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Updated: 16 min 25 sec ago

Searle Shocks Suljovic In Second Round

RYAN SEARLE sent Mensur Suljovic crashing out of the William Hill World Championship on Thursday, while Adrian Lewis eased through to the third round at Alexandra Palace, London.

Somerset talent Searle pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament so far as he defied ten 180s from Austrian ace Suljovic to claim a 3-1 success.

The game had looked likely to go Suljovic's way when he claimed the first set 3-1 with the aid of a superb 11-darter.

ProTour finalist Searle responded with a 120 finish on his way to winning the second set, before winning three consecutive legs to claim set three and a 2-1 lead.

World Matchplay finalist Suljovic continued to apply the pressure, but Searle landed a magnificent 118 finish to claim a memorable victory.

"I am over the moon," said Searle, who will take on William O'Connor in round three.

"Mensur was awesome in the first set but I managed to find my game. I'm really happy to have done so well having only just squeaked into the tournament.

"I've got a great record against Willie. We've played three times and I've won them all so I am hoping that continues."

Lewis produced his best quality at key moments in his 3-0 win against Ted Evetts.

The two-time World Champion won deciding legs in each of the first two sets with 14 and 13 dart legs, before an 11-darter helped him seal the third set 3-1.

"I thought it was a great game," said Lewis, who famously suffered a shock first round defeat in last year's tournament.

"I did feel some pressure coming into this tournament but I've been playing really well in practice and I'm confident I can do really well.

Lewis, who will play Darius Labanauskas in the last 32 after the Lithuanian claimed a shock win against Raymond Van Barneveld on Monday, added: "I wanted to play Barney. I mean that from the heart.

"I think he deserved that big match. He's only got a couple of years left of playing and it was sad to see him lose.

"It won't change my approach because it will be an equally tough game against Darius."

Mervyn King fended off a fightback from Jan Dekker to win a tie-break in a dramatic contest.

King appeared to be coasting to victory when he won the first two sets but Dekker took out 100 in the deciding leg of the third set after a chance to win the match went begging.

The Dutchman went on to level and took the match into overtime when the final set reached two apiece but King regained his composure to win the two legs he required to progress.

"I made hard work of it," admitted King, who had thrown away a two-set lead to lose in the last 64 at Ally Pally 12 months ago.

"I should have won that easily but I knew Jan would come good at some point in the match because he is a great player.

"I was happy with how I played but I have been practising really well. The important thing was getting over this hurdle and hopefully my practice game will come out later in the tournament."

Alan Norris won a thrilling contest against Steve Lennon, which went all the way down to a sudden-death leg.

The pair couldn't be separated after four sets and four legs, forcing a tie-break and eventually a last-leg shoot-out.

Lennon won the bull but a 180 put Norris in control and he took out 81 to set up a third round meeting with Ryan Joyce.

"Determination got me through that one," said Norris, who was making his first televised appearance since February.

"I've had rough year but I've been on the practice board and started wearing glasses and I feel like I'm coming back.

"Simon Whitlock gave me his glasses to try and since then I can actually see again. They've made a huge difference and I hope things are on the up now."

Cristo Reyes came from two sets behind to defeat Rowby-John Rodriguez, becoming the second Spanish player to reach the last 32 - following Toni Alcinas' win over Peter Wright.

Reyes produced four finishes of over 100 as he punished Austrian youngster Rodriguez for missed opportunities to set up a third round clash with defending champion Rob Cross.

Day Eight of the £2.5 million event began with a straight sets victory for Jermaine Wattimena over Michael Barnard.

The highlight for the quickfire Dutchman was a 130 checkout as he set up a third round meeting with Gary Anderson.

Luke Humphries produced a highly impressive performance to defeat Stephen Bunting, while Chris Dobey raced through a 3-0 victory over Steve Beaton.

The action continues on Friday with eight second round ties, featuring Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price.

The tournament will be broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1 and worldwide through the PDC's international broadcast partners.
2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play
Thursday December 20
Afternoon Session
Jermaine Wattimena 3-0 Michael Barnard (R2)
Alan Norris 3-2 Steve Lennon (R2)
Luke Humphries 3-1 Stephen Bunting (R2)
Chris Dobey (R2) 3-0 Steve Beaton

Evening Session
Cristo Reyes 3-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez (R2)
Mervyn King 3-2 Jan Dekker (R2)
Adrian Lewis 3-0 Ted Evetts (R2)
Ryan Searle 3-1 Ryan Searle (R2)

Friday December 21
Afternoon Session (1230)
Benito van de Pas v Jim Long (R2)
John Henderson v Gabriel Clemens (R2)
Steve West v Richard North (R2)
Kyle Anderson v Noel Malicdem (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Ian White v Devon Petersen (R2)
Jelle Klaasen v Keegan Brown (R2)
Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall (R2)
Jonny Clayton v Dimitri Van den Bergh (R2)

William Hill World Darts Championship Update

JAMES WADE survived a scare when he was taken to a tie-break by Japan's Seigo Asada before winning through to the third round of the William Hill World Darts Championship, while Michael Smith also progressed at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday.

A determined and animated Wade earned a hard-fought victory against his impressive opponent, who had taken the scalp of Krzysztof Ratajski in round one.

Asada, who has won three titles on the PDC Asian Tour this year, averaged over 97 and fired in a spectacular 130 checkout but was ultimately punished for missed opportunities at pivotal moments in the match.

"His performance shocked and surprised me," admitted Wade, the winner of two televised titles in 2018.

"I honestly didn't think he had that game in him and I should have prepared better.

"I didn't play well and I had to dig in deep. I could have easily lost but I dug in and it's a magnificent feeling to win a game that I probably shouldn't have won."

Smith - the third favourite with title sponsors William Hill to lift The Sid Waddell Trophy - moved safely through with a 3-1 victory over Ron Meulenkamp.

Finishes of 112 and 132 helped Premier League runner-up Smith book his place in the third round.

"I don’t take a lot of positives from that match but I got the job done and now I can go home, enjoy Christmas and prepare for my next game," said Smith, who won the Shanghai Darts Masters in July.

"I'm getting married in the New Year and I want my fiancé to be the first woman in history to be waiting for me at the end of the aisle with the World Championship trophy!"

Eighth seed Simon Whitlock was dumped out by Ally Pally debutant Ryan Joyce in a surprise straight sets defeat for the 2010 finalist.

Joyce, who defeated Anastasia Dobromyslova in round one, edged the first set 3-2 before a 109 finish helped him take the second set 3-1 before he wrapped up an impressive victory.

"I think this is the biggest win of my career," said Joyce, a semi-finalist on the ProTour in 2018.

"I realise I caught Simon on a bad day but I'm pleased that I played to my strength and hit the doubles.

"I was always expecting Simon to click in, play world class darts and come back but when that didn't happen I sensed my opportunity and I'm glad I took it."

Kim Huybrechts stormed through to the third round with a brilliant whitewash win over Daniel Larsson.

Huybrechts averaged over 103 as he romped to victory without dropping a leg against Sweden's Larsson, who had beaten Robert Thornton in round one.

"I'm really happy with how I played," said Huybrechts, who dedicated the victory to his late mother.

"It's been really hard for me over the last couple of years to come to terms with losing the most important person in my life but my mum will always be my inspiration.

"I've put in some hard work both physically and mentally and I know I will be back better than ever."

Brendan Dolan took out the first 170 finish of this year's event during in his triumph over an out-of-sorts Joe Cullen as the former World Grand Prix finalist moved into the last 32.

The Northern Irishman, who has dropped just one leg in each of his first two matches, will meet either Mervyn King or Jan Dekker in round three.

"Joe didn't perform and I was able to take advantage of that," said Dolan.

"I kept him down and he didn't get a leg on the board until the third set which must be soul destroying for a player.

"Things haven't gone to plan for me during the year but I'm in the third round now and the past can be wiped off. There's more to come from me and I'll show it in the next round."

Ireland's William O'Connor also reached the last 32 after edging out James Wilson in a five-set thriller.

After hitting ten 180s and four ton-plus finishes between them, O'Connor came out on top by averaging 116 in the deciding set.

PDC Asian Tour star Noel Malicdem moved into the second round with a hard fought victory against Jeffrey De Graaf.

Malicdem, who won two events on the Asian Tour and hit a nine-darter in the Event One final, landed crucial finishes of 96 and 91 as he came from 2-1 down to progress.

Nathan Aspinall enjoyed a comfortable victory against fellow World Championship debutant Geert Nentjes.

Aspinall, who won a Players Championship event in September, defeated the Dutch youngster by three sets to nil as the first round concluded.

The second round action continues with another double session on Thursday, featuring eight matches, including opening ties for two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis and former Champions League winner Mensur Suljovic.

The biggest ever World Darts Championship is being broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1 and worldwide through the PDC's international broadcast partners.

