As the PDC World Championship of Darts gets underway this week five Australians line up in the competition. Some would find it surprising that this only equals the record and in fact will be the third time this has occurred.
Simon Whitlock makes his 14th appearance (next year will mark the 20th anniversary of his first appearance, indeed the first appearance of any Aussie in the PDC World Championships) in the competition whilst both Damon Heta and GG Mathers are appearing for the third time in the event. Whitlock, Heta and Mathers all back up from last year (James Bailey had joined them last year as the fourth representative.)
Raymond Smith is making his second appearance at the PDC World Championships whilst his son, Ky, is on debut. Having the youngster debut will have many an Aussie dart fan recalling the youngest of all debutants in this competition, countryman Mitchell Clegg, at the 2006/2007 event.
Last year was the first time in five years Australia did not have a debutant, but this is the most experienced line up Australia has put on stage in the history of the competition excluding 2019, the last time we had five representatives (Whitlock, Kyle Anderson and Paul Nicholson making up most of that experience.)
The first time Australia had five players was in 2014/15 when Loz Ryder, John Weber, Kyle Anderson, Paul Nicholson and Simon Whitlock were a part of the event. This had been the third event in a row for Anderson, Nicholson and Whitlock whilst Ryder would play in the competition again the following year. For Weber it was his only appearance in the competition. In the intervening period Corey Cadby, David Platt, James Bailey and Robbie King have played in the competition along with most of this year’s representatives. Bailey was part of the five Aussies who equalled the record of Australians playing in the one PDC World Championships as he joined Whitlock, Nicholson, Anderson and Raymond Smith in 2018/19.
As for the progress in those record years, in 2014 / 15 two players made the second round but many would not have picked Ryder and Anderson to be those two names. Both lost in the second round, Ryder to Terry Jenkins who had eliminated Weber in the opening round. This was the first time Whitlock had ever lost in the first round of the event. The 2018/19 tournament was not a great one for the Aussies either. Nicholson, Smith and Bailey all lost their opening matches whilst Whitlock, in the second round, lost his opening match having been given the bye in the first round. Anderson also had the bye but won his second round match to secure the only win of the tournament by an Aussie.
The draw has seen two Aussies play in consecutive matches as Ky Smith and then GG Mathers play in the opening two games of the first Sunday afternoon session (about 11.30pm edst in Australia Sunday 19th December. Prior to that Raymond Smith will play the opening fixture on the Saturday (24 hours before his son does the same, at 11.30pm edst Saturday 18th December.) Simon Whitlock plays the last game of the second Wednesday so probably around 730am (edst) or just after on Thursday 23rd of December in Australia. Damon Heta will then finally hit the oche in the opening match on that Thursday afternoon (UK time) – around 11.30pm Thursday 23rd of December edst. You can follow all the action on Fox Sports channel 505 in Australia – they are currently running it as a darts channel until the start of the World Championships. It will also be available to KAYO subscribers. DPA socials (eg https://www.facebook.com/Dartplayers-Australia-205746649559703 ) will also keep you up to date as well whilst darts Downunder ( https://www.facebook.com/dartsdownunder ) will increase the amount of their podcasts over the tournament as we cover the Aussies progress.