THE Two-time World Champion makes toes the oche tonight looking to make it three, but his opponent Jan Dekkar will have something to say about this.
As we come to the close of round one there are four more ties to decide who progresses and who does not before the tourney resumes again on Boxing day evening.
Andrew Gilding takes on Welsh powerhouse Gerwyn price in the opener. Goldfinger and iceman have only met once, with Gilding reigning supreme on that occasion. The layers edge Iceman to win this, which we can put down to Price’s increasing presence on TV. Gilding had a great 2014, which saw him break into the world top 32, although 2015 in retrospect has been a quieter affair. Price has picked up the pace and looking to enter the top 32 into 2016 and his TV performances have not gone unnoticed with a last eight at the matchplay back in July.
Benito van de Pas versus Max Hopp is an interesting tie, with Big Ben leading the head to head 2-1 and could be the game of the night for entertainment. With the European Tour expanding, this has benefited the likes of Benito and Max in generating further experience in front of crowds.
The recently crowned Youth Champion at the last TV event Max Hopp plays a quick pace, so this will suit Benito and this is where we may see maximums roll in. I can make a case for 3-0 to either, but there again can make a case for a four or five setter. This helps our bet in looking to take on Benito with the maximums and think layers have this wrong. For Big Ben to hit four or more is as big as 6/5 with Paddy Power and this will suit us. The longer the game goes on, the better the chance this will land.
Adrian Lewis will want to put his tie to bed as he takes on Jan Dekkar. In their only meeting, Jackpot, who teased coming out to new music leads the head to head. We have our concerns in respect of how motivated Lewis will be. He knows he has the talent, and it is whether he takes the wrath of Double Dekkar. Their only meeting was a pro tour event, where Lewis bossed this 6-2, has the scoring power, which makes me reluctant to pick a winner here other than Lewis to win this to nil, but will be tentative with corals 6/5.
The final game of the evening an nearly a week after the event begun, Jelle Klassen and Joe Cullen get their moment to decide who progresses to round two. Klaasen leads the head to head 4-1 and by no means a player you want to face. Joe Cullen has not had good experiences on this stage, having lost all of the five exiting at the earliest opportunity. Cullen has the courage and determination; we know that and will need to maintain his scoring to potentially give the former Lakeside champion a scare.