Column #CM14 PDC World Championship 2017 – Report #5

Monday, December 26, 2016
Column CM14
A birthday!

Drowned in all the darts of the last few days was the fact that Dutch darts player Vincent van der Voort celebrated his birthday on December 18th. Van der Voort is among the participants in the World Championship but he’ll not be on stage until the 23rd when he will play his First Round match against German Max Hopp. It’s difficult to assess his chances. 2016 was not really a great year for the fast throwing and popular Dutchman. Since 2014, he hasn’t won a tournament – his best finishes this year were a quarter and a semi-final on the Pro Tour and a place in the quarterfinals of the Masters. But to be sure 2016 was not a great year for Max Hopp either who only won one tournament on the Development Tour.

For van der Voort it will be his 14th World Championship appearance. He played his first in 2002 – at that time still for the BDO – and he lost first round to Mensur Suljovic. He took part in the BDO World Championship from 2002 – 2007. After the 2007 World Championship he switched to the PDC together with Michael van Gerwen, Mervyn King and Jelle Klaasen. Van der Voort and King almost immediately made an impact while it took some time for Klaasen and van Gerwen. All four at that time had the same the sponsor – a kitchen producer – and were known as the kitchen boys. Van der Voort qualified for the 2008 PDC World Championship and since then has stood on the Alexandra Palace stage every year. He reached the quarterfinals in 2011 and 2015. How far will get this year? It’s difficult to predict but should Phil Taylor keep on playing like he started van der Voort will likely be eliminated third round. Whatever ensues, “Happy birthday Vincent – and good darts in the New Year!”

The fifth evening of the tournament began with a short press conference. Barry Hearn announced that prize money will again increase next year while the ticket prices for events in the UK and Ireland will be frozen for one year.

During the press conference the Preliminary Round match of the evening was played and young Australian Corey Cadby demolished Chinas Quiang Sun. The Australian dart wonder had an average of 102.48 and a hit rate on the doubles of 67 percent. When he meets Joe Cullen in the last match of the evening things might get really interesting, especially as Cadby’s confidence is as high as Cullen’s.

Mervyn King had a very bad start in his match against Steve West with a well under par average in the first set. In the second set he managed to improve a little bit but still his average was 15 points below West’s who won the second set as well. But King pulled himself together and played much better afterwards. He managed to level 2-2 and the match went into a deciding set. When it was 2-2 a tiebreaker was needed – one of the players needed two clear legs to win. West was the first to win a leg but King levelled after West missed with two match darts. Then both players hit again one leg each – but finally King managed to take two legs in a row and the match. He was very relieved and very emotional.

Far less dramatic was the following match between Adrian Lewis and the Swedish #1, Magnus Caris. Caris was no match for Lewis at all. Lewis won the first set easily. In the second set Caris had darts to level but couldn’t take his chance. The third set was another clear affair in Lewis’ favour. This was a good win for Lewis but it didn’t reveal how his form really is, as the opponent was not a challenge.

The evening ended with the second appearance of the Australian star Corey Cadby against Joe Cullen. The first three sets were amazing from both players with averages of between 104 and 107. Cadby had the better hit rates on the doubles – an astonishing 71 percent, which dropped only slightly by the end of the match to 67. It was a fantastic match which delighted the crowd and the commentators. Neither of the players quite managed to keep up their starting level until the end but Cullen’s average was still just over 100 with Cadby’s just below. Cullen won it 3-1 – and it might be that his experienced helped him to it. But it was a terrific World Championship debut for the young Australian. As only the match winners are interviewed I can’t answer the question what his plans for the future are and whether he might intend to play on the PDC Circuit.

All in all it was a great evening with lots of drama and high-class darts, and an enthusiastic crowd. By the time I left the Palace it was already quiet and the crowd had dispersed.

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Charis Mutschler
The founder of Global Darts, darts journalist Charis Mutschler hails from Marbach, near Stuttgart, Germany. A regular at most major PDC tournaments, a lover of literature, dance and music and cats, Charis' popular writings about darts and its players often transcend the usual. She brings something unique to the chroniclers of the sport we all love.