Masters Day Two Preview: All Sixteen Players In Action On Bumper Day Of Darts In Milton Keynes
Day two of the Ladbrokes Masters sees a double session of action with the top eight seeds entering the fray.
After only one of Friday evening’s matches went past 8 legs, Saturday should see a number of closer matches as some of the world’s best players lock horns.
The opening fixture of the afternoon sessions sees Jose de Sousa open his campaign against Rob Cross, the former world champion fresh from his comfortable win over Brendan Dolan the previous evening. ‘The Special One’ has been somewhat out of sorts in recent months and ‘Voltage’ will fancy his chances of getting one over his higher ranked opponent.
Next on stage will be a mouth watering looking tie on paper as Gary Anderson plays Joe Cullen. Anderson reached the semi finals of the World Championships a month despite only showing flashes of his best, which shows just how dangerous the Scotsman can still be on the biggest stage.
‘The Rockstar’ had a difficult year both on and off the oche in 2021, he looked good in disposing of Daryl Gurney in the first round, averaging 99 in the process. This one could go all the way.
Beaten World Championship finalist Michael Smith takes to the stage for the first time since his defeat to Peter Wright at Alexandra Palace as he faces Krzysztof Ratajski.
The Polish Eagle survived SEVEN match darts in his first round encounter against Gabriel Clemens on Friday and if ‘Bully Boy’ shows anything like his form from the Worlds, he should be too strong for the man from Warsaw.
The final match of the afternoon sees two Englishman face off as Dave Chisnall and James Wade go head to head. ‘Chizzy’ was solid rather than spectacular against Stephen Bunting despite not losing a leg and may need to go up a level to get the better of ‘The Machine’.
Reigning champion Jonny Clayton kicks things off in the evening session as he faces Dimitri van den Bergh in what many will see as the tie of the round. ‘The Ferret’ had the year of his darting life in 2021 and goes up against Van den Bergh who showed no hangover from his surprise early exit at the World Championships as he swept aside Ian White on Friday evening whilst averaging 105.
World number one Gerwyn Price will take to the stage next as he takes on another man who had a fantastic year in 2021 in Ryan Searle.
The Players Championship finalist broke into the top 16 in the world after his performances last year and opened his account in 2022 with a solid 6-1 win over Mervyn King on Friday evening. ‘The Iceman’ Price will need to put in a decent performance to avoid an upset here.
World Champion Peter Wright makes his first appearance since lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy next as he goes up against Simon Whitlock.
The Aussie, fresh from his win over Dirk van Duijvenbode on Friday, is never short of confidence and will fancy his chances against ‘Snakebite’ who may have not had much time on the practice board after a busy start to 2022 on the back of his latest Ally Pally triumph.
The final match of the evening has the makings of a classic as Michael van Gerwen, many people’s favourite for the World Championships before he unfortunately tested positive for Covid, faces Luke Humphries, he himself fresh from another good run at Alexandra Palace. 2021 was below the very high standards that the ‘Green Machine’ has set himself over recent years and he’ll be eager to send a message to his rivals against ‘Cool Hand’, who eased through the first round with a 6-1 win over Devon Petersen.
Ladbrokes Masters Day Two Schedule
Saturday January 29
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Jose de Sousa v Rob Cross
Gary Anderson v Joe Cullen
Michael Smith v Krzysztof Ratajski
James Wade v Dave Chisnall
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Jonny Clayton v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gerwyn Price v Ryan Searle
Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen v Luke Humphries