William Hill World Darts Championship
Wednesday 19 December
Afternoon Session
Nathan Aspinall 3-0 Geert Nentjes (R1)
Noel Malicdem 3-2 Jeffrey de Graaf (R1)
Brendan Dolan 3-0 Joe Cullen (R2)
Kim Huybrechts 3-0 Daniel Larsson (R2)

Evening Session
William O’Connor 3-2 James Wilson (R2)
Ryan Joyce 3-0 Simon Whitlock (R2)
Michael Smith 3-1 Ron Meulenkamp (R2)
James Wade 3-2 Seigo Asada (R2)

Thursday December 20
Afternoon Session (1230)
Jermaine Wattimena v Michael Barnard (R2)
Alan Norris v Steve Lennon (R2)
Stephen Bunting v Luke Humphries (R2)
Steve Beaton v Chris Dobey (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Cristo Reyes v Rowby-John Rodriguez (R2)
Mervyn King v Jan Dekker (R2)
Adrian Lewis v Ted Evetts (R2)
Mensur Suljovic v Ryan Searle (R2)

Image courtesy “Lawrence Lustig/PDC”

Cologne & Hamilton Host World Series

THE PDC World Series of Darts will enjoy two new destinations in 2019 as Cologne and Hamilton host the sport's top players alongside events in Las Vegas, Brisbane and Melbourne.
The World Series of Darts enjoyed a brilliant year in 2018, including a world record crowd of 20,210 fans for the German Darts Masters in Gelsenkirchen.
Next year, the tournament will revert to a two-day event and be held at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne on July 12-13, as eight top PDC players take on eight leading German aces.
That tournament will follow the US Darts Masters on July 4-5, as the sport's stars return to the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas.
The action at the Mandalay Bay Casino & Resort will begin with the North American Championship, before the two-day World Series of Darts event sees PDC stars take to the stage.
A treble-header in August will then see the stars head Down Under for events in Brisbane, Melbourne and New Zealand, where Hamilton will host a PDC tournament for the first time.
The three events will begin on August 9-10 at the BCEC with the Brisbane Darts Masters, which first welcomed the World Series of Darts in 2018.
The third staging of the Melbourne Darts Masters will then take place on August 16-17 at the Hisense Arena, before the World Series crosses the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.
Hamilton's Claudelands Arena will host the NZ Darts Masters on August 23-24, with a new destination in New Zealand following four successful years in Auckland.
The international events will be followed from November 1-3 by the World Series of Darts Finals in Amsterdam, as 24 players contest the season-ending tournament at AFAS Live.
"Following the success of our 2018 World Series of Darts events, this is an exciting schedule for 2019 which will take the world's top players around the globe," said PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter.
"The German Darts Masters kicked off this year's action with a world record crowd and we're expecting huge interest once again with our first event in Cologne.
"It's also great to be able to take the World Series to Hamilton, with the sport growing in popularity year-on-year in New Zealand, while established destinations in Australia and Las Vegas are a great place to see the biggest names in darts live."
Travel packages from the UK for the World Series of Darts Festival in Las Vegas will be available in due course, with information to be posted at www.pdc.tv/vegas. Ticket-only options will also be available.
Tickets for the German Darts Masters are available now through www.eventim.de/german-darts-masters.
Ticket information for the Brisbane Darts Masters and Melbourne Darts Masters will be available in due course, with fans able to register for information via www.ticketek.com.au/darts.
Tickets for the NZ Darts Masters will go on sale in January through www.ticketek.co.nz/darts.
Tickets for the 2019 World Series of Darts Finals are available now through www.pdc-europe.tv/tickets.
2019 PDC World Series of Darts
US Darts Masters – July 4-5, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
German Darts Masters – July 12-13, LANXESS Arena, Cologne
Brisbane Darts Masters – August 9-10, BCEC, Brisbane
Melbourne Darts Masters – August 16-17, Hisense Arena, Melbourne
NZ Darts Masters – August 23-24, Claudelands Arena, Hamilton
World Series of Darts Finals - November 1-3, AFAS Live, Amsterdam

World Championship Day Six

VINCENT VAN DER VOORT moved into the third round of the William Hill World Darts Championship with a straight sets victory over Darren Webster as the action continued on Tuesday at Alexandra Palace, London.
Van der Voort, who had beaten Lourence Ilagan on Monday, dumped out number 13 seed Webster, who only managed to win one leg.
"I didn't play well but I played at little bit better than Darren," said The Dutchman, who celebrated his birthday with the victory.

"All that mattered was getting through this match. It was difficult playing a day after winning the first match the before so I'm not really concerned about the performance - only the result.
"I will have to play better in the next round but the main thing is that I will be there."

Japanese star Seigo Asada came from two sets behind to defeat Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski in round one.

Austria's Rowby-John Rodriguez tasted victory at Ally Pally for the first time in four attempts by defeating Ricky Evans.

The former PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship finalist claimed a 3-1 victory to move into round two, where he will face Spanish number one Cristo Reyes.

Former World Grand Prix and UK Open champion Robert Thornton was knocked out in the first round by Swedish debutant Daniel Larsson, who won 3-1 to set up a last 64 meeting with Kim Huybrechts.
Recently crowned Players Championship Finals winner Daryl Gurney enters the tournament on Tuesday evening along with PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion Dimitri Van Den Bergh.

The £2.5 million tournament is being broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1 and worldwide through the PDC's international broadcast partners.

Schedule of Play
Tuesday December 18
Afternoon Session (1230)
Daniel Larsson 3-1 Robert Thornton (R1) - REPORT
Rowby-John Rodriguez 3-1 Ricky Evans (R1) - REPORT
Seigo Asada 3-2 Krzysztof Ratajski (R1) - REPORT
Vincent van der Voort 3-0 Darren Webster (R2) - REPORT
Evening Session (1900)
Steve Lennon v James Bailey (R1)
Ron Meulenkamp v Diogo Portela (R1)
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Chuck Puleo (R1)
Daryl Gurney v Ross Smith (R2)

Wednesday 19 December
Afternoon Session (1230)
Nathan Aspinall v Geert Nentjes (R1)
Jeffrey de Graaf v Noel Malicdem (R1)
Joe Cullen v Brendan Dolan (R2)
Kim Huybrechts v Daniel Larsson (R2)
Evening Session (1900)
James Wilson v William O’Connor (R2)
Simon Whitlock v Ryan Joyce (R2)
Michael Smith v Meulenkamp/Portela (R2)
James Wade v Ratajski/Asada (R2)

Alcinas Sends Wright Crashing Out

TONI ALCINAS sent world number three Peter Wright crashing out of the William Hill World Championship with a stunning 3-1 victory at London's Alexandra Palace on Sunday.

The Spanish star punished 2014 runner-up Wright for poor finishing to reach the third round of the £2.5 million event for the second year in a row.

Alcinas opened up a 2-0 lead in the first set but a sublime 167 finish helped Wright force a decider, in which he left himself on 28 by scoring 171 - only to see his opponent take out 109.

Alcinas won the second set 3-1 before Wright seemed to start to find his feet, taking the third set 3-0, but the Spanish World Cup star produced a brilliant 13-darter to break in the deciding leg of set four to complete the biggest shock of the tournament so far.

"I played really well and I'm happy," said Alcinas, after defeating Wright for the first time in his career, having lost seven previous encounters against the Scotsman.

"I had played against Peter several times and could never beat him. He didn't play his best game but it was still a hard match and I had to play well to win.

"It is a special moment for me and I hope I can go even further now."

Dave Chisnall survived a scare as he fought back from two sets behind to defeat Josh Payne and reach round three.

Payne, a winner on the PDC ProTour in 2018, looked to be cruising to victory when he took the first two sets without dropping a leg while averaging almost 110.

Chisnall produced a strong leg to break in the deciding leg in set three before taking the fourth set 3-1, forcing a decider, which he won by the same margin after Payne had missed a dart to level.

"I thought I was out when he was two-nil up," admitted Chisnall.

"I just had to believe that he wouldn't be able to keep playing as well as he was and I know that I get better the longer games go on.

"That's what happened and it gives me confidence for the longer format in the next round."

Luke Humphries impressed in his 3-0 win against Adam Hunt, in which he won nine consecutive legs after losing the first.

Newbury ace Humphries, who topped the PDC Unicorn Development Tour Order of Merit for the second successive year, needed less than 20 minutes to complete his first World Championship victory.

"The first set was a bit scrappy but I'm really pleased with how I played after that," said the 23-year-old, who averaged 97.58.

"I feel like I am a better player this year and the Development and Challenge Tours have really helped me. Without them I wouldn't be here playing like I did."

Former World Grand Prix finalist Brendan Dolan eased into the second round with a 3-0 win over China's Yuanjun Liu.

Dolan won the first two sets without allowing Liu any darts at doubles before a fabulous 141 finish saw the Northern Irishman take a seventh successive leg.

"I think my experience pulled me through," said Dolan, who is making his 11th consecutive World Championship appearance.

"It was all new to him and I made sure I started well and didn't let him in. I've been practising hard this year and I feel like it is starting to pay off."

Liu landed double 16 to get his only leg on the board before Dolan claimed the next two legs to wrap up a comfortable win.

Darius Labanauskas recovered from losing the first set to defeat Matthew Edgar on his Alexandra Palace debut.

Labanauskas, the first Lithuanian to compete in the World Championship, put 15 missed darts at doubles in set one behind him to take the second set 3-0 before winning the next two sets to set up a second round tie with Raymond Van Barneveld.

Germany's Gabriel Clemens was Sunday's first winner after he eased to a straight sets victory over Aden Kirk.

Clemens will meet Scottish ace John Henderson in round two Friday.

Irishman William O'Connor moved into the second round at Ally Pally for the first time with a 3-0 win over Yordi Meeuwisse.

O'Connor took the first set 3-1 despite a brilliant 133 checkout from his Dutch opponent, before going on to win sets two and three in last-leg deciders to set up a last 64 meeting with James Wilson.

Ross Smith became the fifth player of the day to reach round two for the first time after defeating veteran star Paul Lim 3-1.

The action continues on Monday evening with three further first round ties, including Anastasia Dobromyslova's return to Ally Pally, before Van Barneveld's second round meeting with Labanauskas.

The £2.5 million tournament is being broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1 and worldwide through the PDC's international broadcast partners.

2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play
Sunday December 16
Afternoon Session
Gabriel Clemens 3-0 Aden Kirk (R1)
William O’Connor 3-0 Yordi Meeuwisse (R1)
Brendan Dolan 3-0 Yuanjun Liu (R1)
Dave Chisnall 3-2 Josh Payne (R2)

Evening Session
Luke Humphries 3-0 Adam Hunt (R1)
Darius Labanauskas 3-1 Matthew Edgar (R1)
Ross Smith 3-1 Paul Lim (R1)
Toni Alcinas 3-1 Peter Wright (R2)

Monday December 17 (1900)
Vincent van der Voort v Lourence Ilagan (R1)
Wayne Jones v Devon Petersen (R1)
Ryan Joyce v Anastasia Dobromyslova (R1)
Raymond van Barneveld v Edgar/Labanauskas (R2)

Best of five sets. No tie-break in the first round.

SOLID START FOR ANDERSON

TWO-TIME William Hill World Darts Champion Gary Anderson got his 2018/19 campaign off to a solid start with a 3-1 victory against Kevin Burness on Friday, as last year's semi-finalist Jamie Lewis also progressed to round three at Alexandra Palace, London.

Anderson hit seven 180s in a convincing win against Northern Ireland's Burness, who had seen off Paul Nicholson earlier in the day.

