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

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

Stephen Bunting is the reigning BDO World Champion (the other darting organisation’s equivalent championships) and is also through to the quarters after defeating fellow Merseyside player, Michael Smith 4-2. Earlier in the week he had entertained Prince Harry (among other observers at the 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 another notable scalp in the form of van Barneveld if he is to progress further, but seems more than capable of doing so.

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

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited quarter-final will see the colourful (hair wise at least), Peter Wright, face the consistent Gary Anderson. Both players harbour genuine hopes of taking the title and that is reflected in their seedings of five and four, respectively, with Wright perhaps the marginal favourite here. Anderson has admitted that his eyesight is not as good 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 favoured by the genial Scotsman. Time will tell if this is to be his year, but he would be a popular winner if so.

Full quarter-final draw (best of nine sets), to be played on Thursday, 1st January and Friday, 2nd January – rankings in brackets below :

Michael van Gerwen (1) v Robert Thornton (9)

Peter Wright (5) v Gary Anderson (4)

Phil Taylor (2) v Vincent van der Voort (23)

Raymond van Barneveld (14) v Stephen Bunting (27)

The semi-finals will be played on Saturday, 3rd January with the final on Sunday, 4th January. 

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