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Barney Begins Ally Pally Assault

Raymond van Barneveld will begin his PDC World Championship challenge at Alexandra Palace this evening when he takes on Steven Hine.

The five-time World Champion has been out of sorts over the past 12-18 months and has been written off by many in that period. But his triumph at the PDC World Cup alongside Co Stompe earlier this month marked the end of a barren spell without a trophy and also, perhaps not so coincidentally, came following the conclusion of a turbulent period of his private life which involved death threats being made to his family.

Now free to concentrate on his darts Barney has the opportunity to make his mark on this tournament by not only beating Hine tonight but by also posting a high three-dart average. At odds of 1/9 the bookmakers aren’t expecting him to have too many problems progressing to the next round.

The night’s action will kick off with world number 15 Colin Osborne who is up against PDC World Championship debutant Chris Thompson. Thompson’s most notable results this season came at the Las Vegas Players Championship back in June where he enjoyed a run to the semi-finals defeating Terry Jenkins, Mark Walsh and Phil Taylor en route.

Results since then haven’t really matched up to that and hence Osborne is a 2/7 chance to progress to the second round.

The second first round match of the night is between the PDC World cup runner-up Barrie Bates and 25-year-old Kevin McDine. Bates may have played in the second major final of his career earlier this month but he was almost carried there by the darts of his partner Mark Webster. The bookmakers are finding it difficult to split these two with odds of 10/11 available on each player.

The final game of the evening sees number 19 seed Jamie Caven face the winner of the earlier preliminary round match between Devon Petersen and Norman Madhoo.

We’re almost at the conclusion of the first round matches, after which the serious business begins at Ally Pally.

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