Burness kicked off with a 12 darter to break the Scotsman, who edged the first set 3-2, before losing set two 3-1 despite a brilliant 130 finish on the bull.

Anderson refused to become embroiled in an early battle, however, and reeled off six straight legs to seal the success.

"It wasn't my best performance but it was enough to get through," said Anderson, who has won the UK Open, World Matchplay and Champions League in 2018.

"I knew he could be a tough opponent and he proved that from the start but luckily the 180s started going in and I got over the line without any dramas."

Burness had landed five 180s and dropped just four legs in his earlier 3-0 triumph over Nicholson in round one.

Lewis moved into the third round after fending off a fightback from Cody Harris, who had defeated Martin Schindler in the first round on Thursday.

The Welshman, who reached the last four 12 months ago, raced into a two set lead but was pegged back to two apiece, before hitting a 180 in three consecutive legs in the decider to progress.

"I started off well, went two sets up and felt like I was cruising but then things started to go wrong for me," said Lewis, who fired in nine 180s.

"I was just happy to get over the line in the end. I just need to be more consistent now and there's no reason I can't go on another big run here."

Dutchman Danny Noppert enjoyed a comfortable debut victory, reeling off nine consecutive legs to defeat Hong Kong's Royden Lam.

A recent semi-finalist at the Players Championship Finals, Noppert only dropped the first leg before racing into the second round, where he will meet Max Hopp on Saturday.

"I didn't feel much pressure in that game and I'm really glad about that," said Noppert, a winner on the PDC ProTour in 2018.

"It's a crazy atmosphere here. I got goosebumps on the stage an really enjoyed it. It makes me feel confident and not nervous at all so we will see what happens in the next round."

Chris Dobey also secured a 3-0 victory as he moved into the second round at the expense of Russia's Boris Koltsov.

Two-time TV quarter-finalist Dobey dropped just two legs in an impressive opening display.

"I felt much more relaxed than last year," said Dobey, who was beaten by 16-time World Champion Phil Taylor in the first round 12 months ago.

"When you've played the best in his last ever World Championship, you're not going to get nervous again and I think that helped me this year."

Emerging prospect Ted Evetts clinched his first Alexandra Palace victory with a straight sets success over Simon Stevenson.

Stevenson missed darts to win each of the first two sets and was punished by Evetts, who went on to win the third set 3-1, teeing up a second round meeting with two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis.

Michael Barnard was Friday's first winner, as he survived five missed match darts from Portugal's Jose de Sousa before progressing in a sudden-death leg.

2018 PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour Order of Merit winner Barnard led by two sets before De Sousa hit back to level and then put himself in a winning position, before the Englishman progressed to a meeting with Jermaine Wattimena.

Alan Tabern also overcame a scare against Australia's Raymond Smith before securing a second round date with world number one Michael van Gerwen following a five-set contest.

Tabern led 2-0 before seeing the 2018 DPA Order of Merit winner hit back to level, but the St Helens ace took the deciding set 3-0 to progress.

The £2.5 million event continues over two sessions on Saturday when each session again includes three first round matches and one second round match, with the 32 seeded players joining the action in round two - including the start of tournament favourite Van Gerwen's campaign for a third World Championship title.

Watch live on the Sky Sports Darts channel in the UK & Ireland, worldwide through the PDC's broadcast partners or through PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship

Schedule of Play

Friday December 14

Afternoon Session

Michael Barnard 3-2 Jose De Sousa (R1)

Alan Tabern 3-2 Raymond Smith (R1)

Kevin Burness 3-0 Paul Nicholson (R1)

Jamie Lewis 3-2 Cody Harris (R2)

Evening Session

Danny Noppert 3-0 Royden Lam (R1)

Ted Evetts 3-0 Simon Stevenson (R1)

Chris Dobey 3-0 Boris Koltsov (R1)

Gary Anderson 3-1 Kevin Burness (R2)

Saturday December 15

Afternoon Session (1230)

Richard North v Robert Marijanovic (R1)

Mickey Mansell v Jim Long (R1)

Josh Payne v Jeff Smith (R1)

Max Hopp v Danny Noppert (R2)

Evening Session (1900)

Toni Alcinas v Craig Ross (R1)

Ryan Searle v Stephen Burton (R1)

Keegan Brown v Karel Sedlacek (R1)

Michael van Gerwen v Alan Tabern (R2)

Reigning Champion Cross Off To Winning Start

REIGNING William Hill World Champion Rob Cross got his title defence off to winning start in a brilliant match against Jeffrey de Zwaan on Thursday as the 2018/19 tournament began at Alexandra Palace, London.

Day One of the £2.5 million event saw world number two Cross progress to the third round, as Jan Dekker and Cody Harris moved into round two.

Cross defied an average of 106.09 - the second highest losing average in the tournament's history - to seal a 3-1 win against the Dutch youngster, who won the first three legs to take the first set.

Cross, who averaged 102.93, produced crucial set-winning checkouts of 96 and 121 to move ahead before winning the third set 3-1.

"I thought that my finishing got me through," said Cross, who famously won the Sid Waddell Trophy on his debut in January.

"I think I had been written off on social media but that goes with the territory and Jeffrey was fantastic so I'm really pleased.

"He is one of the best players in the world in my opinion but you can't buy the grit I showed in that match.

"If someone is going to beat me here they are going to have to play really well because I can play better and I believe I can win it again."

World Matchplay semi-finalist De Zwaan had earlier defeated Indian qualifier Nitin Kumar in straight sets in the tournament opener.

Dekker fought back to defeat Lisa Ashton, who won the first three legs in 42 darts to take the first set.

The Lakeside Women's Champion also hit back from two legs behind to force a deciding leg in set two, but Dekker won what proved to be a pivotal leg as he went on to close out a 3-1 success.

"I had to work really hard for that," said Dekker.

"Lisa played awesome in the first set but I felt a lot better after winning the second set and was very happy to go all the way and win from there.

"There was a lot of media attention around this match, which made it harder so I was very relieved at the end."

Dekker will take on Mervyn King next Thursday in round two.

Ashton, whose average in the first set was over 107, said: "I feel good but also a little bit gutted. I'm pleased with how I played but felt I could have taken a few more chances. I think I've done the Ladies proud."

New Zealand’s Cody Harris sealed his place in the second round after winning a five-set thriller against Martin Schindler.

Harris, who moved over to the UK at the beginning of the year, won the deciding set 3-1 with finishes of 85 and 104 to triumph.

“I’m really happy to get the win,” said 33-year-old Harris, a winner on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour in 2018.

“I’m over here chasing the dream, while my partner and children are back home in New Zealand and this is all for them.

“Anything is possible. You dream it first and then you achieve it. We all saw that from Rob Cross winning last year.”

Harris will face Jamie Lewis, a semi-finalist at Alexandra Palace 12 months ago, in the second round on Friday afternoon.

The tournament will be broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1 and worldwide through the PDC's international broadcast partners.

2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship

Schedule of Play

Thursday December 13 (1900)

Jeffrey de Zwaan 3-0 Nitin Kumar (R1)

Cody Harris 3-2 Martin Schindler (R1)

Jan Dekker 3-1 Lisa Ashton (R1)

Rob Cross 3-1 Jeffrey De Zwaan (R2)

Friday December 14

Afternoon Session (1230)

Michael Barnard v Jose De Sousa (R1)

Alan Tabern v Raymond Smith (R1)

Paul Nicholson v Kevin Burness (R1)

Jamie Lewis v Cody Harris (R2)

Evening Session (1900)

Danny Noppert v Royden Lam (R1)

Simon Stevenson v Ted Evetts (R1)

Chris Dobey v Boris Koltsov (R1)

Gary Anderson v Nicholson/Burness (R2)

Preview of the William Hill World Darts Championship

DARTS' biggest-ever event begins on Thursday, with Rob Cross beginning his William Hill World Darts Championship title defence at Alexandra Palace.

A field of 96 players from 28 countries will compete across the Christmas and New Year period live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel, with a record £2.5m prize money on offer.

Cross, who famously defeated Phil Taylor in the final 12 months ago, will take on the winner of the tournament's opening fixture between World Matchplay semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan and Indian Qualifier Nitin Kumar, as he aims to repeat last year's incredible success.

"I've been working hard in practice to make sure I'm ready and I can't wait to get out there," said Cross, who is priced at 22/1 with sponsors William Hill to win back-to-back titles.

"It's the biggest tournament in the world so you've got to be ready.

"I might be a little bit edgy in the first game but I was last year too and it went well for me then, and coming back to Alexandra Palace might bring out the best in me.

"Last year was completely different because there was no pressure on me, but I'm really looking forward to it. I love the set play format."

Reigning Lakeside Women's Champion Ashton will make her Alexandra Palace debut against Dutchman Jan Dekker in another high-profile fixture on the opening night.

"I'm going to enjoy the experience and for me it's great to be playing on the first night so I can get straight into it," said Ashton.

"I've had some great support and a lot of respected people in the game have said nice things about me, but there's also a bit of pressure that comes with that.

"But I'll turn any nerves into positivity and adrenaline that will have a good effect on my game and hopefully I will do ladies' darts proud."

Ashton joined Anastasia Dobromyslova in qualifying for the event, with the Russian ace set to take on Ryan Joyce in her opening tie on Monday December 17.

Thursday's opening night also features the tie between Germany's Martin Schindler and New Zealand's Cody Harris, with the winner progressing to face last year's semi-finalist Jamie Lewis on Friday afternoon.

Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson headlines the second day of action as he meets Paul Nicholson or Kevin Burness, while world number one Michael van Gerwen enters the event on Saturday December 15 where he will play either Alan Tabern or Raymond Smith.

"It feels amazing to win the World Championship title, you work so hard for it all year and it's a phenomenal moment of completion," said two-time World Champion Van Gerwen, the 11/8 pre-tournament favourite.

"I've won two but I want to win more and to do that I have to make sure that I'm ready. I know I'll be a big favourite and there will be pressure on me, so I have to perform.

"People always play better against me than other players, maybe because there's no pressure on them so I have to play well and make sure I prepare well."

