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Team Target at the World Championships

Good luck #TEAMTARGET at PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024
December 15, 2023

Team Target at the World Championships

It’s that time of the year again! That music is playing, drinks are being had and the Toure brothers are about to be relentlessly serenaded by a crowd they don’t know exists. It’s almost time for the day in December that everyone yearns for. The start of the Paddy Power World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

 

Now let’s go through the members of Team Target headed to Ally Pally and how they’ve fared so far in 2023. 

KEVIN DOETS

Kevin Doets - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Kevin Doets - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

Netherlands
World No.63
Darts used: Kevin Doets Gen 1 – 23.5g

‘Hawkeye’ has flown somewhat under the radar this year, despite regularly taking scalps on the Pro Tour and setting career bests at pretty much every opportunity, including reaching the last 32 at the UK Open, Players Championship Finals, European Tour and making the Players Championship 20 final. Kevin has the honour of opening the famous tournament this year, taking on Grand Slam standout Stowe Buntz in the first round, which sets up a very quick second round tie against the reigning World Champion Michael Smith. Should Kevin win both of these games, we won’t see him again until after Christmas. So he’ll also be rewarded with a nice long break!

KEANE BARRY

Keane Barry - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Keane Barry - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

Repulic of Ireland
World No.39
Darts used: Keane Barry Gen 1 – 24g 

It’s been a quiet year for ‘Dynamite’ so far in 2023 but he’s looked like he’s about to hit some form quite a few times! Consistency is key for our man from Duleek, as the former UK Open Semi-finalist has proven in the past. In 2022 he reached Semi-finals in both the aforementioned UK Open as well as a Players Championship event, consistnelty hitting high averages and keeping a good percentage on the doubles as well. The 2023 Worlds was quite the blow for Keane who had to deal with single digit degree weather up on stage at Ally Pally, missing out on a spot in the second round. This year, ‘Dynamite’ takes on qualifier Reynaldo Rivera on Saturday evening for the right to take on Michael van Gerwen on the 19th. 

HARUKI MURAMATSU

Haruki Muramatsu - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Haruki Muramatsu - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

Japan
World No.130
Darts used: Rising Sun G7 – 23g 

Haruki’s year has been mostly soft tip focused, but the legendary Japanese thrower has a history of popping up on the mian PDC circuit, representing his country at the World Cup as well as participating in the World Championships 4 previous times – 2024’s edition will be a 5th appearance at Ally Pally for ‘Hal’. He qualified for this years World Championship off the back of winning the PDC Asian Championship, a tournament which also qualified him for this years Grand Slam event in Wolverhampton. Those that don’t know Haruki might be surprised to find out that he actually rose to the top of the darts world in Japan back in 2018 after he faced off against and defeated the 16x World Champion Phil Taylor in the final of the Super Darts. He’ll be facing off against Scott Williams in the first Team Target Derby of the World Championships. 

SCOTT WILLIAMS

Scott Williams - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Scott Williams - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

England
World No.43
Darts used: Scott Williams Gen 1 – 25g

‘Shaggy’ exploded onto the scene last year, debuting at the World Championships where he handily saw off Ryan Joyce, where he defied a 103 average. He went out in the next round to long time practise partner Rob Cross. 2023 was a first full year on the PDC tour for Scott and so far it has been tough to keep up any kind of momentum without consistent back-to-back tournaments and games, but the high-scoring, yellow trouser wearing, Boston born Newcastle fan has not been deterred. He has shown consistency and drive on the floor events, staying in the top 32 to qualify for this tournament. He takes on Team Target Japan’s Haruki Muramatsu, who is somewhat of a fairytale draw for Scott as when he initially started playing darts it was with a random set he bought in a shop – Rising Sun Gen1 darts! So to go from playing with darts he bought by chance to drawing the man who’s darts they were at the World Championships is a bit special! 

