The aptly and simply titled Last 32 Preview blog post

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December 25, 2015 by bsd987

Merry Christmas y’all!

Let me take a break from my regular stats-based postings to preview the second round. But I’m not going to do in-depth previews. No. For all 16 matches, I’m going to ask three questions, and then answer each question in one sentence. Then I’ll give you my anticipated scoreline. Think of it as me interviewing me, which means you get the world’s worst interviewer and interviewee in the same posting! Because it’s Christmas, and I don’t want to do anything more than that.

That said, just because I’m interviewing myself doesn’t mean I won’t ask myself the hard question or won’t give the hard answer.

Ricky Evans v Jamie Caven

Q1: Was Ricky Evans’s win over Simon Whitlock a fluke?

A1: No; Evans has finally got his head right and he is believing in his game.

Q2: Is Jamie Caven ready to get over the hump and finally reach the Last 16?

A2: This is a bad question, as Caven has been ready and just wasn’t good enough to beat Barney.

Q3: Should I watch this match over the football?

A3: Why would you want to watch Newcastle v Everton or Wolves v Reading anyway?

Evans 2-4 Caven

Dave Chisnall v Christian Kist

Q1: His win over Phil Taylor aside, why does Chisnall always struggle after Christmas?

A1: For the same reason that he will never win a major championship: He’s too inconsistent and bad performance will creep in far too often.

Q2: Did you really use a question-and-answer format to make a statement as draconian as ‘Chisnall will never win a major championship’?

A2: Yes.

Q3: Does Kist have the game to challenge an on-form Chisnall?

A3: Kist has the A-game to challenge all but a few people, but because of lingering injury hasn’t shown it yet (and this is a key word) in the PDC.

Chisnall 4-1 Kist

Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney

Q1: Is Daryl Gurney’s 16-7 lead in legs over Gary Anderson in 2015 a fluke?

A1: Nothing involving Gary Anderson is a fluke these days, but when he’s focused, he’s nearly the best player in the world.

Q2: What does Gurney need to do to beat Gary?

A2: Let the first set go with throw and then break Gary 1st or 2nd leg in the second set so as to question his resolve and determination.

Q3: Since the Tube is on a Sunday schedule, can I leave Ally Pally if Gary takes a 2-0 lead?

A3: Yes, but don’t blame me when Gurney comes back and makes this the seventh consecutive first match after Christmas that Gary loses at least 2 sets in.

G Anderson 4-3 Gurney

Michael Smith v Steve Beaton

Q1: Is Michael Smith in Premier League?

A1: With two more wins, yes.

Q2: Which Steve Beaton should we expect?

A2: If I could answer that, I’d be a wealthy, wealthy man, but I have a feeling we’re going to see an inspired Beaton again.

Q3: Which double will Smith hit to win the match?

A3: D2

Smith 4-2 Beaton

Dimitri van den Bergh v Benito van de Pas

Q1: How many times do I need to say DvdB v BvdP fast without making a mistake to win the Tongue Twister World Championship?

A1: Depends whether it’s the BDO or PDC TTWC that you’re talking about.

Q2: I’m a big Ian White and Max Hopp fan; what should I do with my ticket?

A2: Give it to me.

Q3: Is Benito van de Pas really the best of the young Dutchmen?

A3: No, he’s second, to Michael van Gerwen.

van den Bergh 0-4 van de Pas

Vincent van der Voort v Kyle Anderson

Q1: Should van der Voort really only be a 4/6 favourite in this match?

A1: I may be tipping Kyle to win this match, but the odds are ridiculous and van der Voort should be 8/15.

Q2: Is there any chance of either of these players running away with it?

A2: Kyle could run away and hide if he gets an early lead, but if he plays poorly, expect van der Voort to drop to his level.

Q3: What does Kyle need to do to win?

A3: Answer van der Voort when van der Voort strikes; the key to beating van der Voort is not to strike first, but rather to immediately follow his timely 180 with an even more timely one of your own.

van der Voort 2-4 K Anderson

Raymond van Barneveld v Stephen Bunting

Q1: Can the winner of this beat Michael van Gerwen?

A1: No, because the winner of this will play Darren Webster.

Q2: No, seriously, can the winner of this beat Michael van Gerwen?

A2: Yes; Barney can beat anyone if he sets his mind to it, and Bunting will be glowing if he gets revenge from last year and will come into his Last 16 tie with all the confidence in London.

Q3: Speaking of revenge, any chance the revenge factor will play too heavily in Bunting’s mind?

A3: No; Bunting wants revenge, but he’s far too professional to let that get the better of him.

van Barneveld 4-1 Bunting (but with Bunting averaging 101)

James Wade v Wes Newton

Q1: What can Wes Newton do to win?

A1: Average 77; he’s undefeated when averaging 77 on the Ally Pally stage.

Q2: Who had a worse Christmas: The turkey I ate or Wes Newton?

A2: The single 5 segment of the board, which I hear has taken a beating from Newton’s darts.

Q3: What does James Wade need out of Wes Newton to make this anything more than a practice session?

A3: He needs Wes Newton to show up; even an on-form Wes Newton probably wouldn’t challenge an on-form Wade right now, but Wade really needs someone to give him a firm test before the quarter-final.

Wade 4-0 Newton

Michael van Gerwen v Darren Webster

Q1: Does Darren Webster have the game needed to push Michael van Gerwen?

A1: There is no way in hell René Eidams takes a leg off of MvG, let alone pushes him to 2 legs a piece in the final set.

Q2: But seriously, this should be a stroll in the park for MvG, right?

A2: It should; this has been a very poor year for Webster, and nothing in his victory over an off-key John Henderson should give him any confidence that he can hang with someone who is a mile better than he is.

