Those who had taken their eyes off the wrecking ball of drama an entertainment known as the PDC World Darts Championships before the final fixture of the first round was put to bed will be having a very different Christmas from the rest of us.
Reaching for the remote upon the conclusion of Adrian Lewis’ one-sided stroll past game Jan Dekker, only meant missing Jelle Klaasen take on Joe Cullen.
However, the vagaries of the draw turned out to have been saving the best until last at Alexandra Palace and few who caught the former BDO World Champion’s performance will be able to stop thinking about backing him for outright honours until the second round resumes on Boxing Day.
Klaasen, who had been 100/1 before the start of the tournament, dismantled world-number 48 Cullen for the loss of just two legs and that wasn’t the only way in which his performance marked him out as a thrower to keep the mince pies on.
The Cobra was the sole man in the first round to average over a century (102.54) with three darts, while his checkout percentage (52.94) puts him alongside the elite seven exponents left in the competition.
Also among the septet are Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, who are 4/1 and evens to win the world championship respectively, despite progressing in markedly different fashions.
Mighty Mike only came through 3-2 against Rene Eidams, despite posting very respectable figures, but The Power steamrollered Japan’s Keita Ono for the loss of just one leg.
Despite coming close to emulating the Stoke superstar’s ominous showing across the benchmark statistics of three-dart mean, checkout success and legs lost against a darter of markedly superior rank to Ono, Klaasen is still available at an, admittedly markedly-shorter, 33/1 for outright victory.
The 31-year-old Dutchman is 8/15 favourite to forcibly abdicate Mervyn King at the second round stage, with the tie to be fought out on December 29 and its laurels entitling their bearer to what is
likely to be a clash with Taylor in the third.
Before that there’s many arrows to be flung, with defending champion Gary Anderson (1/7) and big-scoring Dave Chisnall (1/6) odds-on highlights of the Boxing Day broadcast against Daryl Gurney and Christian Kist respectively.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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