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Phil Taylor unlikely to choke against Pipe

Van Barneveld in for a long match

Phil Taylor should make it past Christmas
1 of 1

Sky Sports Arena, 12.45pm Saturday

K Brown v Z Lerchbacher
Head-to-head: Lerchbacher leads 1-0

The world of darts has waited for the rebirth of Keegan Brown – and maybe this is exactly the right time of year to witness the young messiah’s second coming.

Brown was all the rage a few years back, when he was crowned world youth champion and made a big noise on the biggest of stages. Then nothing.

Last week, however, the Isle of Wight lab assistant showed what he can still muster by seeing off James Wade in round one of the William Hill World Championship, a victory that has earned him favouritism over Zoran Lerchbacher.

The Austrian won their one and only meeting in 2017 and looked in fine form after a terrible start against Mervyn King, when he reeled off eight straight legs against the ailing East Anglian.

Brown ought to get up and this most rhythmic of chuckers should also clear six maximums. He popped in four against Wade and this match is quite likely to last for more than the 21 legs he played in his opener.

Recommendation
K Brown to score more than 5.5 180s
2pts 10-11 Betfred, Betway, BoyleSports


M Smith v R Cross
H2H: Cross leads 4-1

Rob Cross overcame early nerves before whitewashing Seigo Asada in his opener, and the rising star of 2017 is hard to dislike against Michael Smith, another player who once upon a time was deemed the next big thing.

It has not quite happened for Bully Boy, though his scoring power was there against Steve Lennon in round one.

His ability to hit maximums will keep him in the game against the Sussex shooter and the 13-10 that he wins the 180s matchbet looks a decent price.

Recommendation
M Smith to score most 180s
2pts 13-10 Betfair


S West v J Wattimena
H2H: 1-1

This match should be quick and fairly entertaining based on the first round.

These two non-seeds upset bigger fish – West took out Benito van de Pas, Wattimena ousted Joe Cullen – with averages in the high 90s.

The layers are divided over Wattimena’s knack of hitting maximums. He bagged only two against Cullen in a match which went 20 legs. The Dutchman did, however, ping 14 140s so was millimetres away from a lot more 180s.

Over a potentially much longer distance and playing at a breakneck speed that he’ll love, Wattimena can get at least four.

Recommendation
J Wattimena over 3.5 180s
2pts 6-5 Betfair


D Gurney v J Henderson
H2H: Gurney leads 3-1

Daryl Gurney beat John Henderson in the Grand Prix semis, lifting the trophy 24 hours later.

He averaged more than 100 in round one against Ronny Huybrechts and a repeat of that would be too hot for Hendo to handle.

Superchin is 1-6 to win and his king of the oche price (win, most 180s and highest checkout treble) is only 4-5.


P Taylor v J Pipe
H2H: Taylor leads 9-3

Justin Pipe has been cast in the role of pantomime villain following his untimely coughing fit at match point against Bernie Smith in round one.

They can be an unforgiving mob at the Palace and the Force may well feel the wrath of the masses.

Regardless, The Power should surely have too much for him.


R van Barneveld v K Anderson
H2H: 5-5

Kyle Anderson is capable of giving anyone a game because he has found a level of consistency.

Barney is rightly the hot favourite and he’ll remember seeing off the Aussie in round one of the Grand Prix in October, but it would be unwise to expect a battering. Anderson hits too many big scores for that to happen and this could run and run.

Recommendation
Over 23.5 legs
2pts 5-6 Hills

Justin Pipe has been cast in the role of pantomime villain
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