By Rod Harrington
Last Updated: 21st November 2019
The PDC road show moves on to Minehead for the Players Championship, which starts this Friday and is the penultimate event before the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, which kicks off on December 13.
Some 64 players will play a straight knockout competition at the Players Championship, which throws up some real cracking matches in the early rounds. Some of the top players do not play every event and one that will not be playing at all is Gary Anderson, who will miss the match practice I’m sure.
Michael van Gerwen starts off the favourite and I have to go with him to win this, however, another to watch out for is a player that has moved to third in the PDC Order of Merit and is last week’s Grand Slam of Darts winner, Gerwyn Price. Price beat MVG in the semi-finals in what has to be classed as his best performance on TV and then backed that up by beating Peter Wright in the final. He is in the opposite half of the draw to MVG so we could see a rematch in the final.
For the first day’s play on Friday I have picked out six odds-on matches – five-fold as the accumulator is the bet for me and pays a good return.
Glen Durrant had a good tournament last week and although he missed in his loss he normally sees that as the best part of his game. He also has a very strong all-round game so I see him getting over a fellow BDO player in Scott Baker at 2/7.
Danny Noppert has been playing really well over the last few months and although he did not get out of the group at the Grand Slam, he did make the final the week before in the World Series of Darts so he should still be on an high and beat Ryan Searle at 8/15.
Ian White is always a tough player to beat, especially in these early rounds, and his form is far above Devon Petersen at the moment so should get over the line. He’s 4/11 for the win.
James Wade might not be playing at his best at the moment, however, his doubling still wins him games, although some are very close. His opponent Ted Evetts won the Development tour ranking this year and is a very talented young man so Wade will need to be careful here, but I still see him winning. He’s 4/9 for the win.
Adrian Lewis has started to get some of his old form back, although he is still a bit patchy at times, however, his run last week in the Grand Slam should have upped his confidences to go on and beat Josh Payne at 1/2.
Gabriel Clemens is the No. 1 ranked player from Germany, has a very strong scoring and now he has got the big-stage nerves sorted out he has become a very tough player. He is also another player that had a great run in the Grand Slam so will be up for this match against Mark McGeeney. He’s 2/5 for the win.
Over the short format you will always get upsets so I have added another four matches that could be in with a shout and they are the outsiders in their matches.
Mervyn King to beat Justin Pipe at 10/11.
Ross Smith to beat Brendan Dolan at 10/11.
William O’Connor to beat Steve West at Evens.
Jamie Hughes to beat Jermaine Wattimena at 10/11.