Kevin know’s he was a lucky man to be at Alexandra Palace this year, after being 33rd in the order of merit (outside the top 32 who qualify), but then Australian Kyle Anderson had via issues so could not take his place, and Kevin was put through in his place.
A little luck is always needed in sport though, and it’s how the Artist uses that which matters. He was drawn against someone very well known to Kevin, Jamie ‘Jabba’ Caven, and they had the honour of starting the world biggest darts tournament, all live on Sky Sports Darts, the dedicated channel for these world championships. The games are all of longer length, being played in sets – the first round is first to 3 sets.
Round 1: Kevin Painter 3-1 Jamie Caven
Caven took the first leg on double 18 but Painter responded with the first 180 of the tournament and levelled by landing double five. He then broke Caven’s throw before adding another maximum as he clinched the opening set with a clean 76 finish.
Painter took a fourth consecutive leg by finishing 54 but missed darts to win each of the next three legs and Caven punished him, taking the set 3-1 to level the tie.
Caven won the first two legs to make it five on the spin but Painter hit back, firing in his third 180 to stop the rot and went on to take the next three legs and the set, winning the decider with a 14-darter.
Painter made it six legs on the spin to seal victory, adding a fourth 180 and finishing in style as he landed the bull to complete a 124 checkout.
Tuesday December 27
Evening Session (8pm)
Round 2: Phil Taylor 4-0 Kevin Painter
Taylor started in an incredible fashion, taking out a fabulous 167 finish to break, having handed Painter the darts to start the match. Taylor then hit a 180 and landed double eight before Painter took out 101. Taylor took the set, though, pinning double eight.
Taylor took out 86 but Painter replied in style with a 121 finish. Taylor then nailed double 16 and double one to open up a two-set lead.
Painter hit a 180 as he move ahead in the set before Taylor levelled by cleaning up 74. Painter then took out 68 but missed three darts to win the set and was duly punished as Taylor pinned double two. The 16-time World Champion then landed double 12 to move three sets clear.
Taylor hit double 18 and double ten to take the first two legs and he added a second 180 before taking out 60 for the match.