Ryan Searle v William Borland01/01/1970 01:00
Luke Humphries v Rowby-John Rodriguez01/01/1970 01:00
Kim Huybrechts v Steve Beaton01/01/1970 01:00
Simon Whitlock v Martijn Kleermaker01/01/1970 01:00
Day 8 of the PDC World Darts Championship and the first round games are officially finished. 8 second-round games, in a bumper double session to look forward to today, including some big names, Nathan Aspinall, Joe Cullen and Simon Whitlock get their campaigns underway.
Ryan Searle also plays this afternoon, someone I believe has the capability of going deep in this year’s tournament but he will have to navigate past 9 dart hero William Borland.
The return of Glen Durrant also will be an interesting watch, after really suffering this year and having had the last few months away from the game.
This game will be extremely quick, it’s going to be a fantastic watch so expect plenty of 180s and great finishes. Both players love to get on with it and both will be looking to put on a great show.
Ryan Searle comes into this year’s World Championship as one of the in-form players in the world. He’s had a magnificent year and is really cementing his place now within the sports elite competitors. 3 runners up finishes and one title this season in the Players Championship floor events is really good form, also finishing the season with an average of 96.10 is extremely impressive also!
He had a great run to the Quarter Final of the World Grand Prix earlier in the year and backed that up with a magnificent run to the final of the Players Championship finals just last month, where he lost out in a fantastic game 11-10 to Peter Wright. Heavy Metal has now elevated himself into the Worlds top 16 and I genuinely expect him to push even higher in the next season or so.
William Borland, well what can we say? A magnificent 9 darter in his previous match, in the deciding leg to deny Bradley Brooks, has been watched all around the world. He’s probably done more media stuff in the last few days than many players have done in the whole career.
He really showed, however, what a fantastic player he is becoming, his scoring was a joy to watch during that match and showed us he can live with anyone when he’s on form. He’ll be coming into this match supremely confident but will certainly not have it easy against Searle.
Will all the attention on William Borland going into this match benefit Searle? I think so and I think Ryan Searle will just go about his usual business, under the radar and get the job done this afternoon. I think the newfound confidence of Borland will definitely be a factor but I feel it’s a step too far for the 9 dart Scot.
Two in-form players going head to head in this match and it’s a game a lot of people are looking forward to. These two would have played so many times against each other on the Youth Tour so will know each other’s games inside out.
Luke Humphries is a rising star in the world of darts and I fully expect him to be a top 16 player in the next few years. His main issue in the last few seasons has been his form on the floor, he hasn’t been able to replicate his wonderful TV game into the floor tournaments. However, that changed this season with 3 runners up finishes in the Players Championship events and a seasonal average of 94.95 which is certainly very good over the 82 matches he played.
He is though definitely known for his wonderful TV performances and has notably commented in the past about how he thrives on playing in front of big crowds and the cameras. That certainly showed again this season with a blistering run earlier in the year to the final of the UK Open where he lost to James Wade 11-5. He did lose out in the first round last year in the World Championship to Paul Lim after having back to back Quarterfinals the previous two years, so will be hoping to forget about last year’s disappointment and push on once again with a run this year.
Rowby-John Rodriguez carried on his great form coming into this tournament with a fantastic showing in the first round. He overcame a tricky tie 3-0 against Nick Kenny and averaged a very solid 97.5. He will need a win today however after last night’s results, to stay in the top 64, or he faces the daunting task of heading to Q school next month. Will that play on his mind? Possibly, but I do think the form Rowby is in, shouldn’t affect his performance too much.
I think there will be lots of 180s in this game and it may well be tight in most sets. I do however expect Humphries to take care of Rowby-John, I just think he will have too much and will progress to the next round.
This will be another fast and furious match up with both players liking to get on with it. The resurgent Kim Huybrechts against the legend that is Steve Beaton. This should be a fascinating tie.
Kim Huybrechts has started to really show some signs of form again this season, after having a real struggle the past 3 or 4 years. A former Premier League player, The Hurricane has certainly had a big fall from the early heights of his career. But a mini resurgence has certainly taken place this year and he’s starting to look dangerous again. He’s starting to beat top players again in floor tournaments and he’s just waiting for it to click again on TV. Over the years he’s always been a really good big stage player and I expect him to use that experience and recapture that form very soon. He needs to start having good runs again on TV to climb the rankings, so there would be no better time than starting here in the World Championships.
Steve Beaton is coming into this match on the back of a very impressive victory against Fallon Sherrock. He dealt with it all magnificently, in a game where he could really have lost his way. He didn’t worry about the crowd or the eyes of the world expecting another magical moment by the Queen of The Palace. He was averaging around 106 after the first 2 sets which is extremely impressive. It’s probably the best form we have seen from The Bronzed Adonis after a pretty poor season, by his standards.
I do, however, expect Kim Huybrechts to come through this match. I think it’s going to certainly be tight but I just think if Kim can get his scoring boots on, his overall scoring power will be too much for Beaton to handle.
This is the match to look out for tonight if you’re looking for a potential shock. Simon Whitlock certainly hasn’t been setting the world alight this season so it has the potential to be a tough evening for the Aussie.
Simon Whitlock has been steadily falling down the rankings over the past few seasons but always seems to work it out. He’s a wonderful dart player who’s been an amazing ambassador for not only Australia but also a flag bearer for the PDC. He’s really had it tough this season however and has found his form hard to come by. His floor record in the Player Championship events has been particularly poor with only one run to the quarter-final stage all year, very poor for Whitlocks normally high standards.
He’s struggled on TV this year also, although he has shown signs of form, with a run to the quarter-final of the UK Open earlier in the year. He does definitely play much better on TV than he does on the floor as he’s shown over the past few years. He desperately needs a good run in this year’s World Championship to start climbing the world rankings once again.
Martijn Kleermaker had a very impressive first-round performance, overcoming the tricky Greek, John Michael. I think most players in the PDC would have been happy for him getting that win, after missing out on a debut last year after testing positive for Coronavirus. He’s had a pretty solid year on tour with the highlight being a run to the final of Players Championship 11, losing out to Dirk van Duijvenbode. He’s continually impressed me on TV and I really think he will be a major test for Whitlock this evening.
This game could in my opinion go either way. You never quite know at the moment which version of Simon Whitlock is going to turn up, so it’s a tricky one to predict. I just feel with how solid Kleermaker looked in his first-round win he may well produce a shock here.
James is the resident darts expert providing free tips and previews for major darting events.