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Colin Lloyd on World Championship contenders, players to watch and the growth of the global game

Price and Van Gerwen could renew their rivalry at Alexandra Palace

As the countdown to this year’s PDC World Darts Championship continues, former world No 1 Colin Lloyd gives us a taste of what to expect over the coming weeks at Alexandra Palace.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Darts Show podcast, the two-time major winner offered his thoughts on the major talking points ahead of this year’s event, which will see world No 1 Gerwyn Price bidding to retain his crown.

First up, who are the contenders?

Former world champions Wright, Van Gerwen and Cross are among the main contenders for the 2022 crown

Former world champions Wright, Van Gerwen and Cross are among the main contenders for the 2022 crown

There’s a few players that have thrown their name into the hat. Peter Wright has won the last major coming into the Worlds, MVG is throwing some good stuff again, Jonny Clayton is still on form.

I cannot see anyone winning it outside of the top eight, because they’ve just been so dominant and so consistent over this year. MVG has been throwing some fabulous stuff, but he just keeps faltering when you think this is where he is going to push on.

Wrighty, Clayton and Price keep on pushing and pushing. I think Gerwyn Price starts out as the favourite for me. I think if he hits his top form, he will take a lot of beating, but there are plenty of other people that are more than capable of going up there and lifting that trophy.

I’ve got to give Rob Cross a mention. He looks sharp; he won the European Championship and he is throwing some good stuff again. Wadey has looked good without actually winning an event recently.

I really do believe it’s going to be out of the four that I mentioned – Price, Wright, MVG and Clayton. On TV at this moment in time, they are just at a different level.

Barney’s return…

Van Barneveld produced some encouraging displays at the Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals last month

Van Barneveld produced some encouraging displays at the Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals last month

He looked resigned to the fact he was walking away from the game [in 2019]. He obviously wasn’t in a good head space. He just looked flat and out of sorts.

It is good to see him back. He did the hard bit by going to Q School and getting his Tour Card back. He won a ranked event very soon after that, so we know he’s been throwing some decent darts.

At the Players Championship [Finals], he only got beaten by MVG but it was a cracking game. He threw some half-decent stuff at the Grand Slam, and if he’s sharp and if he’s focused, who knows?

You don’t get handed five world titles. Is there a sixth one in him? Quite possibly, but he’ll have to be throwing at his brilliant best if he wants to achieve that.

The stand-out tie?

Anderson and Lewis could be set to collide in the L64, in a repeat of the 2011 and 2016 world finals

Anderson and Lewis could be set to collide in the L64, in a repeat of the 2011 and 2016 world finals

There are so many dangerous games for the seeds, but the one that really stuck out was the No 6 six seed Gary Anderson, who has got to play the winner of Adrian Lewis v Matt Campbell.

I mean deep down, the darting fan wants Adrian Lewis to beat Matt Campbell, but Matt Campbell is a very dangerous and capable player. He has proved in the past that he can throw at a very high level.

If Adrian Lewis can get through that, he will be playing Gary Anderson in a re-run of the 2011 and 2016 finals.

Adrian has shown some flashes of decent stuff, and no disrespect to Gary, but he is running a little bit hot and cold at the moment.

We all know if ‘the’ Gary Anderson and ‘the’ Adrian Lewis can turn up, it could be an absolute humdinger.

The global game…

Brazil's Diogo Portela is among the list of 32 international qualifiers featuring in this year's showpiece

Brazil’s Diogo Portela is among the list of 32 international qualifiers featuring in this year’s showpiece

If you’ve qualified for a World Championship, you can seriously play darts. It doesn’t matter where you come from, you’ve either won through your Tour system within your country or you’ve won a qualifier. You have earned the right to be there.

There are a lot of youngsters coming through at the minute. Fresh names who we haven’t come across before. Young Fabian Schmutzler from Germany – 16 years old and a cracking player.

You have got Bradley Brooks coming through, Keane Barry. The game is in such a great place. It is worldwide.

Everybody loves darts and everybody now who thinks they can play darts are practising, getting on the dart board, because they can see the rewards. The rewards are huge.

Long may that continue, because the growth of the game is getting bigger and bigger, and people are qualifying from more and more different countries.

Age is just a number…

The 67-year-old 'Singapore Slinger' will make his 26th World Championship appearance this year

The 67-year-old ‘Singapore Slinger’ will make his 26th World Championship appearance this year

It is all about the mechanics of your body. If you are competing often enough, you maintain that muscle memory in your arm.

Paul Lim has seriously stood the test of time. He has got a tough opener in Joe Murnan, but Joe cannot take Paul lightly, because Paul has got all the experience in the world.

The winner of that clash will then take on the tenth seed Nathan Aspinall, but it is great to see Limmy up there again. He seems timeless, doesn’t he?

It is just a given now that Paul Lim is going to be at the World Championship again! He is a breath of fresh air. The fans love him, he goes up there, bangs in the 180s and can take out the big shots.

I remember the other year he missed the double 12 for the nine-darter [against Gary Anderson], which he did all those years ago. He is great entertainment, great value, and it’s great to see him back there competing again.

Surprise packages?

Gurney showed signs of a resurgence in reaching the last eight at the Players Championship Finals

Gurney showed signs of a resurgence in reaching the last eight at the Players Championship Finals

He’s been a little bit on the missing list, but this individual would be my surprise package – at the Players Championship Finals, he showed to me he’s got that hunger and desire back. I like the look of Daryl Gurney. He looked really good, really sharp, very focused.

The other one for me is Ryan Searle. He proved something to himself and he openly admitted that nerves probably got the better of him in the end.

Those two had one heck of a battle at the Players Championship and we want to see more of that.

Two players that are firing on all cylinders, looking good. I am looking forward to seeing how both of those guys perform at the World Championship.

Seeds to struggle, and who wins?

Lloyd has backed the world No 1 to retain the Sid Waddell Trophy in January

Lloyd has backed the world No 1 to retain the Sid Waddell Trophy in January

We don’t know what Glen Durrant is playing like at the minute and he’s going to end up with a tough match – he will play the winner of William O’Connor v Danny Lauby.

Stephen Bunting – we know he’s playing well, but he’s got the winner of Ross Smith v Jeff Smith. That could end up being a banana skin.

Dimitri Van den Bergh is the No 5 seed – he has got the winner of Florian Hempel v Martin Schindler. Florian Hempel has come on leaps and bounds, and Martin Schindler is throwing some quality stuff again, so Dimitri has got quite a tough game there.

Who wins? I know he is defending it, so there is a little bit of pressure there, but I don’t think that frightens him at all. I’m going to say Gezzy Price beats MVG in the final.

It’s not long to wait until the darts returns to your screens and it’s the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace – join us on Sky Sports for every arrow from every session across 16 days which gets under way on Wednesday, December 15.

Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts




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