Let’s get the PDC World Darts Championship second round finished off, shall we?
The afternoon session was an absolute treat. There was a mind-blowing comeback from Seigo Asada; Simon Whitlock looking like he means serious business; Ryan Searle putting in the best average of this World Darts Championship to date; and then, of course, that utterly ludicrous see-saw tussle between Adrian Lewis and Cristo Reyes. The evening session definitely has its talking points too.
Daryl Gurney and Justin Pipe kick things off for a section of the draw from which only Chris Dobey has emerged so far. Whoever succeeds here takes on the winner of the evening’s second tie. And Pipe will feel that he can make it through to that third round meeting. The Force was pushed all the way in the end by Benjamin Pratnemer, but crossed the line and now has the job of putting pressure on Superchin.
Gurney will have noted the struggles of Michael Smith and Rob Cross, as well as Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price. Taking on one of the tournament’s more experienced players means that stage fright is likely to be at a minimum. He’ll have to deal with Pipe’s unique pace, and make it work for him. Otherwise, his World Darts Championship dreams could dissipate early on.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Glen Durrant’s been at the PDC World Championship before; he looks at home on the big stage. But no – he’s a debutant, and to be 27th seed is testament to how brilliant he’s been across the year. Duzza has been landed in a tough section of the draw, with Gurney or Pipe waiting if he can hold off Damon Heta. The Australian’s own debut match, against Jose de Sousa, showed that he’s brought his best stuff to London. There’s no doubt that the only surprise here would be the game being settled in three sets.
Sherrock’s next step
The moment Fallon Sherrock stepped up to put her second dart into double 18, and beat Ted Evetts, everything changed for her. From being someone whose chances had been laughed off, she’s now at the centre of a massive media storm that has transcended darts, and even sport. Like Nathan Aspinall before her, Sherrock’s World Darts Championship exploits have landed her a World Series spot. She could be forgiven for being overawed by the whole thing.
Hopefully, Sherrock has had the time to get the practice hours in. Because, while Ted Evetts is a fantastic player, Mensur Suljovic is a different kettle of fish. Despite having a largely unremarkable season – one European Tour win aside – the Austrian oozes quality, and will want to go deep into the tournament. One thing that may affect him is that the crowd, who so often get behind him, will be lumping their support behind his record-breaking opponent. How he deals with that could have a telling impact on the outcome.
Depending on how the third game of the session goes, the last one could end up being a footnote. That wouldn’t be fair on two hugely exciting players who’ll be looking at a section of the draw now composed of Luke Woodhouse, Darren Webster and Adrian Lewis, and wondering how far they can get.
Josh Payne’s World Darts Championship has already started, and with a routine win over Diogo Portela. The 96.49 average was only bettered once in the first round ties. Dimitri van den Bergh will be well aware that the Gravesend thrower poses a problem. This feels like another one that may go the distance. Van den Bergh has been in plenty of tight tussles on the big stage, and will try to draw from those experiences to claim a third round meeting with Woodhouse.
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
Saturday December 21, evening session (all games are Second Round)
Daryl Gurney vs Justin Pipe
Glen Durrant vs Damon Heta
Mensur Suljovic vs Fallon Sherrock
Dimitri van den Bergh vs Josh PayneTags: Damon Heta, Daryl Gurney, Dimitri van den Bergh, Fallon Sherrock, Glen Durrant, Josh Payne, Justin Pipe, Mensur Suljovic, PDC, PDC World Darts Championship 2020
Author: Ed McCosh