World Darts Championship Day 12 schedule, preview and predictions: Sherrock returns as Durrant and Gurney collide
After the short break for the festivities, all eyes return to the Alexandra Palace with the William Hill World Darts Championship continuing.
Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and most notably the Queen of the Palace Fallon Sherrock will all be in action on Friday.
The coverage gets underway from 12.30pm, with the millions of viewers around the world being glued to their screens for the remainder of the biggest spectacle in the sport.
SIMON WHITLOCK VS MERVYN KING
Almost 15 years and 36 matches since their first meeting in the WDF-ranked International Darts League, Simon Whitlock and Mervyn King converge upon one another at the World Darts Championship for the first time.
Whitlock, who has reached the final of the World Championship at both Alexandra Palace and the Lakeside, is yet to drop a set in this tournament, having whitewashed Harry Ward in the second round.
‘The Wizard’ has had a far from pleasing year, with his best run being to the German Darts Grand Prix final, in a year that commenced with seven successive first round exits.
Whitlock’s opponent, Mervyn King, came through a nip and tuck affair with Irish youngster Ciaran Teehan – who made things difficult for the veteran who had held a two-set lead early on.
King is searching for his fourth major quarter-final of the season, having reached that particular stage at the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals.
Whitlock has reigned victorious in 21 of his meetings with King, including the last five matches, with the latest instalment being a Czech Darts Open quarter-final triumph.
Prediction: 4-2 King
DARYL GURNEY VS GLEN DURRANT
Major champions collide as two-time televised major champion Daryl Gurney and three-time Lakeside world champion Glen Durrant lock horns on the World Championship stage.
Durrant has reached the World Matchplay, Grand Slam of Darts and World Grand Prix semi-finals since winning through at Qualifying School in January.
The Middlesborough man has made 12 other PDC quarter-finals during his short professional career, including two ProTour triumphs.
Durrant comfortably saw off Australia’s Damon Heta in the second round, and is already looking forward to a potential North East derby with Chris Dobey if both were to prevail.
Gurney, who whitewashed Justin Pipe in the same whitewash manner, has been a semi-finalist at the Premier League, European Championship and World Matchplay this year.
The Northern Irishman defeated Durrant whilst the three-time BDO champion was a ‘contender’ during the Premier League, with their other two collisions coming on the European Tour as wins were shared.
Prediction: 4-3 Durrant
CHRIS DOBEY VS FALLON SHERROCK
Three thousand spectators erupted into a joyous roar on Saturday evening as Fallon Sherlock pulled off yet another mesmerising victory – this time denying Austria’s number one Mensur Suljovic.
Media companies worldwide came in their numbers to witness yet another history-making feat from the women’s number two, after already defeating Development Tour winner Ted Evetts in round one.
Many – including myself – underestimated the 25-year-old’s chances against both Suljovic and Evetts, though, she has performed to the necessary standard, with her statistics being very much up there with the world’s elite.
Alexandra Palace has conjured up some electric atmospheres over the years, including Phil Taylor bowing out and Morihiro Hashimoto’s name being echoed around the auditorium against Gary Anderson, but they rank in a low accord in comparison to that of Sherrock.
The crowd have played a pivotal part to the former Women’s World Championship runner-up’s exploits, with Suljovic and Evetts being visibly left star-struck thanks to the hostile crowd being created in favour of the Queen of the Palace.
However, Chris Dobey stands between Sherrock and the fourth round – namely her toughest test to date going by form.
The World Grand Prix semi-finalist stated post-second round that he was relishing the chance of facing Sherrock, and that it would firmly examine his game with the crowd persistently against him.
Dobey came through a five-sets thriller with Ron Meulenkamp at his first hurdle, averaging 96.33 and pinning six maximums in a hard-fought victory. ‘Hollywood’ will be looking to set up a fourth round tussle with Glen Durrant.
In a tournament that witnessed the early departure of Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld, no one could have predicted Fallon Sherrock to emerge and capture the eyes of many worldwide. But, she has done, and it’s now only a question as to when the fairytale will come to a close.
Prediction: 4-1 Dobey
GERWYN PRICE VS JOHN HENDERSON
Before proceedings began at Alexandra Palace, those in the know were stating that they couldn’t see anything other than a Michael van Gerwen vs Gerwyn Price final.
An unexpectedly below-par performance from the Welshman later and times have slightly changed. Price averaged just 90.98, and threw only three maximums – compared to his opponent’s eight – in somehow surviving a scare against Irishman William O’Connor.
‘The Iceman’ lifted his second major crown, before reaching the final of the Players Championship Finals in November, heading into the biggest tournament on the calendar.
His opponent, John Henderson, is one of only two remaining competitors with a 200/1 status from title sponsors, William Hill.
The Scotsman whitewashed James Richardson in the second round, despite playing far from his best, with that victory being just his third win on television this year, and two of those coming in Minehead last month.
Prediction: 4-2 Price
GARY ANDERSON VS NATHAN ASPINALL
Nathan Aspinall came into the World Darts Championship last time around with approximately nothing in his bank account. A perhaps career-changing run to the semi-finals later and there’s a whole different story.
‘The Asp’ is now a two-time televised PDC title winner, triumphing at both the UK Open and US Darts Masters in Las Vegas, with a great deal of onlookers tipping him for world title success also.
Aspinall has thus far produced fighting spirit a plenty in seeing off America’s Danny Baggish and Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski.
The 28-year-old was embroiled into a high-quality encounter with the ‘Polish Eagle’, as he eventually prevailed a narrow 4-3 victor, averaging 98.45 over seven sets.
A certain two-time world champion in Gary Anderson awaits the major champion, with Anderson having battled back from 3-1 behind to see off Ryan Searle in round three, after having comfortably defeated Brendan Dolan in the second round.
Victories have been shared in the pair’s two meetings, with both matches coming on the ProTour behind closed doors.
Prediction: 4-2 Aspinall
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN VS STEPHEN BUNTING
He’s the defending champion, the world number one, and quite clearly the one to beat. Michael van Gerwen has three times reigned victorious in lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy in north London, and he’ll be hoping that becomes four come New Year’s Day.
‘Mighty Mike’ survived a slight scare from his arch-enemy and fellow Dutchman Jelle Klaasen, before obliterating Ricky Evans in the third round.
As for Bunting, he’ll be setting his sights on a first World Championship quarter-final since embarking on a landmark run in 2015, whilst being the reigning BDO world champion.
‘The Bullet’ showcased signs of brilliance at the Players Championship Finals, pocketing £15,000 in reaching the last eight, and has continued that form into the biggest tournament in the sport, despite edging through a closely-contested first round match with Spain’s Jose Justicia.
Bunting expunged Wales’ Jonny Clayton in the third round, averaging 95.70 – which was narrowly lower than his last 16 opponents.
Van Gerwen owns a quite considerable advantage over the St Helens Man when it forms to the players’ head-to-head, having won the last six meetings and lost just thrice.
Bunting has defeated the world number one on a few occasions, with the first coming at the 2005 World Masters and the latest instalment occurring on the ProTour floor.
Prediction: 4-3 Van Gerwen
WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Friday December 27
Simon Whitlock v Mervyn King
Daryl Gurney v Glen Durrant
Fallon Sherrock v Chris Dobey
Gerwyn Price v John Henderson
Gary Anderson v Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting