Newton to down Special Brew
There may have been plenty of turkey being enjoyed and the odd tipple indulged in over the festive period, but there will also have been a huge amount of hours on the practice board for those men remaining in the PDC world championships.
The pair who will have been up and practicing earliest to get ready for the first afternoon game after Christmas is Wes Newton and Mark Walsh who have both turned in some pretty special performances to get to this stage.
Walsh saw off Darren Webster as expected in the opening round but then defied the odds to eliminate Justin Pipe in his last contest with a pretty awesome display of finishing which saw him only needing two darts to hit each double.
Newton has arguably been even better as he is one of only two men to reach this stage without dropping a set having whitewashed both Johnny Haines and Scott Rand on route to the third round. His average of a shade under a ton against Rand really showed how good his form is as he hammered in finishes of 144, 143 and 133 on the way to the big win.
It is those kind of big numbers that will see the Warrior into his second quarter-final at the Alexandra Palace having reached the last eight here back in 2011. The third round stage equals Walsh’s best performance at the worlds and there is a feeling that he just doesn’t have that extra gear to push him on into the latter stages at the biggest tournament around.
There are often some quite comfortable wins at this stage of the world championship and Newton may well win this by two or three sets. The Warrior is 5/4 with Sky Bet with a -2.5 handicap and given his stinginess in giving away sets thus far, this looks a pretty good price.
Second on stage on Thursday afternoon could be an absolute feast of high scoring between Simon Whitlock and Dave Chisnall. Whitlock is the other man not to drop a set so far after comfortable wins over Haruki Muramatsu and Colin Osborne whereas Chizzy hasn’t had it all his own way at all against Shane Tichowitsch and Daryl Gurney but has still made it to the last 16 with impressive 3-0 and 4-1 score lines.
Chisnall has played well in his two matches to date but he hasn’t hit the heights of his heavy scoring game that has seen him do so well on the Pro Tour this year. This could well mean he is about to peak though and if he starts finding the treble 20 on a regular basis then the Wizard will have plenty to worry about. Whitlock really has an air of confidence about him these days though and you would back him to go with Chisnall if he made a burst of scoring.
This has the potential to be the match of the round and although the Aussie should progress, I expect Chizzy to really push him and there could be a real exhibition of 180s on show. It is evens with Paddy Power for there to be over 15.5 maximums and with these two big scorers about that looks a distinct possibility.
The last of the daytime contests sees James Wade take on something of a surprise package in the tournament Vincent van der Voort. The big Dutchman is obviously seeded for the competition so it is not totally unexpected but he is quite inconsistent and when he came up against Dean Winstanley in the last round he was the big outsider. Vincent played exceptionally well to see off the Yorkshireman though and deservedly takes his place in the third round.
Wade as well was something of an unknown quantity coming into the event with his form and health both under question but he seems to have answered those queries with two pretty comfortable wins over Peter Hudson and Steve Beaton to make it this far. He is a 1/3 favourite to beat the Dutch Destroyer and although he certainly should win it might be a bit tighter than some would think. Wade has a fantastic record against van der Voort but they have had some close matches over the years, notably at the Matchplay in 2010 and the Grand Prix in 2009.
Vincent could easily take a couple of sets off the Machine, especially with his noticeable inconsistency over a seven set contest. Over five sets is 10/11 with bet365 and although this won’t make anyone rich it could start boosting that New Year’s Eve fund.
Wes Newton (-2.5) to win @ 5/4 with Sky Bet
Simon Whitlock v Dave Chisnall over 15.5 180s @ evens with Paddy Power
James Wade v Vincent van der Voort over five sets @ 10/11 with Bet365
• Phil Taylor v Michael van Gerwen betting
• James Wade v Michael van Gerwen betting
• Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld betting
• Favourites to keep on winning
• Two epics in prospect on Friday
• Artist to brush the champion aside
• The Bull could charge through Hamilton
• Beaton could push Wade all the way
• Favourites to prosper on Saturday night
• The Rocket could soar against the Artist
• Part and Bull to go the distance
• Comfortable afternoons for Hammer and Chizzy
• Kellett to KO Big Vince
• Priestley to roll back the years
• King and Winstanley set for five sets
• Everybody loves Raymond
• Rodriguez or Bowles to steal the show
• Dolan to continue stellar form
• Part and Cullen could deliver an epic
• Hendriks to strike the right note against Jones
• Don't expect whitewashes on night one
• Big finishes & big averages to come
• Mighty Mike can rule the world
• Hammer has sights set on title
• 9/4 Taylor turns The Power back on
• World title odds slashed as Taylor bounces back