Keane Barry wins JDC World Championship

Ireland has its first World Darts Champion – well it’s at JDC level but the darts speak for themselves. Duleek man Keane Barry capped a fine week at Alexandra Palace in London, edging out Adam Gawlas 5-3 in the JDC Final.

This follows on from his great year where he won the Tom Kirby and the NIDO Matchplay among many other competitions in Ireland. Keane played Vincent Van Der Voort at the PDC Worlds during the week and came away with his head held high even though the score didnt reflect his scoring power.

Certainly the Target Darts Elite player is a star of the future. We wish Keane all the best in 2020 and hearty congratulations for winning the JDC World Championship!

PDC World Championship Day 9 Preview

Saturday December 21

Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

4 x Second Round

Keegan Brown vs Seigo Asada

Keegan Brown kicks off his World Championship in the second round versus Seigo Asada. Seigo overcame Mickey Mansell 3-0 in the first round but I fear will need to add an extra 5 points on his average. Keegan to win.


Simon Whitlock vs Harry Ward

Simon Whitlock is frustrating for a punter at the bookies, because one day he looks a winner and the next he is throwing a 75 average. Will he be up for it in his first match, most likely yes. Usually Whitlock runs out of steam and usually gets through a few rounds so unless Harry Ward starts straight away and blows Whitlock away in the first set, I expect Whitlock to come through this game, just. Whitlock 3-2.


Steve West vs Ryan Searle

This should be a good game as well. Steve West, yet to win a ranking competition in the PDC but he would forego all that to win this competition for sure. West has one of the best first 9 darts average and because of that scoring ability always gives himself chances. But the double trouble always seem to block him when it counts. Searle on the other hand is a prolific double 16 finisher. If West can pull out the first set and get his doubling going I expect West to win, but wouldnt be shocked to see Searle snatch it in a deciding set. West most 180s.


Adrian Lewis vs Cristo Reyes

Last up in the afternoon is Adrian Jackpot Lewis, a two time winner of the PDC worlds. But that was nearly 7/8 years ago and the strength in depth of talent in the PDC is far superior nowadays. Cristo Reyes is an example of that, who would have thought back in the day a player from Spain would be in the second round of the championship. Adrian is one of the most talented players ever and for a spell was nearly untouchable apart from Taylor and Anderson. But now Jackpot has to climb his way back up the rankings after losing his winnings on the order of merit by not doing so well the last 2 years, and he is finding it difficult to say the least. There have been spells though this year that showed he could still give MVG a game. So I hope that Jackpot turns up today and bangs in an 100+ average. Adrian to win 3-2 in a thriller.

Evening Session (7pm)

4 x Second Round

Daryl Gurney vs Justin Pipe

The remaining player left in the PDC World Championship in Daryl Gurney starts his assault today against a dodgy player in Justin Pipe. Pipe didnt play great in his first game against Pratnemer but a win is a win and something for him to build on, but Gurney should be too good for him on this occasion. Gurney to win 3-1.


Glen Durrant vs Damon Heta

Damon Heat won his first game easy enough and will be a tough cookie to crack for Durrant. Durrant aiming to become BDO and PDC world champion in the same year would be some achievement but I think Heta will shock Durrant here. Durrant will be under pressure to win here and will be the favourite so Heta can just relax and throw. Heta to win.


Mensur Suljovic vs Fallon Sherrock

The next match is one we all will be eagerly awaiting. Fallon Sherrock the history maker by being the first lady to win a match at the PDC Worlds…takes on the Austria juggernaut in Mensur Suljovic. Mensur still in the top 10 of the order of merit is worthy of his ranking but unless he has a good worlds he will be dropping down the rankings. Fallon is a on a free roll and has been in the media all over the place and even been granted a place at the World Series in New York in 2020. Fallon will maybe win a set, but I think Mensur will win this easily enough. He’s a seasoned campaigner and I expect a few 121+ checkouts from the Gentle to rock Fallon to the core. Mensur to win 3-1.


Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Josh Payne

Last up we have Dimitri versus Josh Payne in a reply of a World Youth final. Dimitri won on that occasion but he has not done much on the floor this season to warrant being favourite in this game. Let’s be fair he was only in the Grand Slam because he won the World Youth title at 24 years old last year…but that’s another story for another day. Josh Payne has shown glimpses if form on the floor this year so I wouldnr be surprised to see Payner win this one if he turns up. Dimitri most 180s, Payne to win.

