World Darts Championship: Nathan Aspinall and Josh Rock suffer shock early exits at Alexandra Palace

Ricky Evans stuns Nathan Aspinall, while Josh Rock is knocked out by Berry van Peer; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Wednesday 27 at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 23/12/23 11:07pm


Ricky Evans stunned World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall at the World Darts Championship

Ricky Evans produced the upset of the World Darts Championship by crushing World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall in straight sets on Saturday night.

Evans averaged close to 100 in annihilating Aspinall 3-0, while Josh Rock saw his hopes go up in smoke as the youngster suffered a shock second-round exit to Dutch debutant Berry van Peer.

World Darts Championship: Saturday Evening Results

Ryan Searle 3-1 Tomoya Goto (R2)
Josh Rock 1-3 Berry van Peer (R2)
Stephen Bunting 3-0 Ryan Joyce (R2)
Nathan Aspinall 0-3 Ricky Evans (R2)

 Evans got the Ally Pally crowd into the festive spirit by walking on with the Christmas hit 'Merry Christmas Everyone' by Shakin' Stevens

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Evans got the Ally Pally crowd into the festive spirit by walking on with the Christmas hit ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens

Evans got the Ally Pally crowd into the festive spirit by walking on with the Christmas hit ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens

Aspinall became the 11th seeded player to exit the Worlds at the hands of ‘Rapid’ Ricky.

Following his traditional festive walk-on, Evans secured the first break of throw for a 2-1 lead, and he pinned double 10 to seal an impressive opening set before storming to a sixth leg on the spin to double his lead with a 104 checkout to leave Aspinall on the brink of an early exit.

Evans ended up losing just two legs in the contest, and averaged 99.38 with a 60 per cent checkout success to go through.

Berry van Peer stunned Josh Rock in the second round of the World Darts Championship

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Berry van Peer stunned Josh Rock in the second round of the World Darts Championship

Berry van Peer stunned Josh Rock in the second round of the World Darts Championship

Former world youth champion, Rock, went down 3-1 to the world No 107 Van Peer.

Rock was punished for six missed darts at doubles as Van Peer clinched the first set 3-1 despite an average of 84.

The Northern Ireland thrower then fired in a 107 checkout to force a second set decider, but Van Peer replied with a sensational 121 for a 12-darter to move within a set of a major upset.

Van Peer landed this epic 121 checkout en route to a famous victory against Rock

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Van Peer landed this epic 121 checkout en route to a famous victory against Rock

Van Peer landed this epic 121 checkout en route to a famous victory against Rock

However, 22-year-old Rock showed pure class to produce finishes of 101, 112 and 82 with Van Peer failing to land two match darts in the third set decider to halve the deficit.

But the debutant, who has racked up four Challenge Tour titles over the last 12 months, set up a clash with Damon Heta by taking out 48 to finish off 23rd seed Rock and continue his dream run.

Bunting praises the crowd after crushing Ryan Joyce 3-0 in a stunning performance

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Bunting praises the crowd after crushing Ryan Joyce 3-0 in a stunning performance

Bunting praises the crowd after crushing Ryan Joyce 3-0 in a stunning performance

Stephen Bunting put on a show with a magnificent 107.28 average – the highest of the tournament – five maximums and 9/19 on the doubles as he put Ryan Joyce to the sword in a whitewash victory.

“I’m so happy to play like that and show my potential,” said the former Lakeside champion, who faces German Florian Hempel next. “I’ve come here with a lot of confidence from my last two events, but I’ve played nowhere near like that.

“I’m a bit speechless, but I can enjoy Christmas now, go home, regroup and get ready for the next game.”

Stephen Bunting conducted the crowd during his entrance song 'Titanium' by David Guetta feat. Sia

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Stephen Bunting conducted the crowd during his entrance song ‘Titanium’ by David Guetta feat. Sia

Stephen Bunting conducted the crowd during his entrance song ‘Titanium’ by David Guetta feat. Sia

Ryan Searle overcame Tomoyo Goto 3-1 as he set up a mouth-watering meeting with Joe Cullen

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Ryan Searle overcame Tomoyo Goto 3-1 as he set up a mouth-watering meeting with Joe Cullen

Ryan Searle overcame Tomoyo Goto 3-1 as he set up a mouth-watering meeting with Joe Cullen

Ryan Searle set up an intriguing meeting with Joe Cullen after making it through to the last 32 for the sixth year running.

‘Heavy Metal’ hammered in four 180s and a spectacular ‘Shanghai’ 120 finish in his 3-1 victory against a gutsy Tomoyo Goto from Japan.

“I got there in the end. I was throwing back stage and thought I was going to come out and break some records…but it didn’t quite happen,” revealed Searle. “I got over the line, can enjoy my Christmas now, and I’ll be back.”

World Darts Championship: Saturday Afternoon Results

Kim Huybrechts 0-3 Richard Veenstra (R2)
Callan Rydz 2-3 Ricardo Pietreczko (R2)
Jonny Clayton 3-1 Steve Lennon (R2)
Daryl Gurney 3-1 Steve Beaton (R2)

Two-time quarter-finalist Daryl Gurney produced consecutive ton-plus checkouts to clinch a 3-1 win over Steve Beaton in the afternoon session, while there were also victories for Jonny Clayton, Ricardo Pietreczko and Richard Veenstra.

Gurney pinned successive checkouts of 132 and 136 to defeat Beaton 3-1 and end the hopes of ‘The Bronzed Adonis’.

‘SuperChin’ averaged 100.79, winning seven of the first eight legs before Beaton – who has announced his intention to walk away from the sport following the 2024 season – rallied, taking the third set after his opponent had missed a match dart on double 19 attempting a 155 checkout.

Daryl Gurney nailed two massive checkouts against Steve Beaton, including a 136 finish to win the match

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Daryl Gurney nailed two massive checkouts against Steve Beaton, including a 136 finish to win the match

Daryl Gurney nailed two massive checkouts against Steve Beaton, including a 136 finish to win the match

Beaton, 59, had the throw in the fourth set but it was Gurney who closed it out to set up a post-Christmas meeting with Evans.

Earlier on, ninth seed Clayton won a match of ample missed doubles, defeating Steve Lennon 3-1 – Clayton’s doubling success was only 28 per cent but Lennon, who is now in danger of losing his Tour Card, was way worse on 15 per cent, squandering 34 darts out of 40.

Ricardo Pietreczko and Callan Rydz exchanged some big finishes during their clash

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Ricardo Pietreczko and Callan Rydz exchanged some big finishes during their clash

Ricardo Pietreczko and Callan Rydz exchanged some big finishes during their clash

Elsewhere, ‘Pikachu’ Pietreczko pipped the seeded Callan Rydz 3-2, while the session began with Veenstra sweeping 2012 quarter-finalist Kim Huybrechts 3-0 in sets and 9-0 in legs as he set up a showdown with fellow Dutchman Michael van Gerwen.

Clayton will face ‘The Polish Eagle’ Krzysztof Ratajski after the festive break, while German star Pietreczko plays title favourite Luke Humphries.

Richard Veenstra thrashed Kim Huybrechts without dropping a single leg

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Richard Veenstra thrashed Kim Huybrechts without dropping a single leg

Richard Veenstra thrashed Kim Huybrechts without dropping a single leg

What’s happening after Christmas at the World Darts Championship?

Teenage sensation Luke Littler is back in action on Wednesday night when he takes on Canadian Matt Campbell with three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen and reigning champion Michael Smith also playing on a bumper evening.

World Darts Championship: Wednesday Afternoon Fixtures

Scott Williams vs Martin Schindler (R3)
Dave Chisnall vs Gabriel Clemens (R3)
Rob Cross vs Jeffrey de Graaf (R3)

Elsewhere, 2018 champion Rob Cross, Scott Williams and last year’s semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens will be among the high-profile names taking to the stage in the afternoon.

World Darts Championship: Wednesday Evening Fixtures

Matt Campbell vs Luke Littler (R3)
Michael van Gerwen vs Richard Veenstra (R3)
Michael Smith vs Madars Razma (R3)

The sport’s biggest event sees 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



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World Darts Championship: Teenager Luke Littler defeats Andrew Gilding to continue dream run at Alexandra Palace

Teenager Luke Littler makes it through to the third round after knocking out the experienced Andrew Gilding; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Friday at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 22/12/23 12:42am


Luke Littler continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after recording a second win in as many days

Teenage sensation Luke Littler made it through to the third round of the World Darts Championship on his debut following a 3-1 win over UK Open champion Andrew Gilding on Thursday night.

The 16-year-old, who averaged an astonishing 106.12 in his demolition of former Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in the first round, continued his dream run on the Alexandra Palace stage by upsetting the experienced Gilding.

