2018/19 PDC World Darts Championship
Preview by Shane McArdle
The William Hill World Darts Championships 2018/19 continues (Alexandra Palace, London, Thursday Dec 13th 2018 to Tuesday Jan 1st 2019).
The £2.5 million tournament carries a winner’s prize of £500,000. The “biggest-ever event in darts” will this year be held over 28 sessions of play during the Christmas and New Year period, with 96 players from around the world doing battle for the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy.
There will be eleven days of play before Christmas (Dec 13th-23rd) which will feature the first and second-round games, with the third-round and fourth-round games being held from December 22nd-28th before the competition reaches the quarter-finals on Saturday December 29th, with the semi-finals on Sunday December 30 and then the final on Tuesday January 1st 2019.
The competition has already produced some big upsets with Peter Wright, Raymond van Barneveld, Darren Webster, Krzysztof Ratakski and Simon Whitlock already eliminated from the tournament.
The defending champion Rob Cross has not been showing the same level of form that he was coming into the tournament last year and, it will be a massive surprise to me if he is lifting the trophy for a second year running come January 1st.
World Number One Michael van Gerwen has been playing well lately and is the outright favourite, but although he has been making semi-finals and finals, he hasn’t been winning a high-percentage of those matches in the way that we are used to seeing from MVG. Taking the short price will not be for me.
James Wade has really returned to form this year and has taken two of the last four TV tournaments, the European Championship and World Series Of Darts, and will be a popular selection for many to go well in this tournament also.
However, Gary Anderson has been playing very well lately and he looks to be coming into form at exactly the right time as he bids for his third World Championship title. The long-sets format of this tournament will also be to The Flying Scotsman’s advantage and he will be my main selection to lift the famous Sid Waddell Trophy once again.
My first each-way selection and second fancy for the win is Michael Smith, who I think has been slowly getting better and better and could be bringing himself to the boil perfectly to turn up at Ally Pally in top form, somewhat under the radar and we all know that he can be almost unbeatable when he does hit his best form.
Finally, my other value selection is going to be Mensur Suljovic, who has been playing very poorly in recent events, which is very uncharacteristic for the normally consistent Austrian, and he may also be reserving his best game for the big one. If this is so then he will be very hard to beat as he also really enjoys the long formats he will face if progressing to the latter rounds.
Second Round Matches and Predictions:
Friday December 21 (12:30pm, Afternoon Session):
• Benito van de Pas v Jim Long – Benito van de Pas
• John Henderson v Gabriel Clemens – John Henderson
• Steve West v Richard North – Steve West
• Kyle Anderson v Noel Malicdem – Kyle Anderson
Friday December 21 (7pm, Evening Session):
• Ian White v Devon Petersen – Ian White
• Jelle Klaasen v Keegan Brown – Keegan Brown
• Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall – Gerwyn Price
• Jonny Clayton v Dimitri van den Bergh – Jonny Clayton