Interview with Denise Cassidy

It is a priviledge this week to bring you all an interview with one of the best players to come out of Northern Ireland – Denise Cassidy. The former winner of WDF Europe Cup, Finalist WDF World Cup, winner of BDO NI Open, Semi Finalist of the World Masters, winner of many NIDO tournaments and recent winner of the Newry City Open…..the list goes on and on…

Denise Cassidy on the left winner of the Newry City Open Ladies Darts Competition

We know you are very experienced and have played many International games and won the WDF Europe Cup, but how did you start throwing darts?

I started playing in a small local bar that my mum worked in.

Who have been your role models or inspiration – not necessarily in darts?

My Mum .

What was your first competition win that stands out and who was it against?

Can’t remember first win, but best local win was 2007 Northern Ireland Ladies Open beating Trina Gulliver in the Final.

Recently you made the semi final of the PDC Womens Qualifier. What was that day like, is the standard much above what we see in NI?

The PDC Ladies qualifier was a different experience to usual competitions, plenty of ladies in N.Ireland are capable of winning matches there.

We know it’s hard to get time off work and arranging flights and accommodation can be expensive but will you be making the trip over to the UK for any of the BDO tour this season?

Being self self-employed and in a business that has mostly weekend work,its quite difficult to organise trips away. I hope to play some events in 2020 I haven’t competed in before.

You have retained your Gold Cup trophy again this year, what was the final like against Kayleigh Oneill?

The Gold Cup final against Kayleigh was a tough match with a high standard, which I was delighted to retain.

Will you be entering the ladies counties this year?

I missed first county day but got to the second day, and hope, if possible to make the remaining days.

What darts do you use – flights, stems and barrel.

Winmau ton-machine 25g with short stems and pear flights at the moment.

What is your favourite double?

Favourite double is 16, but l like any that I hit.

What are your aspirations or goals for this incoming season?

I hope to get to more tournaments in 2020.

Apart from yourself, who should we look out for – new or returning players on the local ladies circuit this season?

All the ladies selected to play for Northern Ireland can all play well, getting to the 6 nations final in 2019 proved this.

How many 180’s have you hit consecutively?

Have hit back to back 180’s in a match, but then messed up the 141 checkout.

What changes would you like to see at local, county and international levels for next season? 

Small changes, maybe just more competitions streamed.

What is your favourite venue to play in Northern Ireland?

Weigh Inn Bar in Omagh .

How do you get in the zone in a match, in your experience, do you think some people overthink it?

100% concentration will get you in the zone, and help stop you thinking too much about any game/match.


Who has been your favourite pairs partner?

John Magowan

Toughest person to beat in a darts game?

Grace Crane. Darts in Northern Ireland is in a good place, and has gone from strength to strength in the last few years, currently with 5 professional players,and several more who are definitely capable of breaking through. The profile and standard of men’s, ladies and youths darts in Northern Ireland is rising, and should continue to do so.

Thank you Denise for the quick interview and all the best in the New Year. Hopefully see you down at the Weigh Inn some Monday night for a game of arrows – but you’ll have to give us amateurs an 100 headstart!

PDC World Championship Day 8 Preview

Friday December 20th

Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

4 x Second Round

Darren Webster vs Yuki Yamada

The Demolition Man from Norwich will certainly be the favourite here in this opening match but he hasn’t ever really shone at the World Championships but I think he will have too much for Yamada. I can see Yamada getting a few legs when Webster misses an odd double, but I cant see him winning a set. Webster to win 3-0.

Mervyn King vs Ciaran Teehan

This will be a much anticipated match here in Ireland with Ireland’s Ciaran Teehan taking on Englands Mervyn King.

Ciaran Teehan showed no sign of nerves on his Ally Pally debut and proved just why he’s being touted as Ireland’s next big darting talent with a thumping 3-0 victory over Ross Smith, averaging 90 in the process.

Mervyn King may well be 33 years Teehan’s senior but at 53 there’s still plenty of fire left in the player who still has the best entrance music in the sport. Mervyn will maybe lose a set in this one but will eventually win out 3-1 in a close game.


Jonny Clayton vs Dekker

Toss of a coin for this one. Dekker came through a real struggle of a game against Ryan Joyce with an 80 odd average. Because if that I think Clayton wins this 3-1. Clayton won a Pro Tour event this year where Dekker hasn’t done anything of note at all, same here in this match. Another Welsh man in the next round.


