World Darts Championship Day Seven schedule, preview and predictions: Price and Chisnall commence campaigns

Gerwyn Price and Dave Chisnall get their William Hill World Darts Championship campaigns underway on Thursday evening at Alexandra Palace.

As the first round draws to an eventful close, it has already been a tournament to remember. History has been created by Fallon Sherrock, with seeds dropping like flies.

Thursday’s action gets underway from 1pm at Ally Pally, with the television cameras and the millions of viewers around the world being hooked on the biggest tournament in the sport.

JUSTIN PIPE VS BENJAMIN PRATNEMER

Following the infamous ‘coughgate’ incident two years ago at the World Darts Championship, Justin Pipe has experienced both highs and lows. The sad passing of his father was undoubtedly the lowest of those lows.

Since his family bereavement, Pipe’s form has undergone a resurgence. ‘The Force’ has reached five PDC ProTour quarter-finals this year, including a run to a final in Barnsley, losing to Peter Wright.

Despite not having matched the heights he’s hit on the floor compared to the stage, Pipe will be one to look out for in London.

His first round opponent, Benjamin Pratnemer, will be unknown to many frequent viewers of the arrows. The Maribor-based thrower came through the Eastern European Qualifier, becoming the second Slovenian to feature at the World Championship.

Pratnemer has gained some valuable experience on the BDO circuit this year, reaching the latter staged rounds of the prestigious World Masters, as well as making the quarter-finals of the Hungarian Classic and Italian Grand Masters.

It was November of last year when Pratnemer achieved a career-best feat, doing the Hungarian double, winning both the BDO-ranked Classic and Open.

Prediction: 3-1 Pipe – Pratnemer will hold his own at Alexandra Palace, though, Pipe has been outstanding this year and is the seasoned professional.

RYAN JOYCE VS JAN DEKKER

Since somewhat surprisingly embarking on a debut run to the quarter-finals 12 months ago at Ally Pally, Ryan Joyce has struggled to kick on.

The 34-year-old, who defeated both Simon Whitlock and James Wade during last year’s tournament, has reached three quarter-finals on the PDC ProTour this year.

As for Dekker, he has endured a real struggle at the World Championship in recent years, winning just twice in three appearances, despite having reached the semi-finals at Lakeside during his BDO days.

Dekker played the villain last time around as he came from 1-0 down to see off an inspired Lisa Ashton, while his opponent Joyce defeated the other female qualifier Anastasia Dobromyslova.

Two quarter-finals on the circuit this year have been a stand-out in a relatively poor year for the Dutchman – whose only major appearance this year was brief, exiting early at the UK Open in Minehead.

Prediction: 3-2 Joyce – Joyce holds fond memories at the World Championship, and with last year’s run in mind, he narrowly denies Dekker.

JOHN HENDERSON VS JAMES RICHARDSON

After overcoming both Mikuru Suzuki and the Alexandra Palace audience on Sunday evening, James Richardson returns to the stage, facing John Henderson.

‘Ruthless’ has reached the last 16 stage of a PDC ProTour event just once this year, but still managed to find his name among the 32 qualifiers ahead of the tournament.

The 45-year-old is making his first appearance in north London for two years, when he thrashed both Kim Huybrechts and Alan Norris. Richardson will be most known for stunning Raymond van Barneveld on debut back in 2012.

As for Henderson, he was one of Rob Cross’ scalps as ‘Voltage’ lifted the trophy in January of last year. ‘The Highlander’ has lost out to Cross and Michael Smith respectively in recent times.

Henderson has reached six PDC ProTour quarter-finals this year, with four of those coming in February.

Prediction: 3-0 Henderson – The Scotsman will fancy his chances against a reasonably out-of-sorts Richardson. He wins comfortably for me.

STEVE BEATON VS KYLE ANDERSON

Kyle Anderson overcame a significant scare from the Chinese youngster, Xiaochen Zong in the opening round. ‘The Original’ trailed by two sets against the PDC Asian Tour event finalist, but reeled off three in succession to prevail.

Anderson has slightly struggled this year, reaching three quarter-finals, with all of them coming at the frontend of the year.

Steve Beaton has remained an ever-present at the World Championship extravaganza since 2002, making his 19th appearance in succession.

However, the success has usually stopped at qualifying for Beaton. ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ has progressed further than the second round just twice, and hasn’t in nearly 15 years.

Having qualified for the World Matchplay, Players Championship Finals, World Grand Prix and European Championship, the former BDO champion of the world has had a fairly successful season.

A run to the quarter-finals of the UK Open was one of the six times he’s progressed to a last eight or further this year, as well as completing perfection in hitting the nine-darter on the European Tour.

Prediction: 3-1 Beaton – Anderson just about got over the line in round one, and, despite Beaton’s poor World Championship record, he prevails here.

CHRIS DOBEY VS RON MEULENKAMP

After reaching the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals, Chris Dobey comes into the tournament in good form.

‘Hollywood’ was also a runner-up at the Danish Darts Open in June, losing out to Dave Chisnall in the final.

Dobey faces a tough second round opposition in the Netherlands’ Ron Meulenkamp – who whitewashed New Zealand’s Ben Robb in the first round.

The Dutchman has reached multiple semi-finals on the ProTour, though, hasn’t won at a major since last year’s World Championship.

