The second day of action in the PDC World Darts Championship sees the greatest player the sport has seen begin his final tournament on what is sure to be an emotionally charged evening inside Alexandra Palace in London.
Phil Taylor is the headline act on the night but the cast list is pretty strong with a former world champion, a rising star and two of the most talented youngsters in the game all on show on what should be a high quality session.
Seigo Asada vs Gordon Mathers (P)
Japan Country Australia
37 Age 36
Debut PDCWC Best Debut
N/A Last Year N/A
0 Head to Head 0
The first preliminary round match of the tournament sees the Japanese qualifier Seigo Asada taking on the Australian debutant Gordon Mathers over the best of three sets for a place in the first round against Rob Cross later in the evening.
Genuine darts fans will have seen plenty of Asada in the BDO World Championship and he has looked competent in that event at times. He came through the Japanese qualifier which to be fair is one of the harder ways into this event so he should be fine here. We haven’t seen much of Gordon Mathers but you have to respect any Australian qualifier given the strength in depth they have.
Something in my head tells me that Asada is value here but I’m rarely one to get involved in these preliminary round matches so I’ll sit and watch rather than punt.
Stephen Bunting vs Dimitri van den Bergh
32 Age 23
QF PDCWC Best Last 32
Last 64 Last Year Last 64
2 Head to Head 0
Potentially the match of the evening is the first round clash between Stephen Bunting and Dimitri van den Bergh. Not only should this be entertaining between two watchable players but it should be quite close given the form both have displayed recently.
Bookmakers have this one fairly close in terms of the odds and I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that. I heartily understand the belief that the Belgian could be a big price but Bunting is just coming into a bit of form and I fancy if this goes deep he will edge out his rival.
The best bet to me though looks to be over 8.5 180s. This looks a low line because these two are both heavy scorers. We’ve seen van den Bergh’s scoring power in recent ITV4 tournaments while Bunting has always known where the 60 bed is. If this goes four sets, and I expect that to be the minimum it will do, we only need one 180 each per set with one on top. The way these score I expect that to happen.
Phil Taylor vs Chris Dobey
57 Age 27
Winner x16 PDCWC Best Last 32
QF Last Year Last 32
2 Head to Head 0
Phil Taylor will begin the final tournament of his career against a talented youngster in the form of Chris Dobey, one who is good enough to challenge him but will need something special to happen to beat him.
Taylor is a warm favourite for this match and that is right. Dobey may have the class to win a set if he puts 15 minutes of quality together but I don’t see him having it for long enough to win three sets here. The only way I see Dobey causing an upset is if the occasion gets too much for the Power but that is unlikely.
I do think we’ll see some good things from Dobey however. He is a pretty prolific 180 hitter and given that he’s known the size of this task for more than a fortnight I expect him to have been pounding the practice board so while I think he’ll bow out I think he can nail four 180s before he goes.
Rob Cross vs Seigo Asada/Gordon Mathers
Debut PDCWC Best
N/A Last Year
0 Head to Head 0
The final match of the night sees highly rated and much talked up Rob Cross taking on the winner of the preliminary match for a place in the second round of the tournament.
Without knowing who Cross is going to play it is difficult to look too much at this match but it will be interesting to see how Cross looks here. While he has made huge strides in the PDC this season this is still his debut here and only his second set play match as a professional.
Whoever it is he ends up playing you would expect Cross to win but I wouldn’t be surprised if he displays a few nerves and if, with the benefit of a match earlier in the evening, his opponent comes out firing this might get testing for the Englishman. It is all hypothetical though and as such nothing can be advised.
WON – Back S.Bunting vs D.van den Bergh – Over 8.5 180s for a 5/10 stake at 1.80 with Betfair
Back it here:
WON – Back C.Dobey – Over 3.5 180s for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Boylesports
Back him here: