Ally Pally ’24: So Far So Good

Red Dragon Darts

Palace Doors Close for Festive Cheer:

Northern Ireland World Cup of Darts duo Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan were amongst those to secure Third Round spots at the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship.

As the tournament wraps up for the Christmas period, we look at the action so far with Florian Hempel producing a stunning comeback over Dimitri van den Bergh, whilst favourites Luke Humphries, Michael Smith, and Michael van Gerwen came through their respective 2nd Round matches.

Joe Cullen and Jonny Clayton will also feature in the Last 32 with the Rockstar including a 160 checkout in whitewashing Darren Penhall 3-0 earlier in the competition.

Daryl Gurney advanced in a Second-Round classic with Steve Beaton on Saturday afternoon at the Alexandra Palace, where both players produced fantastic darts on the world stage.

The Bronzed Adonis once more showcased his ability having enjoyed another consistent year on the PDC Pro Tour, including a 60% checkout rate and 13 140s against Superchin, who exited the tournament at the Second-Round stage last year.

The former 2 Time Quarter Finalist however was in no mood to mess about this time around, including 8 180s and a 100.79 average over the course of 4 sets. Daryl demonstrated an incredible burst on his finishing towards the end of the match, finding 2 bullseyes and double 16 for a 132 checkout in the penultimate leg.

The Northern Irishman then proceeded to take a second ton plus finish in the very next leg, hitting double 8 to complete a 136 checkout and wrap up a place at the Palace after Christmas.

The result is no surprise after the year Daryl Gurney has had on the PDC Circuit, having qualified for 11 of the 13 Euro Tours held whilst impressing at the Winter Gardens for the World Matchplay. It’s been an incredible turnaround for the Winmau player in 2023, and the hunt for more Major success continues after the Christmas break.

Ricky Evans will face the 27th Seed in the Last 32, with Rapid defeating reigning World Matchplay Champion Nathan Aspinall 3-0 in the final tungsten tussle before Christmas, with the Englishman missing just 6 darts at double all game.

On Day 8, Brendan Dolan and good mate Mickey Mansell put on a real show for the Ally Pally crowd, with their Second-Round matchup the only game so far in the tournament to require a sudden death decider.

The History Maker ran out a 6-5 winner in the final set to set up a Third-Round matchup against 2021 winner Gerwyn Price, with his opponent/ compatriot certainly playing his part after hitting checkouts of 157 and 148 in Day 8’s curtain raiser.

Dolan continues to show just how much of a threat he has been on the PDC Circuit, having won a Pro Tour in 2022 whilst knocking defending Matchplay Champion Michael van Gerwen out in the First Round at the Winter Gardens this year, with a 10-7 victory.

Florian Hempel has had to come through two matches at the 2024 World Darts Championship, reaching the Last 32 for the 2nd time in the space of 3 years at the Alexandra Palace.

The Dessau born player defeated Dimitri van den Bergh to reach the Third Round back in the 2022 World Championship, and two years later he’s repeated the trick.

This time around though was more of a battle for Florian, with the former World Matchplay Champion moving 2-0 ahead including a 117 finish to take the opening set. The German though dug deep, survived match darts and hit back hard, including back-to-back 10 darters and a skin saving 151 checkout, to claw his way back into the contest.

Hempel from 2-0 down defeated The Dream Maker 3-2 at the Alexandra Palace to secure a Third-Round tie with Stephen Bunting, who produced the highest average of the tournament so far (107.28) in beating Ryan Joyce 3-0.

Favourites Michael van Gerwen, Luke Humphries and Gerwyn Price advanced with little stress, whilst defending Champion Michael Smith was pushed all the way by a spirited Kevin Doets on the opening night.

3 Seeds exited the tournament before Christmas last year, with 11 crashing out this time around including Nathan Aspinall, Dirk van Duijvenbode, James Wade and Josh Rock.

UK Open Champion Andrew Gilding is also out after losing to 16-year-old sensation Luke Littler, who averaged over 106 on his PDC World Championship debut against Lakeside World Champion Christian Kist.

Thibault Tricole made history for France after coming through a 3-1 winner over Mario Vandenbogaerde in the 1st Round, becoming the first French international to win and compete at a PDC World Championship.

William O’Connor whitewashed Bhav Patel in legs and sets to reach the Second Round, before losing out in one of the games of the tournament against Chris Dobey, with the reigning Masters Champion pushed all the way by The Magpie on Day 8.

Jamie Hughes can hold his head high after claiming his first win on the Alexandra Palace stage, beating 2022 World Senior Masters winner David Cameron 3-1 in the 1st Round.

The 32 players who remain can enjoy the festive period knowing they are still competing in the sport’s biggest competition, with coverage of the 2024 Paddy Power World Darts Championship returning on the 27th of December Live on Sky Sports Darts.


Images: PDC


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