World Darts Championship: Thursday Evening Results

Andrew Gilding 1-3 Luke Littler (R2)
Danny Noppert 0-3 Scott Williams (R2)
Gabriel Clemens 3-1 Man Lok Leung (R2)
Damon Heta 3-1 Martin Lukeman (R2)

Littler was born in Runcorn, Cheshire, on January 21, 2007 and began playing darts aged nine.

He won the England Youth Grand Prix in 2019 and began to rack up tournament wins.

He became England Youth Open champion in 2021 and won his first senior title at the Irish Open later that year.

In 2022 he won the Welsh Open and this year notched further senior titles at the Isle of Man Classic, Gibraltar Open, British Open and British Classic.

The 16-year-old is a back-to-back JDC World Champion and reigning World Youth Champion. He doesn’t turn 17 until January 21.

Gilding nailed this 130 on the bullseye but still lost the opening set

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Gilding nailed this 130 on the bullseye but still lost the opening set

Gilding nailed this 130 on the bullseye but still lost the opening set

Gilding produced a stunning 130 checkout to level up the first set but Littler sealed it in the decider thanks to a 13-darter, averaging 101.36 with 75 per cent on the doubles.

Littler could not hold back his emotions after winning the second set

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Littler could not hold back his emotions after winning the second set

Littler could not hold back his emotions after winning the second set

‘Goldfinger’ then squandered a pair of set darts to make it all-square with World Youth Championship Littler taking full advantage by landing double 16 with his last dart in hand to double his advantage.

The 16-year-old continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after upsetting Gilding

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The 16-year-old continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after upsetting Gilding

The 16-year-old continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after upsetting Gilding

However, 53-year-old Gilding reeled off a hat-trick of legs to halve the deficit as the doubles evaded ‘The Nuke’.

But the fearless Littler continued his remarkable run at the tournament by winning the fourth set 3-1 as he pinned double 10 to set up a meeting with Canadian Matt Campbell after Christmas.

Littler plans to celebrate his sensational win over Gilding with another kebab!

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Littler plans to celebrate his sensational win over Gilding with another kebab!

Littler plans to celebrate his sensational win over Gilding with another kebab!

“I think when I went two up I gave it a bit and lost all my energy,” Littler told Sky Sports. “I was nervous as it is, I don’t know how I got over the line but I’ve done it.

“I said to myself this morning, but when I went 2-0 up I just put loads of pressure on my shoulders. But I’ve done it.”

Scott Williams was 'gutted' about missing out on a nine-darter but was happy with his win

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Scott Williams was ‘gutted’ about missing out on a nine-darter but was happy with his win

Scott Williams was ‘gutted’ about missing out on a nine-darter but was happy with his win

Scott Williams came agonisingly close to an unorthodox nine-dart finish as he sealed a superb straight-sets win over seventh seed Danny Noppert.

Despite an opening 170 salvo from Dutchman Noppert, it was Williams who stormed into a 2-0 lead, and after taking first leg of the third set, ‘Shaggy’ struck six perfect darts before hitting treble 16, treble 19 but then landing his ninth dart millimetres below double 18 for what would have been the first perfect leg of this year’s tournament.

'Shaggy' just missed out on a nine-darter after just clipping the wire during his win against Danny Noppert

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‘Shaggy’ just missed out on a nine-darter after just clipping the wire during his win against Danny Noppert

‘Shaggy’ just missed out on a nine-darter after just clipping the wire during his win against Danny Noppert

Williams, ranked 52nd in the world, didn’t let it affect him, though, as he completed a 12-dart leg and he soon wrapped up the biggest win of his career with a neat 80 checkout.

Gabriel Clemens pulled this 140 checkout out the bag en route to victory against Man Lok Leung

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Gabriel Clemens pulled this 140 checkout out the bag en route to victory against Man Lok Leung

Gabriel Clemens pulled this 140 checkout out the bag en route to victory against Man Lok Leung

Last year’s semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens sealed a 3-1 success over tricky Man Lok Leung with 53 per cent on the doubles and three ton-plus finishes (140, 120, 120) to set up a last-32 tie against Dave Chisnall.

Australian No 1 Damon Heta breezed past Martin Lukeman with a comprehensive display to send out a warning to his rivals.

Damon Heta brings 'The Heat' in a bizarre walk-on for his clash against Martin Lukeman

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Damon Heta brings ‘The Heat’ in a bizarre walk-on for his clash against Martin Lukeman

Damon Heta brings ‘The Heat’ in a bizarre walk-on for his clash against Martin Lukeman

‘The Heat’ took out 68 in the deciding leg to edge the opener and he steamrolled the second in three unanswered legs to double his lead.

Lukeman upped his averages to win the third and halve his deficit, but Heta quickly took control of the fourth set with two breaks to complete a 3-1 win.

 Cross says 16-year-old debutant Littler had no fear after his first-round victory against Christian Kist

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Cross says 16-year-old debutant Littler had no fear after his first-round victory against Christian Kist

Cross says 16-year-old debutant Littler had no fear after his first-round victory against Christian Kist

Former champion Cross up and running at Ally Pally

World Darts Championship: Thursday Afternoon Results

Mickey Mansell 3-0 Xiaochen Zong (R1)
Luke Woodhouse 2-3 Berry van Peer (R1)
Madars Razma 3-1 Mike De Decker (R2)
Rob Cross 3-0 Thibault Tricole (R2)

Former World Champion Rob Cross got campaign off to a winning start in a comfortable victory against Frenchman Thibault Tricole in Thursday afternoon’s session.

The 2018 champion, who has not progressed beyond the last-16 since his historic title victory against Phil Taylor in his debut year, took out a finish of 114 to secure the second set, having trailed his opponent by two legs initially, and then went even better with a 126 checkout en route to winning the final six legs.

Rob Cross admits he wasn't at his best, despite coming through his second-round clash with Thibault Tricole

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Rob Cross admits he wasn’t at his best, despite coming through his second-round clash with Thibault Tricole

Rob Cross admits he wasn’t at his best, despite coming through his second-round clash with Thibault Tricole

But while one Englishman progressed, another dropped out as Luke Woodhouse finished on the wrong side of a 3-2 thriller against Berry van Peer.

The Dutch debutant suffered two bruised ribs after falling down the stairs and almost couldn’t practice ahead of his clash with ‘Woody’.

Luke Woodhouse and Berry van Peer traded blows with clinical checkouts in their thrilling encounter

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Luke Woodhouse and Berry van Peer traded blows with clinical checkouts in their thrilling encounter

Luke Woodhouse and Berry van Peer traded blows with clinical checkouts in their thrilling encounter

Madars Razma, meanwhile, also impressed in his second-round match against Mike De Decker. The Latvian triumphed 3-1 to set up a post-Christmas clash with reigning champion Michael Smith.

Mickey Mansell had opened the day with what in the end proved a comfortable 3-0 win over Xiaochen Zong in the other remaining first round tie.

Steve Beaton hopes to qualify for the World Championship next year and get the chance to step down on the biggest stage of all

Steve Beaton hopes to qualify for the World Championship next year and get the chance to step down on the biggest stage of all

In other news, Steve Beaton has confirmed his decision to retire from the PDC circuit at the end of next season.

“My full focus will be of course playing my best darts in 2024 in the PDC, and in 2025 I will be playing the World Seniors Darts Tour, which after turning 60 next April probably will suit me better,” said ‘The Bronzed Adonis’.

What’s happening on Friday at the World Darts Championship?

Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld headlines the action on Friday at Alexandra Palace

Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld headlines the action on Friday at Alexandra Palace

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, Chris Dobey and Dirk van Duijvenbode headline the action at Alexandra Palace.

Live World Darts Championship

December 22, 2023, 12:30pm

Live on Sky Sports Main Event

World Darts Championship: Friday Afternoon Fixtures

Brendan Dolan vs Mickey Mansell (R2)
Jose de Sousa vs Jeffrey de Graaf (R2)
Krzysztof Ratajski vs Jamie Hughes (R2)
Dirk van Duijvenbode vs Boris Krcmar (R2)

Elsewhere, Jose de Sousa, Krzysztof Ratajski, Brendan Dolan and Dimitri Van den Bergh will be among the high-profile names in action.

Live World Darts Championship

December 22, 2023, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

World Darts Championship: Friday Evening Fixtures

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Florian Hempel (R2)
Martin Schindler vs Jermaine Wattimena (R2)
Raymond van Barneveld vs Radek Szaganski (R2)
Chris Dobey vs William O’Connor (R2)

The sport’s biggest event sees 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



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World Darts Championship: Can 16-year-old Luke Littler make shock title bid after stunning debut win?

