Grown men dressed as wombles, 180 cards and the best atmosphere money can buy. It can only be the Ally Pally as day one of the World Championship darts gets underway.
Jamie Lewis vs Daryl Gurney
This is a battle of two of the form players of 2015. Lewis has been chucking for years but never really showed form on the big stage (this is his fourth year at Ally Pally, he’s yet to win a game). But an impressive 2015 included last 16 finishes at the Matchplay and Player’s Championship final’s as well as a quarter final appearance at the Grand Prix in Dublin, moving him up to number 31 in the rankings, and deservedly qualifying for the World Championship.
Three years after switching codes, 2015 has been Daryl Gurney’s best as a darts player. Form on the floor led him to the Player’s Championship Finals in November, where he stunned world champion Gary Anderson to reach the semi-finals only to be crushed by the MVG machine.
I can’t pick a winner so I’m tipping the match to go the distance at over 4.5 sets
Peter Wright v Keegan Brown
Wright, a 2014 finalist could not have been given a harder opening round. The number four seed is up against former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown. Snakebite has been consistent on TV this year, particularly in the rankings. He reached the final of the UK Open and the semi-finals at the World Matchplay and European Championships. A good showing in the Worlds would see him leapfrog Phil Taylor to become #3 in the rankings.
But he’s up against a real fighter in Keegan Brown, who gave Adrian Lewis a big scare in the last 32. Having overcome John Part, Brown was 2-1 up on Jackpot, only for the Stokie to win the final three sets all by three legs to two. He won his first PDC tour title this year (defeating Wright along the way), and is sure to be an early test for Wright.
But Wright has shown his quality when at the Worlds, and I expect him to lay down an early marker and win this 3-1
Gary Anderson vs Andy Boulton/Per Laursen
The reigning World Champ enters the fray as the main event of night one, but he’s had a rocky 2015. After starting well by adding the Premier League title to his win at Ally Pally, he’s only won one title in the rest of the year – a Pro Tour event in Coventry at the end of October. He faces a potential banana skin should Per Laursen overcome Andy Boulton in the preliminary round. The Great Dane has beaten John Part and Terry Jenkins on the Alexandra Palace stage before. But Anderson has never lost a first round match at the Worlds. And he won’t this time.
Gary Anderson to beat his opponent 3-0 .