Tonight sees the end of the R1 matches and signals a 3 day break without darts . Would love to say they've said the best till last but it seems they have actually saved the slowest till last based on the players playing tonight. Hopefully nobody has to be up early in the morning as this ain't finishing before half 12 tonight I reckon. Only blessing of that is Merv King shouldn't get too much abuse as half the crowd will be away home before his match starts
Andy Smith v Shane Tichowitsch: Opening match sees the likable Andy Smith take on an australian debutant at Ally Pally. As soon as I saw the prices on this match I thought that the Pieman is begging to be laid. His last 3 world championship performances have seen him lose in R1 each time to Mensur Suljovic, Tony Ayres & Darin Young so clearly not exactly the big names. Throw in the fact that hes been involved in an incident which saw him nearly lose his leg and it doesn't exactly add up to ideal prep for the biggest tourney of the year. Tichowitsch is here on the back of a good year in Australia but doesn't seem to have travelled much. He has actually won 6 tournaments in Oz though so he can clearly play a bit but it all depends how he copes with the tv and the lights. However I'm willing to take a chance that he can trade lower than his SP and that he also won't be whitewashed. Recommendation: Shane Tichowitsch to win @ 4.8 (BF) Lay Andy Smith 3-0 @ 2.2 or better (BF)
Magnus Caris v Dietmar Burger: Last prelim sees a former world semi finalist in Caris take on Austrian qualifier Burger for the right to face Merv King. You would have to think that Caris should have too much experience on tv but at 1/2 I suppose you pays your money and takes your chance in a race to 4. Wouldn't be for me though and must be better 2's on chances in the matches next week. Recommendation: No Bet
Mark Walsh v Justin Pipe: Walsh falls into the category of good floor player but never seems to do it on tv for me. Often scores heavily but just doesn't seem to be consistent enough for a player with a great track record on the circuit. Pipe made his tv debut at the GSOD and he was ok but very very slow. Walshy aint exactly pacy either so this match might take a while. Can't see Walsh making it easy for himself as he never does but can't really find a bet of any note here. Recommendation: No Bet
Dennis Priestley v Bernd Roith: One of my favourite players here in old Den and a true legend in the game of darts. Former world champ who has won a much bigger fight of late in beating cancer and I thin kall darts fans are delighted he is still playing as he rolls on to treble 20 in age. He's in today's papers though saying this might be his last WC and that darts is nowhere near a priority for him now after what he has been through. The question is does Roith have enough about him to win? I personally think the answer is yes as he looked a fairly handy player in the Euros when last on tv. He beat Denis Ovens 6-4 and then pushed Barney close before eventually going down 10-7 and if he plays like that he can definitely win this match. At the prices on BF I think he is worth a small poke. Recommendation: Bernd Roith to win @ 3.2 (BF)
Mervyn King v Caris/Burger: King completes the R1 matches and is having a really tough time of it in the last few months. His Dad sadly passed away and Merv has admitted he is finding it hard to cope without him as he was his biggest fan. He's also been taking care of his Mum who aint keeping well and it makes you wonder if his mind is on the game just now. All depends on who he plays but at really short odds I'd like to lay either the 3-0 or Merv outright in the match. Recommendation: As above depending on opponent & price
Summary: Think my night hinges on the opening match as I reckon anybody backing the pieman at 4's on needs their bumps felt. If that goes wrong I aint coming out in front but still think that Roith is definitely worth a small interest as well.
Good luck to all the regulars and lets hope for lots of winners and some good banter as usual HH