A bumper day of darts at the PDC World Darts Championship continues with the evening session on Saturday as another three first round matches take place inside Alexandra Palace as well as a second round clash which looks like a good one too.
We have a former winner of this tournament headlining the play on Saturday evening while a previously beaten finalist takes to the stage on what is actually a very good looking schedule for just the second day of the event.
Jamie Hughes vs David Cameron
We open up with a clash between a vulnerable looking seed in Jamie Hughes and a man who has achieved plenty on the seniors circuit and back home in North America over the last 12 months in the experienced David Cameron.
I think it is fair to say that this venue doesn’t hold any special memories for Hughes. He has played in this tournament four times previously and he is yet to win a match on this stage. Injuries have largely been part of the problem for ‘Yozza’, who lost 3-0 to Adam Hunt the last time he was seeded for the event. The other three defeats to Zoran Lerchbacher, Raymond Smith and Jimmy Hendriks don’t look fantastic on the CV either to be fair. Hughes’ most recent TV outing will be a concern too where he lost 6-1 to Joe Cullen in the Players Championship Finals with a 74.61 average. Cameron can certainly be forgiven for thinking the draw has been kind to him here. He won a match on this stage last year and has plenty of Lakeside wins under his belt too. He probably isn’t someone who is going to blow a player away with a 100 average but he is good enough to keep it solidly around the 90 mark and then when the opportunity arises he’ll bang in a decent leg to tick it over. If Cameron hits his doubles I think he has every chance here against a Hughes who doesn’t get much TV exposure these days and who just looks a vulnerable favourite.
Keane Barry vs Reynaldo Rivera
The second match of the night sees the hugely rated Irish youngster Keane Barry looking to make it into the second round of the competition when he takes on the qualifier from the Philippines in the form of Reynaldo Rivera, one of the many debutants in the tournament this year.
Rivera will certainly take heart from the performance of his countryman Paolo Nebrida on Friday evening. He nearly took out Simon Whitlock which was encouraging for all of the Asian qualifiers not just the Filipino ones. Rivera will also be encouraged by the fact that despite all of his talent and promise, Barry arrives at Alexandra Palace having lost his last six matches in all competitions and with confidence surely a little low. The last thing he probably needs right now is a banana skin clash against an unknown opponent on a huge stage in which he has little to gain and plenty to lose. It has been such a poor year for Barry that he didn’t even make the Players Championship Finals in Minehead and the last time we saw him on our screens he was getting beat 6-1 by Gerwyn Price at the European Championship with 1/10 on his doubles and an 84.13 average. It is short course darts on the Asian Tour but Rivera regularly averages in the 90s. Whether he is good enough to win this remains to be seen but you sense he’ll put down a challenge so I certainly wouldn’t be siding with Barry here. I’ll take the chance the debutant gets a couple of sets at a big price.
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Scott Williams vs Haruki Muramatsu
The third match of the evening sees the final first round clash of the night taking place as the tour card holder Scott Williams takes on the popular Japanese player Haruki Muramatsu for a spot in the second round.
Williams had a big reputation in his Challenge Tour days but he hasn’t really kicked on to the same levels on the pro tour, particularly this season which has largely been a struggle. Muramatsu qualified for the Grand Slam so he has some recent TV experience but he didn’t fare too well there and unless Williams is right off his game then it is hard to see the MSN from Japan making too much of an impression here. The odds are fully reflective of that though. I was considering the Williams 180s but a 4.5 line might need a fourth set to land and I’m not convinced we get one so I’ll leave this one alone.
Gary Anderson vs Simon Whitlock
The one second round match over the course of the evening sees the former winner of the tournament, Gary Anderson, takes on a player who has previously been in the final in the shape of Simon Whitlock.
Whitlock has already played in the tournament and had to survive a major scare against the Asian qualifier Paolo Nebrida on Friday night and if he plays like he did there in this match he has got no chance. It would be a surprise if he does though because hell have a much better rhythm in this match and there is far less pressure on him. Nevertheless, Anderson is in terrific form coming in here and isnt just fancied to win this match but go very deep in the whole tournament and it would be a surprise if Whitlock rips up that script. The odds fully reflect Anderson’s chances here but he misses too many doubles for me to trust him with a handicap so I’ll sit the closing game out.
Back D.Cameron to beat J.Hughes for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with Coral
Back R.Rivera (+1.5 sets) to beat K.Barry for a 3/10 stake at 2.70 with Unibet