Well, as we all just about return to our normal way of walking, having been waddling for days after our respective Christmas dinners, it’s time to return to the comfortable seat you’ve barely left over the past few days, as Gary Anderson returns to the Oche at the Ally Pally for his Round 3 match against Chris Dobey.
The Flying Scotsman, who came into the showpiece event ranked at Number 11 in the World, overcame the challenge of Madars Razma in the previous round, defeating the Latvian 3-1. It was a top quality performance to start his campaign at the Palace, averaging 96, with three Ton plus outs of 100, 110 and 121, with the latter two being landed in the final set of the match. A lot of the issues from recent times, including the darts straying wide far too frequently, seemed to be left in the cold as the Tartan Titan delivered a workman like performance to secure his passage through. He was 31% on the outer ring, and hit Four 180s, although you already know that if you read my report of the match. You did, didn’t you? Anyways, the man who stands between Gary and a spot in the next round is…
Chris Dobey. Whilst it’s being played at a venue a 10 minute walk from a train station served by Great Northern despite being in…London, I WILL NOT stop the ‘Gary goes to Hollywood’ shpiel. It’s too fun. But it will be the Bedlington Arrowsmith who takes on Gary for a place in R5. The World Number 22 defeated Dutchman Martijn Kleermaker 3-0 in the previous round. He averaged 10 points less than Gary, at just 86, but he threw Five 180s and hit 47% on his Doubles to progress to R3, and set up a tie with Gary.
They’ve met on this stage once before, back at the 2019 World Championship, and what a match it was. Dobey hit 15 maximums, and it reached the ‘two clear legs’ rule, with Gary prevailing on D6 against the spirited Geordie.
The winner will face either 2009 Semi-Finalist Mervyn King, or 2018 World Champion Rob Cross, which would mean a repeat of the Players Championship Finals tie which saw Gary depart the competition, should they end up meeting. But that’s preview material for next round should he make it.
The fixture is the final one of the three in the afternoon session on Wednesday 28th December, with coverage starting from 12:30 GMT, and the format increasing in length, requiring Four Sets to progress rather than Three. Sky Sports is, as usual, the place for UK viewers to take in the action, and PDC Partners around the world.
Leave your Good Luck messages for the Flying Scotsman on Social Media and show your support as he looks to continue his challenge for a third title at the Palace.
Ryan Segal @theryansegal