World Darts Championship 1st round: Barney highlights Monday night
On the penultimate day in the first round of the PDC World Darts Championship, fans and punters are in for a treat, as five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld kicks off his tournament against Austrian prospect Rowby-John Rodriguez.
Elsewhere, English duo Jamie Caven and Michael Smith, and Northern Ireland’s Bendan Dolan are also in action on Monday night.
Jamie Caven (19) v Jason Hogg
Caven is yet to progress past the second round in seven attempts, only ever winning three matches here, but faces an relatively straight forward battle against PDPA qualifier Jason ‘the Hedge’ Hogg (7/2 for victory).
Jabba, as Caven is nicknamed, was unlucky last January where he lost 4-3 to Van Barneveld in the second round, but goes into this encounter as the odds-on 1/5 favourite with Coral. He is a more enticing 21/10 chance to win 3-1.
Michael Smith (22) v Mensur Suljovic
Bully Boy Smith is odds-on at 1/3 for victory in his first round match, but faces a potentially tricky test against Serbian-born Austrian veteran Suljovic (9/4), who has reached the third round here before.
Suljovic, who was a UK Open quarter-finalist this year, won the only meeting between the duo as well, 6-4 in the last 32 of the 2013 European Tour, and has a tempting price of 6/1 to triumph 3-2.
Raymond van Barneveld (14) v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Rodriguez (3/1) is another Austrian who can cause a shock, with the 20-year-old a sure future star of the game. This year’s PDC World Youth Championship runner-up just so happens to be up against five-time world champion and 50/1 tournament chance Van Barneveld, though.
The duo have met once before, with Barney taking a 6-4 victory in the Players’ Championship in October, and he is 4/1 to defeat him 3-2 this time.
Brendan Dolan (11) v Nolan Arendse/Alex Hon
Northern Irishman Dolan has not had much luck in this event, having always been given tough opposition meaning he is yet to progress past the second round in six attempts.
He is a highly talented thrower on his day, though, and goes up first against either of preliminary qualifiers Arendse (4/6) of South Africa or Hong Kong’s Hon (11/10).