So Christmas is over. What took it so long?
We’re back for more of the good stuff; after an interminable three-day hiatus, the PDC World Championship is back. The Ally Pally opens its doors once more. But we’re very much into the business end of play now. There are four more third round matches. Three of them make up the schedule for this Thursday afternoon session.
Kicking off the session are two players who may have felt they’d been given the best Christmas gift ever long before Santa Claus came calling. Devon Petersen in particular has been gifted a third round berth. Wayne Jones had more than one chance to beat him. Ian White could’ve done it too. But still Petersen prevailed. He meets Steve West, who was pushed by Richard North, and only averaged 89.49. The winner takes on Nathan Aspinall for a place in the quarter-finals; it’s not a gift-wrapped spot, but it’s not a tall order. They just need to win this one first.
Could we see Dimitri van den Bergh and Luke Humphries compete in a World Championship final one day? At this point, it’s like those ‘England’s World Cup-winning XI of the future’ articles that naturally go badly wrong. Michael Mancienne, wherever you are, I hope you’re doing alright. This pair have got a huge future. But it’s the present they’re more interested in. Rob Cross may prove a major roadblock, but Van den Bergh in particular would love a crack at the world champion – he came close to shocking Voltage last year. This should be a game we’ll later look back on with fondness.
Then we come to another bright, brilliant, immensely popular player who many believe is a true world champion in the making. And he’s playing against Michael Smith. Yes, it’s the Highlander everyone. John Henderson rocks up to the Ally Pally for another shot at a big seed, having dumped out Daryl Gurney a year ago. Smith, along with potential quarter-final opponent Cross, is the favourite in his half of the draw. He needs to keep his cool here, avoid the rather significant banana skin, and build momentum for a possibly life-changing few days.
Click here for more information about the PDC World Darts Championship, including schedules and the prize fund breakdown.
Afternoon session schedule
13:40 Devon Petersen v Steve West (R3)
15:00 Dimitri Van den Bergh v Luke Humphries (R3)
16:15 Michael Smith v John Henderson (R3)
Author: Ed McCosh