By News Team
26th May 2020
After 32 nights of thrilling first round action, the PDC Tour has reached the play-off stage.
Getting started on Tuesday night, we’re all set for eight consecutive nights of darting action, with 32 players split among eight groups and the winners of each group then advancing to the semi-finals.
Below we preview the first four play-offs groups, in action from Tuesday to Friday night.
Group One: Tournament favourite Wright to march on
Group One is headlined by reigning world champion Peter Wright, who is perhaps unsurprisingly the favourite to win the whole competition. The last man to book his place in the play-offs, Wright is also the odds-on favourite to top the group here.
It will be no easy task for ‘Snakebite’, however, as standing in his way on Tuesday night will be former Lakeside winner Jelle Klaasen, Cristo Reyes and Ryan Murray. Given Wright stuttered on his initial appearance in the tournament, failing to advance from his group on the opening night and thus needing a second chance last time out, the trio of Klaasen, Reyes and Murray will be quietly confident of springing a surprise from the oche.
Klaasen is the man who will most likely challenge and looks the value alternative, but Wright, whose 2020 has seen him win the PDC World Darts Championship and Masters as well as producing some decent performances elsewhere, should have enough to progress here.
Group Two: Durrant to reign supreme on Wednesday
Wednesday night’s action pits together a pair of world champions in Glen Durrant and Stephen Bunting, who are both former BDO World Darts Championship winners, with Alan Tabern and Mike De Decker rounding off the group. It’s Durrant, though, who is the man to beat here.
The 49-year-old made light work of Justin Pipe, Maik Kuivenhoven and Vincent van der Meer in the first round of the competition to continue his impressive form in 2020 that also sees him sit top of the Premier League table, having racked up four wins from six in that event.
It’s no surprise then to see three-time Lakeside champion as odds-on favourite to top this group, while he is also the fourth favourite to go all the way. Bunting is perhaps best equipped to challenge of the other three competitors, but again it may be a wasted bet backing anyone else other than Durrant here.
Group Three: Anderson looking for more of the same
On Thursday night it’s the turn of Gary Anderson. The two-time PDC world champion headlines Group Three, which also includes Luke Humphries, Jamie Lewis and Nick Kenny.
Anderson, who was initially forced to withdraw from the competition early on before returning to compete towards the end of the first round, looked very comfortable when he did take to the oche, despatching each of Kim Huybrechts, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Anderson is another favourite to progress, and as the third favourite to win the competition outright, it’s his group to lose. Humphries may well be his toughest competitor, but the 25-year-old did need two bites of the cherry to advance to this stage, so one suspects Anderson will more than fancy his chances of advancing.
Group Four: Heta to challenge Chisnall in tight affair
Friday night’s Group Four looks set to be the tightest of the first four groups in the play-offs, with Dave Chisnall, Darren Webster, Geert Nentjes and Damon Heta all taking each other on. Chisnall will be disappointed if he doesn’t make it through here and is quite rightly the favourite to finish top of the pile. But if there’s one group worth going against the favourite for some value from those discussed, it’s this one.
Heta is looking like a strong contender. A solid if unspectacular player, the Australian has shown some form in this competition, finishing ahead of John Henderson in his group in the first round. With 75 places in the PDC world rankings separating Henderson (31st) and Heta (106th), Heta will head into Friday off the back of that triumphant feeling he can pull off another shock. It could be his night.