Former World Championship finalist Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall and the legendary Paul Lim are amongst the stars in action on Sunday December 16.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld begins his penultimate Ally Pally challenge - ahead of his retirement at the end of next year - on Monday December 17 against either Matthew Edgar or Darius Labanauskas.

The second round concludes on Friday December 21, the third round is split either side of the Christmas break, with the fourth round being played on December 27-28 ahead of the quarter-finals across two sessions on December 29.

The semi-finals on Sunday December 30 will be followed on Tuesday January 1 by the final as sport's first World Champion of 2019 hoists the Sid Waddell Trophy.

Tickets for the William Hill World Darts Championship are still available, with very limited availability for some sessions. Group Bookings are still available in the tiered seating areas for the afternoon sessions on December 19 and 20.

The William Hill World Darts Championship will be broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1 and worldwide through the PDC's international broadcast partners.

2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play
Thursday December 13 (1900)
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Nitin Kumar (R1)
Martin Schindler v Cody Harris (R1)
Jan Dekker v Lisa Ashton (R1)
Rob Cross v De Zwaan/Kumar (R2)

Friday December 14
Afternoon Session (1230)
Michael Barnard v Jose De Sousa (R1)
Alan Tabern v Raymond Smith (R1)
Paul Nicholson v Kevin Burness (R1)
Jamie Lewis v Schindler/Harris (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Danny Noppert v Royden Lam (R1)
Simon Stevenson v Ted Evetts (R1)
Chris Dobey v Boris Koltsov (R1)
Gary Anderson v Nicholson/Burness (R2)

Saturday December 15
Afternoon Session (1230)
Richard North v Robert Marijanovic (R1)
Mickey Mansell v Jim Long (R1)
Josh Payne v Jeff Smith (R1)
Max Hopp v Noppert/Lam (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Toni Alcinas v Craig Ross (R1)
Ryan Searle v Stephen Burton (R1)
Keegan Brown v Karel Sedlacek (R1)
Michael van Gerwen v Tabern/Ray Smith (R2)

Sunday December 16
Afternoon Session (1230)
Gabriel Clemens v Aden Kirk (R1)
William O’Connor v Yordi Meeuwisse (R1)
Brendan Dolan v Yuanjun Liu (R1)
Dave Chisnall v Payne/J Smith (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Luke Humphries v Adam Hunt (R1)
Matthew Edgar v Darius Labanauskas (R1)
Ross Smith v Paul Lim (R1)
Peter Wright v Alcinas/Ross (R2)

Monday December 17 (1900)
Vincent van der Voort v Lourence Ilagan (R1)
Wayne Jones v Devon Petersen (R1)
Ryan Joyce v Anastasia Dobromyslova (R1)
Raymond van Barneveld v Edgar/Labanauskas (R2)

Tuesday December 18
Afternoon Session (1230)
Robert Thornton v Daniel Larsson (R1)
Ricky Evans v Rowby-John Rodriguez (R1)
Krzysztof Ratajski v Seigo Asada (R1)
Darren Webster v Van der Voort/Ilagan (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Steve Lennon v James Bailey (R1)
Ron Meulenkamp v Diogo Portela (R1)
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Chuck Puleo (R1)
Daryl Gurney v Ross Smith/Lim (R2)

Wednesday December 19
Afternoon Session (1230)
Nathan Aspinall v Geert Nentjes (R1)
Jeffrey de Graaf v Noel Malicdem (R1)
Joe Cullen v Dolan/Liu (R2)
Kim Huybrechts v Thornton/Larsson (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
James Wilson v O’Connor/Meuwisse (R2)
Simon Whitlock v Joyce/Dobromyslova (R2)
Michael Smith v Meulenkamp/Portela (R2)
James Wade v Ratajski/Asada (R2)

Thursday December 20
Afternoon Session (1230)
Jermaine Wattimena v Barnard/De Sousa (R2)
Alan Norris v Lennon/Bailey (R2)
Stephen Bunting v Humphries/Hunt (R2)
Steve Beaton v Dobey/Koltsov (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Cristo Reyes v Evans/Rodriguez (R2)
Mervyn King v Dekker/Ashton (R2)
Adrian Lewis v Stevenson/Evetts (R2)
Mensur Suljovic v Searle/Burton (R2)

Friday December 21
Afternoon Session (1230)
Benito van de Pas v Mansell/Long (R2)
John Henderson v Clemens/Kirk (R2)
Steve West v North/Marijanovic (R2)
Kyle Anderson v De Graaf/Malicdem (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Ian White v Jones/Petersen (R2)
Jelle Klaasen v Brown/Sedlacek (R2)
Gerwyn Price v Aspinall/Nentjes (R2)
Jonny Clayton v Van den Bergh/Puleo (R2)

Saturday December 22
Afternoon Session (1230)
Whitlock/Joyce/Dobromyslova v Norris/Lennon/Bailey (R3)
Chisnall/Payne/J Smith v Huybrechts/Thornton/Larsson (R3)
Gurney/Ross Smith/Lim v J Lewis/Schindler/Harris (R3)

Evening Session (1900)
Suljovic/Searle/Burton v Wilson/O’Connor/Meeuwisse (R3)
G Anderson/Nicholson/Burness v Wattimena/Barnard/De Sousa (R3)
Van Gerwen/Tabern/Ray Smith v Hopp/Noppert/Lam (R3)

Sunday December 23
Afternoon Session (1230)
Webster/Van der Voort/Ilagan v Beaton/Dobey/Koltsov (R3)
Cullen/Dolan/Liu v King/Dekker/Ashton (R3)
Wade/Ratajski/Asada v Klaasen/Brown/Sedlacek (R3)

Evening Session (1900)
A Lewis/Stevenson/Evetts v Van Barneveld/Edgar/Labanauskas (R3)
Price/Aspinall/Nentjes v K Anderson/De Graaf/Malicdem (R3)
Cross/De Zwaan/Kumar v Reyes/Evans/Rodriguez (R3)

Thursday December 27
Afternoon Session (1230)
White/Jones/Petersen v West/North/Marijanovic (R3)
Clayton/Van den Bergh/Puleo v Bunting/Humphries/Hunt (R3)
M Smith/Meulenkamp/Portela v Henderson/Clemens/Kirk (R3)

Evening Session (1900)
Wright/Alcinas/Ross v Van de Pas/Mansell/Long (R3)
Fourth Round x2

Friday December 28
Afternoon Session (1230)
Fourth Round x3

Evening Session (1900)
Fourth Round x3

Saturday December 29
Afternoon Session (1230)
Quarter-Finals x2

Evening Session (1900)
Quarter-Finals x2

Sunday December 30 (1900)
Semi-Finals

Tuesday January 1 (2000)
Final

Format
First Round - Best of five sets (no tie-break)
Second Round - Best of five sets
Third Round - Best of seven sets
Fourth Round - Best of seven sets
Quarter-Finals - Best of nine sets
Semi-Finals - Best of 11 sets
Final - Best of 13 sets
A tie-break will be in operation in all round from the second round onwards, where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches five-all, the 11th leg will be a sudden-death leg

5 former/current DPA players in the Worlds

MORE countries than ever before will be represented at the 2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship.
The tournament's biggest development since its move to London's Alexandra Palace a decade ago saw the field of players expanded to 96, offering more opportunities than ever before for international players.
Darts' biggest-ever event will see 28 nationalities represented, meaning the continental flavour will be stronger than ever at this year's festival of darts across the Christmas and New Year period.
Among the International Qualifiers is Nordic and Baltic Qualfier Darius Labanauskas, who will become the first player to represent Lithuania at the PDC World Championship.

There will also be 24 debutants in this year's event, the joint-second highest number since the first World Championship in 1994.
Among the new kids on the block are rising Dutch star Danny Noppert,UK & Ireland Women's Qualifier Lisa Ashton and American Chuck Puleo.
World Championship Competitors By Country
England (34) - Rob Cross, James Wade, Michael Smith, Ian White, Dave Chisnall, Darren Webster, Joe Cullen, Adrian Lewis, Stephen Bunting, Mervyn King, Steve Beaton, Steve West, Alan Norris, James Wilson, Ricky Evans, Chris Dobey, Josh Payne, Ryan Joyce, Richard North, Keegan Brown, Nathan Aspinall, Michael Barnard, Simon Stevenson, Luke Humphries, Alan Tabern, Wayne Jones, Ross Smith, Ryan Searle, Matthew Edgar, Lisa Ashton, Stephen Burton, Ted Evetts, Adam Hunt, Aden Kirk

Netherlands (13) - Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld, Jelle Klaasen, Jermaine Wattimena, Benito van de Pas, Danny Noppert, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Jan Dekker, Ron Meulenkamp, Vincent van der Voort, Jeffrey de Graaf, Yordi Meeuwisse, Geert Nentjes
Australia (5) - Simon Whitlock, Kyle Anderson, Paul Nicholson, James Bailey, Raymond Smith
Scotland (4) - Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, John Henderson, Robert Thornton
Germany (4) - Max Hopp, Martin Schindler, Gabriel Clemens, Robert Marijanovic
Northern Ireland (4) - Daryl Gurney, Mickey Mansell, Brendan Dolan, Kevin Burness
Wales (3) - Gerwyn Price, Jonny Clayton, Jamie Lewis
Austria (2) - Mensur Suljovic, Rowby-John Rodriguez
Belgium (2) - Kim Huybrechts, Dimitri Van den Bergh
Spain (2) - Cristo Reyes, Toni Alcinas

Canada (2) - Jim Long, Jeff Smith
Republic of Ireland (2) - Steve Lennon, William O'Connor
New Zealand (2) - Cody Harris, Craig Ross
Philippines (2) - Lourence Ilagan, Noel Malicdem
Russia (2) - Boris Koltsov, Anastasia Dobromyslova
Brazil (1) - Diogo Portela
China (1) - Yuanjun Liu
Czech Republic (1) - Karel Sedlacek
Hong Kong (1) - Royden Lam
India (1) - Nitin Kumar
Japan (1) - Seigo Asada
Lithuania (1) - Darius Labanauskas
Poland (1) - Krzysztof Ratajski
Portugal (1) - Jose De Sousa
South Africa (1) - Devon Petersen
Singapore (1) - Paul Lim
Sweden (1) - Daniel Larsson
USA (1) - Chuck Puleo

World Championship Debutants
Raymond Smith
Danny Noppert
Matthew Edgar
Darius Labanauskus
Lisa Ashton
Ryan Searle
Ryan Joyce
James Bailey
Karel Sedlacek
Daniel Larsson
Kevin Burness
Nitin Kumar
Chuck Puleo
Adam Hunt
Stephen Burton
Yordi Meeuwise
Gabriel Clemens
Aden Kirk
Geert Nentjes
Nathan Aspinall
Noel Malicdem
Craig Ross
Jim Long
Yuanjun Liu

William Hill World Championship Schedule

ROB CROSS and Lisa Ashton will headline the opening night of the 2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship, with the schedule for darts' biggest event now confirmed.