Wayne Mardle and Mark Webster believe it is not out of the question that “incredible” Luke Littler could be in the mix to win the title after a stunning debut match win; Teenager straight back in action on Thursday against Andrew Gilding live from 7pm on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 21/12/23 6:22am


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Luke Littler showed skills and composure far beyond his years as he demolished Christian Kist and looks a genuine contender to win the World Darts Championship

Luke Littler showed skills and composure far beyond his years as he demolished Christian Kist and looks a genuine contender to win the World Darts Championship

Sky Sports’ Wayne Mardle has hailed teenage sensation Luke Littler as “probably the most naturally gifted player I have ever seen in my life” and believes the 16-year-old could go all the way and win his debut World Darts Championship.

Littler, the reigning world youth champion, announced himself on the biggest stage in darts in the most extraordinary fashion at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night.

The third-youngest player to appear at the tournament, Littler stunned 37-year-old Dutchman Christian Kist, the 2012 BDO champion, with a stunning 3-0 victory which featured seven 180s and a blistering three-dart average of 106.12.

Littler fired a 106 average and posted seven 180s during his impressive win

Littler fired a 106 average and posted seven 180s during his impressive win

Having excelled at youth level and secured his PDC Tour Card for 2024-25, Littler’s debut on the senior stage had been highly anticipated. The emphatic nature of his maiden success is only likely to heighten the hype around the teenager from Warrington, who now faces 53-year-old compatriot Andrew Gilding in Round Two on Thursday evening.

“I can’t remember a better [debut] than that,” declared an impressed Mardle on Sky Sports Darts.

“I can’t remember someone going up there with such a swagger and just banging in 180s and hitting 11 and 12-darters like they are going out of fashion.

A look back the best of the action from day six of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

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A look back the best of the action from day six of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

A look back the best of the action from day six of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

“I’m a darts fan first and foremost, I was watching it and I had goosebumps watching him. I love people achieving and that was a boy achieving something on the world stage.

“We may never see the like again. We saw it with Phil Taylor and then we saw it with Michael van Gerwen. This may be the third coming of that. I don’t know, but I’m a little bit carried away.”

Mardle, the 2001 World Championship semi-finalist, then added: “I think he’s probably the most naturally gifted player I have ever seen in my life.

“I have seen Adrian Lewis in full swing, Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen, I have seen them all.

“I don’t think I have ever seen the like.”

‘Why can’t he win it?’ Webster and Mardle agree Littler in title contention

Wayne Mardle is convinced 16 year-old Luke Littler is going to the very top and says everyone talks about his age apart from him

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Wayne Mardle is convinced 16 year-old Luke Littler is going to the very top and says everyone talks about his age apart from him

Wayne Mardle is convinced 16 year-old Luke Littler is going to the very top and says everyone talks about his age apart from him

Darts’ new young star will be back on the Ally Pally stage as early as Thursday night when he takes on No 23 seed Gilding, this year’s UK Open champion, as part of an evening session which starts at 7pm live on Sky Sports Darts.

So how deep into this tournament can Littler now possibly go? Sky Sports’ Mark Webster believes repeats of his “incredible” opening-match form could conceivably take him all the way to the January 3 final in a side of the draw that has unexpectedly been opened up by the surprise early exits of seeds Peter Wright and James Wade.

“That isn’t just a statement performance, that’s title-winning form, and he’s a serious threat in this competition now,” said Webster, the 2008 BDO champion and two-time PDC World Championship semi-finalist.

Asked how far he thought the teenager could go in this tournament, Webster then replied: “I’m going to get carried away with it: I think he can win the whole thing!

“You play like that on your debut, there’s no nerves. Look, there’s going to be a lot more coming at him, particularly in the next round. Andrew Gilding will make it difficult.

“Christian played okay but he wasn’t allowed to play and if he [Littler] does that to Gilding, that’ll send out another message. Then it’s the possibility of Matt Campbell next…if you play like that, you can win the title.”

Fellow pundit Mardle agreed.

“I loved what Mark Webster said [while] sitting here that he can win it.

“Why can’t he win it? Why can’t he win the world championship? Who has been better in their first game?

“He was pushed for a set and a bit there, he dismantled a very, very good player.

“I am just so excited because it’s the way he plays the game, it’s how good he is, it’s the fact that he shows you how good he is. He wants the crowd to be involved. There is absolutely nothing to dislike about the way [he plays]. He’s just such a natural.”

Littler on debut win: ‘That’s for you, Phil’

Littler fired a 106 average and posted seven 180s during his impressive win

Littler fired a 106 average and posted seven 180s during his impressive win

The man of the moment, meanwhile, had a message for 16-time world champion Phil Taylor after delivering arguably the performance of the tournament so far at the very first attempt.

“My debut, my first game, and I can’t believe how quickly I settled into the game,” a delighted Littler told Sky Sports.

“When I was walking on I felt a bit nervous but as soon as I found the rhythm, I was in.”

Asked where the win ranked in his short career so far, the 16-year-old replied: “[Tonight has] got to be at the top. I’ve been playing since I was 18 months old, obviously looking up to Phil Taylor. I know he’s watching – that’s for you, Phil!

“Absolutely over the moon.”

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



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World Darts Championship: Gerwyn Price breezes into third round with 3-0 whitewash of Connor Scutt

Hong Kong’s Man Lok Leung hit 11 maximums in a scintillating 3-2 comeback win over Dutch prodigy Gian van Veen in the first round; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Tuesday at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 18/12/23 11:49pm


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A look back at some of the best action from Day Four of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

A look back at some of the best action from Day Four of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

Gerwyn Price dropped only two legs on his way to an emphatic 3-0 whitewash of Connor Scutt in their second-round clash at the World Darts Championship on Monday night.

Price averaged 98.01, wrapping up victory in less than 30 minutes to book his place in the third round, with only a mini wobble in the third set to perturb him

Welcomed on stage with the smattering of boos that traditionally greet his Alexandra Palace appearances, the 2021 champion played along with the reception, smirking away as he clapped the crowd.

World Darts Championship: Monday Results

Mario Vandenbogaerde 1-3 Thibault Tricole (R1)
Gian van Veen 2-3 Man Lok Leung (R1)
Martin Lukeman 3-1 Haupai Puha (R1)
Gerwyn Price 3-0 Connor Scutt (R2)

Behind Price’s calm exterior though was a steely determination to get the job done and he romped through the first two sets without dropping a leg.

Scutt finally got on the board to open the third set and he might have had Price briefly worried when breaking the Welshman as he threw for the match, forcing a final-leg decider.

But it merely sparked another gear in Price as he produced a 12-dart leg to break straight back, taking out 96 to clinch a most comfortable of victories.

Gerwyn Price eases to a 3-0 victory over Connor Scutt that will the Welshman playing again after Christmas in the third round.

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Gerwyn Price eases to a 3-0 victory over Connor Scutt that will the Welshman playing again after Christmas in the third round.

Gerwyn Price eases to a 3-0 victory over Connor Scutt that will the Welshman playing again after Christmas in the third round.

Price: Crowd were brilliant | ‘I wasn’t going to play’

After his win, Price praised the crowd while also commenting that that he pondered perhaps not playing in the tournament.

Gerwyn Price reacts to his 3-0 second round win over Connor Scutt in the 2024 World Darts Championship.

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Gerwyn Price reacts to his 3-0 second round win over Connor Scutt in the 2024 World Darts Championship.

Gerwyn Price reacts to his 3-0 second round win over Connor Scutt in the 2024 World Darts Championship.

He told Sky Sports: “I was sat in my house at 6 o’clock yesterday and probably wasn’t going to play the tournament. I wasn’t even on my way to London.

“It is really difficult to come here with crowds on your back but credit to the crowd. If they keep on like this, there is no reason I can’t win it.”

Price added: “It wasn’t my A-game – first-round jitters – but I am happy to get through… I played pretty decent.

“The crowd were brilliant. Last year they got on my back but this year they were brilliant. I was a bit apprehensive but fair play to them.”

Leung announces himself with epic comeback win

Hong Kong’s Man Lok Leung had earlier stolen the show with his scintillating 3-2 comeback victory over 21-year-old Dutch prodigy Gian van Veen, Leung throwing as many as 11 maximums in the match!

Despite missing a staggering 22 darts at double, struggles which dug him an early 2-0 hole in sets, Leung’s sensational scoring – averaging 96.26 – eventually saw him get the better of his opponent.

Man Lok Leung claims the victory over Gian Van Veen in a closely thought battle between the pair in the first round of the World Darts Championship.

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Man Lok Leung claims the victory over Gian Van Veen in a closely thought battle between the pair in the first round of the World Darts Championship.

Man Lok Leung claims the victory over Gian Van Veen in a closely thought battle between the pair in the first round of the World Darts Championship.

Van Veen, a European Championship semi-finalist this year – beating Damon Heta, Daryl Gurney and Michael van Gerwen during his run – wrestled the first two sets away from Leung thanks to superb checkouts of 116 and 112 in the fourth legs of both.

