Dec. 19, 2006 – A top class field of 64 players will do battle over Christmas and New Year, with the top PDC players being joined by qualifiers from all corners of the globe – Australia, Japan, Canada, South Africa, China, USA and New Zealand are all represented to give the tournament a truly cosmopolitan feel. Can any of these new faces overcome the big guns and make a name for themselves here in the UK? Well we don’t have to wait long to find out – they toe the oche on December 18th – and I will try to give some insight here into how things might pan out.
The 64 player field consists of the top 32 in the PDC rankings who are joined by 16 PDC qualifiers and 16 international qualifiers. The international qualifiers came from numerous competitions staged around the world, which were deemed as tickets to The Tavern. Many are making their Purfleet debut this year. In fact some countries are making their debut – South Africa are represented for the first time by Wynand Havenga, Austria debut with Anton Pein, Denmark with Per Laursen.
Canada have three qualifiers, two of who make their debut. Brian Cyr and Ron Miller are unknown quantities, while Gerry Convery will be making his third appearance. He reached the third round on his debut in 2005, losing to countryman Part. Last year he beat Askew before going out to Warriner-Little in round two. The USA have two players involved – the familiar face of John Kuczynski who reached the last 16 in 2005 will be joined by the less familiar Bill Davis, a 47 year old from Philadelphia. Davis contested the WSOD and Desert Classic this year and won a four player play-off to get here.
Two Aussies, Anthony Fleet and Mitchell Clegg represent their country. Clegg chances are discussed below and Fleet is the AGP champion. New Zealand have Warren French who beat a thousand strong field in the NZ National Singles to qualify. China are represented by Shi Yongsheng who has past experience of playing Taylor. Japan have Tetsuya Wada flying their flag, a 23 year old systems engineer from Yokohama City. All are making their debut.
From Europe, Tomas Seyler is the German number one and makes his second appearance after beating Harvey then losing to Scholten last year. Dutchman Josephus Schenk also makes his second appearance after reaching the last 16 on his debut two years ago, beating Manley along the way. 40 year old Dane Per Laursen reached the last 16 at The Lakeside in 2006 and won three of the four qualifying events required to get here. It’s his debut and he has past experience of playing Barneveld in the World Cup. Austrian Anton Pein is a top class soft tip player and was the final qualifier for this year’s competition. The last qualifier to mention is 19 year old Dutch player Rico Vonck, which bring us nicely to…
Can The Postman Deliver?
It’s Barney’s first PDC World Championship and after setting the sport alight throughout 2006 he will be hoping for big things here. He qualified in the final automatic spot, which is no mean feat in just one season. Provisionally ranked fourth on the Order of Merit and a multi time winner of the BDO version, he will be the one nobody wants to face. The draw has kept him in the opposite half to Taylor and the majority of the neutrals will no doubt be hoping for that dream final. Assuming a safe first round passage, His biggest test will come in round two when he is likely to be up against world number one Colin Lloyd. Get through that and he will be full of confidence. His half of the draw puts the likes of Wayne Mardle, Roland Scholten & Adrian Lewis as potential obstacles but if he brings his A-game and gets past Lloyd, the final beckons.
DartsMad Punters Choice
The winner – from Taylor, Barneveld or Lloyd. The value is obviously with Barney & Lloyd if you’re brave enough to oppose The Power.
Could go all the way – Lewis, Priestley. Worth an each way bet. If they reach the final you get paid.
Steer clear of – Walsh, Askew, Painter, Roy, Baxter, Mason, Dudbridge.
Watch out for – Bates, Osborne, McGowan, Hamilton, Wade, Terry Jenkins & Wes Newton
For more odds visit WWW.EASYODDS.COM?=PR
After that it’s difficult to pick an underdog with any degree of enthusiasm so back the favourites. Remember though, there will be some shocks so if you are brave with your money you may reap the rewards. Either that or you need a crystal ball. Good luck!
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