A review of the 2016 PDC World Championships.
Gary Anderson produced moments of brilliance on his way to lifting the world title. By defending his championship, he has now become one of the games all time greats. This year’s PDC world championships was without doubt the best ever! The greatest players on the planet thrilled us all once again. Darts just keeps on getting bigger, and better.
This year’s world championships saw an increase in prize money, with the winner picking up a cheque for £300,000. It was all to play for at Alexandra Palace. Places in this year’s premier league were also up for grabs.
16 players battled it out for a place in the first round. Mick McGowan, John Michael and Japanese star Keita Ono, all eased through their games. Experienced New Zealander Rob Szabo also progressed. The well known Paul Lim went crashing out against the unknown Russian Aleksandr Oreshkin. German youngster Rene Eidams somehow scraped through, with a 69 average, to set up a clash with world number one Michael Van Gerwen in round one. Other results saw Finland’s Kim Viljanen advance, along with Andy Boulton of England.
The biggest ever darting upset almost occurred when Rene Eidams went up against Michael Van Gerwen. It went to two sets all, two legs all. MVG showed his class in the final stages to book his place in the second round. But what a performance from the German qualifier. Raymond Van Barneveld and Stephen Bunting both cruised through, where they would meet in the next round. Darren Webster also progressed.
One of the ties of the round was between Michael Smith, and Dutch youngster Jeffrey De Zwaan. It would go all the way to a last leg decider. Smith would eventually make it through to round two. Steve Beaton, and Benito Van de Pas easily made it through to the next round. A big shock came when Ian White was sent packing by the promising young Belgian Dimitri Van Den Bergh.
Two time world champion Adrian Lewis looked on top form in his win over Jan Dekker. There were also wins for Andrew Gilding, and unorthodox Austrian Mensur Suljovic (one of the most improved players over the past two years). Kim Huybrechts was another big name casualty in the first round, as he lost a tight encounter against Dave Pellet.
Former Lakeside champion Christian Kist played well to make it through to the second round. As did the much fancied Dave Chisnall, who averaged nearly a ton. Peter Wright was a major contender to get his hands on the trophy. He started well, by comfortably defeating Keegan Brown. Belgian Ronny Huybrechts also advanced to the next round.
Reigning champion Gary Anderson began the defence of his title with an easy win, and a 100 average. Elsewhere there were wins for Aussie Kyle Anderson, and fans favourite Vincent Van Der Voort. They would meet in the next round. Daryl Gurney is a player on the rise. He put in an excellent display to defeat Jamie Lewis.
There were easy victories for James Wade, and Jamie Caven. Wes Newton scraped through against Spaniard Cristo Reyes. Newton only averaged 77, but somehow managed to win the game. Another shock came when former finalist Simon Whitlock was knocked out of the competition by Ricky Evans. If there is a faster thrower than Evans in the world, I am yet to see him.
World grand prix champion Robert Thornton exited the competition at the earliest stage. Losing to PDC newcomer Alan Norris. There were also wins for experienced duo Mark Webster (who is showing signs of returning back to form), and Terry Jenkins. Andy Hamilton’s struggles continued, as he lost out in a close game against Joe Murnan.
Kevin Painter looked good in advancing to the second round. As did former Lakeside champion Jelle Klaasen, who averaged 103 in his first round win (the highest average of the first round). Mervyn King survived a major scare, he was two sets to nil down against Russian Aleksandr Oreshkin. He eventually battled back to advance to the next round. Phil Taylor began his quest for a record 17th world title, by brushing aside Japan’s Keita Ono.
Van Gerwen produced a masterclass in defeating Darren Webster. A 109 average (which would be the highest of the tournament). Van Barneveld came through a classic, he produced moments of brilliance to defeat Stephen Bunting, 4-3. There were also wins for Michael Smith and Benito Van De Pas, against Steve Beaton and Dimitri Van De Burgh respectively.
Adrian Lewis turned on the style, beating Andrew Gilding 4-0. With a 104 average. Peter Wright averaged almost a ton to safely progress to the next round. Dave Pellet was unlucky not to make it past the second round. He lost out in a close encounter with Mensur Suljovic, 4-3. Dave Chisnall showed how good he can be, in defeating Christian Kist, with a 103 average.
