Seeds 26 and 25 at the PDC World Championship are English, and their surnames begin with B. There’s only three players fitting that description, so this is the easiest game of Guess Who ever.

There’s no need to think it over, though. Keegan Brown and Steve Beaton follow Steve West and Glen Durrant in our series of seed profiles. All odds are provided by World Championship sponsors William Hill, and are correct at time at publication.

Keegan Brown

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Seed: 26

Age: 27

Nationality: English

Previous World Championship appearances: 4

Best PDC major performance: Quarter-Finals, Grand Slam 2014

Walk-on: Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones

Odds to win: 300/1

Keegan Brown is just 27, and yet he’s been around for quite a while now. After years of promise, 2019 has proved to be a real breakthrough for the Isle of Wight’s favourite son. For the first time, he’s in the top 32 of the PDC Order of Merit, and claims a place among the seeds for the World Championship.

It’s a good thing too, as his list of former Ally Pally appearances tells a story. Brown has been exclusively removed from contention early on, and by world class players: Adrian Lewis, Peter Wright, Phil Taylor and James Wade. There’s no shame in that – but it’s also one of the pratfalls of not being among the top names. This time around, he just has to play one game before meeting other big names, and it could make the difference.

He’ll play Mickey Mansell or Seigo Asada in round two, and might have Peter Wright after that. None will faze him. Brown has made it his business to surprise big names this year, or make them sweat. Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price have both been pricked by the Needle in the European Tour (in which he has excelled, reaching two semi-finals). He’ll want to break new ground by reaching the Last 16 for the first time, to end the season in style.

Steve Beaton

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Seed: 25

Age: 55

Nationality: English

Previous World Championship appearances: 18

Best PDC major performance: Winner, European Championship 2009

Walk-on: Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees

Odds to win: 500/1

Steve Beaton is bringing sexy back to the Ally Pally once again. There’s only one jolly man with silver hair that we’re dying to see, and he brings us the gift of darts.

At 55, the Bronzed Adonis is the oldest player at the World Championship, other than Paul Lim. He has 18 Ally Pally appearances under his belt (plus 10 at the Lakeside). If you want experience, he has it in spades. Success? He became BDO world champion in 1997, but there’s not so much cheer when it comes to the biggest event in world darts. For reference, he has left more World Championships before Christmas than Michael van Gerwen has even turned up for. That stat goes some way to explaining the 500/1 odds against him winning a second world title.

It has been a frankly ludicrous 15 years since the Midlands man won a second round match here. That could be good news for either Kyle Anderson or Xiaochen Zong. But Beaton has had his moments in 2019, particularly when smashing in a famous European Tour nine-darter, and getting to the UK Open quarter-finals with a win over Gary Anderson along the way. There’s life in the old dog yet.

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Author: Ed McCosh