The £2.5 million event's first of 16 days of action on Thursday December 13 at London's Alexandra Palace will see reigning World Champion Cross open his title defence.

The Hastings ace will take on the winner of the tournament's opening fixture, between World Matchplay semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan and Indian Qualifier Nitin Kumar, as he aims to repeat last year's incredible success.

Reigning Lakeside Women's Champion Ashton will make her Alexandra Palace debut against Dutchman Jan Dekker in another high-profile fixture on the opening night.

Ashton joined Anastasia Dobromyslova in qualifying for the event, with the Russian ace set to take on Ryan Joyce in her opening tie on Monday December 17.

Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson headlines the second day of action as he meets Paul Nicholson or Kevin Burness, with 2018 semi-finalist Jamie Lewis also in action as he plays Martin Schindler or Cody Harris.

World number one Michael van Gerwen enters the event on Saturday December 15 to play either Alan Tabern or Raymond Smith, with former World Youth Champions Max Hopp and Keegan Brown taking to the stage across the double session.

Former World Championship finalist Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall and the legendary Paul Lim are amongst the stars in action on Sunday December 16.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld begins his penultimate Ally Pally challenge - ahead of his retirement at the end of next year - on Monday December 17 against either Matthew Edgar or Darius Labanauskas.

New Players Championship Finals winner Daryl Gurney takes to the stage alongside World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh and former UK Open and World Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton on Tuesday December 18.

European Championship and World Series of Darts Finals winner James Wade is joined by Shanghai Darts Masters champion Michael Smith and 2010 World Championship finalist Simon Whitlock on Wednesday December 19.

Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis opens his bid for a third Ally Pally title on Thursday December 20, with former Lakeside Champions Steve Beaton and Stephen Bunting and former Champions League winner Mensur Suljovic also in action.

The second round concludes on Friday December 21, with new Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price and 2018 European Tour event winners Ian White and Jonny Clayton taking to the stage.

The third round is split either side of the Christmas break, with the fourth round being played on December 27-28 ahead of the quarter-finals across two sessions on December 29.

The semi-finals on Sunday December 30 will be followed on Tuesday January 1 by the final as sport's first World Champion of 2019 hoists the Sid Waddell Trophy.

Tickets for the William Hill World Darts Championship are still available, with very limited availability for some sessions. Information for tickets and Hospitality Packages can be seen at THIS LINK or CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SEETICKETS WEBSITE.

The William Hill World Darts Championship will be broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1.

2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
Schedule of Play
Thursday December 13 (1900)
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Nitin Kumar (R1)
Martin Schindler v Cody Harris (R1)
Jan Dekker v Lisa Ashton (R1)
Rob Cross v De Zwaan/Kumar (R2)

Friday December 14
Afternoon Session (1230)
Michael Barnard v Jose De Sousa (R1)
Alan Tabern v Raymond Smith (R1)
Paul Nicholson v Kevin Burness (R1)
Jamie Lewis v Schindler/Harris (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Danny Noppert v Royden Lam (R1)
Simon Stevenson v Ted Evetts (R1)
Chris Dobey v Boris Koltsov (R1)
Gary Anderson v Nicholson/Burness (R2)

Saturday December 15
Afternoon Session (1230)
Richard North v Robert Marijanovic (R1)
Mickey Mansell v Jim Long (R1)
Josh Payne v Jeff Smith (R1)
Max Hopp v Noppert/Lam (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Toni Alcinas v Craig Ross (R1)
Ryan Searle v Stephen Burton (R1)
Keegan Brown v Karel Sedlacek (R1)
Michael van Gerwen v Tabern/Ray Smith (R2)

Sunday December 16
Afternoon Session (1230)
Gabriel Clemens v Aden Kirk (R1)
William O’Connor v Yordi Meeuwisse (R1)
Brendan Dolan v Yuanjun Liu (R1)
Dave Chisnall v Payne/J Smith (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Luke Humphries v Adam Hunt (R1)
Matthew Edgar v Darius Labanauskas (R1)
Ross Smith v Paul Lim (R1)
Peter Wright v Alcinas/Ross (R2)

Monday December 17 (1900)
Vincent van der Voort v Lourence Ilagan (R1)
Wayne Jones v Devon Petersen (R1)
Ryan Joyce v Anastasia Dobromyslova (R1)
Raymond van Barneveld v Edgar/Labanauskas (R2)

Tuesday December 18
Afternoon Session (1230)
Robert Thornton v Daniel Larsson (R1)
Ricky Evans v Rowby-John Rodriguez (R1)
Krzysztof Ratajski v Seigo Asada (R1)
Darren Webster v Van der Voort/Ilagan (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Steve Lennon v James Bailey (R1)
Ron Meulenkamp v Diogo Portela (R1)
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Chuck Puleo (R1)
Daryl Gurney v Ross Smith/Lim (R2)

Wednesday December 19
Afternoon Session (1230)
Nathan Aspinall v Geert Nentjes (R1)
Jeffrey de Graaf v Noel Malicdem (R1)
Joe Cullen v Dolan/Liu (R2)
Kim Huybrechts v Thornton/Larsson (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
James Wilson v O’Connor/Meuwisse (R2)
Simon Whitlock v Joyce/Dobromyslova (R2)
Michael Smith v Meulenkamp/Portela (R2)
James Wade v Ratajski/Asada (R2)

Thursday December 20
Afternoon Session (1230)
Jermaine Wattimena v Barnard/De Sousa (R2)
Alan Norris v Lennon/Bailey (R2)
Stephen Bunting v Humphries/Hunt (R2)
Steve Beaton v Dobey/Koltsov (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Cristo Reyes v Evans/Rodriguez (R2)
Mervyn King v Dekker/Ashton (R2)
Adrian Lewis v Stevenson/Evetts (R2)
Mensur Suljovic v Searle/Burton (R2)

Friday December 21
Afternoon Session (1230)
Benito van de Pas v Mansell/Long (R2)
John Henderson v Clemens/Kirk (R2)
Steve West v North/Marijanovic (R2)
Kyle Anderson v De Graaf/Malicdem (R2)

Evening Session (1900)
Ian White v Jones/Petersen (R2)
Jelle Klaasen v Brown/Sedlacek (R2)
Gerwyn Price v Aspinall/Nentjes (R2)
Jonny Clayton v Van den Bergh/Puleo (R2)

Saturday December 22
Afternoon Session (1230)
Whitlock/Joyce/Dobromyslova v Norris/Lennon/Bailey (R3)
Chisnall/Payne/J Smith v Huybrechts/Thornton/Larsson (R3)
Gurney/Ross Smith/Lim v J Lewis/Schindler/Harris (R3)

Evening Session (1900)
Suljovic/Searle/Burton v Wilson/O’Connor/Meeuwisse (R3)
G Anderson/Nicholson/Burness v Wattimena/Barnard/De Sousa (R3)
Van Gerwen/Tabern/Ray Smith v Hopp/Noppert/Lam (R3)

Sunday December 23
Afternoon Session (1230)
Webster/Van der Voort/Ilagan v Beaton/Dobey/Koltsov (R3)
Cullen/Dolan/Liu v King/Dekker/Ashton (R3)
Wade/Ratajski/Asada v Klaasen/Brown/Sedlacek (R3)

Evening Session (1900)
A Lewis/Stevenson/Evetts v Van Barneveld/Edgar/Labanauskas (R3)
Price/Aspinall/Nentjes v K Anderson/De Graaf/Malicdem (R3)
Cross/De Zwaan/Kumar v Reyes/Evans/Rodriguez (R3)

Thursday December 27
Afternoon Session (1230)
White/Jones/Petersen v West/North/Marijanovic (R3)
Clayton/Van den Bergh/Puleo v Bunting/Humphries/Hunt (R3)
M Smith/Meulenkamp/Portela v Henderson/Clemens/Kirk (R3)

Evening Session (1900)
Wright/Alcinas/Ross v Van de Pas/Mansell/Long (R3)
Fourth Round x2

Friday December 28
Afternoon Session (1230)
Fourth Round x3

Evening Session (1900)
Fourth Round x3

Saturday December 29
Afternoon Session (1230)
Quarter-Finals x2

Evening Session (1900)
Quarter-Finals x2

Sunday December 30 (1900)
Semi-Finals

Tuesday January 1 (2000)
Final

Format
First Round - Best of five sets (no tie-break)
Second Round - Best of five sets
Third Round - Best of seven sets
Fourth Round - Best of seven sets
Quarter-Finals - Best of nine sets
Semi-Finals - Best of 11 sets
Final - Best of 13 sets
A tie-break will be in operation in all round from the second round onwards, where the final set must be won by two clear legs. If the score reaches five-all, the 11th leg will be a sudden-death leg.

2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship Draw Confirmed

ROB CROSS will begin the defence of his William Hill World Darts Championship title against Jeffrey de Zwaan or Nitin Kumar.

The draw for the 2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship was made on Monday for darts' biggest-ever event, which will see 96 players compete from December 13-January 1 for £2.5 million in prize money and the Sid Waddell Trophy live on Sky Sports.

Under the new, expanded format, the top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit are seeded and enter at the second round stage.

The first round will feature 32 qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit, based on prize money won across 41 non-televised events in 2018, and 32 international qualifiers.

Reigning champion Cross, who shocked the world at last year's event by taking glory on his Alexandra Palace debut, will face a second round test against either World Matchplay semi-finalist De Zwaan or Indian Qualifer Nitin Kumar.

