The last of the six World Series of Darts qualifiers takes place this weekend in Wollongong with Gerwyn Price 9/4 to take the title at the New South Wales Masters. We’ve studied the 16-man field and have identified a couple of bets to consider.
Field and format
Sixteen players will take to the stage at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong with eight of the PDC’s aces, headed by Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith, taking on eight Oceanic stars in round one.
It’s part two of an Oceanic double header after the New Zealand Masters was staged in Hamilton last weekend and Rob Cross, the winner there, toes the oche in New South Wales in pursuit of a trans-Tasman double.
Twelve months ago it was Jonny Clayton who won, beating James Wade in the final. Neither player, nor Michael van Gerwen, are in the draw this year giving the event a wide-open look.
The New South Wales is best-of-11 legs over the first two rounds, best-of-13 legs for the semis and best-of-15 for the final. First-round matches get underway at 10.00 on Friday morning with the quarter-finals, semis and final played out on Saturday.
The New South Wales Masters is the sixth and final qualifying event for next month’s World Series of Darts Finals in Amsterdam.
Rob Cross to win the New South Wales Darts Masters @ 7/1
With Michael van Gerwen declining his invite Down Under it means world champion Michael Smith and No.1 seed Gerwyn Price are the big two in Wollongong.
They are in opposite halves of the draw and should make light work of their opening-round opponents. Smith is 1/9 to beat Mal Cuming – memorably beaten by Fallon Sherrock on this stage 12 months ago – while Price is 1/18 to take care of Harley Kemp.
But last week in New Zealand both Price and Smith cruised through round one, indeed made it all the way to the semis, where Price lost to Rob Cross and Smith was well beaten by Nathan Aspinall.
It was Cross who went on to beat The Asp in the final and he’s tipped to emerge from the bottom half of this year’s draw and go on and claim the glory and the £20,000 first prize.
Voltage is enjoying a fantastic year with a win on the Pro Tour, another win on the European Tour, and now success in the World Series.
Damon Heta to win New South Wales Darts Masters @ 12/1
Simon Whitlock is the headline name among the eight Oceanic players competing against the PDC’s big guns – though he’s not the Aussie set to go deepest in Wollongong. That honour should fall to Damon Heta.
Australian No.1 Heta was moved into the PDC’s list of eight representatives when Jonny Clayton was forced to withdraw, and with the crowd on his side there is every reason to think he can challenge for the honours.
Heta, the World Cup winner with Whitlock last year, has won twice on the Pro Tour this summer and reached the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay and knows he has the game to beat all his rivals.