A New Winning Nation in the World Cup of Darts?
The national pairs competition returns to our screens from Frankfurt, for the first time, this month. The World Cup of Darts returns with new nations qualifying for the tournament such as Switzerland and Latvia with PDC tour card holders Stefan Bellmont and Madars Razma among those representing their countries in Germany.
Scotland are the defending champions after winning against Austria in last years Final, and they will be represented by the pair who won it last year with World Number 1 and Reigning World Champion Peter Wright and John Henderson a real fan favourite taking part in Frankfurt.
Four nations have won the competition since its debut year back in 2010 when Raymond van Barneveld and Co Stompe struck gold for the Netherlands. England, Wales, and Scotland are the other three nations to find success in the double’s competition, however ahead of this year’s tournament could we see a new nation lift the trophy on the 19th of June?
Below are some of the nations who are yet to find success in the competition, but have the quality to possibly challenge for the title:
Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney are the pair representing Northern Ireland again, with the two not being split up since 2016 when they played for the first time. However, since their defeat in the Semi Finals back in 2016, they haven’t come close to challenging for the title, losing last year in the QF’s as their best run since their debut campaign.
Winmau star Gurney knows what is required to win in the PDC, having won the World Grand Prix back in 2017 beating Simon Whitlock 5-4 in a last set decider. His individual form needs to start showing for his country with both players inside the top 24 in the PDC Order of Merit.
Superchin has reached a few Quarter Finals on the Pro Tour this year, not finding success so far in 2022. How the 36-year-old would love to find his first title of the year for his country in Frankfurt on June 19th, as the highest ranked Northern Irish player in the PDC.
The History Maker will always be respected, after hitting the first nine darter in the Grand Prix against James Wade back in 2011. Dolan has been steady in 2022, but not really going far in tournaments not reaching a single Semi Final so far in 2022. The Northern Irishman has played in a Quarter Final of a World Championship, and has consistently showed he can cause an upset to any if he’s on his top form.
Australia have come so close to winning the World Cup having lost in the Final back in 2012, with Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson the representatives. The Wizard will be part of the doubles partnership and will reunite with Damon Heta who is one of the most form players in the PDC having won in the Pro Tour this year, winning event 5 against Gary Anderson.
The Heat has also been very consistent with his appearances within the PDC tour events being a seed in every Euro Tour and reaching latter stages of competitions, as well as a Final in event three of the Pro Tour, losing to Joe Cullen.
Former World Finalist Whitlock recently reached the Quarter Finals of the Dutch Darts Championship in Holland including a victory over The Rockstar in the Second Round. His eye-catching moment came in his Last 16 tie with Daniel Larsson, hitting three bullseyes to finish 150 and close out the match.
The pair will also be playing for the late Kyle Anderson who passed away back in August, so a victory would mean so much not just for the nation but a dedication to The Original, who was a real favourite of many dart players from Australia.
Dimitri van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts will link up once more for Belgium in Frankfurt, with hope they can go one further than The Hurricane and his brother Ronny did back in 2013 and win the competition. Dancing Dimitri has reached a Final on the Euro Tour, losing the European Darts Open to Michael van Gerwen 8-4, as well as a Semi Final appearance of Pro Tour Event 5.
The Antwerp born thrower lost early in the World Championship back in December, falling short to Florian Hempel just before Christmas. This year has been a slow and steady rise for the Dream Maker, with no PDC titles so far to his name. How he would love to add the World Cup to his World Matchplay title.
The Hurricane knows how to go far within the World Cup, having lost 3-1 in the Final to England back in 2013 represented by Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis. With Dimitri he reached the Semi Finals two years ago again falling to a defeat to England this time with Rob Cross and Michael Smith knocking the pair out.
Both have not won so far this year, but can a nation that’s got to six Semi Finals and a Final get their hands on the trophy for the first time in 2022?
The hosts must be considered as potential winners, with the standard of dart players coming out of Germany stronger than ever. Max Hopp misses out on the World Cup after being the doubles captiain at one stage, with Gabriel Clemens and Martin Schindler set to partner up for the first time.
The Wall has never played as strong as he is now within the PDC, reaching a Final on the Pro Tour losing to Michael van Gerwen in Event 8 back in March. He has also appeared in many Euro Tour events as a seeded player, signalling his rise in form going into Frankfurt.
The German Giant is the number one ranked player from the host nation, as he prepares to take part in his third World Cup of Darts campaign. The thrower from Saarlouis has not really hit the heights so far this year, but a paring with 25-year-old Schindler could spark the form Clemens has shown in recent years including his famous win over Peter Wright in the 2020 World Championship, winning a last set decider 4-3.
Canada has always produced quality dart players, none more so than 2003 and 2008 World Champion John Part but have still yet to find success in the World Cup. This year Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell will be the Canadian pairing going into Frankfurt with both wanting to show the world of the threat the country can possess.
46-year-old Smith has been around the block a fair few years reaching the Final at Lakeside in 2016 of the World Championship, losing to Scott Waites in the Final. He is always a threat though since he re-joined the PDC back in 2018 after experiencing a brief spell in 2012. The Silencer was also part of the Canada pairing that reached the Quarter Finals in 2020 with confirmed partner for this year Matt Campbell.
Ginja Ninja has reached the Final on the Pro Tour once in 2022 losing to Nathan Aspinall 8-6 in the Final of Event 13. He did beat UK Open champion Danny Noppert in the Second Round very impressively, winning 6-4 with a 103.46 average.
Austria were last years runners up, losing to Scotland in the Final as Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez look to go one better and win on German soil.
The Gentle won the Champions League of Darts back in 2017, beating Gary Anderson 11-9 in the Final in Cardiff. It has been a slow start to 2022 for the 50-year-old who has been in the PDC since 2007 but has played in a fair few World Cups so has the experience to go far with his partner, who will be playing in his seventh World Cup.
Little John has reached a Quarter Final so far this year on the Euro Tour, losing to Jose de Sousa in the Quarter Finals of the Czech Open back in Prague earlier last month. The 28-year-old has shown glimpses on the stage of the talent he possesses, and a win in the World Cup could signal the start of his rise in the game.
England will be represented by Michael Smith and James Wade in Frankfurt and with Michael van Gerwen not taking part for his country, the Dutch team will consist of UK Open Champion Danny Noppert and 2020 Grand Prix Runner Dirk van Duijvenbode both playing in their second World Cup.
The competition gets underway on the 16th of June with the Final scheduled for the 19th.
Words: Harry Masterson
Images: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe
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