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Iceman Gerwyn Price Looking To Heat Up Cold Form For World Title Bid

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By Paul Jones

Gerwyn Price will begin his attempt to reclaim the World Darts Championship crown by taking on Connor Scutt or Krzysztof Kciuk.

The Iceman – who won the world title in 2021 – will be looking for an upturn in form at the Alexandra Palace tournament next month after recently losing to Gary Anderson in the last 16 of the Grand Slam of Darts.

Fellow Welsh star Jonny Clayton will start his attempt to become world champion against either Steve Lennon or Owen Bates.

Champion Michael Smith will begin the defence of his title against Kevin Doets or Stowe Buntz, while Fallon Sherrock will have to get past Jermaine Wattimena before a potential meeting with Martin Schindler.

Smith, who got his hands on the Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time, beat Michael van Gerwen in a memorable final in which he won the ‘greatest leg of all-time’ as he landed a nine-darter after his opponent missed double 12 for a perfect leg.

The St Helens thrower is expected to headline the opening night of Friday, December 15 – live on Sky Sports Darts.
Three-time winner van Gerwen, who has not won the title since 2019, will take on Ireland’s Keane Barry or Filipino thrower Reynaldo Rivera.

Smith has struggled to live up to the billing of world champion during 2023 but is determined to keep hold of the silverware in the Alexandra Palace tournament which begins next month.

“It is going to be a sad moment because I am going to be introduced as the reigning champion, but if I get beat next time I am going to be the former,” said Smith.

“I don’t want to be the former. Eventually it will happen, but I’m not ready for it to end yet. I want to be announced next year as the reigning back-to-back champion, that is what I am striving for.

“I know I can do it, I have to work on my game to find it. I have done it countless times before, it is one more big push now to end the year on a big high.

“It feels like it has gone too quick. I have enjoyed it, I have virtually taken the year off darts, especially the floor events, just to enjoy what I did. Twelve months has gone by too quickly, it’s a bit saddening, but also happy to be at Ally Pally and defend my title.”

Van Gerwen has not won the title since 2019 and usually arrives at the Palace as favourite.

But van Gerwen says Luke Humphries is the man to beat after winning the last three majors, including the Players Championship at the weekend.

“I don’t know if I am the favourite, Luke Humphries is playing some really good darts, he has had some fantastic results,” said the Dutchman.

“I am one of the favourites, everyone still wants to beat me, but there will be pressure on everybody.”

World Darts Championship Draw

First quarter
(1) Michael Smith vs Kevin Doets or Stowe Buntz
(32) Madars Razma vs Mike De Decker or Dragutin Horvat
(16) Ross Smith vs Niels Zonneveld or Darren Webster
(17) Chris Dobey vs William O’Connor or Bhav Patel
(8) Rob Cross vs Mario Vandenbogaerde or Thibault Tricole
(25) Jose de Sousa vs Richie Edhouse or Jeffrey De Graaf
(9) Jonny Clayton vs Steve Lennon or Owen Bates
(24) Krzysztof Ratajski vs Jamie Hughes or David Cameron

Second quarter
(4) Peter Wright vs Jim Williams or Norman Madhoo
(29) Raymond van Barneveld vs Radek Szaganski or Marko Kantele
(13) James Wade vs Matt Campbell or Lourence Ilagan
(20) Andrew Gilding vs Christian Kist or Luke Littler
(5) Gerwyn Price vs Connor Scutt or Krzysztof Kciuk
(28) Brendan Dolan vs Mickey Mansell or Xiaochen Zong
(12) Dirk van Duijvenbode vs Keegan Brown or Boris Krcmar
(21) Gary Anderson vs Simon Whitlock or Paolo Nebrida

Third quarter
(2) Michael van Gerwen vs Keane Barry or Reynaldo Rivera
(31) Kim Huybrechts vs Richard Veenstra or Ben Robb
(15) Dimitri van den Bergh vs Dylan Slevin or Florian Hempel
(18) Stephen Bunting vs Ryan Joyce or Alex Spellman
(7) Danny Noppert vs Scott Williams or Haruki Muramatsu
(26) Martin Schindler vs Jermaine Wattimena or Fallon Sherrock
(10) Damon Heta vs Martin Lukeman or Haupai Puha
(23) Josh Rock vs Luke Woodhouse or Berry Van Peer

Fourth quarter
(3) Luke Humphries vs Lee Evans or Sandro Eric Sosing
(30) Callan Rydz vs Ricardo Pietreczko or Mikuru Suzuki
(14) Joe Cullen vs Jules van Dongen or Darren Penhall
(19) Ryan Searle vs Ian White or Tomoya Goto
(6) Nathan Aspinall vs Ricky Evans or Simon Adams
(27) Daryl Gurney vs Steve Beaton or Wessel Nijman
(11) Dave Chisnall vs Cameron Menzies or Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
(22) Gabriel Clemens vs Gian Van Veen or Man Lok Leung

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