Three events, three different winners, and six different finalists. The World Series took in Auckland, Melbourne and Perth this month as the PDC top boys and the best players from Australia and New Zealand competed in three different events Down Under. Here are my ratings for how the eight PDC representatives performed, as well as Kyle Anderson and Corey Cadby…
Gary Anderson – 8
World number two was the top seed this month due to Michael van Gerwen’s absence, but went into the final event having not got past the quarter-finals. A 6-4 defeat to an inspired Kyle Anderson, who went on to lift the title, in the first round in Auckland was followed by a 10-8 reverse to Daryl Gurney in the last eight in Melbourne. But the Scot bounced back in style in Perth last week, with victories over Rob Szabo, Simon Whitlock, James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld sealing his fifth World Series title, and first in Australia. Will be happy to have ended the tour with a winner’s trophy.
Peter Wright – 7
A mixed three weeks for “Snakebite” as his wait for a maiden World Series title goes on. The world number three was below par in a 6-4 defeat to Corey Cadby in the first round in Auckland, but he responded well a week later by making it to the final in the inaugural Melbourne Darts Masters. Missed doubles cost Wright in the final against Phil Taylor, and he would have felt like it was another TV final that got away. Made a solid start in Perth with a 100+ average in the first round, but was then blown away 10-4 by Daryl Gurney in the quarter-finals. With van Gerwen not in the field, Wright will perhaps look back at this month as a big opportunity to missed to add to his TV title collection.
Phil Taylor – 8
The 57-year-old’s final trip Down Under for the World Series will be viewed as a successful one, with victory in Melbourne seeing him capture an eighth World Series title. Lost out to Corey Cadby in the semi-finals in Auckland, before going all the way and beating Peter Wright in a close final in the first staging of a World Series event in Melbourne the following week. Fought back from 4-2 down to beat Kyle Anderson in Perth, but then saw his bid for glory in his final tournament in Australia ended by old rival Raymond van Barneveld in a last-leg decider in the quarter-finals.
Raymond van Barneveld – 7
An up and down few weeks for “Barney” saw him follow up a first round exit in Melbourne with a run to the final in Perth just a week later. The five-time world champion looks to be getting to grips with his new darts, since switching from Unicorn to Target, and getting to a TV final will give him a big boost in confidence heading into the rest of the season. Lost to Phil Taylor in a decider in the Auckland quarter-finals, then was beaten by Corey Cadby in the opening round in Melbourne. Gained revenge on Cadby with a 6-5 win in Perth, before he also needed deciders to get the better of Taylor and Daryl Gurney. Finished up just short in the final against Gary Anderson.
James Wade – 7
Two semi-finals from three tournaments represents a good return for James Wade, who heading into this World Series triple-header was a player who some were questioning should have even been included given his dip in results in recent months. Slipped out of the top eight after going out early in Blackpool, but showed signs that he is more than capable of reclaiming his previous ranking, with wins over Daryl Gurney and Michael Smith in quarter-final clashes in Auckland and Perth respectively. Pushed Gary Anderson close in the semi-finals in Perth and will feel his game is on the way back up heading into the final months of 2017.
Michael Smith – 6
The latest PDC player this year to make their debut on the World Series, Michael Smith was selected for all three events Down Under and made appearances in the quarter-finals on each occasion. A 103 average in his very first game in Auckland, as well as a last-leg decider defeat to Peter Wright in Melbourne would have been the main highlights for “Bully Boy”. Now he has a taste for the World Series he’ll now look to have some deep runs in majors coming up to improve his chances of a recall to the Premier League next year.
Daryl Gurney – 7.5
The Northern Irishman’s breakthrough year continues as he enjoyed runs to two semi-finals this month. After losing to James Wade in the quarter-finals in Auckland, “Superchin” put in impressive displays to knock out Gary Anderson at the same stage in Melbourne, and then Peter Wright in the last eight in Perth. Gurney had been well-beaten by Wright in the semi-finals in Melbourne, but showed good resolve to return the favour a week later in Perth. A final, two semi-finals and a quarter-final from his four World Series events so far, Gurney is surely odds-on for a spot in the 2018 Premier League.
Simon Whitlock – 6.5
A mixed month for the Australian number one saw him go as far as the semi-finals in Melbourne in-between runs to the quarter-finals in Auckland and Perth. Threw away a good early lead in a 10-9 defeat to eventual champion Kyle Anderson in Auckland, but responded superbly with a stunning 107 average to thrash his World Cup team-mate 6-1 in the first round in Melbourne. Knocked off James Wade in a decider in the quarter-finals before running out of steam against Phil Taylor in the semi-finals. Struggled through the first round in Perth before losing comfortably in the end to Gary Anderson in the next round to bring his World Series to a close.
Kyle Anderson – 9
Finished with back-to-back first round exits, but after landing his maiden TV title in Auckland, Kyle Anderson was on a free ride for the rest of the tour. The Perth-born world number 28 clinched his first PDC title with victory on the Pro Tour last month and followed that up with an incredible triumph in the Auckland Darts Masters, beating Gary Anderson, Simon Whitlock, James Wade and Corey Cadby to become the newest winner in front of the TV cameras. Now he’s taken that next step and won a TV title, expect him to make even bigger strides during the rest of the year.
Corey Cadby – 8
There were plenty of question marks regarding how Corey Cadby was going to perform in the World Series this month, given that we had not seen him play on TV since the World Championship last December. All those questions were answered in emphatic style as the reigning world youth champion roared through to his first senior TV final, enjoying wins over Peter Wright, Michael Smith and Phil Taylor before losing to Kyle Anderson in a decider in the final. The big-name scalps continued for Cadby as he knocked out Raymond van Barneveld in the the first round in Melbourne, but that would prove to be his last win of the tour as he lost to Taylor in the next round, and then “Barney” got his revenge in Perth.