Wednesday’s not likely to be as historic for the PDC World Darts Championship as Tuesday was.
Fallon Sherrock wrote her name in the history books by beating Ted Evetts to become the first woman to win a World Darts Championship match. Bigots, sexists, people who say that Piers Morgan “is great, he says what we’re all thinking” – you’ve taken a hell of a beating. Less admirable were the people who decided it was cool to boo a very sporting and magnanimous Ted Evetts. Luckily, Evetts’ – and Sherrock’s – class shone through.
Anyway, onto Wednesday. It’s a real cosmopolitan affair, with nine different nations represented. Seven of those have a vested interest in the afternoon’s matches. We start with Ben Robb, who jets over from New Zealand to make his World Darts Championship debut. He’s the sole representative of a darts scene that’s definitely on the up – the fact that Robb came out on top in the DPNZ rankings should tell Ron Meulenkamp that he has a game on his hands. We’ve asked if Robb can defuse the Bomb in this match preview.
Mickey Mansell and Seigo Asada certainly had an interesting World Darts Championship a year ago. Both flirted with controversy in very different ways. Mansell was penalised for not playing to the best of his ability in a meek first round defeat – should Rob Cross be worried? Asada, meanwhile, spent the next two weeks after exiting the tournament cleaning off flecks of James Wade’s spittle. We’ve taken a look at what should be a close tie here.
Bullet ready to fire
The third game of the session is a big match. Literally. Harry Ward and Madars Razma’s height combined would be some sort of darting Godzilla, which would definitely be worth a watch. Anyway, I digress. Ward won a floor title this year, so if he can dig that sort of form out at the World Darts Championship, he’ll be well-placed to succeed. Razma will have a lot of support from the Nordic & Baltic faction – the Latvian number one want to follow Lithuanian counterpart Darius Labanauskas’ fine example. The preview for that one can be found through this enticing, shiny blue link.
It’s almost Christmas, which makes it the perfect time to deck the halls with some Bunting. Stephen Bunting will have looked at the early exodus of seeds with some interest, and maybe a bit of apprehension too. After all, his record at the Palace isn’t great. Since his World Darts Championship debut five years ago, the Bullet hasn’t made it past the second round. He’s been playing some scintillating stuff recently however, so the confidence levels are high.
He might not have learned much about Jose Justicia’s potential from the Spaniard’s first round win over Arron Monk. For one thing, the game didn’t last long. And Justicia wasn’t exactly pushed hard by Monk. But the 3-0 win gave him a bit of Ally Pally experience, some playing time and a hefty confidence boost, all of which will help him mount an assault on the 17th seed. After a slew of dismissals, the last three seeds have negotiated past the second round; Bunting will want that run to carry on.
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
Wednesday December 18, afternoon session
Ron Meulenkamp vs Ben Robb (R1)
Mickey Mansell vs Seigo Asada (R1)
Harry Ward vs Madars Razma (R1)
Stephen Bunting vs Jose Justicia (R2)
Author: Ed McCosh