Rob Cross and Adam Hunt defeated ‘The Bomb’ in his two major appearances this year, with Meulenkamp looking to bounce back at Alexandra Palace.

Meulenkamp did knock out Gary Anderson at the 2016 Players Championship Finals – which remains his best major result to date, reaching the last 16.

Prediction: 3-1 Dobey – His television form has been simply sensational this year, and that’s continues into the World Championship in my opinion.

DANNY NOPPERT VS CALLAN RYDZ

Danny Noppert faces a tough first hurdle tussle as he takes on the youngster Callan Rydz – who defeated Steve Lennon in a Monday evening thriller.

Having claimed titles on both the Challenge Tour and Development Tour this year, Rydz has been tipped by many to have a big future in the sport. The Newcastle man is a back-to-back World Youth Championship quarter-finalist at the age of 21.

A landmark run at Players Championship 18 in Wigan announced his quality to the world, in a run which saw him average over the 100 mark twice in defeating Brendan Dolan, Chris Dobey, Steve Beaton and Stephen Burton, before losing out to eventual champion, James Wade.

Noppert has himself undergone a monumental season, reaching his first televised final since winning through at PDC Qualifying School. ‘Noppie’ made the World Series of Darts Finals final, losing to only Michael van Gerwen in Amsterdam.

The Dutchman made his World Matchplay debut in July, and pulled off a first round win over former champion Daryl Gurney at the World Grand Prix.

Noppert is seeded this time around after whitewashing Hong Kong’s Royden Lam at the Alexandra Palace in December of last year.

Prediction: 3-1 Noppert

DAVE CHISNALL VS VINCENT VAN DER VOORT

Since embarking en route to the World Grand Prix final in October, Dave Chisnall has thrown his name back into the mix for potential Premier League selection.

‘Chizzy’ has two times reached the World Darts Championship quarter-finals, and is still searching for that illusive maiden major crown after losing in six successive finals.

Despite an early an exit at the recent Players Championship Finals, the 39-year-old has made 15 quarter-finals or better this year, including two triumphant Players Championship campaigns and success at the Danish Darts Open.

Vincent van der Voort will be Chisnall’s second round opponent, in a repeat of the pair’s 2017 World Championship meeting – which saw the Dutchman whitewash the Englishman.

The duo have met nine times in total, with Chisnall having won six to van der Voort’s three.

Van der Voort, who defeated 17-year-old Keane Barry in the opening round, has remained a constant threat on the professional circuit, amid consistent back injuries.

The ‘Dutch Destroyer’ has reached six quarter-finals this year, including runs at the European Championship, Austrian Darts Championship and Dutch Darts Masters in front of a home audience.

Prediction: 3-2 Chisnall – Many fancy Chisnall for a one at Alexandra Palace this year, and I’m one of them, though, it won’t be a stroll in the park with the Dutchman around.

GERWYN PRICE VS WILLIAM O’CONNOR

After defeating Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals en route to defending his Grand Slam of Darts crown, Gerwyn Price has been labelled as the unofficial world number two.

He and van Gerwen contested a terrific final at the Players Championship Finals in Minehead, with the world number one reigning victorious on that particular occasion.

‘The Iceman’ was also a finalist at October’s European Championship in what has been a sensational year for the Welshman.

Price topped the Players Championship Order of Merit, winning three titles and reaching an additional final with an unsuccessful outcome.

The world number three also defended his International Darts Open title as part of the European Tour, defeating Rob Cross at the final hurdle.

Price will take on William O’Connor as his World Championship campaign commences at Alexandra Palace. The pair have met three times before, with Price holding the slender advantage, though, O’Connor won their only staged encounter during the 2015 European Tour.

O’Connor produced nothing spectacular in his first round victory over Marko Kantele, but did enough to whitewash the Fin and set up a clash with Price.

The Limerick man partnered Steve Lennon in leading Ireland to the World Cup of Darts final in June, and was a recent quarter-finalist at the Players Championship Finals, defeating Gabriel Clemens and Krzysztof Ratajski on his way.

‘The Magpie’ was spiralled into the headlines when lifting his maiden PDC title in April, beating Nathan Aspinall in the final. He averaged 98.6 in the final, having beaten Steve Beaton with a 105.8 and Daryl Gurney with a 102.2 earlier in the event.

Prediction: 3-1 Price – O’Connor said in his previous post-match and I believe he will, though, Price has been of a different gravy in recent months and I can only see one man stopping him in London.

WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP

Thursday, December 19
Afternoon Session

Justin Pipe v Benjamin Pratnemer (First Round)
Ryan Joyce v Jan Dekker (First Round)
John Henderson v James Richardson (Second Round)
Steve Beaton v Kyle Anderson (Second Round)

Evening Session
Chris Dobey v Ron Meulenkamp (Second Round)
Danny Noppert v Callan Rydz (Second Round)
Dave Chisnall v Vincent van der Voort (Second Round)
Gerwyn Price v William O’Connor (Second Round)

Photography: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

About The Author

Ben Hudd Ben is a dedicated sports writer and aspiring sports journalist, covering all aspects of darts for the ever-growing Darts Planet TV. He has a passion for sport, particularly darts, cricket and football.

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