But, despite the deficit, Leung was never disheartened and he eventually made his superior scoring count, claiming each of the next three sets 3-1 to book a matchup with 22nd seed Gabriel Clemens in the next round.

Thibault Tricole made history when beating Mario Vandenbogaerde 3-1 to open the evening, the first Frenchman to compete on the Ally Pally stage winning on his World Darts Championship debut.

Tricole, a beaten finalist in the 2022 WDF world final, came back from a set down to defeat Vandenbogaerde in a real back-and-forth contest in which all four sets went into a final-leg decider.

In the first two sets, both Tricole and Vandenbogaerde let a break advantage slip, wasting opportunities when throwing for the set, with the latter taking out the first of two ton-plus checkouts on his way to claiming the first set.

Thibault Tricole throws his last dart to the floor despite winning the second set to level up the game against Mario Vandenbogaerde.

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Thibault Tricole throws his last dart to the floor despite winning the second set to level up the game against Mario Vandenbogaerde.

Thibault Tricole throws his last dart to the floor despite winning the second set to level up the game against Mario Vandenbogaerde.

But Tricole fought back, angrily celebrating winning the second set by throwing one of his darts on the floor, and he eventually battled through to beat the Belgian and book a second-round clash with 2018 Worlds winner Rob Cross.

Martin Lukeman made relative light work of New Zealand’s Haupai Puha in the remaining first-round clash of the night, triumphing 3-1.

Martin Lukeman cruises to a 3-1 first round victory over Haupai Puha as he finished up with 50% on the doubles and will meet Damon Heta in the second round.

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Martin Lukeman cruises to a 3-1 first round victory over Haupai Puha as he finished up with 50% on the doubles and will meet Damon Heta in the second round.

Martin Lukeman cruises to a 3-1 first round victory over Haupai Puha as he finished up with 50% on the doubles and will meet Damon Heta in the second round.

The Englishman quickly raced out into a 2-0 lead in sets, claiming six of the opening seven legs, thanks to his superior work on the doubles.

Puha battled hard to edge the third set 3-2, but it merely inspired Lukeman to take his game up another level as he swept the fourth to confirm his passage through to the second round where he’ll play Damon Heta.

Live World Darts Championship

December 19, 2023, 12:30pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

Live World Darts Championship

December 19, 2023, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

What’s happening on Tuesday at the World Darts Championship?

Michael van Gerwen will be aiming to win a fourth World title

Michael van Gerwen will be aiming to win a fourth World title

Three-time champion Michael van Gerwen enters the fray on Tuesday, while Steve Beaton – making a record-extending 33rd consecutive World Championship appearance – plays Dutch debutant Wessel Nijman in round one.

World Darts Championship: Tuesday Afternoon Fixtures

Ian White vs Tomoya Goto (R1)
Ritchie Edhouse vs Jeffrey de Graaf (R1)
Keegan Brown vs Boris Krcmar (R1)
James Wade vs Matt Campbell (R2)

Four-time semi-finalist James Wade will headline the afternoon session, before Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki makes her World Championship return against Germany’s emerging star Ricardo Pietreczko in the evening session.

World Darts Championship: Tuesday Evening Fixtures

Steve Beaton vs Wessel Nijman (R1)
Mike De Decker vs Dragutin Horvat (R1)
Ricardo Pietreczko vs Mikuru Suzuki (R1)
Michael van Gerwen vs Keane Barry (R2)

The sport’s biggest event sees 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



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West Indies vs England 4th T20I: Preview, Fantasy XI Predictions, Pitch And Weather Report | Cricket News

West Indies will be up against England in the 4th T20I of England’s tour of West Indies, 5 T20I Series 2023 on Wednesday, December 20 at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad, West Indies. The match will start at 1:30 AM IST. In the third T20I, opener Phil Salt scored an unbeaten 56-ball 109 to secure a maiden T20I century, while a late contribution from young Harry Brook who scored 24 runs in the final over against Andre Russell in England’s dramatic seven-wicket victory over the West Indies, keeping them in contention with a 2-1 scoreline in the five-match T20I series.

WI vs ENG pitch report

The pitch at the Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad is a balanced surface. The average 1st innings score at this venue in the last 20 matches is 104 runs. The team batting first at this venue has won 50 per cent of the matches.

WI vs ENG weather report

The temperature is expected to be around 26 degrees Celsius with 86 per cent humidity. 1.04 m/s winds are expected. Light rain is forecasted which may affect playing conditions.

WI vs ENG Fantasy 11 Prediction: Top Batter and Wicket-Keeper Picks

Jos Buttler

Jos Buttler is a very consistent player in terms of fantasy points. He has an average of 63 match fantasy points in the last 10 games and a fantasy rating of 8.8. This player is a top-order batter, bats right-handed and also keeps wickets. In the last five matches, Jos Buttler has scored 51, 5, 39, 40, 13 runs averaging 29.6 per match.

Nicholas Pooran

Nicholas Pooran is a fairly consistent player in terms of fantasy points. He has an average of 52 match fantasy points in the last 10 games and a fantasy rating of 8.5. This player is a top-order opening left-handed batter and also keeps wickets. In the last five matches, Nicholas Pooran has scored 82, 5, 13, 15, 26 runs at an average of 28.2 per match.

Shai Diego Hope

Shai Hope is a fairly consistent player in terms of fantasy points. He has an average of 54 match fantasy points in the last 10 games and a fantasy rating of 7.5. This player is a top-order right-handed batter and also keeps wickets. In the last five matches, Shai Hope has scored 135 runs averaging 27 per match.

WI vs ENG Fantasy 11 Prediction: Top Bowler Picks

Akeal Jerome Hosein

Akeal Hosein is a very inconsistent player in terms of fantasy points and can be a differential pick in your team. He has an average of 54 match fantasy points in the last 10 games and a fantasy rating of 8. This player bowls slow left-arm orthodox and in the recently played five matches Akeal Hosein has taken nine wickets at an average of 1.8. He has been very successful against this team, taking 0, 2, 1, 4, 1 wickets in the recent matches.

Rehan Ahmed

Rehan Ahmed is a bowler and has an average of 52 match fantasy points in the last five games, a fantasy rating of 7.9 and is a fairly consistent player in terms of fantasy points. This player is a leg-break googly bowler and in the last three matches, Rehan Ahmed has taken 1, 0, 0, 3, 0 wickets at an average of 0.8.

Adil Usman Rashid

Adil Rashid is a bowler and has an average of 50 match fantasy points in the last 10 games, a fantasy rating of 7.6 and can be a good pick for your Dream11 Team. He bowls leg break and in the recently played four matches, this player has taken 2, 2, 2, 0, 0 wickets at an average of 1.2. Adil Rashid has a very good record against this opponent, taking 2, 2, 0, 2, 2 wickets in the recent matches.

WI vs ENG Fantasy 11 Prediction: Top All-Rounder Picks

Jason Omar Holder

Jason Holder is a fairly consistent player in terms of fantasy points. He has an average of 61 match fantasy points in the last 10 games and a fantasy rating of 9.6. This player is a right-arm medium-fast bowler and in the recently played three matches, Jason Holder has taken three wickets at an average of 0.6.

Andre Dwayne Russell

Andre Russell is a fairly consistent player in terms of fantasy points. He has an average of 51 match fantasy points in the last 10 games and a fantasy rating of 7.7. This player bowls right-arm fast and in the recently played three matches, Andre Russell has taken 4 wickets at an average of 0.8.

Moeen Munir Ali

Moeen Ali is an all-rounder and has an average of 45 match fantasy points in the last 10 games, a fantasy rating of 7.2 and can be a good safe pick for your Dream11 Team. He is a left-handed batter. In the recently played four matches, this player has scored 0, 0, 22, 13, 0 runs averaging 7 per match.

WI vs ENG Fantasy 11 Prediction: Top captain and vice-captain picks

Rovman Powell: West Indies batter Rovman Powell has racked up 120 runs in three matches this series at an average of 60 and a strike rate of 187.5. He has smashed one fifty and achieved the top score of 50.

Phil Salt:England’s Phil Salt has hit 174 runs in three matches and is the team’s leading run-scorer this season. He has a strike rate of 175.76 and averages 87. He also has one century to his name in this campaign.

Alzarri Joseph: The West Indies bowler has taken six wickets in three matches. Alzarri Joseph’s best spell for this season is 3/39 and his average is 23.83.

Adil Rashid: The bowler from England has taken six wickets in three matches so far at an average of 11.33. Adil Rashid’s 2/11 is his top bowling performance in this series.

