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Pipe down so Dobey looks capable of posing problems

Joe Murnan could prosper given that Mark Webster has had throwing issues
1 of 1

Day four
Sky Sports Darts, 1pm & 7pm

Sixteen-time champion Phil Taylor makes his bow at the William Hill World Championship and won’t be detained for long, according to the bookmakers.

Sky Bet were last night a best-price 1-33 The Power against whichever of David Platt or John Bowles gets to tackle him in the last match of the night.

Simm v Ulang
No previous meetings
In the opener, the layers are right behind Manchester slinger Kevin Simm, a last-gasp qualifier who has done nothing of note in his career.

What we do know about Gilbert Ulang is that the Filipino has emerged from one of the tougher qualifying schools for this tournament and he’s got big-stage pedigree both in soft-tip and also representing his country – twice – in the World Cup.

The winner of this preliminary-round tussle takes on Ian White at the end of the afternoon session.

Pipe v Dobey
Pipe leads 1-0
It’s perhaps no surprise that Chris Dobey is the slight favourite, despite trailing Justin Pipe by 21 places in the Order of Merit.

The fact is, Dobey is on the way up while Pipe, if not going backward, is certainly treading water. The Somerset star has suffered a pair of humiliations on his last two visits to Alexandra Palace, the first at the hands of Loz Ryder, the second Christian Kist.

His floor form has improved as 2016 has worn on but Dobey, who numbered Adrian Lewis among his victims on the way to the last eight of last month’s Grand Slam, is a class act.

Having said all that, Pipe is tough and this has the makings of a game that could run and run.

Recommendation
Over 17.5 legs
2pts 6-5 Betfred

M Webster v Murnan
Level at 3-3
Mark Webster, the 2008 Lakeside champion, has overcome some throwing issues though it still looks a struggle for him.

Hence, since reaching the UK Open quarter-finals in March he has done very little.

A brilliant finisher and peerless cover shooter, he’ll scrap until the last and should get a decent contest from Joe Murnan.

Murnan, aka Shaggy, won a gripping contest against Andy Hamilton at this stage a year ago before losing his way on the doubles against Alan Norris.

He has won his last three matches against Webby so can definitely push the Welshman all the way.

Murnan looks a bit of value at 11-8.

Recommendation
J Murnan
1pt 11-8 Coral

Phil Taylor awaits the winner of John Bowles's clash with David Platt

Bowles v Platt
No previous meetings
This could be one of the better preliminary-round jousts, though the prize of a date with Phil Taylor is a bit of a sickener.

John Bowles, who should have beaten Gary Anderson on his previous appearance, is the slight favourite, though David Platt, once of Walsall, now of Perth, gets to play the PDC’s big guns regularly on the Masters Tour.

Platt, who twice graced the stage at the Circus Tavern, won a competitive Oceanic Masters to qualify while Bowles beat the likes of Andy Hamilton and Stuart Kellett to earn his place in the draw. It could be a tight one.

Gurney v Wattimena
Gurney leads 3-0
The Machine Gun, Jermaine Wattimena, can fire enough accurate shots to keep Daryl Gurney detained for the duration.

Gurney, a player on the rise, is a short price to clatter the Dutch­man, who has himself had a decent campaign.

Recommendation
J Wattimena +1.5
1pt 11-10 bet365, BetBright, Betway

Norris v Michael
No previous meetings
The 14-time Greek national champ, John Michael has flexed his muscles alongside the PDC’s very best for a few years now but with little success.

The likelihood is he will find Alan Norris as unsympathetic an opponent as James Wade a year ago. Michael took just four legs off the leftie and is too erratic.

Murnan has won his last three matches against Webby so can definitely push the Welshman all the way
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