It is beginning to feel a lot like Dartmas. Its that time of the year again when the PDC Worlds roll into town at Ally Pally, and this year it is the biggest yet with 96 players set to grace the famous stage, all in a bid to be crowned World Champion on New Years Day. And you can watch it all at Rileys Sports Bars in the coming weeks. Here is all you need to know!
ROB CROSS won the Brisbane Darts Masters with a 11-6 win over Michael van Gerwen.
Voltage won seven successive legs with an average of 106 to KO MVG in an classic clash.
He admitted: “This is a kickstart to the rest of year, it’s a huge win for me.”#BrisbaneMasters2018 pic.twitter.com/JD74pw2QZ9
— Nevada Sports (@Nevada_Sports) 19 August 2018
Reigning World Champion and perennial Rileys favourite Rob Cross will be the first to admit that it has been a tough year. His Brisbane Masters title in the summer the high point of his first year as a World Champ. The Hastings based former electrician has admitted that he struggled for motivation following his inaugural win. And things aren’t set to get any easier for he will potentially face strong opposition from Jeffrey de Zwaan on the opening night if the Dutchman overcomes Nitin Kumar.
Michael van Gerwen has of course hoovered up many a title in 2018 but perhaps surprisingly has come up short in a significant number of TV tournaments in recent months, as the chasing pack continue to close the gap on the World number one. That said pack includes:
Grand Slam winner – Gerwyn Price
Players Championship Finals winner – Darryl Gurney
European and World Series winner – James Wade
World Matchplay, Champions League and UK Open winner – Gary Anderson
The Dutchman will still be hard to bet against of course, with his 19 titles still far and away the most won by any player on the circuit this year.
When and where is it on
ICYMI! The schedule for the 2018/19 @WilliamHill World Darts Championship was announced yesterday.
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) 30 November 2018
The tournament kicks off at the Alexandra Palace on Thursday 13th and runs through to New Years Day with a break for three days over Christmas and New Years Eve. You can watch all the action on Sky Sports Darts, which is also available via Now TV. But of course, you’ll be watching it in a Rileys Sports Bar won’t you!
There are more international qualifiers for the event than ever before with darts becoming a more global sport by the year. Watch out for Rileys Victoria favourite Diogo Portela from Brazil who is back at the Ally Pally for a 2nd successive year. He takes on Ron Meulenkamp. Paul Lim, who hit the first Lakeside nine-darter lines up against Ross Smith – the evergreen Lim is the oldest man in the field at the age of 64. Watch out also for Darius Labanauskas, who has long been feared on the BDO circuit, the Lithuanian takes on Matt Edgar.
Here come the girls
The moment Lisa Ashton qualified for the 2018/19 @WilliamHill World Darts Championship…
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) 25 November 2018
How wonderful it is to see the ladies game represented on the Ally Pally stage once again. Lisa Ashton and Anastacia Dobromyslova have been stalwarts of the game for years and are wonderful ambassadors for ladies darts. Ashton, the recent Finders Masters winner, takes on Jan Dekker and is highly touted against the young Dutchman and former BDO compatriot to give him a run for his money on the opening night’s action. The Russian number one meanwhile faces an extremely stern test against Relentless Ryan Joyce on Monday evening.
Darts’ biggest event just got bigger…
£2.5m Prize Money – £500k to Winner
28 sessions over 16 days
The 2018/19 William Hill World Darts Championship
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) 4 June 2018
- This is the biggest purse ever in World Championship history with at least £7.5k to 1st round losers, with £500k going to the winner
- Wayne Jones is in his first Worlds since 2015 but his last win at a Worlds was in 2011.
- There were some big name casualties in qualifying for this event with Kevin Painter, Mark Webster and Terry Jenkins being amongst the established pros not to make it.
- This is the first PDC Worlds without Phil Taylor….remember him?
- This is Steve Beaton’s 18th straight PDC Worlds appearance. He has more appearances at this tournament than anyone else in the field.
- Raymond van Barneveld has played more matches at a PDC Worlds than any other player lining up this time round, he has been in 53 contests so far. Adrian Lewis has been in 51.
What the experts are saying
MIND THE GAP PDC Chairman Barry Hearn says a few “cracks” are appearing in Michael van Gerwen’s armour with his domination of #darts under threat from the games new faces https://t.co/lfefY2MoQP#LoveTheDarts
@SkySportsDarts 6.30pm pic.twitter.com/b6aoP0BAp8
— Sky Sports Darts (@SkySportsDarts) 10 December 2018
PDC chairman Barry Hearn says to expect upsets at the Worlds and Rob Cross’s achievement could well be matched in 2019.
“Whereas Phil Taylor was dominating the sport for so many years and Michael van Gerwen was looking likely to pick up the mantle, there are a few cracks out there and we’re getting quite a few new faces,” he told Sky Sports.
“Van Gerwen has raised the bar and now the others have gone up to that level too, so there are players coming through that are quality players, but the man on the street doesn’t yet know them. These players are going to have the stage and opportunity to change there lives and that’s the essence of the whole of sport.
How do we think it will go?
Michael Smith was victorious at the Shanghai Darts Masters on Saturday as ‘Bully Boy’ claimed his first World Series title. The St Helens ace romped to victory as he enjoyed a convincing 8-2 success over the World Champion Rob Cross..
— Tom Beresford (@Tomsportsjourno) 14 July 2018
It will of course be hard to bet against the imperious van Gerwen but with the chasing pack getting the better of him in recent TV tournaments we think it will be one of these that will prevail. With Peter Wright (lost in the last 16 of the last 4 TV tournaments) out of form, Shanghai Masters winner Michael Smith looks like he could be in great shape to reach the final and who knows, maybe the entire tournament.
James Wade lifted his second televised title in the space of seven days with a dramatic 11-10 win over Michael Smith in the final of the @bwin World Series of Darts Finals in Vienna.
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) 4 November 2018
European and World Series winner James Wade is at 40/1 to win overall which seems like great value. Van Barneveld, in his penultimate Worlds is 80/1, while the ever consistent Ian White is 100/1.
Book with us!
Why not book a darts party with Rileys Sports Bars and watch the Worlds? Book here to reserve your darts lane this festive season!