MIKURU SUZUKI

Mikuru Suzuki - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Mikuru Suzuki - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

Japan
World No.3 (Women’s Series OoM)
Darts used: The Miracle Gen 5 – 23.2g 

What a year it’s been for Mikuru so far! She’s made on the most durastic changes in her career at the beginning of the year, moving from the domination of Women’s Darts in Japan over to the Men’s game and whilst there has been a lot of room for Mikuru to continue expanding her skills, she’s also been putting in some wonderful performances. On the PDC Women’s Series she’s one of the few names to have defeated 2x World Champion Beau Greaves, ending a 40+ match win streak to win the Women’s Series 3 event in Leicester. ‘The Miracle’ went on to win 3 titles total across the season, repeatedly making semi-finals and finals which enabled her to qualify for the Women’s World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens. In this event, she went all the way to the final on her Blackpool debut, going down to the in-form Beau Greaves. Her spot in the Order of Merit is what secured her spot at the World Championships and Ricardo Pietreczko is what stands in her way of a 2nd round match against Callan Rydz. 

LUKE LITTLER

Luke Littler - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Luke Littler - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

England
PDC Youth World Champion
Darts used: Luke Littler Gen 1 – 23g 

There’s so much to start with when it gets to Luke Littler and we don’t know where to begin, so the full rundown on ‘The Nuke’s year will be given in a future blog post dedicated to his 2023. For now though, we’ll look at Luke’s quarter of the draw, which has some potentially mouthwatering ties, including 4 former World Champions. The prospect of seeing ‘The Nuke’ putting his blockbuster scoring to the test against a legend like Gary Anderson or Raymond van Barneveld is an exciting one and hopefully Luke plays as we know he can and makes it come true! 

ROB CROSS

Rob Cross - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Rob Cross - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

England
World No.8
Darts used: Rob Cross Gen 1 – 21g

It would be fair to say that Rob Cross is Mr Consistent in 2023, being seen in the final stages of most tournaments, with several fantastic performances at the Majors. ‘Voltage’ has flown somewhat under the radar as well for this years tournament, with not many tipping him to win the big one. Finals in the Grand Slam and the Masters however and a double title grab in Australia and New Zealand on the World Series should prove that the former World Champion is absolutely still in with a shout and those overlooking him will feel a bit silly if he goes on to lift the trophy! He takes on the winner of Mario Vandenbogaerde or Thibault Tricole on Thursday 21st. 

GABRIEL CLEMENS

Gabriel Clemens - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Gabriel Clemens - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

Germany
World No.22
Darts used: Gabriel Clemens Gen 2 – 23g 

Last years World Semi-finalist has grown into 2023, with some very special performances across the Pro Tour which he couldn’t quite get to translate across to TV, Gabriel seems to have hit his stride at the right time of the year after storming to the Semis of the Players Championship Finals in Minehead last month. It was only a 100+ average from Michael van Gerwen that stopped the ‘German Giant’ from moving into the final of the tournament, but Gaga will be very happy with the way he played in the earlier rounds. Looking back at last years tournament, he was a huge outside but played the darts of his life, seeing of some huge names including Gerwyn Price - during the famous ear defenders game, before falling to the eventual winner in Michael Smith. There will be significantly more eyes on Gabriel Clemens this year as the whole of Germany will be watching see if their No.1 can do it all again! He takes on Gian van Veen or Man Lok Leung in the evening session on Thursday 21st. 

DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH

Dimitri Van den Bergh - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Dimitri Van den Bergh - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

Belgium
World No.14
Darts used: Dimi Gen 2 – 22g

Dimitri began the year with a bang at the previous edition of the tournament, with a new set of arrows in his case and appoint to prove, he went all the way to the Semi-finals at the 2023 World Championships. His exploits at Ally Pally were revered back home in Belgium with millions watching on the TV and it was these performances that led to his inclusion in the 2023 Premier League. He made the point that he wasn’t just there to make up the numbers, regularly winning games and reaching semi-finals of the various different nights but he had to wait a little while to win his first night, picking up the very last nightly win in Aberdeen. Dimitri will be looking to reignite some form in set play as he takes on the winner of Dylan Slevin and Florian Hempel in round 2 on Friday 22nd. 

RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD

Raymond van Barneveld - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Raymond van Barneveld - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

Netherlands
World No.29
Darts used: Barney25 – 25g

25 years on from his first World Championship victory, a content RVB will be heading to Alexandra Palace in a very good place. He has been playing some excellent darts in recent months, consistently averaging in the high 90’s but it seemed like every time he went on to lose a game it was against someone playing out of their skin! It looks like everything in life is going smoothly for the 5x World Champion, including his recent marriage and a comfortable Raymond van Barneveld is a scary one on the oche. He knows what it takes to win these games and will be hoping he can take advantage of his good practise and positive mindset against Marko Kantele or Radek Szaganski in a quarter that could see him facing off against Luke Littler! 

CHRIS DOBEY

Chris Dobey - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Chris Dobey - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

England
World No.19
Darts used: Chris Dobey Gen 1 – 23g

Chris’ 2023 has been something out of a Hollywood movie, starting off the year with the first title available after and incredibly impressive Quarter-finals run at the World Championships, he won The Masters in Milton Keynes, defeating his future Team Target stablemate Rob Cross in the final. His victory here led to his inclusion in the Premier League for the first time and that has helped his game to come on leaps and bounds, regularly taking out the big names on the floor events and TV, cementing himself as such. Back in September, we went to St James’ Park in Newcastle to welcome Chris as a new member of the team, with his darts being released during the September Launch at the Orbit in Stratford. He’s shown to be an incredibly popular member of the darts community with our announcement receiving some of the most positive feedback we’ve ever seen! Chris heads to Alexandra Palace as an outsider for the tournament but we’re confident that he will upset the apple cart and takes some big scalps, with last years Quarter-final fresh in his mind, we’re confident that he has the quality to go even further this year. You can see Chris take on either William O’Connor or Bhav Patel on Friday evening to close out the night. 

STEPHEN BUNTING

Stephen Bunting - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Stephen Bunting - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

England
World No.17
Darts Used: Stephen Bunting Prototype – 18g 

‘The Bullet’ has been on the rise since his quarter-final at the last World Championships and this year he comes into the tournament playing some of his best darts ever. Out of the 7 majors this year, Stephen has only failed to make the last 16 twice, where it has taken something special to get him out. His average has been quickly climbing and despite no titles coming to St Helens, he has looked right on the very verge of picking one up sooner or later as he fights for that first televised PDC title. We’re all rooting for Stephen to be up there as one of the winners for various commercial reasons, but we also just want to see what kind of TikTok’s ‘The Bullet’ can make with the World Championship trophy! If you haven’t already, we highly recommend following his TikTok account. Also follow ours here. Stephen will be taking on either Ryan Joyce or Alex Spellman in the final evening session before Christmas on the 23rd.

NATHAN ASPINALL

Nathan Aspinall - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024Nathan Aspinall - Attending the PDC Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2024

England
World No.4
D
arts used: Nathan Aspinall Gen 2 – 26g

Former UK Open Champion went into 2023 with a hunger to win another major, and with that in mind there wasn’t much anyone could do to stop ‘The Asp’! He’d witnessed one of his closest friends Michael Smith pick up the Grand Slam, which he saw as his final opponent, and then the World Championship just a few weeks later and knew what he needed to do. Despite reaching a final on the European Tour, it seemed like the darts just weren’t falling for ‘The Asp’ however wasn’t deterred and kept pushing on until the World Matchplay came around and his game took a step up to the next level. A completely superior Nathan Aspinall swept aside everyone he faced, including in the final where he blew Jonny Clayton away 18-6 and that has paved his way to Alexandra Palace. It’s been a fantastic year for ‘The Asp’ so far and his match against Ricky Evans or Simon Adams will be one to watch in the final game before the Christmas break. 

Who do you think is going to be walking away from Alexandra Palace with the big trophy and half a million pounds?

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