Darius Labanauskas v Mike De Decker18/12/2021 14:15
Ian White v Chris Landman18/12/2021 15:00
Ted Evetts v Jim Williams18/12/2021 20:00
Rowby-John Rodriguez v Nick Kenny18/12/2021 20:45
Day 4 of the PDC World Championship and it’s another double session to look ahead to. In the afternoon session, the very talented Callan Rydz starts his campaign, someone who’s had a fantastic season on tour. In the Evening session the return to the ally pally for one of the tournament favourites and 3 time World Champion Michael Van Gerwen who will be looking to make a positive start to his tournament.
I really like the look of Darius Labanauskas, especially at the World Championships. He’s a really solid competitor and rarely throws in a poor game. His track record at this event is what really takes my fancy with a great run to the Quarter Final back in 2020. He knows the stage well and that’s certainly a positive. He started the season very well but dropped off slightly during the middle part. He has however come into this tournament on the back of a semi-final at Players Championship 30 just last month which will give him a lot of confidence.
Mike De Decker has really struggled this season. He has made three runs to the last 16 in Players Championship events but his consistency has been an issue. He has had a good end to the season though, a run through the qualifiers to get into the Grand Slam Of Darts being a real highlight, although ultimately really struggling to lose all 3 group matches. He has though got a free run at this tournament because he failed to qualify before being called up as a reserve after an international qualifier withdrew through visa issues. This perhaps will make him relax and play with freedom.
I think though ultimately Labanauskas is going to be far too solid for De Decker and I expect him to come through this match fairly comfortably.
Ian White has had a tough time this season, unfortunately battling through most of it with injury. However, he has shown some signs of improvement just lately in his averages although wins have still been hard to come by. He did have a decent run to the third round of the World Grand Prix in October and looked fairly solid. He’s always been regarded as one of the best floor players in world darts and he will be looking to start to produce that on TV. This will be his 11th consecutive PDC World Championship so he knows the stage extremely well.
Chris Landman had a fantastic 3-0 victory Against Scott Mitchell, in a game he was expected to lose. He won an incredible 8 legs on the trot albeit with Mitchell missing a lot of doubles. He averaged 88.97 in that win but will have to produce something a lot better than that in my opinion to trouble White. He will be coming into this match with plenty of confidence though and after already playing a game on that stage and winning, will certainly give him an advantage.
I do feel though that Ian White will be a step too far for Landman, although I think Landman will be competitive enough to push him and will do enough to win a set.
A clash of two champions from this season in this match. Ted Evetts the newly crowned PDC World Youth Champion and Jim Williams the newly crowned UK Challenge Tour Order of Merit winner. Both of them have gained a tour card for the next 2 years, for Tedd it was to regain his card and for Jim will be his first taste of a full season on the PDC circuit.
Super Ted has had a really poor year, he hasn’t played particularly well at all, but did have a good run to the Quarter Final of Players Championship 14 in June, ultimately losing out to Van Gerwen. However, his triumph in the World Youth Championship will definitely give him some confidence, especially as it was only last month in Minehead! He played beautifully in that tournament, especially in the final where he was very clinical and averaged a very respectable 95.44. This will be his 4th appearance at ally pally and he will be looking to make it past the last 64 for the first time.
The Quiff will be making his maiden appearance at ally pally and that certainly brings tension. He has played in multiple World Championships in the BDO but this is a different ball game. He has however looked very impressive whenever he has played on TV at the Grand Slam of darts. He was unlucky not to progress to the Knockout stages last month where he won ⅔ of his group stage matches. Jim Williams will certainly be looking to take this opportunity in the PDC with both hands and I fully expect him to progress over the next few seasons into an established top 32 professional.
This will be a good game, both will be confident and looking forward to it because of recent form. I do side with Williams though, even with him lacking experience on that unique stage i just think he’s a better player and will have too much for the World Youth Champion.
The resurgent Austrian Rowby vs a defiant Welsh dragon Kenny in this match. Both players will see this as a big opportunity. Kenny because he got in the last chance saloon and the PDC qualifiers last month. Rodriguez because he’s coming into this tournament having qualified without a PDC tour card, so both will be playing freely.
Little John has had a marvellous season, he failed to get through Q school at the start of the year but that certainly hasn’t stopped him in his tracks. By his performances in Q school and on the EU challenge tour, he’s managed to play the majority of the PDC season. He made the final of the World Cup Of Darts with Mensur Suljovic which then qualified him for the Grand Slam of Darts. He had a great run there getting through the group stage with some fantastic performances, ultimately losing out in the knockout stage to James Wade. But he will be coming into this tournament full of confidence and I really think he’s a much better player now and is probably playing the darts of his life at the moment.
Nick Kenny has had another quiet season on the PDC tour. Although once again as he did last year, he has qualified through the PDC qualifier at the end of the season to get himself onto the ally pally stage. He will be under a lot of pressure though, he needs a few wins to keep his tour card so that will certainly be in the back of his mind.
Ultimately I think Rowby-John will be too much for Kenny and I can see him coming through this match pretty comfortably, especially the way Rodriquez has looked just lately.
Labanauskas, White, Williams & Rodriguez all to win at 5.06/1 with 888Sport
James is the resident darts expert providing free tips and previews for major darting events.