Gary Anderson continued his march towards the title, he defeated Daryl Gurney, 4-1. James Wade and Jamie Caven both cruised to 4-0 victories. They would go on to meet in the last 16. Vincent Van Der Voort and Kyle Anderson were evenly matched for the most part of their game. It would be the Dutchman who would go on to book his place in the last 16.
Alan Norris continued to impress on his debut in the PDC world championships, he made it through to the next round with a 4-1 win over Joe Murnan. Mark Webster won 4-0 against a out of sorts Terry Jenkins. Jelle Klaasen battled through against Mervyn King. He was quickly becoming the dark horse of the competition. Phil Taylor had a off day against Kevin Painter, still winning 4-1 nonetheless.
The two Dutch Masters Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld, produced one of the greatest games ever to be played at Alexandra Palace. MVG averaged 106, but it wasn’t enough. Van Barneveld rolled back the years to defeat his prodigy, 4-3. Michael Smith was proving that he could be a contender for the title. He defeated Benito Van De Pas 4-0, with a 102 average.
Adrian Lewis continued his good form by beating Mensur Suljovic 4-0. Could this be Lewis’s chance to add a third world title? Peter Wright had to be at the top of his game to overcome Dave Chisnall. Both men were outstanding, averaging over a ton. Wright would eventually edge it, 4-3. The last 16 stage was producing some of the greatest matches ever played.
Defending champion Gary Anderson was on top form once again. He won the first 11 legs against Van Der Voort. He went on to win comfortably, 4-0. James wade’s quest for a first world title continued, as he defeated Jamie Caven, 4-1. Many of the world’s top players were at the top of their game, looking to become champion of the world.
Alan Norris produced another excellent display to defeat former Lakeside champion Mark Webster. Norris was now into the quarter-finals, in his first PDC world championships. There was a shock as Phil Taylor was knocked out of the competition by Jelle Klaasen. Taylor wasn’t at his best, but still averaged a ton. Jelle Klaasen was playing the best darts of his life.
Van Barneveld went up against Michael Smith. It was Smith who got off to the best start, he went 3-0 up. Barneveld battled back, and eventually booked his place in the semi-finals. It was a thrilling game, both players had the chance to win. Barneveld was still on course to win his 6th world title. Michael Smith had a fantastic tournament, and has a big future in the game.
On paper, Adrian Lewis and Peter Wright looked evenly matched going into the game. Lewis took command early on. Wright did all he could to produce a fightback, it wasn’t to be enough. Lewis went on to win the game, 5-2. It was a high-quality game, with both men averaging 103.
Gary Anderson was now the favourite for the title. He once again played at the top of his game, defeating James Wade, 5-1. Wade played poor for his standards. But with an average of 105, Anderson was superb. Could he now go on to win back to back world titles?
It was a big chance for both Alan Norris, and Jelle Klaasen, to reach the semi-finals. It was an evenly matched contest throughout. Norris took his chances when presented. At 4-3 down, Klaasen stepped it up. For a set and a half he played some of the best darts of the entire competition. He eventually won 5-4, to book his place in the last 4.
The remaining four players were all former world champions. First up was five-time world champion Raymond Van Barneveld, against two-time world champion Adrian Lewis. Both players fancied their chances of reaching the final. It was Lewis who came out of the blocks the quickest, racing into a 5-0 lead in sets. Barneveld tried his best to make a game of it and fought back to 5-3. Lewis won the next set, to book his place in the final. Barneveld played some great darts on his way to the semi-final, but it would be Lewis looking to add to his collection of world titles the following day.
The second semi-final saw reigning champion, Gary Anderson, up against Jelle Klaasen. Anderson was faultless throughout the game, giving Klaasen few chances to make it into the final. Anderson averaged 107 (his highest average of the tournament), and won the game, 6-0. In this form he is almost unstoppable. Although Jelle Klaasen failed to win a set, he still had a fantastic competition and played some superb darts. The final would be a repeat of the 2011 world championship final. Gary Anderson against Adrian Lewis.
Anderson went into the final as the favourite. He had produced the best darts throughout the competition. He was also determined to avenge his defeat to Lewis in their previous world championship final encounter. Lewis was in good form and, on his day, he is capable of beating anyone. The game was closely fought, at times cagey, which is understandable considering what was at stake. They traded the first 6 sets. In the end, it was moments of brilliance by Anderson that won it. A memorable 170 checkout along the way. It ended 7-5 to the Scotsman. Lewis finished runner-up with a ton average. Gary Anderson joined an elite club, by winning back to back world titles.