‘Bully Boy’ Headlines Day One of 2024 Paddy Power World Darts Championships

Defending champion Michael Smith is the headline act as the 2024 Paddy Power World Darts Championships gets underway on Friday evening at the Alexandra Palace in London.

Top Seed Smith To Kick Off Round Two Action

Smith, the 2023 winner courtesy of a 7-4 victory in the final over Michael van Gerwen including a memorable 9 dart finish, will start his campaign against the winner of the first round clash between Kevin Doets and Stowe Buntz, which kicks off the tournament.

The man from St. Helens has made early exits in the last two major tournaments, at the Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championships Finals respectively, and will be eager to lay down an early marker to his fellow contenders for the title.

Best of the Rest

2010 finalist Simon Whitlock is another player in action on the opening evening of the tournament, with the popular Aussie facing Poalo Nebrida of the Philippines. Curiously, the ‘Man from Down Under’ faced a compatriot of Nebrida at the opening stage of last year’s tournament, eventually coming through a deciding set tussle with Christian Perez, before falling to Jose De Sousa in round two. Nebrida also featured in the 2023 tournament, making his debut as he lost in a deciding set to Dutchman Danny Jansen. He’ll be hoping to go at least one better this time around.

Also In Action

The opening two ties of the evening are also attractive propositions on paper and could arguably be in the running for ‘Tie of the Round’ conversations.

First up, Kevin Doets of the Netherlands takes on American Stowe Buntz. The latter shot to prominence at the Grand Slam of Darts in November, reaching the quarter finals and has been seen by many as one to avoid in the early rounds at Ally Pally. Similar to Buntz, Doets will also be making his tournament debut and is a former World Youth semi finalist, while he also made the fifth round at the UK Open this year. It could be a cracker that goes the distance.

The second match of the evening sees Cameron Menzies take on Rusty-Jake Rodriguez. Menzies is a former WDF World semi finalist, making his second appearance at the Palace after his debut last year, beating Diogo Portela before losing in round two to Vincent van der Voort. Rodriguez made it through the Tour Card Holder qualifier to take his place and is the sole Austrian representative at this year’s tournament after the notable absence of Mensur Suljovic. This could be seen as another match to go all the way.

Session Schedule

Kevin Doets v Stowe Buntz

Cameron Menzies v Rusty Jake Rodriguez

Simon Whitlock v Paolo Nebrida

(1) Michael Smith v Doets / Buntz