WI vs ENG Fantasy 11 team

Wicket-Keepers: Jos Buttler and Nicholas Pooran

Batters:Ben Duckett, Will Jacks and Shimron Hetmyer

All-Rounders: Jason Holder and Andre Russell

Bowlers:Akeal Hosein, Rehan Ahmed, Adil Rashid and Tymal Mills

Captain:Akeal Hosein

Vice-Captain: Shimron Hetmyer

West Indies vs England head-to-head record in T20I

West Indies and England have competed against each other on 27 occasions in T20s. While West Indies have won 16 matches, England have emerged victorious on 11 instances.

The last five T20 contests have seen West Indies win three times and England two times. The highest score in these five encounters is 226 by England while the lowest has been 159 by West Indies.

West Indies vs England prediction

West Indies are predicted to win the upcoming fixture as they have won three of the last five matches against England.

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World Darts Championship: Fallon Sherrock suffers opening round defeat as Luke Humphries cruises through

Fallon Sherrock makes costly error in defeat as Luke Humphries surges through in style; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Monday at 7pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 18/12/23 1:34am


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A look back at some of the best action from Night Three of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

A look back at some of the best action from Night Three of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

Fallon Sherrock suffered a gut-wrenching opening round defeat at the World Darts Championship as red-hot Luke Humphries looked cool as a cucumber as he progressed in style on the Alexandra Palace stage.

Sherrock’s opponent Jermaine Wattimena won nine out of the last 12 legs to send ‘The Queen of the Palace’ crashing out in the first round.

Humphries, who has been on an incredible run of form which has seen him win three televised titles in two months at the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals, defeated Lee Evans in straight sets.

World Darts Championship: Sunday Evening Results

Dylan Slevin 1-3 Florian Hempel (R1)
Niels Zonneveld 3-1 Darren Webster (R1)
Jermaine Wattimena 3-1 Fallon Sherrock (R1)
Luke Humphries 3-0 Lee Evans (R2)

Sherrock was delighted after winning the first set against Wattimena

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Sherrock was delighted after winning the first set against Wattimena

Sherrock was delighted after winning the first set against Wattimena

Sherrock made a dream start by edging the opening set in a deciding leg with a cool 50 finish in two darts having levelled up the set at 2-2 with an 80 checkout on tops.

The Dutchman recovered well to seal the second set 3-1 and restore parity much to the annoyance of Sherrock, who missed two darts at tops which would have sent it into a deciding leg.

It was agony for Sherrock who made a costly error at a crucial moment of her clash against Wattimena

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It was agony for Sherrock who made a costly error at a crucial moment of her clash against Wattimena

It was agony for Sherrock who made a costly error at a crucial moment of her clash against Wattimena

Wattimena soon silenced the rowdy Ally Pally crowd when he blasted his way through the third set without reply to move ahead.

Sherrock’s hopes of causing another shock at the Worlds went up in smoke when she bust aiming for double 8 with Wattimena sinking a magnificent 110 skin-saver to level the fourth set at 2-2. He nailed double 5 in the deciding leg to claim victory.

“Obviously, I’m gutted with the result,” said Sherrock. “I had spells when I played well tonight but I missed chances at key moments and they cost me.

“Full credit to Jermaine, he was the better player on the night and he punished me when I missed chances.

“The Ally Pally stage is a special place for me and I will be back to hopefully make more positive memories here in the future.”

Wattimena ended Sherrock's hopes when he nailed double 5 to claim a fine win

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Wattimena ended Sherrock’s hopes when he nailed double 5 to claim a fine win

Wattimena ended Sherrock’s hopes when he nailed double 5 to claim a fine win

Three-time quarter-finalist Humphries bossed the opening set of his match against Lee Evans, who hit back with the first 170 checkout of the tournament to narrow the gap in set two before the tournament favourite won the deciding leg to stretch his advantage.

Evans pinned a whopping 116 finish to take a 2-0 lead in the third set but he was punished for a total of 19 missed doubles with ‘Cool Hand Luke’ making it through thanks to a neat 70 checkout.

Humphries admitted he wasn't at his best during his win over Evans

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Humphries admitted he wasn’t at his best during his win over Evans

Humphries admitted he wasn’t at his best during his win over Evans

“I was not at my best today, the most important thing for me is it felt good,” said the 28-year-old Newbury thrower. “I said in my previous interviews, just get through the first game, it’s always the toughest.

“There will be nothing in that game where I look back and say I’m disappointed in myself because I won the game 3-0 and that’s what I wanted.

“The next game will be tough but I feel I will be a lot lot better than that.

“It’s hard not to get frustrated but this is darts. You can’t always be fantastic and that’s the way it is.”

Evans reeled in 'The Big Fish' during his second round match against Humphries

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Evans reeled in ‘The Big Fish’ during his second round match against Humphries

Evans reeled in ‘The Big Fish’ during his second round match against Humphries

Dutchman Niels Zonneveld halted ‘The Demolition man’ Darren Webster’s revival to land his very first victory on the World stage.

After easing through the opening two sets, Norfolk ace Webster bounced back by edging the third set in a decider to keep his hopes alive despite 16 missed darts at doubles and an 84 average.

Niels Zonneveld eventually got over the line against Darren Webster, despite EIGHT missed match darts

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Niels Zonneveld eventually got over the line against Darren Webster, despite EIGHT missed match darts

Niels Zonneveld eventually got over the line against Darren Webster, despite EIGHT missed match darts

However, ‘Triple Z’, who reached the quarter-finals of the 2021 World Series of Darts, booked his spot in the second round against former European Champion Ross Smith thanks to his ninth match dart.

In the opening match of the night, Florian Hempel recovered from a set down to defeat Ireland’s Dylan Slevin 3-1 with five 180s along the way.

Young Irishman Slevin piled in a 167 but former handball star Hempel showed all his experience to make a winning start to his campaign.

Dylan Slevin hit this sensational 167 checkout during his first round defeat at the Worlds

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Dylan Slevin hit this sensational 167 checkout during his first round defeat at the Worlds

Dylan Slevin hit this sensational 167 checkout during his first round defeat at the Worlds

The German will now renew his rivalry with Dimitri Van den Bergh in a fascinating second round tie on Friday, two years after stunning the Belgian.

World Darts Championship: Sunday Afternoon Results

Ricky Evans 3-0 Simon Adams (R1)
Jim Williams 3-0 Norman Madhoo (R1)
Matt Campbell 3-2 Lourence Ilagan (R1)
Joe Cullen 3-0 Darren Penhall (R2)

‘The Rockstar’ lays down marker in afternoon session

Joe Cullen was happy with his victory over Darren Penhall

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Joe Cullen was happy with his victory over Darren Penhall

Joe Cullen was happy with his victory over Darren Penhall

Joe Cullen raced into the third round after easing to a straight-sets victory over Darren Penhall on Sunday afternoon.

Cullen smashed in this 160 checkout against Penhall

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Cullen smashed in this 160 checkout against Penhall

Cullen smashed in this 160 checkout against Penhall

Cullen fired a 93.41 average and posted six maximums during a comfortable 3-0 win over Penhall, with a 160 checkout also helping set up a last-32 meeting with Ryan Searle, Ian White or Tomoya Goto.

'Rapid' Ricky Evans summons the spirit of Christmas for his walk-on against Simon Adams

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‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans summons the spirit of Christmas for his walk-on against Simon Adams

‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans summons the spirit of Christmas for his walk-on against Simon Adams

Ricky Evans brushed aside Simon Adams in straight sets earlier in the session to book a second-round clash with Nathan Aspinall, while Wales’ Jim Williams didn’t drop a leg on his way to defeating qualifier Norman Madhoo by the same scoreline.

The contest of the session came when ‘Ginja Ninja’ Matt Campbell battled back from squandering five match darts in the third set and a two-set lead to defeat Lourence Ilagan in a final-set decider.

Matt Campbell missed the chance to finish the match before Lourence Ilagan hits tops-tops to win the set

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Matt Campbell missed the chance to finish the match before Lourence Ilagan hits tops-tops to win the set

Matt Campbell missed the chance to finish the match before Lourence Ilagan hits tops-tops to win the set

Live World Darts Championship

December 18, 2023, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

What’s happening on Monday at the World Darts Championship?

Gerwyn Price will be aiming to land a second World title at Ally Pally

Gerwyn Price will be aiming to land a second World title at Ally Pally

Welshman Gerwyn Price begins his bid to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy for a second time on Monday.

The night will also see World Youth Championship finalist Gian van Veen make his World Championship debut, while Thibault Tricole will make history as the first French player to compete in the sport’s showpiece event.

World Darts Championship: Monday Fixtures

Mario Vandenbogaerde vs Thibault Tricole (R1)
Gian van Veen vs Man Lok Leung (R1)
Martin Lukeman vs Haupai Puha (R1)
Gerwyn Price vs Connor Scutt (R2)

The sport’s biggest event sees 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



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World Darts Championship: Michael Smith, Simon Whitlock and Cameron Menzies all win on opening night

Michael Smith survives opening-round scare to make it through at Ally Pally; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – we’re back on Saturday afternoon at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Last Updated: 16/12/23 2:24am


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A look back at some of the best action for the opening night of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

A look back at some of the best action for the opening night of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace

Reigning champion Michael Smith began his World Darts Championship title defence with victory but only after surviving a huge scare to defeat Dutch debutant Kevin Doets on opening night at Alexandra Palace.

