PDC World Darts: Thornton and Baxter to serve up post-Xmas treat

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After a short break for turkey, miseltoe and most likely plenty of practise, the world’s greatest arrow slingers descend back on Alexandra Palace for the second half of the World Championship.

The first round is in the books and from here on in it is non-stop darting action until the final on January 4th.

Kicking off with a set of mouth-watering fixtures, here’s our best bets for the first day back at the tournament:

Over 24.5 legs in Robert Thornton v Ronnie Baxter @ 11/10

An intriguing second-round match pits number-nine seed Thornton against two-time Alexandra Palace quarter finalist Baxter.

Generally when these two meet it’s pretty tight, having played out three of their last four matches with the winning margin being just the solitary leg. In fact, neither man has ever triumphed by more than four legs in any of the eight battles between the two.

Terry Jenkins to beat Laurence Ryder 4-0 @ 12/5

Ryder caused an upset in the first round by dumping out the methodical Justin Pipe 3-2, but he’ll come unstuck against Jenkins, who breezed through his opening match 3-1 against John Weber with a three-dart average of 98.73

The Bull has coasted past the second round in all bar one of his last five World Championship outings and in six of his 10 career appearances in general.

Gary Anderson to beat Jelle Klaasen 4-2 @ 10/3

The Flying Scotsman has had the better of the former BDO World Champion in their recent meetings, winning four of the last five, including a 6-1 thumping at the Players Championship earlier this year.

While it’s safe to assume that one of the most in-form players on the circuit during 2014 will progress in the match, it’s unlikely to be smooth sailing for Anderson.

Klaasen averaged 96.97 in his 3-1 first-round win over Christian Kist and has won six of the 13 career battles with Anderson thus far.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.