Amsterdam is ready for the World Series of Darts Finals, another big season-ending event.

After a clutch of World Series of Darts events, 24 players descend on the Netherlands for a shot at the £70,000 top prize. A fair few of the competitors didn’t play in any World Series tournaments this year. In fact, it’s a debut for a couple. The Finals are definitely a baptism of fire.

The eight seeds, who topped the World Series of Darts Order of Merit, will join in tomorrow. Friday’s fixtures will decide who gets to meet those seeds. Defending champion James Wade will have a vested interest in the first game; the winner of the tie between Midlands ace Wayne Jones and Welsh number two Jonny Clayton will take on the Machine.

Ricky Evans and Ian White should play out an interesting affair. The last time they met on stage was the 2018 Dutch Darts Championship final; White prevailed on that occasion. In the third tie, Mensur Suljovic meets Kyle Anderson. Aussie hopeful Anderson will be desperate to overcome the Austrian, with a plum second round tie against good friend and compatriot Damon Heta the carrot dangling before him.

The next three ties are testament to the ridiculous depth of quality in the PDC. Nathan Aspinall has had an incredible 12 months and sits comfortably in the top 16. Krzysztof Ratajski is widely backed to join him sooner or later. While ranking money isn’t at stake here, a strong run would be a serious boon.

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Deja vu for Smith

Michael Smith must be cursing his bad luck. The Bully Boy would be fancied against most opponents. But he’s landed a first round match against Gerwyn Price, the man who dumped him out of the European Championship. If he holds off the Iceman, he’ll be lumped in against Michael van Gerwen. It’s a joy for neutrals but a nightmare for the man who could’ve – should’ve – won the World Series of Darts Finals last year. It’s worth noting that Smith did beat Price in the semi-finals last year in Vienna, which could be handy for a mental edge.

If Smith and Price had lost their quarter-finals last year, the top half semi-final would’ve been Dave Chisnall vs Simon Whitlock. Instead, the heavy-scoring duo meet in Amsterdam for a first round meeting. They’re followed by an all-Dutch affair, with Danny Noppert taking on Jeffrey de Zwaan.

Gabriel Clemens has been one of the success stories of the World Series of Darts this year. The affable German made his way to the German Darts Masters final, and now has a shot at the Finals. He’ll play Jermaine Wattimena, whose own 2019 arc has been very promising. The winner plays Raymond van Barneveld, which is a special moment in Barney’s farewell year. Pragmatically speaking, it also gives both a realistic route to the final day.

World Series of Darts Finals 2019

Day one schedule

19:00 Wayne Jones v Jonny Clayton
19:30 Ricky Evans v Ian White
20:00 Kyle Anderson v Mensur Suljovic
20:30 Krzysztof Ratajski v Nathan Aspinall
21:00 Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
21:30 Dave Chisnall v Simon Whitlock
22:00 Danny Noppert v Jeffrey de Zwaan
22:30 Jermaine Wattimena v Gabriel Clemens

Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe

Photo: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe

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Author: Ed McCosh