Smith created global headlines with his sensational triumph in January, producing an incredible nine-darter in a leg dubbed ‘the greatest of all-time’ on his way to a 7-4 success against Michael van Gerwen.

The world No 1 was facing the prospect of becoming the first defending champion to lose their opening match in the sport’s showpiece event since 2009, before he fought back magnificently to keep his hopes alive.

World Darts Championship: Friday’s Results

Kevin Doets 3-0 Stowe Buntz (R1)
Cameron Menzies 3-0 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez (R1)
Simon Whitlock 3-2 Paolo Nebrida (R1)
Michael Smith 3-2 Kevin Doets (R2)

Michael Smith dug out this huge 142 in the final set to leave his opponent Kevin Doets shaking his head in disbelief

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Michael Smith dug out this huge 142 in the final set to leave his opponent Kevin Doets shaking his head in disbelief

Michael Smith dug out this huge 142 in the final set to leave his opponent Kevin Doets shaking his head in disbelief

Doets, who reached the fifth round of this year’s UK Open after winning his PDC Tour Card for the first time in January 2022, dumped out Grand Slam of Darts quarter-finalist Stowe Buntz in the opening match of the tournament.

The world No 66 came into the meeting with St Helens star Smith on a high, but it was the reigning champion who made a strong start by sealing the opening set 3-1 with 60 per cent on the doubles.

The talented Dutchman responded by claiming the second set in a deciding leg against the darts for parity with a 100.3 average after Smith failed to hit tops to move clear of his opponent.

Smith pinned this superb 150 during his 3-2 victory over the Dutchman

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Smith pinned this superb 150 during his 3-2 victory over the Dutchman

Smith pinned this superb 150 during his 3-2 victory over the Dutchman

Doets, nicknamed ‘Hawk Eye’, continued to find the target and he despite a huge 150 checkout from Smith, he produced winning legs in 12, 14 and 13 darts to move within a set of causing a almighty upset.

However, Smith wrapped up set four 3-1, including a whopping 121 checkout to send the match all the way.

Smith landed a majestic 142 checkout under immense pressure to regain the lead in the decider and despite missing five darts at a double, he eventually claimed victory with a neat 67 finish on tops.

Wayne Mardle heaped praise on Smith after his close opening win at Ally Pally

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Wayne Mardle heaped praise on Smith after his close opening win at Ally Pally

Wayne Mardle heaped praise on Smith after his close opening win at Ally Pally

“It’s one of them, I managed to fall over the line, no nerves, no pressure, I’ll have a good Christmas now,” Smith told Sky Sports.

Simon Whitlock, the 2010 runner-up, missed five darts before winning a slow-burner of a contest against former PDC Asian Championship finalist Paolo Nebrida to set up a showdown with two-time champion Gary Anderson on Saturday evening.

Paolo Nebrida found checkouts of 116 and 121 but eventually lost out to Simon Whitlock in a nervy contest

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Paolo Nebrida found checkouts of 116 and 121 but eventually lost out to Simon Whitlock in a nervy contest

Paolo Nebrida found checkouts of 116 and 121 but eventually lost out to Simon Whitlock in a nervy contest

‘The Wizard’ was forced to dig deep to battle past Nebrida, using all of his experience to avoid a shock exit.

“I’ve just been messing around with my darts too much. I’ve been like Peter Wright,” Whitlock admitted.

And on facing Anderson next, he replied: “I’m a big 180 hitter and they weren’t there today, but tomorrow is a different day. Maybe they will turn, maybe I will turn up and me and Gary will have a great game.”

Whitlock credited his experience for getting him through a razor-thin opening-round contest

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Whitlock credited his experience for getting him through a razor-thin opening-round contest

Whitlock credited his experience for getting him through a razor-thin opening-round contest

Cameron Menzies came through a fiery encounter against Rusty-Jake Rodriguez to reach the second round.

The Scot, who is the partner of Fallon Sherrock, closed out a 3-0 success over Austria’s Rodriguez with four 180s and 50 per cent on the doubles to move through.

“I was so nervous today, because I knew that game meant a lot,” revealed Menzies, who prepared for his opening round clash with a plumbing shift this morning.

“Winning that game meant the world to me, and I think going to work today helped me relax, because it made me realise that darts is a hobby for me.

“Obviously I would like to be in a situation in the future where I can give up work, because I know in spells I can score as well as the best, but it’s still my finishing that separates the top ten from a player like me.”

Rusty-Jake Rodriguez threw his darts off the table after going down two sets to Cameron Menzies

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Rusty-Jake Rodriguez threw his darts off the table after going down two sets to Cameron Menzies

Rusty-Jake Rodriguez threw his darts off the table after going down two sets to Cameron Menzies

Live World Darts Championship

December 16, 2023, 12:30pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

Live World Darts Championship

December 16, 2023, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena

What’s happening on Saturday at the World Darts Championship?

Dave 'Chizzy' Chisnall headlines he action on Saturday afternoon at Alexandra Palace

Dave ‘Chizzy’ Chisnall headlines he action on Saturday afternoon at Alexandra Palace

The first double session at this year’s tournament will take place, as two-time world champion Gary Anderson opens his title challenge with a clash against Simon Whitlock.

World Darts Championship: Saturday Afternoon Fixtures

Lee Evans vs Sandro Eric Sosing (R1)
Connor Scutt vs Krzysztof Kciuk (R1)
Jules van Dongen vs Darren Penhall (R1)
Dave Chisnall vs Cameron Menzies (R2)

World Darts Championship: Saturday Evening Fixtures

Jamie Hughes vs David Cameron (R1)
Keane Barry vs Reynaldo Rivera (R1)
Scott Williams vs Haruki Muramatsu (R1)
Gary Anderson vs Simon Whitlock (R2)

Dave Chisnall, a 2021 semi-finalist, takes centre stage in the afternoon when he faces Cameron Menzies, while American No 1 Jules van Dongen makes his debut against DPA qualifier Darren Penhall.

The sport’s biggest event sees 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months



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The right to breathe: how policymakers can tackle severe asthma

Asthma impacts over 330 million people worldwide. While severe asthma makes up only 5-10 percent of cases, it is accountable for over half of asthma-related costs globally.[1] It profoundly affects patients’ lives, undermining their physical, mental and economic well-being, and increasing the risk of preventable deaths. Despite its significance, severe asthma is often overshadowed by other health priorities, leading to inadequate resource allocation and substandard care, further straining already pressured health systems.

Severe asthma outcomes, like many other chronic diseases, are deeply entangled with a wide range of environmental and socio-economic factors. Therefore, addressing it is not merely about medical intervention, but about creating and implementing comprehensive, holistic strategies.

The challenges presented by severe asthma are not beyond our capabilities. Around the globe, there is a wide range of best practices, treatments, and approaches to asthma management. Yet, the path to transformation demands a unified commitment from a broad set of stakeholders, from policymakers to medical professionals, industry, patients and beyond. While the blueprint for a future unburdened by severe asthma exists, it is up to decision-makers to realize it together.

While the blueprint for a future unburdened by severe asthma exists, it is up to decision-makers to realize it together.

And the good news is that progress is already underway. Since autumn 2022, we have collaborated as an international expert group to support the development of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies’ (CIFS) Severe Asthma Index. This tool assesses how 29 OECD countries manage severe asthma across various indicators, such as national strategies, treatment access, hospitalizations, societal costs and air quality, among others.

While the Severe Asthma Index is an important stride in tackling severe asthma, the true test lies in how its insights are applied in practice. Among the many actions needed to be taken to improve severe asthma care, the most pressing concern is policy change.

We have identified three actions, derived from the work we have conducted to date, for policymakers to kickstart strengthening health systems’ approaches to and management of severe asthma:

  1. Development and implementation of national asthma plans and strategies

The Severe Asthma Index has found that less than half of the countries analyzed have a national strategy for asthma, prevention, and management. There is, therefore, a need to formulate and actively implement dedicated national asthma programs, tailored to the unique challenges of individual health systems. These programs should not only emphasize prevention, early detection and diagnosis but also adapt best practices to specific national and local contexts.

Importantly, plans should be situated in the context of long-term strategies for improving population health outcomes.

“In England, work around respiratory illness is gaining traction,” notes Sir David Behan, chair of Health Education England, NHS, and expert group member. “Part of the initiative being developed [is] to ease pressure on the emergency care pathways and hospitals.”  

