William Hill PDC World Darts Championships preview
- Credit: LAWRENCE LUSTIG
Defending William Hill PDC World Darts champion Peter Wright will be looking to boss Alexandra Palace again as the iconic Wood Green venue stages the sport’s most lucrative tournament of the year, writes Ziad Chaudry.
The happy-go-lucky 50-year-old from Livingstone, who overwhelmed three-time winner the invincible Dutchman Michael van Gerwen by 7 sets to 3 in the final 12 months ago, begins his defence in the final match of opening night Tuesday (December 15) either against Essex man Steve West or India’s debutant Amit Gilitwala.
The world number two this year has claimed two big major TV titles in The Masters and European Championship. If he ends up retaining his world title on January 4 then it would be considered as another satisfactory year for ‘The Snakebite’.
However bookies’ favourite van Gerwen will certainly be one of the main challengers expecting to stop Wright as the current world number one, who last month edged out Mervyn King in the 21st and final leg to pocket his sixth Players Championship Finals title, opens his account on Saturday December 19 against either Scotland’s Ryan Murray or Philippines qualifier Lourence Ilagan.
Last year’s semi-finalist from the Welsh village of Markham number three seed ‘The Ice Man’ Gerwyn Price is another player who has claimed two big major TV titles - World Grand Prix and World Series Finals. He meets the winner of Luke Woodhouse and Jamie Lewis first rounder on Monday, December 21.
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Other world champion hopefuls sees fourth seed Michael Smith, the runner-up two years ago, playing either Jason Lowe or Russia’s Dmitriy Gorbunov on Wednesday, December 23 while 2018 champion Rob Cross expects to meet either World Grand Prix finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode or recently crowned World Youth champion Bradley Brooks the day before.
Musselburgh’s twice world champion Gary Anderson plays Latvia’s Madars Razma or Japan’s Toru Suzuki on Sunday December 20 while 2011 and 2012 winner from Stoke ‘Jackpot’ Adrian Lewis meets either Australian ace Damon Heta or USA’s Danny Baggish on Tuesday 22 December.
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The 96-player draw also features legendary 66-year-old Singapore star Paul Lim plus top women players four-time world champion Lisa Ashton and former world number one from Witham Deta Hedman.