World Cup of Darts Day 1 first round: Australia cult heroes jostle with Germany
Holly Thackeray | June 1, 2016
2016 World Cup of Darts
- Thursday, June 2nd
- Day 1 first round session from: 19:00-23:00 BST
- Eissporthalle, Frankfurt am Main
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Aussie arrowsmiths The Wizard and The Original in town
For darts fans June usually only means one thing, it’s time for the annual World Cup of Darts, a yearly arrowsmith event that sees the best countries from across the globe contest to be crowned kings of the oche and claim a £50k prize pot.
What makes this tournament unique is that the selected PDC stars play in pairs for their respective nations, with both singles and doubles duels at certain stages of the competition. Though, only eight teams from 32 are seeded this time out for the opening round.
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) May 31, 2016
On Day One, the Thursday fixtures are for the first round, where it is a case of doubles only in battles to the best of nine legs for a place in Saturday’s second round scuffles.
Punters will have to wait until Friday’s second-half of these first round thrillers to see holders England in action, as Stoke duo Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis square-up to Spain, but there is plenty to tune in for on Thursday.
Australia cult personalities Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson are teamed up to take on host nation Germany, while title favourites the Netherlands rumble with Russia and star-studded Scotland face New Zealand from the eight opening night clashes.
So, read on for Coral’s thoughts on the curtain-raisers and the best bets on offer…
Hungary v Thailand
Part of the magic of the World Cup of Darts, is that it allows lesser light countries to shine, and it falls to two rather unknown darting nations to raise the curtain in style on a Thursday night in Frankfurt.
Hungary are the odds-on 8/11 favourites to take out Thailand, with Nandor Bezzeg the most familiar face from the four players – the hitman giving Hungary an edge having collected several regional crowns in the likes of Austria and Romania and featured in the final 64 of the 2009 World Darts Championship.
The Hungarian contingent is completed by Patrik Kovacs, though Thai star Thanawat Gaweenuntawong could throw a spanner in the works alongside partner Attapol Eupakaree. Colorful character Gaweenuntawong became the first Thai to represent his country in the 2016 PDC World Darts Championship and is an intriguing 11/10 to help topple Hungary, as a relative old hand in this competition with two previous appearances.
USA v Philippines
There’s a reason why the USA are 1/2 favourites to make light work of their first round fray with the Philippines – his name is Larry Butler.
Back in the BDO now, The Eagle last dipped his toe in PDC waters in cross-over competition the Grand Slam, dropping out in the 2015 edition’s group stages. Decorated Butler is far from done yet and joins Darin Young, last seen taking a set off The Thorn in the PDC World Championship, for the Stars and Stripes.
The Philippines’ Gilbert Ulang and Alex Tagarao, meanwhile, are outsiders at 13/8 to make it through, so if you don’t fancy an underdog shock against the ageing class of Butler, back team USA at 6/1 for a 5-1 win.
Norway v Gibraltar
Great practice session with Manolo! Bring in the World Cup! pic.twitter.com/iYccVmCUEa
— Dyson Parody (@dysonparody180) May 29, 2016
Fresh from hosting a European Tour event, Gibraltar is threatening to become the next big thing in darts – or at least the cult crew of choice for 2016.
In the 2016 Gibraltar Darts Trophy, Dyson Parody made darts history in his homeland by becoming the first Gibraltarian to reach a Euro Tour quarter-final, where he gave world number one Michael van Gerwen a real scare but ultimately crashed out 6-5. Should Parody, who has also scalped the likes of Max Hopp and Jelle Klaasen, continue his purple patch alongside veteran Manuel Vilerio, the rocky overseas territory are 4/6 to knock out Norway.
The Norwegians (6/5) feature oche couple Cor Dekker and Robert Wagner, with the latter Austria-born also known as The Magician, used to making waves in the BDO circle before struggling in PDC waters. This could be close then, with a 5-3 scoreline in Gibraltar’s favour a nifty 9/2.
Denmark v Sweden
It’s Nordic nation v Nordic nation here, as Sweden and Denmark feature in a superb Scandinavian darting derby. The Swedes are slight 4/6 favourites thanks to cool customer Magnus Caris, who reached the quarter-finals of the first Players Championship event in 2015, and Daniel Larsson, who is ranked 37th in the BDO.
As for the Danes (6/5), Per Laursen has featured regularly in the PDC World Darts Championship last 32, and links up with recent Development Tour quarter-finalist Daniel Jensen. After Denmark were thrashed 5-0 by England last year, they’ll want to put in a superior showing against their regional rivals.
Belgium v Poland
It’s all about the Huybrechts brothers as Belgium battle Poland, as seventh seeds Kim and Ronny will put sibling rivalry aside to once again represent their country together.
The Poles (4/1) can offer little to combat the experience of The Hurricane and The Rebel, ranked 14th and 40th in the PDO Order of Merit respectively.
Krzysztof Ratajski, perhaps most famous for his BDO walk-on being the theme for Mission Impossible, will hope he and partner in crime Mariusz Paul do not face a task so tough as his tune but, after being ousted at the semi-final stage by England last year, the Belgian brothers have a point to prove. Back them at 1/6 for the match, or a better value 3/1 to win 5-1.
Scotland v New Zealand
Part-time slaughterman Warren Parry will be without 2015 side-kick Rob Szabo, with Cody Harris taking his place on the Oche, but though the pair have a fair few Oceanic tournament titles between them they have it all to do to scupper Scotland.
A giant-killing is an outside 8/1 to be on the cards, with PDC world champion Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton holding tartan hopes in their hands. Partner switches from last year is a theme in this meeting, as The Thorn replaces Peter Wright following some off the oche drama.
Though the swap may have lengthened the Scots’ outright 9/2 trophy price, they remain heavy 1/16 shouts for victory in their first Frankfurt fray, or a tempting 12/5 to complete a whitewashing.
Netherlands v Russia
Trophy favourites tipped to topple England, the Netherlands pairing of legendary Raymond van Barneveld and recent Premier League winner Van Gerwen looks formidable for Russia in this first round.
Last year’s runners up and one of only two nations to ever lift the title, the Dutch are 1/33 to destroy the Russians. The crowd heroes and usual foes face opponents in cult crowd pleaser Aleksandr Oreshkin, who you may remember recently won a sudden death leg to defeat Paul Lim in the PDC World Darts Championship before testing Mervyn King, and Boris Koltsov, nicknamed The Viking.
Huge outsiders at 11/1 to vanquish the Dutch duo, even with Barney in inconsistent form, their best hope may be to get a leg (21/10) or two (4/1) on the board, with highly competitive Mighty Mike known to occasionally let things slip when steaming ahead too easily.
Australia v Germany
Regular tournament hosts Germany have to wait until the end of the night to see highly-rated youngster and 2015 PDC World Youth Championship winner Max Hopp in action alongside top 50 star Jyhan Artut. This twosome took Germany, unseeded this year in the new format, to the quarter-finals last year, but face stern opposition in their opener against the Aussies.
Sixth seed Australia boast an intriguing combination in quirky characters Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson, and they look short at 7/4 to come undone. The Wizard is well-versed in this tournament as one of Australia’s most famous and loved sporting faces, while The Original does not lack for confidence and recently reached the UK Open quarters.
Cult hero Whitlock is not quite the power he used to be, however, and tends to stumble more often than not these days in televised performances. Against up and comer Hopp and co, the Aussies are 5/1 to scrape through 5-4.
While you’re at it read all about the World Cup of Darts underdogs.
Coral’s top tip: Back a little late drama with Australia 5/1 to sink Germany 5-4.