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World Championship 2023

This time last year, just days before the 2022 World Champs kicked off, we wrote an article calling for Peter “Snakebite” Wright to win the World Champs in what was a hotly contested championship. This year we have a favourite for the title, but this article will focus more on the “who to watch” at this year’s World Championship due to start later this week on December the 15th.

Beau knows. With just three ladies entered, much of the talk and hype this year has been on Fallon Sherrock who without doubt has put the women’s darts game on the map in recent times. But there is an 18 year old newcomer from Doncaster who will draw all the attention, Beau Greaves. Greaves, who was the youngest ever winner of the WDF Lakeside World Championship back in April has literally blasted onto the darts scene this year. Perhaps a little less known downunder due to the lack of TV airtime here, Greaves has shown that she is a real force on the women’s darts scene.

Questions are being asked on how she will handle the pressure of a global televised PDC event? But this kid is cool under pressure and will give “The Magpie”, Irishman William O’Connor a run for his money in the first round. If she wins that, we see her even likely to beat the big German, Gabriel Clemens in the second round for a likely third round meeting with the World number 8, James Wade.

“Rocky” Josh Rock. Another player that has belted onto the darts scene this year is Josh Rock who has just recently released his new Mission darts following some absolute success on the PDC circuit in recent months. Josh achieved the nine-dart finish against MVG which unfortunately got more airtime and social media comments on how Mighty Mike didn’t acknowledge the great event than the achievement itself. MVG was merely focused on his darts that day and congratulated the 21 year old Northern Irishman afterwards. In the World Championship, Rock will meet the lesser known Spaniard Jose Justica in the first round which we see him winning reasonably easily. That will take him onto a collision course with World number 23, Callan Rydz. What a battle this game will likely be! On their day, both can beat any other player. Either way, this second round matchup will prove to be a “must watch”.

The Smith’s. Michael Smith and World number 4, yes folks that’s right, number “four” in the world now has finally got the monkey of his back following his first PDC major title win at the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts just last month. Smith had previously been a runner-up in so many PDC events, but it was always going to happen that he would win a major event with being such a talented darts player. At 32, he now has the confidence, experience and ability to go all the way at this year’s World Championship. He will certainly be there near the end, but will he become the 2023 World Champ?

Another “Smith”, this time Englishman Ross Smith nicknamed “Smudger" is one that we think will be a dark horse (so to speak) and will be one to watch. Smith made the last 32 at last year’s World Champ’s only to be knocked out by the “Aubergenius”, Dirk van Duijvenbode 4-3. This year his darts have only got better as he has shown a calmness at the oche that would be typical of a seasoned professional. Ross Smith has raised his game and is always there towards the end of tournaments. In late October, Ross won his first major title, winning the European Championship in Germany by beating the other “Smith”, Michael Smith 11-8 in the final. He averaged over 101 in the 19 legs played in that final. Just to make the final he had to beat World no.13 Joe Cullen, World no.15 Dimitri Van den Bergh and World no.2 Peter Wright. This event even had all ten of the World’s top ten ranked dart players compete and Ross Smith came out on top!

Big Rig. Most local dart players will know the current NZ number one ranked dart player, Ben Robb. Nicknamed the “Big Rig”, Ben has been on the darts scene for the last few years as he has played in the PDC World Championship’s twice before. Ben just last week played in the latest Modus Super Series where he made the semi-final in what was a good warm up for him going to this week’s tournament. In the first round of this year’s World Champ’s Ben comes up against seasoned professional, the “Clonoe Cyclone” Mickey Mansell. The Northern Irishman has been on the pro tour for a decade or so and is currently ranked 88th in the World.

Mansell lost his professional tour card last year due to injury but retained it very soon again at Q-School in January this year where over 650 players competed for the 32 pro tour cards on offer. There is no doubt that “Big Rig”, Ben has the game to beat Mansell. Many here in NZ hope that he does do just that and will be giving him all the very best from downunder. If he does, he will meet the current World Champ and 2nd ranked, Peter “Snakebite” Wright in the second round. What an opportunity that would be for NZ’s best player! Good luck Ben, we wish you all the best!

Who wins? So who’s gunna win this year’s World Championship tournament and come out on top? With 96 players battling it out over nearly three weeks at the oche to become World Champion there are a myriad of winners possible this year. Realistically the winner could be Peter Wright again. Luke Humphries, Jonny Clayton and Danny Noppert could all on their day take it out. Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price have got to be there or thereabouts in the semi’s or even the final.

But the winner for us this year in our opinion will be the three times previous winner, Michael van Gerwen (MVG). Mighty Mike as he is known has the backing of the bookies and for once we’d say that they are probably right this time around. MVG looks to have got his game to its best it has been in for some years at the right time of the year. Michael won the World Matchplay back in July by beating the top ranked Gerwyn Price (who hit a nine darter in his semi-final). MVG also won the World Grand Prix in early October and just a few weeks back won the Cazoo Players Championship Finals reasonably easily by 11-6 over Rob Cross.

We expect Michael van Gerwen to win his fourth PDC World Championship title when the tournament end on the 3rd of January 2023. Right or wrong and whatever the result, this year’s World Championship will prove to be a must watch for the darting enthusiast!

Straight Arrows everyone

Paul Webber

Owner – Bullseye Darts


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