World number one Michael van Gerwen will meet Alan Tabern or Australian qualifier Raymond Smith, while two-time champion Gary Anderson will play former Players Championship Finals winner Paul Nicholson or Northern Ireland's Kevin Burness.

Back-to-back World Champion Adrian Lewis will meet Simon Stevenson or rising star Ted Evetts, Peter Wright takes on Spain's Toni Alcinas or New Zealand's Craig Ross, and former champion Raymond van Barneveld will play Matthew Edgar or Lithuania's Darius Labanauskas.

UK and Ireland Women's Qualifier Lisa Ashton will face Dutchman Jan Dekker for the right to play Mervyn King, while Rest of the World Women's Qualifier Anastasia Dobromyslova will take on Ryan Joyce, with the winner to play Simon Whitlock.

The William Hill World Darts Championship will be broadcast through the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel, which will also feature exclusive documentaries and classic footage alongside the Ultra HD coverage of the tournament.

2018 William Hill World Darts Championship

Draw Bracket

Seeded Players Enter In Second Round

(1) Michael van Gerwen v Alan Tabern/Raymond Smith

(32) Max Hopp v Danny Noppert/Royden Lam

(16) Adrian Lewis v Simon Stevenson/Ted Evetts

(17) Raymond van Barneveld v Matthew Edgar/Darius Labanauskas

(8) Simon Whitlock v Ryan Joyce/Anastasia Dobromyslova

(25) Alan Norris v Steve Lennon/James Bailey

(9) James Wade v Krzysztof Ratajski/Seigo Asada

(24) Jelle Klaasen v Keegan Brown/Karel Sedlacek

(5) Daryl Gurney v Ross Smith/Paul Lim

(28) Jamie Lewis v Martin Schindler/Cody Harris

(12) Dave Chisnall v Josh Payne/Jeff Smith

(21) Kim Huybrechts v Robert Thornton/Daniel Larsson

(4) Gary Anderson v Paul Nicholson/Kevin Burness

(29) Jermaine Wattimena v Michael Barnard/Jose De Sousa

(13) Darren Webster v Vincent van der Voort/Lourence Ilagan

(20) Steve Beaton v Chris Dobey/Boris Koltsov

(2) Rob Cross v Jeffrey de Zwaan/Nitin Kumar

(31) Cristo Reyes v Ricky Evans/Rowby-John Rodriguez

(15) Jonny Clayton v Dimitri Van den Bergh/Chuck Puleo

(18) Stephen Bunting v Luke Humphries/Adam Hunt

(7) Mensur Suljovic v Ryan Searle/Stephen Burton

(26) James Wilson v William O'Connor/Yordi Meeuwisse

(10) Michael Smith v Ron Meulenkamp/Diogo Portela

(23) John Henderson v Gabriel Clemens/Aden Kirk

(6) Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall/Geert Nentjes

(27) Kyle Anderson v Jeffrey de Graaf/Noel Malicdem

(11) Ian White v Wayne Jones/Devon Petersen

(22) Steve West v Richard North/Robert Marijanovic

(3) Peter Wright v Toni Alcinas/Craig Ross

(30) Benito van de Pas v Mickey Mansell/Jim Long

(14) Joe Cullen v Brendan Dolan/Yuanjun Liu

(19) Mervyn King v Jan Dekker/Lisa Ashton

First Round

Alan Tabern v Raymond Smith

Danny Noppert v Royden Lam

Simon Stevenson v Ted Evetts

Matthew Edgar v Darius Labanauskas

Ryan Joyce v Anastasia Dobromyslova

Steve Lennon v James Bailey

Krzysztof Ratajski v Seigo Asada

Keegan Brown v Karel Sedlacek

Ross Smith v Paul Lim

Martin Schindler v Cody Harris

Josh Payne v Jeff Smith

Robert Thornton v Daniel Larsson

Paul Nicholson v Kevin Burness

Michael Barnard v Jose De Sousa

Vincent van der Voort v Lourence Ilagan

Chris Dobey v Boris Koltsov

Jeffrey de Zwaan v Nitin Kumar

Ricky Evans v Rowby-John Rodriguez

Dimitri Van den Bergh v Chuck Puleo

Luke Humphries v Adam Hunt

Ryan Searle v Stephen Burton

William O'Connor v Yordi Meeuwisse

Ron Meulenkamp v Diogo Portela

Gabriel Clemens v Aden Kirk

Nathan Aspinall v Geert Nentjes

Jeffrey de Graaf v Noel Malicdem

Wayne Jones v Devon Petersen

Richard North v Robert Marijanovic

Toni Alcinas v Craig Ross

Mickey Mansell v Jim Long

Brendan Dolan v Yuanjun Liu

Jan Dekker v Lisa Ashton

The schedule of matches will be confirmed later this week.

Schedule of Play

Thursday December 13

Evening Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Friday December 14

Afternoon Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Evening Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Saturday December 15

Afternoon Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Evening Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Sunday December 16

Afternoon Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Evening Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Monday December 17

Evening Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Tuesday December 18

Afternoon Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Evening Session

2x First Round matches

2x Second Round matches

Wednesday December 19

Afternoon Session

3x First Round matches

1x Second Round match

Evening Session

4x Second Round matches

Thursday December 20

Afternoon Session

4x Second Round matches

Evening Session

4x Second Round matches

Friday December 21

Afternoon Session

4x Second Round matches

Evening Session

4x Second Round matches

Saturday December 22

Afternoon Session

3x Third Round matches

Evening Session

3x Third Round matches

Sunday December 23

Afternoon Session

3x Third Round matches

Evening Session

3x Third Round matches

Thursday December 27

Afternoon Session

3x Third Round matches

Evening Session

1x Third Round match

2x Fourth Round matches

Friday December 28

Afternoon Session

3x Fourth Round matches

Evening Session

3x Fourth Round Matches

Saturday December 29

Afternoon Session

2x Quarter-Finals

Evening Session

2x Quarter-Finals

Sunday December 30

Evening Session

Semi-Finals

Tuesday January 1

Evening Session

Final

William Hill World Championship Field Confirmed

THE qualifying field for the 2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship has been confirmed, following the last ranking event ahead of the Alexandra Palace spectacular.

Darts' biggest-ever event will see 96 players competing from December 13-January 1 as they battle for £2.5 million in prize money and the Sid Waddell Trophy.

Under the new, expanded format, the top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit are seeded and enter at the second round stage.

The first round will feature 32 qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit, based on prize money won across 41 non-televised events in 2018, and 32 international qualifiers.

Reigning World Champion Rob Cross will be the number two seed as he defends the title he claimed in sensational fashion 12 months ago with his stunning win over retiring legend Phil Taylor.

World number one Michael van Gerwen is the top seed, while Sunday's Players Championship Finals winner Daryl Gurney is seeded fifth and recent Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price is the sixth seed.

Former World Champions Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld occupy the 16th and 17th spots, meaning a potential third round meeting with each other at Ally Pally.

Dutch debutant Danny Noppert heads the field of ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers, alongside Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski, who has won three ranking titles this year.

Daventry's Matthew Edgar claimed the final ProTour Order of Merit qualifying place, with Australia's Corey Cadby having withdrawn from the field.

Lisa Ashton joined Anastasia Dobromyslova as the second female qualifier in the field after winning through Sunday's UK & Ireland Women's Qualifier in Milton Keynes.

The final three places will be confirmed at the last-chance PDC Tour Card Holders' Qualifier in Milton Keynes on Monday, with two places increased to three with PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh having already qualified through the ProTour Order of Merit.

The William Hill World Darts Championship will be broadcast on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from December 13-January 1.

A limited number of tickets remain available for sale through pdc.seetickets.com. Click here for full ticket and hospitality information.

The draw for the William Hill World Darts Championship will be made on Sky Sports News at 5.30pm on Monday November 26.

2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship
PDC Order of Merit Qualifiers (Seeded)
1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Gary Anderson
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Gerwyn Price
7 Mensur Suljovic
8 Simon Whitlock
9 James Wade
10 Michael Smith
11 Ian White
12 Dave Chisnall
13 Darren Webster
14 Joe Cullen
15 Jonny Clayton
16 Adrian Lewis
17 Raymond van Barneveld
18 Stephen Bunting
19 Mervyn King
20 Steve Beaton
21 Kim Huybrechts
22 Steve West
23 John Henderson
24 Jelle Klaasen
25 Alan Norris
26 James Wilson
27 Kyle Anderson
28 Jamie Lewis
29 Jermaine Wattimena
30 Benito van de Pas
31 Cristo Reyes
32 Max Hopp

ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers
Danny Noppert
Krzysztof Ratajski
Ricky Evans
Jeffrey de Zwaan
Steve Lennon
Chris Dobey
Martin Schindler
Josh Payne
Gabriel Clemens
Ryan Joyce
Richard North
Keegan Brown
Mickey Mansell
Robert Thornton
Jan Dekker
Nathan Aspinall
Ron Meulenkamp
Brendan Dolan
William O'Connor
Vincent van der Voort
Michael Barnard
Toni Alcinas
Paul Nicholson
Simon Stevenson
Luke Humphries
Jeffrey de Graaf
Dimitri Van den Bergh
Alan Tabern
Wayne Jones
Ross Smith
Ryan Searle
Matthew Edgar

International Qualifiers
2018 PDC Asian Tour Top Four - Lourence Ilagan, Royden Lam, Noel Malicdem, Paul Lim
2018 PDC Unicorn Development Tour Order of Merit top two non-qualified players - Ted Evetts, Geert Nentjes
2018 PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour Order of Merit top non-qualified player - Cody Harris
PDC Nordic & Baltic Top Two - Darius Labanauskas, Daniel Larsson
EADC Champion - Boris Koltsov
Oceanic Masters Champion - James Bailey
DPA Order of Merit Winner - Raymond Smith
DPNZ Qualifier - Craig Ross
German Superleague Champion - Robert Marijanovic
South-West Europe Qualifier - Jose De Sousa
South-East Europe Qualifier - Rowby-John Rodriguez
West Europe Qualifier - Yordi Meeuwisse
East Europe Qualifier - Karel Sedlacek
PDC China Qualifier - Yuanjun Liu
Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay Champion - Kevin Burness
North American Championship Winner - Jeff Smith
CDC Top Ranked American Player - Chuck Puleo
CDC Top Ranked Canadian Player - Jim Long
PDJ Japanese Qualifier - Seigo Asada
African Qualifier - Devon Petersen
South American Qualifier - Diogo Portela
UK Ladies Qualifier - Lisa Ashton
Rest of the World Ladies Qualifier - Anastasia Dobromyslova
Indian Qualifier - Nitin Kumar
Plus three players from PDC Tour Card Holders' Qualifier (Nov 26)

Emotional Gurney Lifts Minehead Title

DARYL GURNEY claimed the 2018 Ladbrokes Players Championship gas title with a dramatic 11-9 victory over Michael van Gerwen on Sunday in Minehead.

