The PDC World Darts Championship continues with two sessions of action on Saturday beginning with one in the afternoon as we once again have three first round matches to look forward to as well as one second round game.
Michael Smith was the headline attraction on Friday night and it will be the turn of the European Tour star Dave Chisnall to be the leading light in a session which has a couple of overseas qualifiers and a couple of pro tour campaigners on show.
Lee Evans vs Sandro Eric Sosing
The opening match of the day sees the PDC tour card holder Lee Evans looking to make it into the second round on his debut at the World Championship when he takes on the PDC Asian Championship finalist Sandro Eric Sosing for a crack at the tournament favourite Luke Humphries in the second round.
Evans has been acceptable on the PDC tour this year without pulling up any trees but at least he has been competing at a decent enough level. Sandro Eric Sosing was a finalist to Haruki Muramatsu at the PDC Asian Championship where he mixed his way between mid-80 averages to the odd one in the 90s. If he arrives with the latter in his arsenal then he is entitled to be more than competitive here but you do wonder if he’ll reach those heights on debut in the tournament. You would imagine Evans will have enough here but he isn’t someone I’m interested in backing.
Connor Scutt vs Krzysztof Kciuk
The second match of the afternoon sees the tour card holder Connor Scutt taking on the Eastern Europe qualifier winner Krzysztof Kciuk, a player who has been a regular in both World Championships down the years. Gerwyn Price awaits the winner.
Scutt was a finalist in PC27 a couple of months ago where among his victims were the likes of Kim Huybrechts, Ross Smith, Gary Anderson and Gian van Veen. He has been touted as a player to watch since his days on the Challenge Tour and now he gets a decent platform to show that. Kciuk will probably present a solid enough challenge because he has seen it and done it in these events but he has won just six of his last 24 matches on the pro tour this season and didn’t really have to perform that well to win his qualifier. I would expect Scutt to come through here but the prices are fully reflective of that so this is another one I am happy to leave alone.
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Jules van Dongen vs Darren Penhall
The last of the first round matches in the afternoon session on Saturday sees the American player Jules van Dongen making his tournament debut when he takes on the DPA Tour qualifier Darren Penhall in what feels like a competitive match.
Van Dongen had a season average of 91.47 on the pro tour this season and averaged just under 100 for his opening nine darts so if he settles into the event on his debut then you would imagine he will put a decent challenge down. I don’t think this one will be one way traffic though because Penhall has had a very good year on the DPA Tour. He played all 25 events and quite ridiculously won 13 of them and lost in the final of five others. He has had 11 matches of averages of over 95 on that tour this season and in one of the World Series events he took Michael Smith to a deciding leg so he isn’t here to make up any numbers. In 110 matches on the tour, Penhall averaged a shade over 97 for the first nine darts and had a checkout rate of 40%. If those numbers head across the world with him then he is entitled to put up a decent showing and against an opponent inexperienced in winning matches on the stage I fancy Penhall to at least force a deciding set here, if not win the match.
Dave Chisnall vs Cameron Menzies
The one second round match on the afternoon card sees the man who dominated the European Tour in Dave Chisnall going up against the winner from Friday evening in Cameron Menzies for a spot in the third round after Christmas.
Everybody in this tournament wants to be heading back to Ally Pally after Christmas so that is a decent incentive for both men here. Menzies cruised past Rusty-Jake Rodriguez in the opening round, although the Austrian didn’t turn up and the Scot will have a much tougher time of it here. Chisnall has played well on the floor and the European Tour this season but his TV form has been a lot more patchy, although importantly he did win a couple of matches in Minehead recently to rebuild his big stage confidence. Chisnall has been one of the better players this season but you sense that Menzies is a player who ups his game for the bigger challenges so I’m expecting a really good match here. I’m tempted to bet the 180s here but the line is 10.5 and Menzies hasn’t had much turnaround time so I’ll tentatively sit that out.
Back D.Penhall (+1.5 sets) to beat J.van Dongen for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Coral