By News Team
15th May 2020
After a thrilling few weeks of darts action on the PDC Tour, we’ve almost reached the conclusion of the group stage of the competition.
Yes, we’re down to the final four groups – Groups 29-32 – which take place on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday night respectively. Below we take a look at a few things to watch out for over the coming days.
Noppert to bounce back from disappointment
As we enter the final few days of the group stage, some players who failed to advance from their pool earlier on in the tournament are being handed a second chance. Take Friday night’s Group 29 for example, which will see Premier League challenger John Henderson, World Series of Darts Finals runner-up Danny Noppert and promising English youngster Ryan Meikle all hoping to progress to the next round at the second time of asking.
The odd one out here is Spanish ace Cristo Reyes, who will be hoping to take advantage of his rivals’ previous disappointments. His form in 2020 hasn’t been the strongest, however, bar a last 16 finish at a Players Championship event in February, and it may be wise to look elsewhere.
Of the other three, Henderson, who just missed out on top spot to Damon Heta last time out will challenge, but the man to back could be Noppert. Ranked 25th in PDC’s world rankings, he was unlucky to come second to Jesus Noguera previously and if he can get over that, he’ll be confident having reached a Players Championship event semi-final just a couple of months ago.
Anderson finally set to make his mark
Saturday night’s action is headlined by none other than Gary Anderson, who will be keen to get his tournament going with a bang, having previously had to withdraw earlier in the competition. Ranked ninth in PDC’s world rankings and a two-time PDC world champion, it’s hard to look past Anderson here in Group 30. Having reached the semi-finals of the Masters this year and the last 16 of the UK Open, the form is there. It will be his group to lose.
Looking to thwart the Flying Scotsman on Saturday will be Belgian duo Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts, along with the in-form Dirk van Duijvenbode. All three have previously featured in this tournament, having failed to advance originally, and will all be hoping that Anderson will be a little rusty in competitive competition.
Van den Bergh lost out to an impressive Rob Cross last time out and there is no shame in that, while as mentioned, Van Duijvenbode has had some impressive results this year – but Anderson should be the man marching into the next round.
Price eager to make amends
Sunday night sees the return of Gerwyn Price to the competition, with the two-time Grand Slam winner having previously missed out on progression to Luke Woodhouse. Price, third in the PDC’s world rankings, will have been bitterly disappointed to have slipped up there and you would imagine he won’t waste this second chance to advance that he’s been presented with.
Joining Price in Group 31 will be Joe Cullen, Bradley Brooks and Keegan Brown – all three having participated in the event in previous weeks and failing to advance. Cullen will certainly fancy his chances of toppling Price, sitting 16th in the world rankings, and should be the Welshman’s main threat.
Price, however, is a big-time player and he should have too much about him to ensure he avoids slipping up once more.
World champion Wright to take second chance
Another of darts’ heavyweights to be given a reprieve in this competition is reigning world champion Peter Wright, who lost out to Jamie Lewis on the opening day of the event. Wright will have had plenty of time to correct his game from where it went wrong back on April 17 and he’ll be raring to go once again.
Wright’s second-placed finish that night was a surprise to all, with Snakebite the early frontrunner to win this competition, with his 2020 up to that point having seen him secure the PDC World Darts Championship and Masters title as well as some decent performances elsewhere.
With Group 32 also featuring Krzysztof Ratajski, Justin Pipe and Adam Hunt, all who failed at their first attempt in this competition, it’s only complacency that should seemingly prevent world number two Wright from advancing here.