The World Cup of Darts continues on Saturday as the entire last 16 of the competition will be played out across two sessions of action as the format moves to singles and doubles after the pairs only first round over the first two days.
That means we are not actually guaranteed to see any doubles matches on Saturday. They only come along if the singles matches are shared but with some star players on show and all the seeded nations still standing that might yet happen.
We get underway on Saturday with our outright selection Northern Ireland first on show. They were pretty ordinary in their first round match against Hong Kong and were lucky not to be knocked out so they will be hoping to come strong in singles action. They take on Portugal for whom Jose de Sousa is a leading light. Top seeds England are in afternoon action on Saturday. They too were terrible in coming through on Friday but they will hope to fare much better when they go up against Devon Petersen’s South Africa side.
This is an emotional weekend for Australia and they will be hoping to ride those emotions and use them to their advantage. They take on the USA in a match they’ll be expected to win, but if they are not on their game and they let it get to doubles it could get away from them. The after concludes with a decent looking clash as one of the tournament favourites Belgium, who were very impressive in the first round, take on Austria and Mensur Suljovic.
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The former champions Scotland get the action up and running in the evening session on Saturday. Peter Wright and John Henderson will need to be at their best though as they take on a Poland side which includes the solid Krzysztof Ratajski. When they are done it will be the turn of the home nation to step back onto the stage. Germany weren’t brilliant in the first round but they saw off a good Canada side and will be favourites to take care of a determined Japan team.
The Netherlands have the opportunity of coming through in the penultimate match of the evening on Saturday. They will be eager to get their title back and if that is to happen then they are going to need to see off the popular Paul Lim and Singapore. In truth the Dutch should win that 2-0. Wales should continue their title defence in similar fashion when they go up against a Lithuania side who are likely to be outclassed in the singles but could cause a shock if they can somehow get it to the doubles.
In truth there isn’t a whole lot to like on Saturday. I can’t see more than a couple of matches even getting to the doubles but one which might and could allow an upset to occur is the evening opener between Scotland and Poland. John Henderson admitted to being nervous on Thursday and that was with a partner alongside him so without one he might be even worse. He hasn’t been in great touch anyway so if Poland are smart and match Krzysztof Ratajski up against him they would be favourites to set up a doubles tie at the very least.
Should they take the match to the doubles you could almost make a case for Poland being the favourites to win it given how well they played in that discipline on Thursday when they put together the second highest pairs average of all time. It might not get to that stage because these singles are only the best of seven and with the pressure on if Peter Wright were to miss some doubles at the wrong time Poland could cause the upset before then. Either way that strength in the pairs makes me think Poland are a live chance here.
Back Poland to beat Scotland for a 3/10 stake at 2.60 with Coral