Hendriks to strike the right note against Jones
The first lunchtime session of the competition kicks off with what could be one of the shocks of the first round as the lowest seed in the competition Wayne Jones takes on unorthodox Dutchman Jerry Hendriks.
Having seen the tall 24-year-old in a floor tournament at the start of the year I can tell you he is a deep thinker about the game, commencing in shadow throwing of the dart behind his opponent or off to the side of the oche before actually letting fly. The man he beat that day in Barnsley was not best pleased with the antics and it is yet to be seen whether he will use these tactics on the biggest stage of all, but it is safe to say there is something about the man from Venlo and he can seriously play.
Jones of course is a seasoned campaigner but this has been one of the worst seasons of his career having struggled to make any impression until a semi-final appearance at the Dutch Dart Masters in October which saw him retain his top 32 place for the world champs. The recovery looked to be continuing as he smashed Dave Chisnall 6-0 at the Players Championship Finals but in truth Chizzy didn’t turn up and the Wanderer went out next round. Jones can still produce a very solid game, but Hendriks might just be worth a go at 21/10 with Boyle Sports, especially as he proved he can perform on the big stage, taking seven legs off Phil Taylor at the European Championship.
The pre-lim action sees former BDO world championship performer Daryl Gurney taking on the little-known Robert Marijanovic from Croatia who triumphed in the Eastern Europe qualifier for the event. The Croat has appeared in Players Championship events before but Gurney’s big stage experience will help him especially seen as he has twice won matches at Lakeside. The Northern Irishman is 1/3 to progress and may be worth sticking in an accumulator for the evening.
The second first round match of the evening really is another that could go either way as a man of veteran status takes on the current youth world champion. Richie Burnett made a spectacular return to big time darts with a run to the semis of the Grand Prix last year but he hasn’t really followed it up with at very best could only be described as a steady 2012. Hubbard is just starting his darting career that is set to be a long and successful one but he is still very short of winning experience on the big stage.
The Welshman should win this one but if the youngster can start well then he could give him a scare and take it to the full five sets on his world championship debut. It’s 13/8 with Bet Victor for the match to go the distance and if Hot Shot can hit form then there is every time that he can take the Prince of Wales all the way.
The contest between Terry Jenkins and Steve Brown may have potentially been quite close a year or so ago but Bomber Brown has been in such shocking form over the last 12 months it seems inconceivable that he could tame the Bull. Jenkins hasn’t been in the greatest of form himself but he could see off Brown quite easily; he saw off Joe Cullen 3-0 in the first round last year and he could do the same to the Bomber here and at 7/4 with Sky Bet it looks a good option.
The final contest of Saturday afternoon will see Andy Smith taking on the winner of Gurney and Marijanovic with the Pie Man coming off what he described as his worst ever TV performance at the Players Championship Finals. The proof of how poor Smith’s form is is proved by Sporting Bet only offering 6/4 on either preliminary qualifier knocking him out. Certainly if one comes through their opener strongly then they will have a good chance against a man who was beaten 3-0 in round one last year against Scott Rand.
Jerry Hendriks to win @ 21/20 with Boylesports
Richie Burnett v James Hubbard over 4.5 sets @ 13/8 with BetVictor
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