Can Barney win in Sydney? In 2013 he went out to Tic Bridge, in 2014 Kyle Anderson. This time he faces Cody Harris, the captain of the all conquering Kiwi darts team and rising star of New Zealand darts. Harris won the Russell Stewart classic on Monday and won the New Zealand Open this year. After a slow start in the Premier League Van Barneveld stormed through to make the semi finals of the Premier League. His last big tournament win was in June 2014.
Stephen Bunting has had a tough road since being a finalist in last year’s Sydney Darts Masters. He takes on David Platt who impressed in Perth last week against MVG. Australia’s number two DPA ranked local player, this is Platt’s third Sydney event. He lost 6-3 to Wes Newton, before last year losing 6-2 to Simon Whitlock. Platt was the practice partner of Phil Taylor around Stoke. Whilst always being consistent, Bunting is yet to win a major PDC tournament.
James Wade performed strongly in Perth to make the final. He faces New Zealand star Craig Caldwell who lost to Phil Taylor in round one this year in Perth. In May Caldwell won the Canterbury open. Wade will be confident coming up against the big Kiwi.
Gary Anderson v Warren Parry is an interesting match. Last year when Parry was down to the then world champion MVG he stormed home to win 6-5 (he had been 5-1 down). Anderson is the new world champion, can NZ veteran Parry repeat the dose? He is in good form having helped the Kiwis beat Australia in the test match, make the final of the Russell Stewart classic, and beating John Weber in the third qualifying tournament, all in the last week! He would also probably like to have people talk about more than him beating MVG last year.
Wright v Ryder round two. Last year Australia’s number one ranked DPA local player lost 6-0 to Wright and in Perth he lost to Adrian Lewis 6-1. However he is better than these scores suggest as his ranking shows so Wright can not write Ryder off, he is out for revenge for 12 months ago!
Clinton Bridge caused the first major shock of the first ever Sydney Masters when he bounced out Raymond Van Barneveld 6-5, he was then defeated 8-1 by eventual finalist MVG. He now faces another legend of the sport, Phil Taylor. Bridge has had a quiet year locally but roared back in the qualifiers to see off John Weber, who lost to eventual finalist Stephen Bunting in last years tournament. Taylor remains undefeated in the World Series in Australia.
Adrian Lewis and Simon Whitlock is a big time match up and could well be the tightest match this round. With Whitlock outside the top eight he now faces greater challenges in round one. He has made it through round one in both other years. Head to head on the main stage in singles matches they are level with 11 wins each and 2 draws. February 2014 was the last time they met and Whitlock was the winner. Can the local Sydney boy repeat the dose?
MVG would not have been pleased to have been put on last on the first day after last year. He was home and back in the hotel room seemingly before Warren Parry turned the tables so dramatically and won the match. Paul Nicholson may not be in that kind of form but anything is possible. However it is likely MVG will be out for revenge and to win a tournament he has never won. Of the 11 times these two have played on the big stage, MVG has won eight, including the last three in a row.