10 charismatic underdogs that can light up 2016 World Cup of Darts
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | May 27, 2016
As the 2016 World Cup of Darts draws ever-nearer, the likes of England, Netherlands and Scotland once again represent the powerhouse nations of the event with household names Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson all to take part.
However, it is a tournament that gives lesser-known players the chance to make a name for themselves and go toe-to-toe with some of the top stars in the game.
Darts is becoming more and more multi-national and, as a result, the sport continuously unearths colourful characters.
So read on to find out our pick of 10 charismatic underdogs that can light up the event in Frankfurt, Germany…
Larry Butler (USA)
Made up of two current BDO players, the USA are always a handful for the bigger darting nations when they go up against them, and they reached the quarter-finals in 2012 thank to the help of Darin Young.
It is Big Daddy’s partner Bald Eagle Butler, though, who is the nation’s main attraction, having won the inaugural World Matchplay way back in 1994 and is still going relatively strong aged 58.
USA are odds-on at 1/2 with Coral to beat the Philippines up first, but could then take on tournament favourites Netherlands next.
Magnus Caris (Sweden)
Caris is another whose peak years were in the early to mid-1990s, having reached the semis of both the BDO World Championship and World Masters during that era, and has been an ever-present at World Cups since its inception in 2010.
Nicknamed Poker Face, the 47-year-old Swede has never reached a latter stage of a PDC TV event, but is a crowd favourite whenever he appears.
Sweden have never got past the second stage at a World Cup, but are 4/6 favourites to knock out Scandinavian rivals Denmark in their first round clash. A battle with Australia or Germany awaits them in the last 16, though.
Paul Lim (Singapore)
The legendary Lim, who is the first man ever to hit a World Championship nine-darter (back in 1990), has supposedly retired from the professional game, but took part in the 2016 PDC World Championship and is back for another World Cup too.
Aged 62, the Singapore Slinger is the oldest player in the Frankfurt field, but can still compete to a decent standard and always has the crowd behind him.
The Asian nation begin against South Africa, who they are 9/4 to get revenge on after narrowly losing to them in the second round in 2014.
Scott MacKenzie (Hong Kong)
If not colourful in personality, he certainly is in terms of his DNA, being born in Brazil to a Scottish father and a Japanese mother, while he has lived for long spells in the UK and Hong Kong too.
MacKenzie has been around the scene for a few years now, and most notably helped Hong Kong to shock wins over seeded nations Wales and Ireland to reach the quarters last year.
Hong Kong take on Ireland again, and are great 13/10 shouts to inflict another defeat on them.
John Michael (Greece)
Cypriot-born Michael may not be the most well-known player on tour, but certainly entertained the Ally Pally crowd when he walked/danced out to ‘Zorba the Greek’ ahead of World Championship matches with Warrick Scheffer and James Wade.
The Deadly Rose, along with Ioannis Selachoglou, will be the first duo to represent Greece in a World Cup of Darts, and are tasty 15/8 shouts to defeat Canada.
Aleksandr Oreshkin (Russia)
Oreshkin was an almost unknown before December last year, but it’s very difficult to understand why given his appearance, highly unusual throwing style and surprising ability at the 2016 PDC Worlds.
The Saint Petersburg native came through a tight qualifier with Lim, before coming so close to shocking three-time major winner Mervyn King in the first round proper.
Let’s hope we see much more of the eccentric Russian in future, and his slow style may even be able to frustrate opponents Van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld of the Netherlands. The Eastern Europeans are a huge 11/1 for a highly unlikely victory.
Dyson Parody (Gibraltar)
If anyone saw the recent Gibraltar Darts Trophy, they’d know that the magnificently-named Parody has something special about him.
Not only did the 31-year-old knock out former BDO world champion Jelle Klaasen and current world youth champion Max Hopp, but came three darts away from causing an almighty shock against dominant world number one Van Gerwen.
Gibraltar gained their first-ever World Cup win last year, against Italy, and Dynamite Dyson can inspire them to another when they face Norway, who they are 4/6 to eliminate. Unfortunately for the oversees British territory, Scotland likely await them in round two.
— Sam Barnard (@samba711) May 8, 2016
John Part (Canada)
Part is by far and away the most decorated player on this list, being a three-time world champion, though now aged 49 has slipped way down the rankings after deciding to largely concentrate on being a pundit.
In his heyday, Canada’s finest beat the best, and is one of the great characters one and off the oche. But, can Darth Maple roll back the years and go far in Frankfurt? The North Americans are 2/5 to beat debutants Greece.
Devon Petersen (South Africa)
Petersen is also a more established name on tour, but his colourful personality and pre-match dancing moves pay a big part in his act.
The South African, who reached the last 16 at the Worlds in 2014 and 2015 UK Open quarters, will be hoping to match his nation’s feat of the final eight two tournaments ago, and are odds-on at 1/3 to knock out Singapore first up. A potential tie with title dark horse Austria then follows.
Cristo Reyes (Spain)
Tenerife-born Reyes is gradually rising the rankings, after smashing onto the scene at the 2015 Worlds by reaching the last 16.
The popular Spaniard teams up with Antonio Alcinas and can be tricky first opponents for reigning champions England if Taylor and Adrian Lewis are slow off the mark. Spain are tempting 6/1 chances to reach the second round.