We’re all set to get the World Darts Championship Last 16 underway.
Before the fourth round begins, the third must end. Three ties were wrapped up in the afternoon. Simon Whitlock won convincingly; Glen Durrant showed his class to send Daryl Gurney home; and Chris Dobey averaged three figures to end Fallon Sherrock’s history-making run. There’s just one third round tie left – after that, we can step this World Darts Championship up a notch.
Can Price book fourth round berth?
Gerwyn Price knows that Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson are in round four – he’ll be able to watch them after his game, if he likes. Glen Durrant, Chris Dobey and Simon Whitlock make up his red-hot quarter of the draw. The Welshman, so unconvincing against William O’Connor last time out, will want to stamp his authority on that quarter, so he can continue being counted among the big favourites. He has nothing but world class opponents to come, and his third round opponent is no exception.
John Henderson had the opposite experience to Price in round two. The Highlander crushed James Richardson’s hopes, and will have taken a confidence boost from the win. But he only averaged a couple of points more than Price, who was supposedly in crisis. Henderson has reached the third round in his last two World Darts Championship campaigns, going out to an eventual finalist both times. If the Iceman can down the 30th seed, that might be a very nice omen.
Anderson susceptible to the Asp
On paper, this match is a slice of fried gold. Gary Anderson, the two-time world champion and all-round darting legend. Nathan Aspinall, one of the frontrunners for the sport’s new golden generation. A 20 segment, readying itself for an absolute pounding. This is a massive moment for Aspinall in particular; should he beat Anderson, the 12th seed will be the favourite in his section to make it to the semi-finals. Successive World Darts Championship semi-finals in his first two Ally Pally appearances would be quite the boast.
Aspinall has had good preparation for this game, battling against solid performers in Danny Baggish and Krzysztof Ratajski. Rusty as he is, Gary Anderson can have the odd wild moment, but he has the potential for spectacular darts that Baggish and Ratajski can’t match. Ryan Searle threatened the Scot throughout, but an average just short of 100 and good timing saw Anderson through. The Flying Scotsman is a big stage player, one who’ll be up for the fight. If Aspinall is too, this could be magical.
MvG out to avoid taking a Bullet
Michael van Gerwen’s World Darts Championship defence checklist has two big ticks against it. Second round; after an early setback, check. Third round; an emphatic check. The Dutchman was far, far too good for Ricky Evans, proving good value for a 4-0 whitewash. That’s two wins down, and just another four needed for a fourth world title. I say “just”; things will only get harder from here, even for the world number one.
Stephen Bunting is already embarking on his best Alexandra Palace run since reaching the quarter-finals on debut. Everything that lacked against Jose Justicia, namely well-timed finishing and the ability to kill off an opponent, was there in spades for the 4-0 bruising of Jonny Clayton. In a twist of fate, the only two players to win their third round match 4-0 (depending on what the Price-Henderson outcome is) meet here. Form and odds are undoubtedly on van Gerwen’s side, but Bunting has done just as much at these championships to impress.
Click here for more information on the PDC World Darts Championship, which takes place at the Alexandra Palace between December 13 and January 1.
PDC World Darts Championship 2020 schedule
Friday December 27, afternoon session (19:00 GMT start)
19:15 Gerwyn Price vs John Henderson (R3)
20:30 Gary Anderson vs Nathan Aspinall (R4)
21:45 Michael van Gerwen vs Stephen Bunting (R4)
Author: Ed McCosh