Ricky Evans vs McGeeney

Two polar opposites in this game, whilst McGeeney isn’t terribly slow his play will seem it if Rapid Ricky Evan’s starts fast in this match. Evan’s has had a good 2019 reaching two European Tour finals and whilst he hasn’t had good results at the PDC Worlds previously I think hes too strong for McGeeney in this one. McGeeney has too much quality to not win a set or two but I think Evan’s will get to 3 sets first. Evans 3-2.

Evening Session (7pm)

4 x Second Round

Nathan Aspinall vs Danny Baggish

Nathan Aspinall has to be one of the best young talents around. If you haven’t seen his interview leading up to the Worlds, check it out, he has such a great attitude. The UK Open win has really upped his confidence. Baggish has to be one of the best to come out of the USA recently but longevity is still in question. This is still his first World Championship and didnt set the world alight in his 3-0 win over Andy Boulton averaging in the 80s. None of that will scare The Asp. Aspinall will win this game 3-0.


Joe Cullen vs Nico Kurz

How Nico Kurz got into this round I dont know. James Wilson missed 22 of his 26 darts at double that’s how! He wont be afforded the same with Joe Cullen. Kurz has to win the first set or he will lose 3-0 in sets in my opinion. Cullen to win 3-0.


Max Hopp vs Benito Van de Pas

Again another player in BVdP sneaked through with an 88 average against Gabriel Clemens to play Max Hopp. Who picked Benito to win that game? Not even Benito I reckon…Max Hopp will win this game 3-0 no question, too much scoring ability.


Peter Wright vs Noel Malicdem

Last up we have the mercurial showstopper Peter Snakebite Wright against Noel Malicdem. Anyone betting against Snakebite needs their head examined. Malicdem only got through as his opponent Rodriguez had only 14% checkout.

Snakebite has won four titles this season, including the televised German Darts Championship, while he also set  new average record and reached two major finals at the Champions League and the Grand Slam. Snakey to win 3-0, most 180s and highest checkout.

PDC Worlds Rd 1 Preview Mansell vs Asada

Mickey Mansell will take on Japan’s Seigo Asada in the second match today, as the PDC World Championship on Sky Sports continues…

Facts and figures

Match time/date: 1:30pm, December 18th

Head-to-head record: No previous meetings

PDC Worlds Appearances: Mansell (5 times), Asada (3 times)

THE PLAYERS

MICKEY MANSELL

  • Mickey Mansell is appearing at the PDC World Championship for the fifth time and is still searching for his first win on the Alexandra Palace stage.
  • The Northern Irishman bowed out in disappointing fashion against Jim Long in round one last year with an average of 74.45. The set he did win against Long is the only one he has managed to win at a World Championship tournament.
  • Mansell won a ranking tournament in 2018 but his form in 2019 has not been good with only one quarter-final appearance. He only just scraped into this tournament in last place of the cut-off for the ProTour Order of Merit qualifiers.

SEIGO ASADA

  • Seigo Asada is making his third PDC World Championship appearance, he also competed at the Lakeside in the BDO World Championship on three occasions.
  • Last year he defeated Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski in round one before losing in a tense tie-breaker against James Wade in the second round. At the 2017/18 PDC World Championship he lost to the eventual winner Rob Cross.
  • Asada plays on the PDC Asian Tour circuit where he has won multiple tournaments over the last couple of years. He has represented Japan in the last two years at the World Cup of Darts where they reached the quarter-finals in 2018 and semi-finals earlier this year.

THE PREDICTION

Northern Ireland’s Mickey Mansell doesnt have a great record at Ally Pally and this time he has quite a stiff opponent in Round One with Japanese star Seigo Asada.

Asada will fancy his chances in this one being that he has had quite a good year on the Asian Tour and reached the semi final at the PDC World Cup.

The Japanese player is a very capable performer and seems to be improving all the time. He should carry lots of confidence from success on the Asian Tour and he will provide a difficult task for Mickey. I expect the crowd to be on Asada’s side here too.

If the Mickey Mansell I know appears then it will be close, but going on form it’s hard not to look past Asada. Mansell has done well in the last year locally, but it’s a step up competing at Ally Pally. This could go either way – and I expect a 3-1 either way – whomever takes the first set and settles quickest. The only bet I can go with here is Mansell with most 180’s.