Finals, 2011 & 2015 (van der Voort); N/A (Barry)

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Preview

Keane Barry will become the first ever 17-year-old to play at the PDC World Championship on December 16. Only two players younger than him have taken part. He’s into the final of the JDC World Championship, and reached the semi-finals of the World Youth Championship. What were you doing at 17? Actually, don’t answer that.

The Irish youngster was born on 25 June 2002, a mere nine days after his native country controversially bowed out of football’s World Cup. Back in the darting world, he was just over six months old when a certain Vincent van der Voort made his Lakeside debut. Barry has enjoyed a meteoric rise, and is widely believed to be one of the players who could dominate the darts scene for years to come. Of course, his route here wasn’t easy; it took a lot of missed doubles from Liam Gallagher for him to claw his way back into the Tom Kirby Memorial final, little by little, and wrestle victory from the jaws of defeat.

His prize is a plum first round tie against Vincent van der Voort, van der Voort, Vincent van der Voort, na na na na na na na na. The big Dutchman, even more so than the speedy Barry, “likes to get on with it”, as they say. If you’re at the Ally Pally for this session and plan to go to the bar, time it well. You might miss the entire game if you get it wrong.

It’s fair to say that it hasn’t been a vintage year for the Dutch Destroyer. There was a European Tour semi-final appearance in Austria and a European Championship quarter-final, plus a clutch of board wins on the floor that didn’t translate into a final, but he was always assured of a spot here. And van der Voort does well with first round matches at the World Championship; he’s only ever lost one, back in December 2016.

Prediction

Dave Chisnall will watch with interest, as the winner will definitely pose problems for him in round two. There’s no doubt that Barry has stacks of talent, but he isn’t expected to win here – if he can, he’ll be the youngest player ever to reach the second round. Van der Voort has the scoring power, and will punish any slips Barry makes. Van der Voort 3-0 Barry is a slightly harsh prediction, but set play can be like that. Regardless, Barry will be at the Ally Pally on December 21 to compete for the junior world title.

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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Author: Ed McCosh