The second night of the World Darts Championship features some interesting ties to whet the appetite in the early stages of the Alexandra Palace tournament.
Justin Pipe, fresh from three Players Championship victories in autumn, takes on Australian Sean Reed, whilst Co Stompe will be hoping to ‘play up’ against impressive youngster Michael Smith, and Wes Newton meets debutant Kurt Van De Rijck, with each man desperate to progress in the most prestigious darts tournament in existence.
Justin Pipe to beat Sean Reed @ 1/7
‘The Force’ posted his best World Championship performance last year when making the last 64, and he can improve on that this year, after a 2011 which saw him collect three Players Championships and reach the last 16 of the World Matchplay.
His opponent Reed is unseeded, and shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to a man who beat Phil Taylor 6-5 to land his first Pro Tour title this year.
Michael Smith to beat Co Stompe @ 5/2
Still only 21, Smith has managed to make an impact in PDC premier events recently, achieving a last 32 finish in both the 2010 and 2011 UK Open Championships.
In his toughest challenge to date on the world stage, he couldn’t have picked a much better time to face Co Stompe, who looked shoddy and out-of-form when competing in last month’s Grand Slam of Darts.
Smith can cause an upset at 5/2.
Wes Newton to beat Kurt Van De Rijck @ 1/10
Newton, a quarter-finalist in last year’s World Championship, is fancied by many as one of the dark horses of this tournament, and he should have no problems in overcoming the challenge of unseeded debutant Van De Rijck to advance from the first round.
He has performed impressively in the Players Championship and World Matchplay events this year, and also reached the final of the UK Open.
He should ease through and is 1/1 to win by three sets to nil.