All approaches should promote awareness on respiratory diseases, support personalized care plans, empower patients and improve training and opportunities for training health care professionals working in respiratory care.

2. Coordination and harmonization of policies and care guidelines

There is a patchwork of country approaches to severe asthma, illustrated by the observation that more than two-thirds of the country guidelines assessed in the Severe Asthma Index do not fully align with the Global Initiative for Asthma’s (GINA) guide for Difficult-to-treat and Severe Asthma in Adolescence And Adult Patients. Policymakers must strive to coordinate their approaches to severe asthma by harmonizing policies and guidelines for asthma care to the greatest possible extent, with the aim of reducing outcome disparities, bolstering equity and promoting health system sustainability.

In doing so, there should be an emphasis on identifying and scaling best practices, promoting cross-border collaboration, and championing holistic solutions informed by the widely-acclaimed Health in All Policies approach.

The Australian National Asthma Council’s Australian Asthma Handbook is a strong example of a best practice in this area that policymakers could draw inspiration from in acting on this point.

3. Supporting improved data collection and the development of a more robust evidence base for severe asthma

Policymakers should incentivize and ultimately mandate improved production, recording and utilization of asthma- and severe asthma-specific data, as well as identifier data such as prescription data, adherence to treatment regimes, lung function analysis and demographic and socioeconomic indicators, following a set of common standards.

Currently, despite the existence of clinical codes for severe asthma, the condition remains significantly underreported in clinical settings due in large part to inconsistent coding practices, leading to an increased probability of patients receiving inadequate care and suboptimal allocation of health system resources. The dearth of severe asthma data and barriers to accessing the few datasets that do exist render it difficult to develop a comprehensive and consistent understanding of the full impact of severe asthma.

National policymakers need to prioritize financial and logistical support for country-level asthma research. Research activities should aim to produce a solid evidence base that will offer a nuanced understanding of each country’s needs, challenges and opportunities regarding asthma care. Support for research activities granted over the long term will enable longitudinal studies so that national trends and progress can be accurately tracked.

Only 3 percent of the European Union’s budget for health [is] spent on lung health, although 13 percent of Europeans have lung disease.

“Only 3 percent of the European Union’s budget for health [is] spent on lung health, although 13 percent of Europeans have lung disease,” says Susanna Palkonen, director of the European Federation of Allergy & Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) and expert group member.

The International Severe Asthma Registry (ISAR) initiative provides a strong basis for continued work in this area.

The path ahead requires that these actions evolve in tandem with the latest advancements in respiratory care and approaches to the management and prevention of noncommunicable diseases. This is not simply about updating and developing new policies — it’s about crafting robust and well-rounded solutions that proactively address a health challenge that is both global and local and supporting a much-needed vision for improved respiratory health outcomes.

As we look forward, we cannot just treat asthma. We must transform our approach to ensure that every patient’s right to breathe becomes a global reality.


Author(s):
Patrick Henry Gallen, senior advisor and futurist at Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

Bogi Eliasen, director of health at Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

Professor Dr. Vibeke Backer, MD, DMSci, chief respiratory physician at Department of ENT and Centre for Physical Activity Research (CFAS), Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

Sir David Behan, chair Health Education England, National Health System (NHS), U.K.​

Dr. Mark Levy, board member, Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), U.K.​

Mikaela Odemyr, chair European Lung Foundation (ELF) Patient Advisory Committee; chair Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association, Sweden

Susanna Palkonen, director, European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA)  

Professor Dr. Arzu Yorgancıoğlu, chair European Respiratory Society (ERS) Advocacy Council; member of Global Initiative on Asthma (GINA) Board; chair of GINA Dissemination and Implementation Committee; chair of the WHO GARD Executive Committee Turkey 


References:
[1] Al Efraij K, FitzGerald JM. Current and emerging treatments for severe asthma. J Thorac Dis 2015;7(11):E522-E525



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World Darts Championship: Everything you need to know about the event at Alexandra Palace

Nigel Chiu

Sports Journalist

Michael Smith will defend his world title against the greatest darts players in the world as the Alexandra Palace is ready to provide drama, fun and entertainment; we’re back for the World Darts Championship from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports

Last Updated: 07/12/23 3:04pm


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Take a look at how the world watched on as Michael Smith hit a nine-darter in the 2023 World Championship Final and Wayne Mardle lost his voice!

Take a look at how the world watched on as Michael Smith hit a nine-darter in the 2023 World Championship Final and Wayne Mardle lost his voice!

Sit back, put your feet up and switch on the darts. It’s that time of year when the sporting world turns their attention to the Alexandra Palace in London for the World Darts Championship.

It’s been 30 years since the PDC’s first World Championship began and we have seen pretty much everything over the last three decades.

From iconic walk-ons, arguments on the oche, huge upsets and nine-darters, including a certain “I can’t spake” – the World Championship always delivers.

When is the World Darts Championship 2024?

The 31st World Darts Championship takes place from Friday December 15 to Wednesday January 3.

There is action every day apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.

Where is the World Darts Championship 2024?

The World Darts Championship is held at the Alexandra Palace in London, which has been the case since 2008.

Previously, the Circus Tavern in Essex hosted the biggest darts event of the year from 1994 to 2007.

The most outrageous moments from the World Darts Championship. Includes Peter Wright dressing up as The Grinch and William Borland's memorable nine-darter!

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The most outrageous moments from the World Darts Championship. Includes Peter Wright dressing up as The Grinch and William Borland’s memorable nine-darter!

The most outrageous moments from the World Darts Championship. Includes Peter Wright dressing up as The Grinch and William Borland’s memorable nine-darter!

Why is the Alexandra Palace so special?

There’s no definitive answers for this but hosting a renowned tournament each year which sells out every time probably helps.

‘Ally Pally’ also hosts the Masters snooker tournament in January and Pool’s Mosconi cup biannually during the winter too, so it feels like the home of cue sports in this period.

How to watch the World Darts Championship

You won’t miss an arrow in the World Championship on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel, with the best of the action also on Sky Sports Main Event.

Coverage begins on Friday December 15 at 7pm, with afternoon sessions at 12.30pm and evening sessions at 7pm taking place for the rest of the tournament up to the quarter-finals on Monday January 1.

The semi-finals are on Tuesday January 2 from 7.30pm and the final is on Wednesday January 3 at 7pm.

Wayne Mardle breaks down the World Darts Championship draw and picks out the tough games for the seeded players.

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Wayne Mardle breaks down the World Darts Championship draw and picks out the tough games for the seeded players.

Wayne Mardle breaks down the World Darts Championship draw and picks out the tough games for the seeded players.

World Darts Championship format

The World Championship uses the sets format, with each set being the first to three legs. The deciding set must be won by at least two legs, so if it’s 2-2 in the final set, a player must win 4-2 or 5-3. If it’s 5-5, a sudden-death leg will take place with no throw for the bull, so the alteration of whoever throws first simply continues.

World Darts Championship format

Round First to (sets)
1 and 2 3
3 and 4 4
Quarter-finals 5
Semi-finals 6
Final 7

Is Fallon Sherrock playing?

Fallon Sherrock is one of two female players in the World Championship, along with two-time BDO Women’s world champion Mikuru Suzuki.

Sherrock has a historic run to the third round in 2020 when she beat Ted Evetts to become the first female player to win a match at a PDC World Championship. The ‘Queen of the Palace’ then defeated Mensur Suljovic before losing in the last 32 to Chris Dobey.

Sherrock faces Jermaine Wattimena on December 17 with the winner progressing to a round two date with Martin Schindler.

Suzuki played in the 2020 tournament but lost in the first round to James Richardson and is making her second appearance at the Ally Pally this year. She plays Ricardo Pietreczko on December 19.

Watch Fallon Sherrock become the first female to hit a televised nine-darter earlier this year

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Watch Fallon Sherrock become the first female to hit a televised nine-darter earlier this year

Watch Fallon Sherrock become the first female to hit a televised nine-darter earlier this year

Who is the defending champion?

Michael Smith is the defending champion, therefore seeded first, after beating Michael van Gerwen in a final which is remember for THAT nine-darter. No player has defended their title since Gary Anderson in 2015 and 2016.

Van Gerwen will be among the big favourites but the form player is Luke Humphries, who has won three of the four tournaments.

Throw in the likes of Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and fan favourites such as Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld and the ingredients are all there for a spectacular tournament.

PDC World Darts Championship winners

PDC World Champions

Year Player
1994 Dennis Priestley
1995 Phil Taylor
1996 Phil Taylor
1997 Phil Taylor
1998 Phil Taylor
1999 Phil Taylor
2000 Phil Taylor
2001 Phil Taylor
2002 Phil Taylor
2003 John Part
2004 Phil Taylor
2005 Phil Taylor
2006 Phil Taylor
2007 Raymond van Barneveld
2008 John Part
2009 Phil Taylor
2010 Phil Taylor
2011 Adrian Lewis
2012 Adrian Lewis
2013 Phil Taylor
2014 Michael van Gerwen
2015 Gary Anderson
2016 Gary Anderson
2017 Michael van Gerwen
2018 Rob Cross
2019 Michael van Gerwen
2020 Peter Wright
2021 Gerwyn Price
2022 Peter Wright
2023 Michael Smith

How many world titles has Phil Taylor won?