Q3: I have a feeling MvG will hit a 9-darter; should I bet it?

A3: NO, not ever, betting on a 9-darter is the single-worst bet you can do in darts, other than betting on Darren Webster to win this match.

van Gerwen 4-0 D Webster

Alan Norris v Joe Murnan

Q1: I’ll be in Boro for Middlesbrough v Sheffield Wednesday that evening; what should I do?

A1: Miss this darts match and get a parmo, UTB.

Q2: Where should I get the parmo?

A2: This is a good question, although thanks to Twitter I have a list of four places to get a parmo, UTFB.

Q3: Four parmos?

A3: Maybe, I’ll just walk up and down Linthorpe Road for a few hours until I’ve burnt them all off, UTB.

Norris 4-1 Murnan (with Norris cracking 100 until well into the fourth set)

Terry Jenkins v Mark Webster

Q1: Certainly 10/11 co-favouritism doesn’t make sense and Mark Webster—who is 80/1 to win the title to Terry Jenkins’s 100/1—should be just the slightest favourite?

A1: Don’t know, I’ll still be working off the parmos I ate, UTB.

Q2: But seriously, this has the potential to be the tie of the round, no?

A2: If Terry plays like he did when he came back in that second set against Darin Young, he will cause Mark Webster problems that Webster might be unable to answer, but that’s a big if.

Q3: When can we stop saying Mark Webster is resurrecting his career and just say he’s back as a deadly force on tour?

A3: If he gets past Jenkins and Norris and seriously pushes either Phil Taylor or Jelle Klaasen, then we can say he’s fully back.

Jenkins 2-4 M Webster

David Pallett v Mensur Suljovic

Q1: Hi, I’m a member of the media, and I just want to know if you share my sentiment that it was really impressive how David Pallett kept his head and fought back?

A1: Hi, I’m a member of the media, and I just wanted to know if you share my sentiment that it was really impressive how Mensur Suljovic absolutely ripped Wattimena to shreds that last two-and-a-half sets?

Q2: If Suljovic is on song, can Pallett beat him?

A2: Sadly—and I’m saying sadly as a Suljovic fan—no, because an on-song Suljovic really is right now one of the six or seven best in the world, and we’ve seen an on-song Suljovic almost every time he’s stepped onto the oche in 2015.

Q3: What would be a good showing for Pallett here?

A3: If he can show up and use a DeLorean to bring us two years into the future, he’ll be in a very good position.

Pallett 0-4 Suljovic

Adrian Lewis v Andrew Gilding

Q1: What is it with people whose names end in -ing standing all the way around the oche?

A1: Bunting on the right, Gilding on the left, don’t ask me, I’m not them.

Q2: What can Andrew Gilding do to give Adrian Lewis a real headache?

A2: Just play his game; Lewis seizes on his opponent’s frailties, and Gilding is very good at not letting his opponent into his mind.

Q3: I too own a DeLorean and I just came back from reading the scoreline you wrote 15 seconds in the future; do you seriously think Gilding will win this?

A3: Yes; this is the type of player who gives Jackpot troubles: a heavy scorer who can take the chances that he himself creates and who refuses to be mentally broken.

Lewis 3-4 Gilding

Peter Wright v Ronny Huybrechts

Q1: What a terrible match that Dean Winstanley-Ronny Huybrechts match was, amirite?

A1: You are lucky I’m not Louis van Gaal and that my team is top of the league, UTB, or else this interview would be over: That Dean Winstanley-Ronny Huybrechts tussle was a good, old-fashioned scrap that was both a more than decent quality (albeit with some very low-quality moments) and fabulous drama and easily is one of the best matches of the first round.

Q2: Joanne should already start planning Snakebite’s Last 16 hair, amirite?

A2: That is highly disrespectful of Ronny Huybrechts, who has been throwing decent darts again for a few months and who has shown that on his day can run riot over Phil Taylor.

Q3: Would it be better for Peter Wright 48 hours ahead of his clash with Dave Chisnall if he gets a stern test or a near-walkover?

A3: Peter Wright is one of those players who I don’t think needs a test from someone he’s better than to be able to later handle a test from someone comparable to him; I think we’ll get the best from Wright in the Last 16 regardless what Ronny throws at him.

Wright 4-1 R Huybrechts

Phil Taylor v Kevin Painter

Q1: How many times will Sky mention that Phil Taylor is 30-1 against Kevin Painter, including 29 consecutive victories?

A1: About as many times as they mention that the 2004 World Final between these two came down to a last-leg shootout.

Q2: How many times will Sky mention that Taylor is using new darts and that he just doesn’t seem comfortable with them, even as he averages well-on 100, or maybe even higher?

A2: About as many times as they mention that Painter’s career is in the balance and that his spot in the top 32 is under siege from a bunch of players who by the time this match is played have also been knocked out of the World Championships.

Q3: What, if anything, really is wrong with Phil’s game?

A3: It isn’t even missed doubles: It’s missing doubles in clumps in crucial situations; he misses with three in hand in crucial situations when in the past he didn’t.

Taylor 4-0 Painter

Mervyn King v Jelle Klaasen

Q1: How many times will Sky mention that Mervyn King never was in trouble, even though he was down 2-0 in the first round to someone who almost shares a name with the best ice hockey player on the planet?

A1: How dare you call Alexander Ovechkin the best ice hockey player on the planet; I’m giving you two more questions and then this interview is over.

Q2: Can Jelle Klaasen duplicate his first round performance?

A2: Yes; I don’t think Klaasen can do much better, but he’s been coming close to that all year, and there’s no reason to think it’s a one-off.

Q3: Is this the tie of the round?

A3: Yes, and I think it goes deep into the seventh set.

King 3-4 Klaasen (3-5 in the seventh set)


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