Two debutants from different backgrounds convene at the PDC World Championship.

In the seventh of of 32 match previews for the World Championship first round ties, we look at Mark McGeeney versus Matt Campbell.

Facts and figures

Match time/date: 19:00, December 14

Head-to-head record: First meeting

Previous meeting: N/A

Best major performance this season: Last 64, Players Championship Finals (McGeeney); N/A (Campbell)

Previous PDC World Championship appearances: Debut (Both)

Best PDC World Championship performance: N/A (Both)

Preview

Mark McGeeney, formerly a big fish in the BDO pond, has gone under the radar during his PDC stint. He has appeared at two majors, winning one game, and has managed as much as a Players Championship semi-final and a run to the Last 16 of a European Tour event. But let’s not forget that the Coventry-born thrower has made it to a World Championship final and two World Masters finals while in the BDO.

The Gladiator will therefore be known to a lot of darts fans in the UK. Matt Campbell might not be as recognisable – he’s the only player to suffer the ignominy of not having a Wikipedia page. Success at the PDC World Championship would be a wonderful first entry for the Ontario native.

Those who have watched him in CDC events throughout 2019 have noted his talent for scoring big. In tournaments where the overall average is in the upper 70s, Campbell has consistently hit the heights of mid 90s and low 100s. Thanks to some superb showings, the red-headed Canadian finished first among his compatriots in the CDC, and second behind Darin Young overall. Yet he couldn’t quite make it to the North American Darts Championship, one disappointment in an overall excellent campaign.

Only one can open their PDC World Championship account with a victory. Whoever manages it will face 32nd seed Ricky Evans which, on paper, is an enticing draw.

Prediction

If Campbell does in the UK what he’s been doing in North America, he’s a seriously exciting prospect. Players from his continent haven’t made the biggest impact at the World Championship – I mean, none of them appear in the gallery of winners, right? McGeeney might benefit from having been in a similar environment before, even if the crowd was smaller. It’s a tough one, but we’re going to go for McGeeney 3-2 Campbell.

Evert Zomer

Photo: Evert Zomer

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Author: Ed McCosh