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor won 14 PDC world titles but also became world champion twice before the PDC era.

It’s a record which many think will be impossible to beat. Van Gerwen has won three titles, with John Part, Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis and Peter Wright the only other multiple winners.

How many nine-darters have there been?

It’s fair to say nine-darters have become more common in the sport but there have only been 14 in the history of the PDC World Championship.

The first only came in 2009 when Raymond van Barneveld nailed the perfect leg. Barney did it again a year later, then Adrian Lewis made the first nine-darter in a final in 2011.

Watch every nine-darter hit at the PDC World Championship.

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Watch every nine-darter hit at the PDC World Championship.

Watch every nine-darter hit at the PDC World Championship.

Two nines were done in 2013 thanks to Dean Winstanley and Van Gerwen. Terry Jenkins and Kyle Anderson joined the illustrious nine-dart list in 2014, with Lewis making a second nine in 2015.

In 2016, Gary Anderson made a nine in the semi-finals and there was a five-year gap until the next perfect leg.

The player who’s faced so many nine-darters against him, James Wade, became the eighth player to do a nine, then there were three in 2022 from William Borland, Darius Labanauskas and Gerwyn Price.

And, of course, Michael Smith’s nine-darter in the 2023 final against Van Gerwen has been etched in darting folklore in what has to be the best leg of darts ever.

Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted to the sensational leg between Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith in the World Championship Final that culminated in a nine-darter for Bully Boy.

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Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted to the sensational leg between Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith in the World Championship Final that culminated in a nine-darter for Bully Boy.

Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted to the sensational leg between Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith in the World Championship Final that culminated in a nine-darter for Bully Boy.

How much beer is drunk at the World Championship?

Around 90,000 darts fans will flock the Ally Pally from the middle of December to early January. As the crowd stand up to love the darts, they may have a pint in their hand too.

How many pints are drunk you ask? Around half a million across the event apparently.

What’s the song they play at the darts in between breaks?

Ever had that annoying feeling when you know how a song goes but don’t know what it’s called? You may think that about the song which is played during breaks in the match at the end of a leg during the World Championship.

It’s called Chase the Sun by Planet Funk and you just have to join in when it comes on.

Watch the World Darts Championship from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports. Stream your favourite sports and more with NOW



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San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles: NFC’s fierce new rivalry fueled by trash talk


Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey have been playing at All-Pro levels this season

“It was a lot of boo hoos last year, a lot of crying, a lot of what if, a lot of this, a lot of that. They get a chance to come back in here, line that s*** up and prove it again.”

Those were the words of Philadelphia Eagles pass rusher Haason Reddick this week as he looked ahead to the visit of the San Francisco 49ers to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday – the next chapter in a fierce new NFC rivalry.

It made sense that the Niners were upset after departing last year’s playoffs at the hands of the Eagles, considering the manner in which it happened.

After just four passing attempts (and four completions), San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy was sacked by Reddick, who forced a fumble and in the process injured Purdy’s elbow to the point he was unable to throw the ball.

Later, backup QB Josh Johnson also exited with a concussion, and a traditionally exhilarating 49ers attack became completely inept.

Highlights of the San Francisco 49ers against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game last season

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Highlights of the San Francisco 49ers against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game last season

Highlights of the San Francisco 49ers against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game last season

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel said: “We lost because we played with 10 people” after the defeat that ended the Niners’ Super Bowl hopes, before publicly calling Eagles cornerback James Bradberry “trash” over the summer.

At the same time, fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk argued: “We have, hands down, the best football team in the league… hands down.”

Those comments have stayed in the minds of players, coaches and fans ahead of one of the most exciting matchups of the year.

Aiyuk: We felt like it was our time

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick forced a fumble on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy early in last year's matchup - and hurt the QB in the process

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick forced a fumble on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy early in last year’s matchup – and hurt the QB in the process

In the above quote, Aiyuk was referring to the way the 49ers reached that championship game. They were on a 12-game winning streak. They were fifth in offensive yardage and points scored, as well as first in both categories on defense.

Then the season fizzled out without a fight – or at least, an opportunity for one.

As we approach the ‘business end’ of this regular season, does it feel like San Francisco’s time again?

Based solely on the statistics, this year’s iteration of the Niners might be even better. Third in yards and fourth in points per game on offense. Fifth in yards and first in points on defense, allowing just 15.5 points per game (16.3 last season).

Christian McCaffrey is still the star of the show, and the league’s runaway rushing leader with 939 yards – over 150 more than second-placed Raheem Mostert. McCaffrey’s 1,328 yards from scrimmage are second only to Tyreek Hill, and his 16 total touchdowns are more than anyone.

McCaffrey recently set an NFL record with at least one touchdown in 17 consecutive games

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McCaffrey recently set an NFL record with at least one touchdown in 17 consecutive games

McCaffrey recently set an NFL record with at least one touchdown in 17 consecutive games

But what has been incredible to see is the development of sophomore quarterback Purdy, who is becoming one of the league’s elite quarterbacks – without being in the discussion about it. He does not have strong MVP odds, but head over to Pro Football Reference’s 2023 leaders page and Purdy’s name comes up plenty.

He leads the NFL in passer rating (112.3), completion percentage (70.2) and yards per attempt (9.4). Not only is he completing passes, but he’s pushing the ball down the field. He’s thrown for the eighth-most yards (2,871) and touchdowns (19), with just six interceptions.

With eight wins under his belt too, why isn’t he in the discussion for being the league’s most valuable player? It might be simply because he does not have the name value of a college star and high draft pick. Is it too much of a rise to see someone go from Mr Irrelevant – the 262nd overall pick in 2022 – to the heights he is playing at now?

Or, more likely, it is because the talent around him is tremendous.

Purdy has bounced back from the injury to put up outstanding numbers

Purdy has bounced back from the injury to put up outstanding numbers

McCaffrey, as we know, is the league’s best runner. This week, San Francisco’s offensive line took over Pro Football Focus’s OL rankings for the season. The Niners have a top-10 receiver (Brandon Aiyuk, 881 yards) and a top-three tight end (George Kittle, 667 yards). Deebo Samuel has been slowed by injuries, but is just a season removed from a 1,770-total yard and 14-touchdown 2021 campaign.

The defense, led by defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, not only leads the league in yardage as mentioned above, but causes chaos with turnovers – they have made a league-leading 15 interceptions and forced 21 turnovers in total.

Not only are they schemed up well, but they are absolutely loaded with talent. The Niners are ready for revenge.

Bosa: We were both sad at the end of the year

Hurts and the Eagles are also out for redemption after losing in last year's Super Bowl

Hurts and the Eagles are also out for redemption after losing in last year’s Super Bowl

While Samuel and Aiyuk chose to talk trash, 49ers veterans Fred Warner and Nick Bosa both this week referred to the fact last year was “over”. The Eagles won, nothing changes that. But even Philadelphia did not achieve their ultimate goal of beating the Kansas City Chiefs and winning it all.

So for Eagles, this is a season to make up for the final failure of last year, and a season to prove they are unequivocally the best team in football. So far, that is exactly what they are doing.

At 10-1, they hold the NFL’s best record. They are third in the NFL in points scored per game (28.2 – coincidentally tied with San Francisco), despite a bottom-half defense (22.4 points per game allowed).

The Eagles fought back to beat Buffalo in an incredible overtime thriller last week

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The Eagles fought back to beat Buffalo in an incredible overtime thriller last week

The Eagles fought back to beat Buffalo in an incredible overtime thriller last week

They have quietened any talk of a soft schedule and weak quarterbacks this year or last by beating Miami (8-3), Dallas (8-3), Kansas City (8-3), and Buffalo (6-6) in four of their last five games, as quarterback Jalen Hurts simply continues to find a way to win.

With the 49ers this week and a visit to Dallas next, the Eagles have a chance to continue their Super Bowl revenge tour and get closer to securing the No 1 seed in the NFC.

Incredibly though, despite their 10-1 record, Philadelphia have technically not yet clinched a postseason berth. However, with a win and either a Los Angeles Rams loss or if Detroit and Green Bay both lose, Philly will officially be a playoff team.

Regardless of who comes out on top, it will be a heavyweight bout. And would anyone be surprised if we saw another rematch in January?

Watch the San Francisco 49ers at the Philadelphia Eagles live on Sky Sports NFL at 9.25pm on Sunday.



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