Five things to look out for at Alexandra Palace when World Championship resumes

Five Things To Look Out For At Alexandra Palace When World Championship Resumes
Luke Littler, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Jonathan Veal, PA

Teenage sensation Luke Littler resumes his incredible assault on the World Championship on Wednesday.

The 16-year-old took the tournament by storm before Christmas by winning his first two matches and he headlines a spectacular evening session on its resumption, with defending champion Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen also on the bill.


Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what to look out for in the second half of the competition.

Can Littler be the big man?

Outside the darting world, no one had heard of Luke Littler until last week when the teenager burst onto the scene by winning his first two matches at Alexandra Palace. Now, everyone is sitting up and taking notice as he dreams of World Championship glory. Matt Campbell stands between him and a spot in the last 16, but it will be no gimme for Littler on Wednesday night. Campbell beat James Wade in the second round, but has been home to Canada over Christmas, so his travelling may play a factor.

Will Smith hit the double?



This time last year Michael Smith was gearing up to win his maiden world title, triumphing in that memorable final against Michael van Gerwen where he hit a nine-dart finish in the greatest leg in the history of the sport. Things have not gone so well since that magical night at Ally Pally, and he has failed to win any major tournaments in 2023, but Smith has all eyes on winning a second successive crown. He opened the tournament way back on December 15 and should have no problems getting past Madars Razma. Expect him to click through the gears as the business end of the tournament approaches.

Barney’s silver anniversary

Raymond van Barneveld is looking for more glory, 25 years on from his maiden title
Raymond van Barneveld is looking for more glory, 25 years on from his maiden title (Zac Goodwin/PA)

It is 25 years since Raymond van Barneveld claimed his first world title, winning the BDO crown in 1998. He won another three at Lakeside before switching to the PDC and winning another, while also kicking off an enduring rivalry with Phil Taylor which dominated the sport. The 56-year-old, who came out of retirement two years ago, has set his sights on marking the 25th anniversary of that first title with another at Alexandra Palace. A spectacular quarter-final with Littler looms in a potential match that would get the tastebuds tingling.


Van Gerwen aiming to end the drought

When Michael van Gerwen won the World Championship for a third time in six years in 2019, it looked like he would dominate the sport for years to come. But that turned out to be the end of a golden period as he has not won it since as other contenders have come up on the rails. The Dutchman usually remains the man to beat, having lost in two finals since then, while Covid-19 ruined his 2022 campaign. The four-year drought hurts Van Gerwen, who still considers himself the best player and will be desperate to get his hands back on the Sid Waddell Trophy.

Price is right?

Gerwyn Price wore ear defenders in last year's tournament
Gerwyn Price wore ear defenders in last year’s tournament (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Gerwyn Price must have been a tad wary about returning to Ally Pally after how his last visit ended. The Welshman lost in the quarter-finals after a particularly vociferous crowd made his life so difficult that he resorted to wearing ear defenders midway through the match. Price got a much more favourable reaction in his opening match before Christmas and he will be dreaming of getting the chance to reign supreme in front of fans at the Palace after his 2021 title was played behind closed doors.

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