After another change in the calendar, the second WDF World Championship finally gets underway on Saturday when 48 of the best amateur players in the world head to the Lakeside Country Club to battle it out for the biggest event on the WDF scene.
Neil Duff took full advantage of the opportunity he had last year to land the crown and the Northern Irish thrower is back to look to make a successful defence of the title but I think there is more depth to this field so he’ll need to be at his best to keep the trophy.
2022 – Neil Duff
48 men have made it into the draw. 16 seeded bypass the first round with the other 32 players playing a best of three set match to take on one of the seeds in round two. The second round and the last 16 will be played over the best of five sets with the quarter finals the best of seven sets. The semi-finals are the best of nine sets and the champion will be determined on the second Sunday over the best of 11 sets. The draw has been pre-determined with a few adjustments after players who qualified for the PDC tournament were removed and every dart will be shown live on the WDF YouTube channel.
The number one player on the WDF scene these days is the Belgian player Andy Baetens and he is the top seed and the main star in the top half of the draw as a result of that. There are some decent players among those who will bypass the first round in this half. They include Wesley Plaisier, who reached a PDC European Tour semi-final earlier in the year, defeating Luke Humphries on the way, James Hurrell and Mark Barilli. The other seeded players are Gary Stone, Barry Copeland, Alexander Merkx and Peter Machin.
There are no shortage of recognisable names in this half who have to come through the opening round of the draw. They include James Richardson who famously beat Raymond van Barneveld on the Alexandra Palace stage back in the day. Sebastian Bialecki is said to have a big future in the game while Dennis Nilsson has graced the PDC World Championship and World Cup of Darts in his day. Veteran players such as Dave Prins and Jim Widmayer are here while Scott Marsh and Aaron Turner will be looking for a good run in front of plenty of fans.
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The defending champion Neil Duff is the number two seed this week and he is in the bottom half of the draw as a result. He is actually seeded to meet a former Lakeside champion in Jelle Klaasen in the semi-final of the event but so many seeded players will have their eye on stopping that from happening. Danny Lauby Jr had a good run at Alexandra Palace a few years ago while Chris Landman has made nearly £25k on the PDC tour without a tour card this year. Kai Fan Leung is another former PDC tour card holder with Martyn Turner, Darren Johnson and John Scott completing the seeds.
There is a standout player entering the bottom half of the draw in the bottom half in this tournament. That is the seniors maestro Leonard Gates, a player who has shone on the PDC circuit at times and has seen his career catapult into life in the seniors events. Other recognisable names coming in from the first round include Jamie Lewis and David Pallett while Moreno Blom, Liam Maendl-Lawrance and Benjamin Pratnemer could all be dangerous if they can get out of that best of three opener.
I think this is a wide open event although I do think that the winner will come from the front of the betting but there are 7-8 within 20/1 or shorter that you can make a genuine case for. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they all make it through to the quarter final so then you are looking for who has the best draw and I think the bottom half is slightly weaker than the top one so the player I’m happy to back here is Chris Landman at 12/1.
Landman doesn’t have a PDC Tour card but he went well enough at Q-School to get into the majority of events as a top up and the £24,250 that he won over the year has him one place outside the top 100 in the rankings. He is the highest ranked player in the PDC list this season in this tournament, although obviously he had more opportunities than the likes of Andy Baetens and Jelle Klaasen to name a few. Over the last six weeks he has beaten Peter Wright and James Wade in Players Championship events and back in April he made the final of a Players Championship event where the likes of Luke Humphries and Martin Schindler were among his victims. I think he’s a good candidate to go a long way here.
Back C.Landman to win WDF World Championship (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 13.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)
Back him here: