Webster begins assault on PDO world title against Maish
Mark Webster took third spot at the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship in his debut in the tournament 12 months ago and he begins his quest to improve upon this result this year by taking on Steve Maish in the opening round at Alexandra Palace.
The Welshman has not really kicked on since winning the BDO World Championship in 2008 and is still waiting for a first title since switching codes to the PDC.
He went close at Alexandra Palace last year before eventually losing his semi final to Phil Taylor, although he showed his ability by beating Raymond van Barneveld in the third-place play-off.
Many will fancy Webster to prove too strong for Essex player Maish and it is no surprise that he is the 1/6 favourite in the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship betting, especially considering he was voted player of the tournament at the recent World Cup of Darts.
Maish has twice reached the last 32 of the tournament with a pair of opening-round wins over Dennis Priestley in 2004 and 2008, while he has reached three semi finals this year.
He is 7/2 to upset Webster and gain a measure of revenge for the 6-5 loss he suffered against the left hander in their only previous meeting, which took place earlier this year.
Another match on the first evening of action sees 1996 champion Steve Beaton taking on Mark Hylton.
Beaton has witnessed a revitalisation in form recently as he reached the semi finals of the Grand Slam of Darts this year and is a decent price at 2/7 in the darts betting to beat Hylton.
Hylton is looking forward to a first appearance in the tournament and would have gained some confidence from his recent appearance at the Grand Slam of Darts despite losing all three of his matches in the group stages of the Wolverhampton event.
He is 5/2 to beat Beaton and progress into a second-round clash with either Colin Lloyd or Andree Welge.
A £10 bet on Maish beating Webster 3-2 could lead to a payout of £80. New Ladbrokes customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.