Burnett and Hankey to build on momentum
The opening night of the 2013 UK Open had everything that you could want from it: big names falling at the first hurdle, unknowns impressing, 5-0 drubbings, tight 5-4s and of course Ted Hankey!
The two biggest names involved on Thursday night were Phil Taylor and James Wade and whilst they got through unscathed there were plenty of top players who were downed by outsiders. Dean Winstanley, Justin Pipe, Mark Walsh, Co Stompe and Roland Scholten were just five of the favourites who were ousted in their first contests and all will be thoroughly regretting not performing better over the qualifying events.
The third round draw is always billed as a thrill ride for darts fans and can often let you down but this year has really thrown together some gems for Friday evening and four of those standout matches are set for the main stage.
First up is a Welsh derby as World Cup teammates Mark Webster and Richie Burnett must face each other in a repeat of the first round of the 2012 World Championship. On that occasion it was Burnett who triumphed but it is Webster who is favourite to progress this time around at a best price of 4/5 with Bet Victor whilst the Prince of Wales is 42/41 with Bwin.
Neither have had a good season as yet and at the World Cup it was Burnett who certainly looked the weak link but there is no reason why he can’t beat the man known as Spider seen as he has the better of the head-to-head between the men. It’s been a while since Webster has been at his best and Burnett certainly looks the value bet in this clash of the Valleys after his win on Thursday.
Next up is a mouth-watering clash that will see an array of terrifying facial expressions as John Part’s snarl will look to defeat the grimace of distain produced by Ted Hankey. The Count was in pretty good nick on Thursday night winning two matches, the second very comfortably to make it through to the third round.
Both men are proven winners on the big stage but are equally capable of flopping quite badly so this one is tricky to call and there will be no surprise if the averages are in the low 80s but it is the best match of the round. Part is the strong favourite at 6/11 with Bwin whilst the Count is behind at 13/8 with Bet365 and you would say that Hankey looks very good value at that price. Incredibly these two veterans have only ever met once and that was just a couple of months ago, a contest which Hankey won and he could well repeat that feat on Friday night.
Once pure evil has left the stage, The Power will take to it and will be backed by everyone in the building to beat Ronnie Huybrechts. The Belgian has had an impressive first year so far on the Pro Tour with an appearance in the final of a Players Championship being the highlight to date. However, whilst he is proving himself as a competitive floor player, he is not in the same league as Taylor on the stage, hence why Huybrechts is 10/1 and Taylor is a best of 1/16.
Clearly there is no point backing Taylor at that price and the only other market available is the correct score market which of course is something of a lottery. Taylor was averaging three figures on Thursday night and if he repeats that then the score will be around the 9-4 mark which is available at 4/1 with Bet Victor.
Finally on the main stage the main man at the moment Michael van Gerwen renews his rivalry with Mervyn King for a place in the fourth round. The two have met with surprising regularity over the last few months and as is the case for many players, King has not won a single one of them.
Including MVG’s win in the final of the Grand Prix he has won six matches against the King since October including two more finals in the last two months. This is why Mighty Mike is a best of 1/6 with Sporting Bet and King is well out at 19/4 with Bwin. This looks a great price on a player of the class of King but the recent record would suggest that it would be a waste of a bet. Again we are limited to correct score bets and 9-5 looks about right at 5/1 with Bet Victor.
Richie Burnett to win @ 42/41 with Bwin
Ted Hankey to win @ 13/8 with Bet365
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