An incredible finish to the £460,000 tournament saw Gurney show incredible resilience as he fought back from 9-8 down to win the final three legs for one of the biggest wins of his career.

There were tears of joy for emotional Gurney, who clinched the £100,000 title with a spectacular 85 checkout on the bullseye to end Van Gerwen's three-year reign as champion in the event.

"I'm over the moon with that win, it means to much to me," said former World Grand Prix champion Gurney.

"That was the best bullseye I've ever hit in my life, I was determined to make sure we didn't go to a deciding leg and I was relieved to see it go in.

"I knew I was playing well, I was hitting everything in practice and after a sticky start I straightened up my throw and I grew in confidence from there.

"To win this tournament is an unbelievable feeling and I'm going to enjoy this moment."

A tight opening to the final saw the first 12 legs all won on throw, before Van Gerwen took out 88 for a first break of the contest, only for a tenacious Gurney to break straight back.

World number one Van Gerwen broke throw once again to go 9-8 up, only for Gurney to show nerves of steel, taking out 88 in two darts to level at 9-9.

Gurney took out 32 to hold throw and go within a leg of the title, before a stunning 85 finish on the bull sealed a sensational win for the world number five.
For Van Gerwen it was a first televised ranking final defeat in 15 matches, but the Dutchman was keen to acknowledge the achievement of his rival.

"I think he played a phenomenal game," said Van Gerwen, who avenged his Grand Slam of Darts loss to Gary Anderson in the semi-finals.

"To be fair I think I let myself down and Daryl punished me because my performance was not 100 percent."

A dramatic day at the Butlin's Minehead Resort had also seen Gurney overcome Chris Dobey and Danny Noppert to book his spot in a third TV final.

Van Gerwen and Anderson produced a thriller in the semi-finals, while Stephen Bunting, Jonny Clayton and Steve Lennon - on his 25th birthday - were knocked out alongside Dobey in the quarter-finals.

Belgium's Dimitri Van den Bergh also enjoyed success on the Minehead stage as he retained the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship title, defeating Martin Schindler 6-3 in the final.

Attention on the PDC circuit now switches to the build-up to the William Hill World Darts Championship, which will begin on December 13 at London's Alexandra Palace.

2018 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Friday November 23
First Round
Afternoon Session
Main Stage
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Jelle Klaasen
Max Hopp 6-4 Steve West
Keegan Brown 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Adam Hunt
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Kyle Anderson
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Robert Thornton
James Wade 6-4 Ross Smith
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Jamie Lewis

Stage Two
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Michael Barnard
Ryan Searle 6-2 Josh Payne
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Martin Schindler
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Andrew Gilding
Steve Lennon 6-2 Ryan Joyce
Mervyn King 6-4 Simon Stevenson
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Richard North
Madars Razma 6-4 Mickey Mansell

Evening Session
Main Stage
Ian White 6-2 Scott Taylor
Gary Anderson 6-2 Alan Tabern
Cristo Reyes 6-1 Rob Cross
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 6-2 Toni Alcinas
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Matthew Edgar
Michael Smith 6-0 Vincent van der Voort

Stage Two
Stephen Burton 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Joe Cullen 6-5 John Henderson
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Mark Webster
Ricky Evans 6-3 Jan Dekker
James Wilson 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Danny Noppert 6-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Chris Dobey 6-3 Ron Meulenkamp
Darren Webster 6-3 Jeffrey de Graaf
Steve Beaton 6-5 Kim Huybrechts

Saturday November 24
Afternoon Session
Second Round
Main Stage
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Ryan Searle
James Wade 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Chris Dobey 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Steve Lennon 6-5 Cristo Reyes
Gary Anderson 6-1 Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Keegan Brown
Peter Wright 6-2 Max Hopp
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Adrian Lewis

Stage Two
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Madars Razma
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 James Wilson
Ricky Evans 6-2 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Stephen Burton 6-3 Darren Webster
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Ian White
Danny Noppert 6-5 Mervyn King
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Michael Smith
Joe Cullen 6-4 Steve Beaton

Evening Session
Third Round
Main Stage
Chris Dobey 10-9 James Wade
Gary Anderson 10-2 Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen 10-4 Stephen Burton
Stephen Bunting 10-9 Peter Wright

Stage Two
Steve Lennon 10-7 Gabriel Clemens
Daryl Gurney 10-6 Brendan Dolan
Jonny Clayton 10-5 Ricky Evans
Danny Noppert 10-4 Krzysztof Ratajski

Sunday November 25
Afternoon Session
Quarter-Finals
Daryl Gurney 10-2 Chris Dobey
Danny Noppert 10-7 Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson 10-4 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 10-3 Steve Lennon

Evening Session
Semi-Finals
Daryl Gurney 11-3 Danny Noppert
Michael van Gerwen 11-9 Gary Anderson

Final
Daryl Gurney 11-9 Michael van Gerwen

DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH Retains World Youth Title

DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH became the first player to retain the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship with a 6-3 win over Martin Schindler in Sunday's final at the Butlin's Minehead Resort.

The pair had won through to the decider earlier in November when the last 96 faced off in the early rounds in Wigan, but it was Van den Bergh who clinched the £10,000 title.

Belgian youngster Van den Bergh, who hit a nine-dart finish at the Grand Slam of Darts, got off to a flying start, landing a stunning 151 finish to go 3-0 up, averaging 111 as he went half-way to retaining his title.

Schindler held his nerve with a last-dart-in-hand double five to keep the tie alive at 4-2 and also landed a 13-darter to stay in touch at 5-3.

Van den Bergh, though, was not to be stopped as he romped to the winning line, coming close to breaking his own record average in a World Youth Championship final with a 100.44 total as he kept hold of the trophy.

"It feels incredible," said Van den Bergh.

"I knew that I had the chance to make history and this is more beautiful than last year.

"Knowing that I'm back-to-back champion is something I will remember forever. I'm very, very happy that I played like I did because Martin is a fighter."

Van den Bergh, 24, will now concentrate solely on the senior circuit, and has set his sights on emulating last year's run to the quarter-finals of the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

"In the World Youth Championship I've done my best and shown the young players that if you believe in yourself you can follow your dreams,” he added.

"I will be stronger now at the World Championship and will be focused on taking it step by step."

The BETWAY Virtual Darts Challenge

BETWAY challenged two of the best darts players in the world to don a VR headset and step out of their comfort zone, with some hilarious results!
It’s often said that the best players in the world are capable of playing darts from a different planet.
But how about in another reality?
To find out, we challenged world No. 1 Michael van Gerwen and reigning world champion Rob Cross – who is 10/1 in the latest darts betting to retain his title on New Year’s Day – to a game of VR Darts.
With checking out on a double seemingly out of the question, it was simply a case of the highest score with nine darts wins.
But who found their range the quickest, and who resorted to dirty tricks to try and get ahead?
Watch how the game panned out – plus one hilariously awkward moment – in the video below
.

Betway Insider

Barneveld Announces Retirement

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD has announced that he will retire from professional darts following the 2019/2020 William Hill World Darts Championship.

The Dutch legend is one of only three players in the history of the sport to be crowned a five-time World Champion and has now decided to play one more year on the PDC circuit before calling time on his glittering career.

Speaking to The Darts Show, the 51-year-old explained his decision and his plan for 2019 following his penultimate World Championship.

"Next year is going to be my 35th year of playing darts at the highest level and it’s going to be my last year," said Van Barneveld.

"I noticed in myself that I can’t keep up anymore, I know what I can do but it’s just not been happening for the past three or four years apart from winning the World Cup with Michael [van Gerwen].

"I'm not winning tournaments anymore, I don’t know why but a lot of things have happened in my private life and I’ve also noticed that my body isn’t feeling 100 percent anymore - I don’t have the drive, motivation or fitness to carry on.

"I'm a winner, that’s what I do – I lift trophies but I can’t do it anymore. Maybe there are still a couple of titles left in me and that would be amazing but I can’t do this every week anymore.

"I don’t want my career to fizzle out which is why I’ve made the decision to retire at the end of next year."
Van Barneveld won the Lakeside title in 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2005 before joining the PDC circuit in 2006 where he made an immediate impact, winning the UK Open title in 2006 before claiming glory on his PDC World Championship debut, defeating Phil Taylor 7-6 in the classic final which ended with a sudden-death leg.

He has since gone on to rack up 29 PDC titles, including another UK Open crown, four PDC World Cup of Darts wins, the Grand Slam of Darts and the Premier League to continue his success at the highest level.
Van Barneveld also became the first player to achieve a nine-dart finish in both the Premier League, in 2006, and PDC World Championship, in 2009, and has helped to inspire the growth of darts in the Netherlands during a superb career.

Van Barneveld will bid for a sixth world title in the 2018/2019 William Hill World Darts Championship and the doyen of Dutch darts is determined to go out on a high.

"I absolutely believe I can still be World Champion again in one of my last two attempts," Van Barneveld added.

"If you told me after my 2007 World Championship win over Phil [Taylor] that it would be my last World Championship then I would’ve said you were a fool, but in the last few years we have seen phenomenal players playing at an outstanding level.

Price's Pride With Trophy Honour

GERWYN PRICE has spoken of his pride in being the first player to claim The Eric Bristow Trophy following his bwin Grand Slam of Darts success.

The Grand Slam's unique trophy was renamed in honour of the legendary five-time World Champion, who passed away earlier in 2018.

