PDC World Championship seeds 30 and 29 are the next players to feature in our series of profiles.

In the first profile, we took a look at Ricky Evans and Danny Noppert. Now it’s John Henderson and Dimitri van den Bergh who are under the spotlight. All odds are provided by World Championship sponsors William Hill, and are correct at time at publication.

John Henderson

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Seed: 30

Age: 46

Nationality: Scottish

Previous World Championship appearances: 7

Best PDC major performance: Semi-Finals, World Grand Prix 2017

Walk-on: Rockin’ All Over The World – Status Quo

Odds to win: 250/1

John Henderson has already stood on top of the world. It didn’t come with a trophy, but for one night, the Highlander was the toast of Aberdeen. It will be a long time before anyone forgets the heart-warming walk-on, the raucous atmosphere, and Henderson’s stirring fightback to wrestle a draw from Michael van Gerwen – making him one of the few Premier League Darts contenders to tie a match.

His big moments tend to involve giant-killings. Back in 2017, he stunned van Gerwen en route to the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix. He then beat the winner of that event, Daryl Gurney, at the 2018 World Championship a few months later. The rocking Scot could meet Gerwyn Price in round three, and will be targeting yet another famous win.

He’s not a big scorer. In fact, he’s averaged 100 or more just three times in the past six months. But the big Scot is the model of consistency. Henderson has reached the last 32 (or last 36 for European Tour qualifiers) in more than two-thirds of every tournament he has played in this season. While there’s no significant strength to his game, the 46-year-old is solid in every department, which is why he remains among the seeds.

Henderson will face either Mikuru Suzuki or James Richardson in the second round at the Ally Pally.

Dimitri van den Bergh

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Seed: 29

Age: 25

Nationality: Belgian

Previous World Championship appearances: 4

Best PDC major performance: Quarter-Finals, Grand Slam of Darts 2018 & World Championship 2018

Walk-on: Happy – Pharrell Williams

Odds to win: 100/1

When Rob Cross shocked the world with his World Championship 2018 triumph, he was pushed all the way on his route to the final. The incredible games with the Michaels, van Gerwen and Smith, linger in the memory. But between those two, Dimitri van den Bergh came close to winning from 3-1 down against Voltage. Perhaps, in an alternate universe, the Dream Maker is already world champion. In this one, he’s one of those who is backed to get there one day.

Having handed the “too old to be world youth champion” tag on to Luke Humphries, van den Bergh can now focus on making his way in the senior circuit. Last year, he had a Grand Slam quarter-final (plus a nine-darter) to add to the Ally Pally last eight appearance just over 10 months previously. In 2019, he has made it to the Last 16 of the UK Open, and nothing more.

Van den Bergh’s form going into this is hardly inspiring – he has lost nine of his last 12 ranking matches. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that he knows how to perform at the Alexandra Palace. Last year, only Jeffrey de Zwaan managed a better match average before Christmas than the 104 racked up in a 3-1 defeat of Jonny Clayton. The Belgian means business, and could cause Michael Smith all sorts of problems if they meet in round three.

Before that, he’ll have to win his second round tie. Josh Payne and Diogo Portela are the players who’ll be looking to shoot down the rising star.

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Author: Ed McCosh