December 22, 2023 - PDC World Darts Championship First Week Review

A Week In Darts – December 22, 2023 – PDC World Championship First Week Review

The 2024 PDC World Darts Championship is well under way now with seven days of action at Alexandra Palace in the books. An action-packed first week of the tournament has seen the 96-player field cut in half, with some shock early exits and a teenage sensation lighting up the big stage on his debut. Here’s our look back at the last week in darts…

RECORD-BREAKING LITTLER SHINES ON DEBUT

Luke Littler has grabbed plenty of the headlines during the first week of this year’s PDC World Darts Championship.

At just 16-years-old, the teen became the youngest player to win a match in the tournament’s history, and he did so in style with a 106 average in a 3-0 win against Christian Kist on Wednesday night.

The recently crowned PDC world youth champion followed that landmark victory up less than 24 hours later, beating UK Open champion Andrew Gilding 3-1 to move into the third round.

“I am over the moon,” Littler said. “I was so nervous, but somehow my doubles were going in.

“I could have wrapped it up earlier, but I am just happy to get over the line.

“I’ve overachieved again. I just wanted to come here to win and then to come back after Christmas, and I am doing that.”

Luke Littler

Littler’s eye-catching debut has also seen him now installed as the fifth favourite with the title sponsors Paddy Power at 10/1.

The Warrington ace was priced at 66/1 before the start of the tournament, but his impressive first-round performance, along with big-name exits in his section of the draw, has seen his odds slashed in recent days.

SURPRISE EXITS FOR THE BIG NAMES

The opening week at Ally Pally has not been short of upsets with several high-profile names exiting the competition in the early stages.

James Wade, the 10-time major winner, was the first seed to be knocked out of this year’s tournament on Tuesday when he lost 3-2 to Matt Campbell.

‘The Ginja Ninja’ twice battled back from a set down to beat the 13th seed in a deciding set, with a third-round clash against Luke Littler up next for Canada’s number one after Christmas.

“For sure, this is the biggest win of my career, because of where it happened,” Campbell said.

“I’d never won on the Ally Pally stage in four attempts before this year, so this tournament has been huge for me.

“Now I’m looking forward to enjoying Christmas and seeing how far I can go in this tournament.”

Matt Campbell

Another big-name departure followed on Wednesday night as the two-time PDC world champion Peter Wright was beaten 3-0 by Jim Williams in the second round.

It was a night to forget for the 2020 and 2022 champion as he averaged just 83.87 and suffered a straight sets defeat in a World Championship match for the first time in his career.

Williams checked out a 124 on the bull to win a tightly contested opening set, before punishing seven set darts from Wright in the next set and then completing the clean sweep to ease through to the last 32.

“It was tough to see Peter struggling up there,” Williams said. “It’s a weird feeling.

“Obviously you want to win, but it’s difficult, because you’re playing somebody you normally watch and you don’t want to see them suffer.

“I’ve had two strange games so far. My focus has been terrible, but sometimes when the pressure is on your focus is better, so hopefully there is more in the tank.”

BRONZED ADONIS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT PLANS

Darts legend Steve Beaton has announced his plan to call time on his 30+ year career as a professional at the end of the 2024 season.

The 59-year-old opened up his record-extending 33rd consecutive World Championship campaign with a hard-fought 3-1 win against Wessel Nijman on Tuesday night.

‘The Bronzed Adonis’ won the BDO World Championship back in 1996, before joining the PDC circuit in 2001 and is currently playing in his 23rd World Championship in the PDC ranks.

Steve Beaton

The fans’ favourite takes on Daryl Gurney in the second round on Saturday, but ahead of that clash has revealed he will be stepping away from the professional circuit in 12 months time.

“Next year will definitely be my last, however this tournament goes,” Beaton said.

“I’m 60 next year and it’s a gruelling circuit. I’ve been married 30-odd years now and my wife hardly sees me. I’m only home half of the year.

“People don’t understand what you have to do to carry on with the darts. It’s great if you are a youngster, I would have been buzzing if it had been like this when I was 21.

“But it’s quite draining and it will be nice to spend a bit of time at home for a change. I thought this year was going to be my last, but I started off really well.”

 

Check out our PDC World Championship collection for the signature darts and accessories of your favourite players!

* Paddy Power, Prostate Cancer UK and the PDC have joined forces to call for 180,000 men across the UK to take 30 seconds to check their risk by using Prostate Cancer UK’s online risk checker. 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the disease is curable if caught early.

Pictures: PDC

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