Price's 16-13 win over Gary Anderson in Sunday's final at the Aldersley Leisure Village saw him pick up £112,500 in prize money and lift him to sixth in the world rankings after his maiden TV title.

However, it was the honour of being the first player to hold the coveted trophy aloft which left the Welshman beaming with pride

"It's pushed me right up the ranking table, the money is good but this trophy - the first ever Eric Bristow Trophy - probably means more to me than anything," said Price, the first Welsh player to win a televised PDC event.

"Nobody can ever take that away from me.

"I was pretty confident at the beginning of the week and I knew that I had a good chance of getting to the final, and I knew that the final was going to be tough.

"I was chasing Gary for most of the game and I knew if I just stuck with him until the end that there would be a few chances. One or two came along and I took them."

Having lost in the World Grand Prix quarter-finals, Price had seen his suitcase - including his darts and darts shirts - go missing on his return journey to Wales.

The former UK Open finalist has, though, turned that into a positive during a strong run of form in the European Championship and World Series of Darts Finals in the build-up to his Grand Slam triumph.
"I've had a new set of darts which took a lot of pressure off me," Price added. "If I'm winning, I'm winning and if I'm not, I'm not - they're new darts.

"I lost my suitcase but from that point on I've built a bit of momentum and built a bit of confidence - I hope I don't find my suitcase now!

"Everything's going well. Winning builds confidence."

Price will open his challenge at the Players Championship Finals on Friday against Krzysztof Ratajski in Minehead, and is eager to return to the oche.

"We've got the Players Championship Finals and that's going to be a tough tournament," he said.

"It's a long weekend but I'm building - there's a lot of confidence coming off this and I'm confident for the World Championship.

"I'm looking forward to the next two tournaments, it's going to be good."
Price's on-stage character had seen him become a boo-boy for the Wolverhampton crowd, particularly during the tense final against Anderson on Sunday.

However, Price stated: "I do what I do because it gets me going - people either love it or they hate it.

"I'm up there to do my own thing. I'm just playing my own game and when I'm on the oche it's my go. I don't rush anybody else who's slow.

"I don't dislike Gary, I just dislike the way that he thinks about me. My game is my game, just play your own."

DIMITRI hits 9 Darter and Wizard goes through

DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH hit a stunning nine-dart finish in his 10-6 win over Stephen Bunting to progress to the quarter-finals of the bwin Grand Slam of Darts.

Van den Bergh landed the fourth perfect leg seen at the tournament, and the first since 2015, to net the £25,000 prize on the opening night of the knockout stage in Wolverhampton.

The Belgian World Youth Champion, who led for most of the contest, went within a leg of victory with the nine-darter before regaining his composure to seal one of the biggest wins of his career.
"I still don't know what happened, it's unbelievable," said World Championship quarter-finalist Van den Bergh.

"Watching the nine-darter back it feels surreal to see myself hitting a it on stage, I can't believe it's me doing it!

"I'm over the moon to hit my first perfect leg on such a magnificent stage and I also have to thank the crowd because they helped me hit the double 12.

"I haven't played my best game yet either so maybe this is the tournament where everything will fall for me, and I've got to keep believing in myself and prepare for my next game."

Van den Bergh will now take on Mensur Suljovic after the Austrian dumped out World Champion Rob Cross with a 10-7 win.

Suljovic raced into a 4-1 lead before Cross fought his way back into the contest to trail 7-8, but Suljovic punished his missed doubles to win the match with a 96 finish.

Gerwyn Price reached his eighth TV quarter-final of the year thanks to a 10-5 victory over Josh Payne.

With the match finely poised at 5-5, Group F winner Price reeled off the final five legs to reach the last eight for the first time.

The Welshman will now face Simon Whitlock following the Australian's 10-6 triumph over last year's runner-up Peter Wright.

European Championship runner-up Whitlock, who hit two 170 finishes to qualify from Group F in dramatic style, came close to his third of the tournament in a game which saw him take a 3-2 lead which he never relinquished.

The knockout stage continues on Thursday with players who qualified from Groups A-D returning to the stage, including a mouth-watering clash between Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith.

Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson plays Dutchman Wesley Harms, in-form James Wade meets Michael Unterbuchner and Wales' Jonny Clayton takes on emerging Polish star Krzysztof Ratajski.

The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners, as well as through PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2018 bwin Grand Slam of Darts
Wednesday November 14
Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-6 Stephen Bunting
Gerwyn Price 10-5 Josh Payne
Mensur Suljovic 10-7 Rob Cross
Simon Whitlock 10-6 Peter Wright

Thursday November 15 (1900 GMT)
Jonny Clayton v Krzysztof Ratajski
James Wade v Michael Unterbuchner
Gary Anderson v Wesley Harms
Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen

Friday November 16 (1900 GMT)
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Mensur Suljovic
Simon Whitlock v Gerwyn Price

Tommy Cox passes away

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Tommy Cox.
Not only was Tommy the Co-Founder and Tournament Director of the PDC, he helped in the formation of Dartplayers Australia and the introduction of the Oceanic Masters, an event now in its 20th year.
Tommy continued to offer his support and guidance to the DPA leading it to become Australia's Premier League of Darts, giving many Australian and New Zealand players the opportunity to play on the world stage. Without his assistance the DPA and many professional Australian players would not be where they are today.
He regularly visited Australia and helped oversee many tournaments guiding players and assisting staff in all aspects of the game

"This is an extremely sad day for us all at the PDC," said Chairman Barry Hearn. "Tommy's contribution to our formation can never be under-stated and will never be forgotten.
"He was known and respected throughout the sport and I know that he was proud of the worldwide growth of the PDC since he stood shoulder to shoulder with Dick and the players during darts' split.
"I can honestly say that Tommy was one of the primary reasons why I got involved in darts. He encouraged me to get into the sport and it's something I'll never forget.
"Although he had retired, Tommy was still involved in darts in recent years and will be sadly missed."
.

Whitlock Through Thanks To Stunning Comeback

SIMON WHITLOCK produced a sensational comeback to defeat Gerwyn Price and become one of seven players to qualify for the knockout stage of the bwin Grand Slam of Darts on Monday in Wolverhampton.

Day three of the £450,000 event saw the final round of group fixtures in Groups E-H, with the top two players from each group progressing to Wednesday's last 16 knockout stage.

European Championship runner-up Whitlock, who needed a win to qualify from Group F, trailed 4-1 before landing a second 170 finish of the match and then survived two match darts from Price to claim a dramatic win.

"I never give up, it's part of who I am as a person," said Whitlock, who averaged 108.86 to Price's 104.58 in a high-class affair.

"I'm feeling so relieved to get through after that crazy game. It felt amazing to see the two 170s to go in. I'm feeling good at the moment and I want to keep this feeling going."

Despite suffering defeat to the determined Australian, Welshman Price qualified as group winner, while the result also meant an early elimination for last year's quarter-finalist Glen Durrant, who suffered a 5-4 loss to Andrew Gilding earlier in the evening despite averaging 104.98.

Whitlock will now take on world number two Peter Wright, who topped Group E with three wins from three after his 5-4 victory over Josh Payne.

Payne still qualified thanks to his superior leg difference over Max Hopp and Jim Williams, and the former World Youth Championship finalist will now face Price.

German number one Hopp suffered a 5-4 defeat to Williams, but it still wasn't enough for the Welsh BDO qualifier to progress on his Grand Slam debut.

In Group H, reigning World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh secured his progression to the last 16 with a 5-1 win over Mark McGeeney and he will now take on Group G winner Stephen Bunting.

"Two years ago I won two group games but I lost in a nine-dart shoot-out, which was gutting, so I'm happy to get through this time," said Van den Bergh.

"I'm in a good place, my preparation before games is going fine, and I have a lot of support from people around me. That helps me a lot."

Rob Cross was already assured of his place in the knockout stage but his 5-2 win over already-eliminated Ryan Searle meant the World Champion went through as Group H winner, and he will now play Mensur Suljovic, who made it through despite suffering a 5-4 defeat to young German Martin Schindler.

Bunting topped Group G with three wins out of three after his 5-1 success over Scott Mitchell in the battle of the former Lakeside Champions, a result which ensured Suljovic’s progression.

The final group matches for Groups A-D will take place on Tuesday, before the last-16 knockout stage begins on Wednesday.

The group stage concludes on Tuesday night with the remaining eight matches, headlined by a must-win tie for reigning champion Michael van Gerwen against Joe Murnan.

Gary Anderson and James Wade, who have already qualified for the knockout stage, play eliminated duo Steve Hine and Mark Webster respectively.

Ian White plays Germany's Michael Unterbuchner in a winner-progresses tie, while Keegan Brown and Wesley Harms contest another shoot-out.

Jonny Clayton, who overcame Van Gerwen on Sunday night, plays Gary Robson, while 2012 champion Raymond van Barneveld take on unbeaten Michael Smith in crunch clash in Group B, where Krzysztof Ratajski takes on Adam Smith-Neale.

The knockout phase then begins on Wednesday with the qualifiers from Groups E-H competing in the second round, with the players progressing from Groups A-D returning to the stage on Thursday.

The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners, as well as through PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2018 bwin Grand Slam of Darts

Schedule of Play

Monday November 12 (1900 GMT)

Group Stage

Rob Cross 5-2 Ryan Searle (H)

Andrew Gilding 5-4 Glen Durrant (F)

Simon Whitlock 5-4 Gerwyn Price (F)

Martin Schindler 5-4 Mensur Suljovic (G)

Stephen Bunting 5-1 Scott Mitchell (G)

Jim Williams 5-4 Max Hopp (E)

Peter Wright 5-4 Josh Payne (E)

Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-1 Mark McGeeney (H)

Tuesday November 13 (1900 GMT)

Group Stage

James Wade v Mark Webster (C)

Gary Anderson v Steve Hine (D)

Ian White v Michael Unterbuchner (D)

Keegan Brown v Wesley Harms (C)

Michael van Gerwen v Joe Murnan (A)

Jonny Clayton v Gary Robson (A)

Krzysztof Ratajski v Adam Smith-Neale (B)

Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld (B)

Wednesday November 14 (1900 GMT)

Last 16

Stephen Bunting v Dimitri Van den Bergh

Gerwyn Price v Josh Payne

Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic

Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock

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