Whether you’re now revelling in a Christmas break or not, we can all enjoy a bit of the World Darts Championship.

A week ago, Jermaine Wattimena and Rob Cross bowed out in a devastating day for the seeds. It’s been a lot better for them since then. Can Seigo Asada stop the rot for the unseeded entrants? The Japanese star opened his World Darts Championship with a routine win over Mickey Mansell.

Keegan Brown made it to the third round last year, and he’ll be keen to repeat the feat before aiming for a first ever Last 16 slot. The Isle of Wight’s number one slots in as 26th seed this year thanks to a good year on the Pro Tour and European Tour. A lot of people fancy Asada here, so it’s the unusual situation of reminding everyone not to write off the seed.

Simon Whitlock gets his World Darts Championship going on Saturday afternoon. The former finalist reached the semi-finals six years ago. Since then, his exits have been: first round, first round, second round, second round, second round. That sort of form is a real glimmer of hope for Harry Ward. The 22-year-old showed brilliant grit to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Madars Razma. He’ll know, however, that the Latvian gave him chances that Whitlock – who has an eye for a bolt-from-the-blue sort of  big checkout – could wrestle from him.

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Go West

‘Simply’ Steve West has never lost a PDC World Darts Championship second round tie, which has to be a good start. In the past two years, he’s dismissed Richard North and Jermaine Wattimena without breaking a sweat. So can Ryan Searle put pressure on his English compatriot? He wasn’t amazing in a first-round win over Robbie King, and tweaked the nose of an early exit. He just about held on, and needs to raise his game to trouble a seed who hasn’t set the world alight this year.

If you take a look at the picture at the bottom of the article, you’ll see an image that explains Cristo Reyes’ first round better than any writer could. The Spaniard got out of jail against Lourence Ilagan, and he knows it. Still, there are positive everywhere; for the deeply sub-standard performance that saw him fall behind, there was a stirring comeback working as a tonic. He now needs to keep his line and length correct to erase wasteful visits and mount an assault on Adrian Lewis.

Jackpot will be pumped up for this, if recent tournaments are anything to go by. He also has an all-time big World Darts Championship shock acting as a cautionary tale. Reyes is more established than Kevin Munch, but he’s still an underdog with his own special Ally Pally blast from the past (Wes Newton’s controversial bull-off, anyone?). And the Spaniard is a dangerous underdog on his day, at that.

PDC World Darts Championship 2020 schedule

Saturday December 21, afternoon session (all games are Second Round)

Keegan Brown vs Seigo Asada

Simon Whitlock vs Harry Ward

Steve West vs Ryan Searle

Adrian Lewis vs Cristo Reyes

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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Author: Ed McCosh