In the battle of the former winners, it was the DutchmanRaymond van Barneveld who progressed through to the quarter-finals of the PDCWorld Darts Championship, at the expense of Adrian Lewis last night. ‘Jackpot’ Lewisis a two-time PDC champion and was ranked third at the event, and showed hisundoubted abilities with a ‘perfect’ nine-dart finish in the opening set, buthad to ultimately bow to ‘Barney’ as his tough rival edged the match 4-3 insets.

Phil Taylor may have won the World title an astonishingsixteen times already during an exceptional darting career, but his reputationdid not faze Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts in their match-up yesterday, with “ThePower” having to dig deep to get past his younger opponent with a similar 4-3scoreline.

Stephen Bunting is the reigning BDO World Champion (theother darting organisation’s equivalent championships) and is also through tothe quarters after defeating fellow Merseyside player, Michael Smith 4-2.Earlier in the week he had entertained Prince Harry (among other observers atthe Ally Pally) when knocking out number six seed “The Machine”, aka James Wade,so is in great form after an encouraging season. He will now need to take anothernotable scalp in the form of van Barneveld if he is to progress further, but seemsmore than capable of doing so.

Reigning champion and top seed, Michael van Gerwen, isalso in the quarters after beating Terry Jenkins on Tuesday and will face toughopposition there from Scotland’s Robert Thornton, while Taylor will be odds-onto beat another Dutchman in Vincent van der Voort in his quarter-final.

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited quarter-final will seethe colourful (hair wise at least), Peter Wright, face the consistent GaryAnderson. Both players harbour genuine hopes of taking the title and that isreflected in their seedings of five and four, respectively, with Wright perhapsthe marginal favourite here. Anderson has admitted that his eyesight is not asgood as it used to be so time may be running out on his title chances in future,as the options to remedy his sight issues to continue playing are not favouredby the genial Scotsman. Time will tell if this is to be his year, but he wouldbe a popular winner if so.

Fullquarter-final draw (best of nine sets), to be played onThursday, 1st January and Friday, 2nd January – rankings inbrackets below :

Michaelvan Gerwen (1) v Robert Thornton (9)

PeterWright (5) v Gary Anderson (4)

PhilTaylor (2) v Vincent van der Voort (23)

Raymondvan Barneveld (14) v Stephen Bunting (27)

Thesemi-finals will be played on Saturday, 3rd January with the finalon Sunday, 4th January. 

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